Smatterings #2 – About Book Reviews

I’ve learned many things since becoming a published author, and some of them have been exceedingly simple. It seems I am always on a voyage of self-discovery, which brings me to today’s topic: I love to read book reviews, whether posted on Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, magazines, wherever. I find lots of good books that way. Recently, I heard it reported that Amazon has almost eight million titles available. How in the world do you find a great story in such a massive amount of books? Sure, you can narrow your search until you’re almost blind from staring at the computer screen, but more likely than not, you’re still going to miss a wonderful book simply because it is listed in a category you didn’t think to check!

Book signings, writer’s conferences, and other author promotions usually draw me like a magnet to them, not only to support the author, but also in hopes of gleaning a bit of wisdom, and maybe with some luck, I’ll learn a few new things. But to be perfectly honest, when I meet a writer—no matter how famous or prolific they are—who is rude, or insensitive, or bored by it all, or has an “I’m better than you” attitude, I don’t care how good their book is, I’m not buying it. But it’s hard to tell anything at all about a writer when their reviews or author interviews are online, so I often wonder . . . What kind of person are they?

Writing is hard work and anyone who does it, and does it well, interests me. Which brings me to my real question: Why don’t authors comment when a blog posts a review of their book? Why don’t they respond when their readers comment on their interview or review? Once in a while, I’ll see an author commenting, which immediately tells me they care about their readers and respect their interviewer and/or reviewer. I love those authors! That’s probably why my book budget regularly falls into the red—I happily spend my hard-earned money to buy their books. Rarely am I disappointed, but maybe that’s because I go headstrong into the story with a good attitude about the author.

Reviews are vital to an author’s success, and every author knows that to be true. So, if you’re an author, I urge you to stop ignoring your readers, bloggers, and reviewers! Say, “Thanks for taking the time to review my book!” or something more personalized. But say something. Your response tells readers you’re a nice guy/gal writer whose work might deserve a chance.

Two important points: #1 Should an author respond to an Amazon or Barnes and Noble Review? NO! Most likely not. So don’t look for author comments in those places. I’m talking about review sites and blogs only. #2 Many times, authors do not know a review or blog post has been written about them or their book—if they don’t know about it, they can’t be expected to respond.




2 thoughts on “Smatterings #2 – About Book Reviews”

  1. Yeah, I’ve had similar thoughts. On occasion, I’ve featured a title or titles by some well-known national authors. [And I’ve done my best to “tag” them so they might hopefully see it.] Alas, they probably didn’t even see my complimentary reference to their work.
    And I’m left disappointed that they didn’t respond.
    Wish there was some direct buzzer that signaled Bill Bryson — as one example — that I had featured some of his titles… so he could hop on my blog and say, “Thanks, Jeff, for mentioning my books.”

    1. Tagging the author is a great idea! Sorry it didn’t work on the ones you’ve done so far, but don’t give up!

Leave a Reply to J.L. Salter Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *