Book reviews help potential buyers decide whether or not they want to read a book. It is through book reviews that the reading public is exposed to new books and new authors. There can be millions of dollars spent on marketing, but book reviews do more to make or break an author.
The Purpose of a Book Review
Well, I just said it I guess, but I’ll say it again. A book review helps me as a customer to decide whether or not I want to buy a book. Sometimes the blurb on the book just isn’t enough. You can make anything look good, but is it really good? I like to read the reviews and find out what other readers think about it. I’ve managed to avoid buying duds and have also found some real pearls simply by reading an honest review. Authors and publishers look book reviewers because word of mouth sells more books than any advertising.
Think about it. When you hear coworkers talking about the latest books they’ve read, you take notice. In a sense, you are getting a book review right there at work. It is just verbal instead of reading online or in a newspaper/magazine.
Knowing this, try to always write a review of a book you have read. It helps the author, and it helps other readers.
The Results of a Book Review
A book review will either help someone decide to buy a book or help them avoid it and choose something else. These book reviews help take authors to the best sellers lists or help direct them to a new career choice. Sales or bomb. But they also do more than that.
Book reviews also help the author. They tell the author where their strengths are and where they need improvement. Most of the reviews of my book comment on how strong my character development is. I was afraid that area was weak, but the majority say otherwise. The reviews show me where I do good so I can use that to my advantage in future works. Reviews tell you if you are on the right path. Maybe a review says the romantic scenes just weren’t….romantic. That tells you as a writer that you need to work on that or avoid those scenes altogether.
Heavy Reviewer Responsibility
Knowing what all a book review can do, that means there is quite a bit of responsibility on the reviewer.
- Be honest — Don’t say a book sucks because you don’t like the author. Don’t mislead the reader. That also means not saying a book is great when it is far from it.
- Be fair — Are you slamming a book because you don’t like romances? Be fair. Either don’t review a romance, or rate the book on the other merits such as dialogue, character development, plot, and so forth. I don’t like science fiction. I reviewed a science fiction book and put in the review that this was not my genre, but I did review the very interesting characters that sucked me in and the fast pace that I love. I just didn’t give it a 5, but I told the truth and was fair.
- Give constructive criticism — If you have to criticize, do it with a constructive bent. I had one book who did not have good dialogue. It was really flat. I noted how the characters were interesting and helped pull the dialogue along. I let other readers know of the lack of stimulating dialogue while pointing out the strength of characters and the great use of description for the scenes. I only hope the author takes heed of those comments.
- Give credit where credit is due — If you really don’t like a book, give credit to the areas the author did do well. Don’t write a completely negative review. There has to be something good you can point out, too. I’m not saying only write good reviews. Personally, I don’t trust reviewers that do that. I only don’t do a review if I can’t find one single positive thing. That has only happened once.