Today, since I'm late (I missed the fifth day, darn! I had been doing so well, too!), I thought I'd keep things simple. Some of you may have noticed that one of the entry options for my current giveaway is to suggest a "Top Ten" list idea, and that's because lately, I love list-making. I keep a bullet-journal now, and a bulleted to-do list ... which may or may not have sub-bullet lists ...
I love the ideas you've been posting there, and that entry is actually one of the options you can use multiple times (once a day, I think), so I thought it would be fun to use one of those ideas today.
I'm sure you've read about the love/hate relationship between authors and reviews: you know that we seek them out, you know that some of us can't handle reading them, and you know that we're almost always talking about how important they are. But you may not know why reviews are so important, so I think this little love/hate list should go a long way toward explaining what reviews really mean to authors ... at least, by the end of it, you'll know what they mean to me.
So, without further ado:
My Top 10 Favorite (& Not-So-Favorite) Things About Reviews.
1.) I love reviews because I love your feedback -- being able to see what you liked and didn't like, what you reacted to emotionally, which characters are your most/least favorite, and how you relate to my stories.
2.) I hate reviews because sometimes, they are really hard to read. Now and then, you get reviews that are so good, and so perfect, and you just know that that reader really got the story ... and it tears your heart out in the most beautiful way imaginable. Now and then, you get reviews that are so bad, and so hateful, and you just know that you have failed your reader in some way, and it tears your heart out in the most excruciating way imaginable -- for an author. I have gotten both of these.
3.) I love reviews because they sell books. Lots of people use reader reviews, or at least the general star-rating - which comes from averaging the ratings of all the provided reviews - to decide whether or not they will buy a book. If I see that a book I'm interested in has lots of reviews, I'll read some and see if those readers liked the same things I would like. I'll read some of the bad ones too, and see if those readers noticed things that I know I'd notice too. Reviews help me decide, and I know they help lots of you decide, too.
4.) I hate reviews for being so necessary to sell books. Because of the points I mentioned above, sometimes books with few reviews are hidden from customers, buried under books that have more outspoken readers. This isn't always because the more visible books are better ... it's just because the more visible books are better reviewed. The sad thing is, marketing algorithms don't care if the reviews are good or bad - for instance, a book with 100 reviews and an average 1-star rating would be much more visible than, say, Fat Chance, which has 37 reviews and an average 4.4-star rating.
5.) I love reviews because sometimes, they are hilarious. I'm not even kidding, look. I've read so many pages that list hilarious product reviews, and whether they're good or bad, I always love them. I've even gotten a hilarious review myself.
6.) I hate reviews, because sometimes, people just use them as a way to be mean. And that's really just not nice. Thankfully, I don't have any of these ... yet.
7.) I love reviews because they tell me when I've touched someone in a way they won't forget. I love it when I find reviews or receive messages from readers who loved my stories, who related to my characters. It makes me weepy when I'm told that one of my characters changed someone's perspective on themselves or their lives.
8.) I hate reviews because they tell me when I've touched someone in a way they won't forget. Readers sometimes say things on reviews like, "I'm never going to read this author again!" Luckily, when I went seeking through my few one-star reviews, I couldn't actually find one of those ... though I'll admit I didn't look that hard; I just checked my amazon page.
9.) I love that reviews inspire such a range of different feelings. From pride to excitement, to heartbreak and disappointment ... reviews move us, and there's no denying the truth in that.
10.) I hate that reviews stress me out. I know that, as an author, I need reviews on my books. I know that, as an author, it's my job to ask you, as a reader, to read and review my books. And I know that my asking that stresses you out. Which stresses me out. I'm introverted so I don't know how to ask, and some of you still think of book reviews as being akin to a school book report. But they aren't, and they don't have to be - all a review really needs in order to be valid is an opinion, your opinion. So if you've read any of my books, take the time to leave a review would ya? Please?
This would be the perfect place to set up a giveaway where you can review my books and leave your review link in a rafflecopter as a giveaway entry. But since I'm not allowed to do that ('cause, you know, ethics and stuff), I'll just ask you to review my books, and I'll offer you my heartfelt thanks in advance.