Word of mouth, platform, promotion, and marketing in general. All of this is important to the success of any author, but none so important as the mighty Book Review. It sets the standard for what others think about our work and gives them a bit of insight into us as writers. It draws or repels potential readers, with what we hope is always an honest opinion of our previous readers. Book Reviews bring more attention to an author’s work than anything else, because they tell the story of our stories from the reader’s point of view.
Everyone has their tastes, favorites, and things they might experiment within the literature. Getting an honest review is for me at least, simultaneously the most exciting and frightening experience I get…and I’m a big horror fan, so it’s exhilarating. Hearing that someone liked my work is inspiring, but the flip side of that is that someone didn’t, and while it’s not my favorite response, it’s an inevitable event on the writer’s path. Overall, whether the rating is high/low/neutral it’s the review that matters most. Whether the reader enjoyed it or not, I like to know their reasons and thoughts.
In reality, this isn’t always available because there’s really no pleasing everyone, and sometimes there’s no reason for a low review other than they didn’t like it. Continuing on with reviews, they’re important for exposure, and it may not be a widespread idea but, I’ve always felt that they’re kind of like “thank you” letters. They let the author know that someone actually took the time to read, and then to review their book. In an occupation where the need for reviews outweighs the motivation for readers to write them, it’s a treat to have a reader do it.
As an author who recently made it her mission to read at least five books every two months (other work permitting), I’ve enjoyed being on the read and review side of things for a large list of books. I’m getting exposure to authors and genres that I haven’t considered before, and giving a review of everything I read. It’s a different experience to be an author and review for others, connecting in a different way. It’s a learning experience for myself as much as it is support for the authors. And it’s worth appreciating, that a review can go both ways.