I promise this isn’t a post in which I whine about reviews. Much the opposite, in fact.
I really, truly appreciate it when readers take the time to write reviews of my books. You don’t have to. You certainly don’t owe it to me. Yet some of you do make that extra effort, and your reviews not only help guide potential readers but also give me a sense of what works and what doesn’t. And let’s be honest: good reviews make me feel good.
I like how reviews can remind me of how much tastes vary. Consider these two real excerpts:
- It was a bit fluffy for my taste. I enjoy a bit more struggle and angst but I enjoyed it.
- I found this book to be enjoyable but it’s pretty hardcore.
These are from different people’s reviews of the same book. And they’re both right because they’re both talking about what pleases them–and that varies.
Some reviews make me laugh, like the one that noted that characters in my books pee too much (do they?) or the one that complained that a Prius is a poser car and not really eco-friendly. Some make me give an evil laugh, like the ones that said I made them cry or kept them up way past their bedtime (mwah-hah-hah!). Some touch my heart, like the ones that talk about how something in my story was personally meaningful to the reader.
Some reviews are incredibly thoughtful, and I especially love it when I can tell a reader gets it, that some theme or allusion I wanted to make was clear to someone else. I also love it when reviewers find my books–or parts of them, anyway–funny. And of course I’m thrilled when reviewers say they fell in love with my characters, because so have I.
I know we’re all busy. Maybe some of you wrongly believe you don’t have anything useful to say about a book you’ve read. But really, do an author a favor–next time you read, leave a review. Thank you!
As a reader, do you find reviews helpful? What information is most useful to you?