How I Respond to Reviews

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(1) As a reader what prompts you to leave a review for a book you have read?

As a reader, nothing really, just experience. As an author, though, I understand how important they are. But since I'm not being paid, I generally ask 'would I want this review?' before I post it. Occasionally, though, something just leaps out and has to be posted even though the answer is no.

(2) As an author, what do you do to encourage readers to leave a review for your book?

Ask for them. (Won't you please read and review my books?)

(3) To what degree do you think reviews and ratings are important in helping book sales?

Amazon is where the largest number of sales happen. And on Amazon, the number of reviews often controls whether they see your book - particularly if you're not paying for it to be seen right now. 25 reviews seems to be the first 'magic number' - when Amazon starts showing your book as an 'also bought'. The second is around 75 reviews when they start including it in newsletters.

(4) What advice would you give to a novice author regarding reviews for their book?

A: Good or bad, don't take it personally.

B: Seriously, don't take it personally

C: It's just their opinion. I recently had a review that was evidently offended by something. They flat out ignored things that were stated plainly more than once, instead attacking the book for everything they could dredge up and going so far as to accuse me of having nothing but 'friend reviews' thus far but they were going to Set Me Straight (in fact, precisely one of my friends has reviewed the book in question, out of a double digit number of reviews). This applies to good reviews as well: It's just their opinion.

When reviewing, I try to differentiate between story telling choices I disagree with (which I'm as charitable about as I can be) and things that do not make any kind of sense or which flat out do not work that way and ten seconds of research should have told them better. I'm also charitable about things that are boring in real life - boredom is a mortal sin in entertainment (I'd put you to sleep writing about the detail work that's really what's important in real estate - real life is not HGTV). But not everyone does this.

E: Good or bad, Don't take it personally

F: If someone makes a valid complaint about your work, pretending it's not valid doesn't help. The only time I have engaged a review is to thank the reviewer for valid criticism. Uncomfortable as it may be, they're actually helping you.

G: Did I mention not to take them personally?

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Please be civil. Avoid profanity - I will delete the vast majority of it, usually by deleting the entire comment. To avoid comment spam, a comments account is required. They are freely available, and you can post comments immediately. Alternatively, you may use your Type Key registration, or sign up for one (They work at most Movable Type sites). All comments made are licensed to the site, but the fact that a comment has been allowed to remain should not be taken as an endorsement from me or the site. There is no point in attempting to foster discussion if only my own viewpoint is to be permitted. If you believe you see something damaging to you or some third party, I will most likely delete it upon request.
Logical failures (straw man, ad hominem, red herring, etcetera) will be pointed out - and I hope you'll point out any such errors I make as well. If there's something you don't understand, ask.
Nonetheless, the idea of comments should be constructive. Aim them at the issue, not the individual. Consider it a challenge to make your criticism constructive. Try to be respectful. Those who make a habit of trollish behavior will be banned.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on October 1, 2019 7:04 AM.

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