Reviews, Opinions and Critiques...
What do authors and readers think?
by Sarah Jane Butfield & Margaret Daly
As a reader and an author, when I enjoy a book I like to make sure that the author knows that they have created something that is enjoyable to read. By the same token if I read a book and I feel that there are elements that could enhance the reader’s appreciation of the book instead of putting that in a review I contact the author by social media or email to provide some honest constructive feedback. Overall most authors respond well to both the positive reviews being posted and the honest critique given privately.
I think it is important to remember that reviews from readers’ do not have to be long in-depth overviews of all aspects of the book and its creation. If you enjoyed a book say you enjoyed it and briefly say why. If you would recommend it to your friend and family say that. Imagine you are having coffee with a friend and talking about the latest book you have read and enjoyed and you are telling them what you liked the most about it. That’s a review!
As a professional reviewer, you should combine an accurate, analytical approach to the reading and review process. A helpful book review describes briefly what it’s about, looks at how the book set out to achieve its purpose, and enables the reviewer to express any reactions to the plot, characters, etc.
There is also the discussion about the relevance of reviews: Who reads them? How do book stores use them to rank books? Should authors pay for book reviews?
Thank you Sarah Jane, these are some good points. I completely agree with you.
In all reality there are most certainly a lot of people that don't leave a review for a book, whether they enjoyed it or not. As an author it saddens and frustrates me to have to ask for a review. You see, it isn't just about the gratification of receiving feedback from someone that left a review.
There are a lot of Indie Authors out there and they struggle everyday to get their books noticed. Self-publishing, means self-promotion; this is a full time job in and of itself. Most promotional outlets require a certain amount of reviews be listed publicly in order for the book to be submitted to them for promotion. So what does a self-published Indie Author do with a new release that has no reviews? How do they get their book noticed and gain exposure? It isn't an easy task.
On the flip-side of that, as a reader, I can say I understand. There are many times before I became an author that I didn't leave a review when I read a book. (I know, shame on me.) Why do you ask? The answer is simple, I didn't understand the importance of them.
Reviews are now more than ever, a seriously controversial subject in the literary world. So much so that the leading online book re-seller Amazon has changed it's review policy a few times in just this last year. My take on their changes: they are trying to weed out the reviews that are written with bias, simply to bump the sales of certain books or lower them for another. Which leads me to Sarah Janes questions and a few of my own.
Who reads reviews?
Does a review matter more to the author or the prospective reader?
Although a review is technically an opinion, is there a difference between a personal opinion and a critique of the literature?
How do book stores use reviews to rank books?
Should authors pay for book reviews?
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We asked some questions to the public through Facebook:
We had a great conversation in a couple of groups as well, one was our very own Rukia Publishing Book Club & the other was in a closed group.
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