Review My Book and Make Me Feel Good

 In Books, Writing

Reviews are funny things.

As a creator of products (a fancy way of saying I write books) I would like to have thousands of five star reviews on Amazon and anywhere else that my books are available. And I would love all those reviews of my books to contain words and phrases like ‘edge of your seat exciting’, ‘Loved , loved, loved this amazing book’, ‘spectacular and a MUST read!’ and on and on.

Over the years I must have consumed a metric tonne of marketing advice for authors and the importance of reviews comes up again and again.

And there are a number of reasons why they are important.

A positive review gives the author a warm, self-satisfied glow inside and a big grin on the outside.

Positive reviews help validate an author.

Positive reviews give social proof, and can sway a buyer’s decision.

All right, so to be honest the only one of those reasons that is important in any way, shape or form is number three. But the first two don’t hurt.

Recently I’ve been starting to wonder how important number three is as well. Reviews are all well and good, but if there is no one available to read the reviews then they are not much use are they?

Sort of like the argument that says, if a tree falls in a forest but there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

What do you mean those two statements have nothing to do with each other?

Let me rephrase it.

If a review has nobody to read it, does it carry any validity? Is it even still a review? Do the words themselves actually carry any meaning? Talking about meaning, what’s the point of it all?

All right, I got distracted there.

Where was I?

Yes, reviews.

I got to thinking about reviews because occasionally I am contacted by other authors (and let’s be clear, I don’t know these authors they just contact me out of the blue and assume a special relationship) and asked for an exchange of book reviews. As in, I will review your book if you review mine.

I even had someone ask for an exchange of 5 star reviews!

I’m assuming I didn’t even need to read the other author’s book before reviewing it.

Just as long as I gave it five stars.

I always say no.

Always.

To indulge in this practice of swapping reviews would be dishonest, and show a lack of respect towards anyone who purchased my book and read it. Because I have total respect for anyone who takes a chance on my work and reads it. Not only am I asking for their money but I am asking for an investment of their time and emotional energy. How often have you read a book and realised at the finish that the hours you gave to it were wasted hours? That you will never have that time back and you wish that you had spent that time elsewhere, on something more valuable.

So to try and con someone into buying my books through fake reviews?

Absolutely not.

The very first novel I ever finished writing is called The End of Time.

Well, I think it was called that. You see, I’ve lost it. It’s probably somewhere in the house, but we’re in what we British types like to call a bit of a pickle at the moment, because the cellar (where I write) is out of action and so its contents are strewn around the house.

But you won’t find that novel anywhere on Amazon. I never published it and I never intend to.

Why?

Because it is not good enough, that’s why.

The second novel I finished writing is called Caught in a Cruel Net.

Terrible title, not very good book.

I do think about revisiting it one day and reworking the entire story.

But as it stands it is not publishable.

Neither of those two stories in their present states are worth the emotional and mental investment, the time and financial investment, that they will require from the reader.

I’m not in the business of authorship to scam people, to rob them of their money.

I’m here to tell stories.

The best stories I can.

And if you, the reader, see potential value in that story then we will enter into a transaction with one another where you will give me money in exchange for the story and I will entertain you, give you pause to ponder, make you laugh, chew your fingernails down to the quick and help you identify with the characters so much that you will cry for them, be afraid for them, and feel sadness or happiness.

I want us to go on a journey together to explore these worlds that exist just on the other side of that threadbare curtain separating reality from fantasy.

That is why I write books.

Not for reviews.

(Although they are nice and I do enjoy getting them.)

So, why don’t you take my hand and I will pull back the curtain, and let’s step through to the other side together.

Because isn’t that the point?

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