To review or not to review, that is the question.

I have to say that I love writing. I love creating characters whose lives I care about. I want them to succeed and overcome; I want them to come out the other side of their trials better than when they began. And because I care so much about them, I’m confident that as least some of the readers out there will come to care about them too.

That brings up the other side of writing – the reader. If readers don’t like your books, they  won’t tell their friends to read your books, and they certainly won’t buy any of your other books. In the Amazon era that we live in, the view (or “review”) of other readers has become an important part of sales.

I have been guilty of asking (or encouraging, cajoling, begging) people for reviews on Amazon. Most of it came to naught. Why, I wondered, could I not get more people to post a review, even after they came to me raving about my book?

I answered my own question the other day when I was visiting a store. One particular employee had been quite helpful. So, I made a point of hunting down the manager to tell him about his stellar employee. He thanked me and then asked if I had gone to their website to post a review. I had not. He then informed me that it really made a difference, and he hoped that I would do so. I dismissed that thought … until I got home. How could I deny the very thing that I desired from others?

Everywhere we turn these days we are asked for feedback – from our doctors (necessary with Obamacare), grocery stores, online merchants, mechanics, gas stations, and so on. We are inundated with requests for our thoughts. I know I hesitate because I don’t want to take the time and I don’t think it will make a difference. As far as the time issue, I have to say one of my favorite five-star reviews was a single word: “Brilliant.” And I’m rethinking that it will make a difference, especially for some small fry. So I’m making an attempt to provide more feedback.

So, here’s the end of the story. (To forewarn you – it’s a surprise ending.) I went back to that store on a small errand but with the intention of writing down the employee’s name who had been so helpful. I ended up having a colossally terrible customer service experience. So, I figured this time around, the best thing I could do was let my experiences cancel each other out, and I did not write a review. However, I did post a book review last week. Does that count?

What do you think? If you don’t mind leaving a comment – I know it takes time – I’d love to hear about why or when you do or do not leave reviews.


About Mary Ellen Bramwell

I am an author, wife and mother.
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5 Responses to To review or not to review, that is the question.

  1. keithmanos says:

    About reviews: Be careful what you wish for.

  2. John Hazen says:

    I have to admit, I’ll search far and wide for a review, swapping here and there to get one. Even if they don’t boost sales, I still get a psychological lift when I get a good one. Yesterday I got a great one from a highly respected Indie author that I’ll ride for weeks. And it was one that came out of the blue, without the promise of a swap. The downside of swapping reviews is that you’re never totally sure how honest the other person is being since they are hoping for a rave review from me. The upside is that I get to read a lot of good books that I probably would not have read otherwise.

    • I started to get a lot of reviews after my BookBub promo. (Prior to that I only had 4- and 5-star reviews.) The great ones can put you on cloud nine, but a poor one can put you in a tailspin – even when what it says is contradicted by every other review! I still read them all, but I’ve learned to take them in stride. I’m not sure of their impact on sales. They don’t create sales in and of themselves, but when I’m contemplating buying a book, the reviews (type and overall number) are what help me make a final decision.

  3. Pingback: Reviews: The Lifeblood of Indie Books | Inside the Inkwell

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