Here’s a bad habit we haven’t talked about yet: not reviewing books we read.
I confess that I seldom do this, for these reasons:
- If the book’s been around for a while and already has a gazillion reviews, I don’t figure it needs one more.
- If I don’t particularly care for the book, I feel compelled by professional courtesy to keep quiet about it. This is true for authors I don’t know as well as those I do.
- If I do like it, it probably already has enough reviews and doesn’t need one from a nobody like me.
- Laziness. If I’m reading for pleasure, I don’t want to add the work of writing a review afterward. What, am I in school or something?
Occasionally someone will ask for a review. When that happens, I’ll usually comply, but not always. A couple of times I declined because, well… my mother always taught me if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. On one occasion, the book was so bad I couldn’t even read it.
All in all, I’m not usually eager to write reviews. But shame on me! As an author, I know how important reviews are. No, Stephen King doesn’t need my help, but small-potatoes authors like me need all the reviews we can get. Many promotional services won’t accept a title that doesn’t have a certain number of Amazon reviews. Larger numbers of reviews help improve a book’s Amazon ranking, making it more visible. And bookstores are more likely to stock a book with a higher ranking and many reviews. So you see, we authors don’t crave reviews just to stoke our egos; they’re absolutely necessary for a book’s success.
If reviewing books intimidates you, rest easy. It doesn’t have to be difficult! In most cases, there’s to required format, and reviews don’t have to be long and involved. Take Ane Mulligan’s Amazon review of Stillwaters, for example:
Where should you post your reviews? Amazon, certainly, and also Goodreads. Those are the biggies. But if you feel inclined, you can post reviews to Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, other places online where books are sold, or your own blog. But Amazon is primo.
Am I writing this post for the purpose of begging for reviews? Yes. Absolutely. I need reviews!
But I’m also resolving to start reviewing books more often myself. In fact, I recently posted a review of a nice little book I ran across not long ago, Faith Unexpected: Real stories of people who found what they never imagined. It is exactly as the title describes, and I won’t elaborate other than to say I enjoyed the book. If you look for it on Amazon, you’ll see my review.
It’s the sort of book that would be good to give as a gift to someone who’s “on the fence” as far as following Christ is concerned. A person who’s antagonistic toward the gospel wouldn’t appreciate it, but someone who’s curious probably would.
I don’t read as much as I’d like to, but I hereby resolve to make more of an effort to review the ones I read. At least, new books. I don’t think I’ll bother reviewing old classics.
Do you post reviews on Amazon? If you haven’t yet, would you please review mine (if you’ve read any)?
Yes, I’m begging—with apologies for the lack of dignity.