As an author, there is one thing that both excites and terrifies me. Reviews. It is the make or break of every aspiring author’s career. They are the touchstone between books and the audience. So the question must be asked, is there such thing as a bad review? This question goes many ways depending on ones stand point and the context of the review.
From the view of an author, there are definitely good and bad reviews. The best reviews are the ones that sing an authors praises, thus validating the book and making more money for the author.
Another form of review that I find helpful, are the ones with constructive criticism in it. I, as an author, am always watching for tidbits of information to perfect my craft. It may be grammatical errors or story writing in general, but I love to hear feedback from my audience.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have bad reviews. What I consider a bad review is someone intentionally putting down a work without even reading the book. These are the flamers who enjoy bullying others through the anonymity of the internet. I can handle a negative review. That is were some of the best advice can be found, but destroying an authors reputation and lively hood without even giving them the decency to read their work; is the same as kicking someone in the gut.
1. Be honest
This is one of the most important things to a novelist. It’s how we writers keep up with the trends of the people. If the book was terrible, mention how it could have been better.
2. Be kind
Anyone can criticize someones work and word it to where its not degrading to the writer. Often times, we are writing for years to get out content and the pay is rarely glamorous. Often times, we have a second job to pay the bills while we wait for our books to be published. Even then, so much money has to be passed around that what the writer gets is the scraps left over. Encouragement along with the criticism goes a long way.
3. Do it at the right place
Reviews are like holding an author’s life in ones hand. They decide how far a writer will go, so should it not be done in the most beneficial way for all parties involved? If the writing is awful, tell them kindly on their blog or website. Just about every writer will have one and the repercussions will be softer for them. Not only that, but that is where a novelist watches for comments the most. It will have a far greater impact there then anywhere else.
If the writing was great, put it where everyone can see. Give them a five star rating and the author will be joyous and celebrate.
A Few Parting Words
Imagine writing as a career. As the thing someone wakes up to do everyday. We build characters, we conjure realms, we establish connections with people fictional and real alike. There is so much to the world of writing. Can we imagine our world, our tiny planet without the stories we tell?
Therefore, its our job to bring this color to peoples lives. Some do it for fame, some do it to get rich. But there are people out there that do for the exuberance and sorrow that is writing. These are the people that deserve to be glorified and you as a reviewer have the power to do it.
So as you’re scrolling Amazon’s best seller list, remember that your review has the power to influence lives.