There has been some kerfluffles between book bloggers and writers recently. I don’t know all the details (and I really don’t want to, either), but from what I could discover, errors happened on both sides. But I’m here to champion book bloggers.
For me, I totally heart book bloggers. These people review books for readers, but they also do writers an incalculable service (whether or not that is their intent). Most of the book bloggers will put their reviews up on Amazon (I think – I could be wrong about that!), which gives a boost to the writer (no matter the rating). When you consider that the “magic number” of reviews on Amazon tends to be 50, those bloggers often make up the bulk of a writer’s reviews.
Whether it is a person who only reviews, or a blogger who tosses out an occasional review, it doesn’t matter to me. I have learned a very important lesson from a reviewer that I took to heart. See, she loved the first book in my Caine Brothers series, but she was pretty unhappy that the hero and heroine didn’t take down the villains together.
When I read that, I immediately understood her reasoning, and sympathized. But at the time, the ending kind of had to happen the way it did – the heroine had to win and win big, and then the hero also had to win and win big. They both had a lot to prove to themselves, so for that reason they couldn’t fight together.
But when I was writing book 2 in the series, I remembered this review and I knew, without a doubt, that my hero and heroine would have to take down the bad guy together. They were both strong people; their journey, though, meant they had to learn to let someone else in to help them. In fact, the only way this bad guy could be taken apart was by the two of them letting down their protective walls and working together.
Would I have come to that conclusion without that reviewer’s lament? Maybe. But I can tell you that bringing that up in the review made it impossible for me to forget; which ensured the outcome of book 2.
Reviewers are golden. Writers should, in my opinion, always thank the reviewer whenever practical (though I understand that some reviewers feel kind of creeped out when a writer thanks them for a bad review). Writers should also take bad reviews in stride, and not ever take them personally. In this market, to an extent, every review has value.
And then we get the other side of things: here’s an entertaining blog about the 5 meanest book reviews from the Huffington post. Now, I’m not encouraging book bloggers to write mean reviews, and neither is the HuffPost; as they say, sometimes any publicity is NOT good publicity.
But for the most part, book bloggers go into this game with a wide open heart and an insatiable love of reading. And because of that, I heart you all.
Do you have a favorite Book Blogger? Enquiring Minds want to know!
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Fantastic post. Very useful for us newbie authors to keep in mind.
I’m one of those book bloggers. I leave a review on Amazon for every book I read. It is my intent to help each author improve his/her writing, and when I leave a critical remark (or praise), it is in the hopes that the author will consider it when working on the next one. I have offered, time and again, to act as editor (for free), as well.
Writing a thoughtful review takes time–time to make notes while reading, time to write the review in a coherent and thoughtful manner. I’m so glad you heart us! We do it for you.
How thoughtful for you to offer editorial feedback for free! Most book bloggers put tons of work and free time into their efforts…all for the love of the written word. Thank you for all the work you do!
Rebecca, Sarah is just made up of Awesomesauce!
Some of the exchanges DO get quite out of hand. Especially when so many other people become involved in a very public way. I totally agree with you, book reviewers are so valuable and their constructive criticism can be so helpful when it comes to improved writing.
Great post, Christine, and so true. Book bloggers are the Ying to the author’s Yang.
Thanks, Mac. Yeah, I don’t know what authors did without them all those years. No seriously!
Since both my books have released within the last four months – I am now a total book blogger lover! These people, thank you SARAH, take time to read and review books – some they might not even be that keen to read. And then they spread the word. As a newbie author with an close to zero marketing budget – they are a GIFT. Sure, negative reviews can sting, but I think that’s part of the review process. 🙂 Great post!
Thanks, Sasha. Yeah, Sarah is totally my hero. Bloggers/reviewers are definitely a gift to the starving writer!
I don’t see the point in arguing with a book review, even if it’s totally negative. You’re not going to change minds, especially the ones who have nothing positive to say. And sometimes, it’s subjective. What one person likes another doesn’t. But more importantly, if a review is constructive, it’s golden. Isn’t that a big part of why we want reviews? To better our writing?
Christine, I think your taking the reviewers opinion into account on your next book is exactly what you should have done:)
Stacy, I don’t agree with authors arguing with reviewers, anyway. I mean, you never see Woody Allen arguing with his reviewers! It’s just Not Done.
And I agree – constructive IS Golden!
I have not yet had a chance to be mad at any Book Blogger. Some day that will be wonderful and I think that I would prefer strong emotion to an indifferent, “meh.” Here’s to anyone who loves reading and books enough to spend their time doing this. Thank you.
Maria, I love your take on it! And I agree. While I’ve never gotten a punishing review (because I’m just not that important), I like to think I’ll handle it with grace and dignity and utter silence on the internet. In private I’m sure I’ll rage and storm around, but that’s allowed in private, lol.
I’m glad you all have taken my comments in the spirit in which I intended them. I have received some “flames” for negative reviews; in fact, some were quite ugly. Even when I explain that 3 stars means “average” and average is an astounding accomplishment–not something I could do that’s for sure. Likewise 4 stars translates to “excellent” and any author with 4 stars can be justifiably proud. I’m sure Shakespeare (some of his plays, anyways) and the King James Version of the Bible would be 5 stars, along with other classics. Not too many people write at that level (think of the normal distribution curve–most should be 3’s).
I heart you all and I applaud you for your creativity and thank you for the many hours of enjoyment in the past and anticipated in the future.
Book reviews require a tremendous investment but because I love to read, I see it as something I can give back to the reading community. If my reviews help sell books – so much the better. I try to blog one review a week – but sometimes that gets in the way of my writing, especially if I’m also doing a blog series.
I loved reading this post, Christine. I normally hear comments from readers/book clubs. It’s nice to hear the writer’s perspective.
Hey, thanks Sheri for doing book reviews! I hadn’t realized you were a reviewer, too. Cheers hon!