Feed an Author – Leave a Review #wwwBlogs

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Feedback of any kind, whether you are an author, crafter, baker or therapist, is a lifeline to continued success.  We all crave that positive remark, or a pat on the back when someone enjoys our products.

I have always tried my best to leave feedback wherever possible.  Sometimes that might be a Facebook review for a company or service I have used, a quick comment on a blog post I enjoyed reading or logging on to a restaurant website to thank them for a wonderful meal and service.

As a consumer, I study the comments left by other people and hope that they can assist my decision on whether to buy a product, eat in a restaurant, visit an exhibition, or read a book.

Having published five books so far in the self-help and young adult fantasy categories, I also understand the importance of receiving reviews for your products and how it can shape your sales, rankings and even your ability to advertise with certain companies.

Did you know that most advertising and marketing groups require a book to have at least ten reviews before they accept an advertising request?

I have reviewed many books via Amazon and Goodreads.  The reviews weren’t literary marvels, in fact, when I’ve been tight on time a simple ‘loved it, would highly recommend’ was all I could manage.

Last year, I was invited to join Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.  I was incredibly honoured to join Rosie’s team as I have enjoyed reading their book reviews for some years – often buying a new book or trying a new author because of their feedback.  My reading list has exploded as a result!

When I attend events and sell my books via holistic shows or craft fairs, I always enjoy chatting with the customers, and I often ask them to get in touch when they’ve finished the book to let me know what they thought.  I also add that I’m happy to receive feedback whether they like it or not.

Putting aside the enormous influence book reviews have on our sales and visibility in a crowded market, they are also how we learn what our readers want, how we hone our craft and improve the experience for the book buying public.

For those of you who follow my reviews, here’s my rating system (this may differ between reviewers):

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5 stars: The book was amazing, I couldn’t put it down, and I want everyone to know about it.

4 stars: The book was great, and you should check it out.

3 stars: The book was good, it was entertaining enough to keep me reading.

2 stars: It was okay but I didn’t really enjoy reading this book.

1 star: I couldn’t finish the book due to the editing or the writing.

If you purchase your paperbacks from Amazon then you will receive a quick email a few weeks later asking if you enjoyed it and prompting you to leave a review – next time you get one of these emails, don’t hit delete, instead, click through to your Amazon account and leave a few words.  The author will thank you for it.

If you prefer an eBook, then Amazon make it even easier for you.  When you get to the end of your book, you will automatically arrive at the book review page.  Highlight the number of stars you would award and write a few words about why you enjoyed reading the novel while it’s still fresh in your mind.

Still unsure about what to write?  Try using these questions as a guide:

  • Who was your favourite character?  Why?
  • Did you like the pace of the story?  Was it fast and had you turning the pages, or was it slow in parts?
  • Would you read other books by the author?

Here is an example of a review I left for young adult novel, Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott:

I discovered this book on a rainy afternoon as I browsed my local bookshop. The beautiful cover drew me in straight away, and the blurb intrigued me, offering a story about a mysterious competition through treacherous terrain to win a cure for any illness.

Tella is a sixteen-year-old girl who has been uprooted from her home and best friend and is now living in fear that her brother will die any day. He is sick, and getting worse by the minute. When an unusual device turns up in Tella’s bedroom explaining that she could ‘win’ a cure for her brother she does what any caring sister would do – she signs up for life-changing, dangerous, and potentially lethal quest.

At first, I couldn’t shake the impression of Hunger Games meets Pokemon, but it didn’t take long to get swept up in the story. Tella’s character is well crafted; she has a girly-girl vibe about her, but as the story unfolds, we see a much deeper character begin to emerge. She loves glitter and make-up, but she can also be a kick-ass competitor.

As Tella begins her journey in the Brimstone Bleed competition, she meets various contenders along the way. Guy Chambers is the hot guy that every YA book needs to add a little sparkle. Harper is the mean-but-loveable friend with her own story to tell. Characters come and go throughout the book, some you mourn and others you breathe a sigh of relief over their departure. Scott isn’t afraid to tug at the readers’ heartstrings!

To assist the contenders, each character has a Pandora, which is a manufactured animal with special talents, such as a lion who breathes fire. Tella is paired with a small black fox who becomes as much a main character as her owner. The bond between Tella and her fox is heart-warming and shows yet another side to our heroine. I loved the Pandora twist in this book, it’s unique, and makes a pleasant change from dragons or other supernatural elements.

Fire & Flood is set in treacherous jungle and scorching desert, but we are told at the beginning of the novel that there are four ecosystems that our characters must survive. Salt & Stone is book two and continues the Brimstone Bleed competition as the characters face the ocean and mountain terrain. I rushed out to buy book two before I finished Fire & Flood.

Here is a shorter review for humourous novel, Game of Scones by Samantha Tonge:

A fun story, ideal for a holiday read, or to escape from reality on a miserable day.

Pippa is a likeable character, and I was in her corner when she stood up to fight for the rights of her friends, she has a caring heart. I didn’t warm to Henrik at all!

I love the humour and wit that is sprinkled throughout the book. If you are looking for a light-hearted, and warming read then grab a copy.

So, the next time you read a book that made you laugh or a novel that stirred an emotion, take a couple of minutes to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Your words may inspire another reader and be the introduction that person needs to discover a new favourite author, or to try an alternative genre than their usual choice. Those words will also bring a smile to the author who may have locked themselves away for twelve months and poured their heart and soul into creating something just for you.

Feed an author – leave a review!

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If you would like to check out the books I’ve reviewed then click HERE, or visit Rosie Amber’s Book Review Blog and find your next read.

Now, if you want to have a go, why not leave me feedback about this post in the comment box below.

21 thoughts on “Feed an Author – Leave a Review #wwwBlogs

  1. Terry Tyler

    Well said, Shelley! Very good post, and wouldn’t it be great if everyone left reviews? I consult them all the time because I buy so many things online.

    I allocate my stars according to the Amazon guidelines as far as possible ~ 5* ‘I loved it’, 4*, ‘I liked it’, 3*, ‘It’s okay’, 2* ‘I didn’t like it’, 1* ‘it was awful’. But of course these are far too broad! I only give 5* if I can really say I loved a book, 4* usually means I liked it and would recommend but might not have been absolutely my type of thing, or I had an issue or two with it that I may or may not mention in the review. If I give 3* I usually mean that I probably wouldn’t have carried on if I wasn’t reading for review, for whatever reasons stated, but it may appeal to others. Then I go for the 4.5 (more than just ‘liked’ it but not quite ‘loved!), or 3.5* – this is often when I did like a book but I had a couple of larger issues with it. For instance, I recently gave this score to a funny, well written book that I did enjoy, but it had punctuation errors on every page. I think it’s important to be kind and diplomatic and mention all that is good, but also to be honest – I have bought books based on fabulous reviews and found them to mediocre at best, which is annoying; it’s not so much the wasted £2.50 as the feeling that I’ve been cheated! So I always try to be as honest as possible.

    Incidentally, the Goodreads stars mean different things – 3* on there means ‘I liked it’, so if a book is fairly good and I’ve given it 3.5*, I might round up to 4 on Amazon but down to 3 on Goodreads. Oh, if only it was a 10* choice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, can you imagine, maybe we should do the school rating system of A, B and C! Although, that’s all changed now too *far too confused*. I’ve seen quite a few 5 star reviews for books that I gave a lower rating for – it just shows how one book can be such a different experience between two readers. 🙂

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      1. Terry Tyler

        Yes, and lots of writers swap 5* reviews, and people get their friends to give them 5* even if they haven’t read the book – that’s where most of this problem lies. There is actually a 5* review swapping group for writers on Facebook (I know because someone invited me to it, and I told them what I thought of it!!!), and I am sure many exist unoffiially. Also, friends often give each other 5* regardless (I like to think that everyone is honest with me, but I would imagine some people have given me the benefit of the doubt!), just to be nice.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Remember that Amazon classes 3* as a negative review. So if you weren’t feeling negative, best go for 4*. And I had someone who really liked one of my books and said so and said that it was really worth 4.5 stars so she gave it 4: which as a piece of personal honesty and sensible reviewing was great, but it will have impacted negatively on sales as opposed to if she had rounded up.

    It is difficult. I find myself avoiding reviews because I don’t want to hand out 4 and 5* reviews over-generously, but I know that a 3* review will damage a book that I quite enjoyed and which doesn’t deserve to take the hit. The star system as operated by Amazon is foul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent points, Tom. I would never have thought that a 3* review could damage a book. I often see these ratings as the most honest. Many 3* reviews give both positive and critical feedback, the reviewer is happy to explain what they liked about the novel but also feels comfortable to offer constructive criticism. There are always exceptions to this, of course, but on the whole I find a 3* to be quite informative. I recently awarded a 3* and a 3.5* and yet I enjoyed reading both novels and have recommended them to family and friends. For me, they didn’t rock my world, but they were good books. I’ve also noticed that one of these books received a 5* review from several other bloggers – reading is a personal journey and we each have our favourite genres, style and review system. It’s a complex and thoroughly interesting topic. Thank you so much for contributing to the discussion 🙂

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  3. I try to review fiction whenever I can (bearing in mind I read so little, as am always deep in Victorian stuff). I never check anybody else’s reviews, I write mine first..giving as many stars as I think…looking at the story, characters,pacing, settings, bits I liked. I try to point out (nicely) if there are bits that lagged…but always making sure the review reader knows this is a personal comment. If I haven’t liked a book, I don’t leave a review. I don’t understand the sort of mentality that writes: I hated this, it was vile, load of crap and gives a book one star. OK, we all have them, but they are not ‘reviews’ merely ‘opinions’. I NEVER review if asked. It’s too much of an obligation. And I use a pseudonym, so you’ll never know who I am! The really annoying theingm, from a writer’s perspective, are those people who SAY they are going to post a review, but then don’t. You can’t nag. Sadly. And it does enhance your presence on Amazon….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting point, Carol. I don’t check what other reviewers have said before posting my review as I want it to be as honest as possible. I do find it fascinating to then see how the reviews differ once published. As I mentioned in my reply to Tom, I’ve awarded lower star ratings to books that were enjoyable but didn’t keep me reading until 2am, but other reviewers adored it and gave it a 5*. I also agree with not leaving a review if you haven’t enjoyed the book – there is NO need for the vile, abusive 1* reviews that plague (Victorian pun intended!) the internet. 🙂

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  4. Excellent post, Shelley. Ratings can be a little confusing sometimes because we all have our own system and they vary from site to site, but the actual review says, and can count for, more a lot of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

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