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):
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: