Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Should Authors Write Book Reviews?

with guest Jordyn Redwood. 

Sometimes, I’m slow on the uptake in the world of publishing. Or maybe I’m not slow, just not tuned into some things that are considered controversial because I don’t feel like they should be controversial. Out of all the things we as writers can get bent out of shape about, we pick book reviews. Not just our own book reviews but leaving book reviews for other authors. 

I first realized this was a fairly controversial subject when I read Kristen Lamb’s blog where the first piece of a few posts on the subject stated (in summary) it was a social media faux pas to write a fellow author a bad review. In a follow-up post, she also notes it’s a bad idea because an author leaving a review is really giving a literary critique—that our knowledge of the writing becomes part of the review (like POV problems, pacing problems, etc.) which will ruin the magic for the reader.  And in a final piece, she discusses why authors should not particularly write bad reviews for another writer. In short, the most powerful point she makes is that criticism should be done privately to the author via e-mail and not publicly. 

And then there’s Amazon (oy vey!) which is a separate issue I’ll discuss briefly at the end. 

I have left critical reviews for other authors—some in Christian fiction publishing circles. I’ll be the first to admit this is risky because many writers don’t take a critique as an evaluation of a product but rather a criticism of a biological child. I think Elizabeth Gilbert in her book Big Magic has a healthy way to approach reviews. She states that our only job as a writer is to put our product out there—whatever happens after that is not our responsibility (as in how people receive the product.) We have done what our passion dictates and shouldn’t get emotionally wrapped up in people’s response. They are entitled to their opinion. 

When I leave a critical review, I usually say the author is a good writer, but their book wasn’t for me and here’s why. I do think there is value in offering that opinion because of my readers. People who love my books are also interested in what I read. Or if they like the books I read, they’ll probably like my novels because I write similarly to what I love to read as far as storylines and pacing.

Let’s consider a simple pro/con list on the subject.

Reasons to leave a review:

1. For readers. This can work many ways. People who like my novels might take a chance on reading a book I recommend. People who like what I read might take a risk on reading one of my books. I’m helping promote author friends to readers who aren’t known to them. I’ve actually had reader letters to this effect—they read a book specifically because of my review on Goodreads. I’ve done the same. 

2. Word of mouth spread. In today’s social media environment, word of mouth spread includes how much exposure a book gets on social media. The more a book is talked about the more likely it is to be picked up by someone. I’d heard someone say a reader needs to be exposed to a book six times before they make a purchase. If I scan my Goodreads feed and everyone is listing the same book then I’ll investigate it on Amazon. 


3. Reviews matter for algorithms. The more a book is reviewed (good or bad) the more likely it is to show up while searching sites like Amazon. 

4. To learn. Criticisms that pan across several reviews should be taken to heart. Learn from these. Many readers commented in reviews on the ending of my first novel, Proof. And you know—they were right. I changed the way I wrote endings moving forward. Reading those negative reviews made me a better author. 

Reasons not to leave a review (particularly a critical one.):
1. The author will take it as a personal attack. Even though a large majority of the population wants to write a book the world of publishing is small. I could meet face to face with the person I reviewed less than favorably and they may not like me just for that reason. I personally don’t take a critical review personally in the long term. Does it sting at first glance? Sure. But so does editing. So do a lot of things in publishing. How about rejection letters?  We should be able to move past it. It’s part of being a professional. 

2. It hurts your career moving forward. Say you critically review a book by a particular publisher you want to work with in the future. Will it hurt your chances to publish with them? Possibly. But one, if you don’t like what they publish, are they the publisher for you? 

3. It’s not nice. I think there is an adage in Christian Publishing, particularly that we just need to be nice and friendly—that it’s a safe place to be. Leaving a critical review is not what Jesus would do (I don’t know this for certain but what do you think?)

**Note: I don’t think any critical review should include profanity or tear the author down personally. That is not behaving like a professional either.**


Amazon

Recently, Amazon shared some community guidelines for leaving reviews. I suggest you read them. 

There is specifically this comment about leaving book reviews. “Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.”

Keep in mind, you still need to disclose if you got a free copy of the book you are reviewing to comply with FTC guidelines. 

I’m excited to hear your thoughts on this! What do you think? Should an author leave reviews? Should an author leave a critical (one or two star) review?


Be the first to know of my Jordyn's releases and win more great giveaways by subscribing to her newsletter and blog


Leave a comment today and your name goes in the pumpkin for this grand prize Jordyn brought that includes:

1. Hand stitched (by Jordyn!) crow and pumpkin decorative pillow.
2. $10.00 Starbucks Gift Card.
3. One print copy of Fractured Memory. 
4. Boo-tterscotch M&M's!  

Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


Jordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping authors write medically accurate fiction. Her first two medical thrillers, Proof and Poison, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal. Proof was shortlisted for the 2012 ForeWord Review’s BOTY Award2013 INSPY Award and the 2013 Carol Award. Poison shortlisted for the 2014 INSPY Award and the 2014 Selah Award. In addition to her novels, she blogs regularly at Redwood’s Medical Edge and the WordServe Water Cooler. You can connect with Jordyn via her website at www.jordynredwood.com 

Fractured Memory 

 United States marshal Eli Cayne saved Julia Galloway's life once…and he's prepared to do it again. But his task would be easier if she could remember him—or the murderer who almost put her in an early grave and seems to be hunting her once more. To protect Julia from the latest threat against her life, Eli has to consider the possibility that he put an innocent man in jail. Julia has no memories of the serial killer called the Hangman, though, and no reason to trust Eli. But with the killer getting closer, she must work with Eli to confront her past—and the feelings growing between them.


FYI: The entire ebook collection of Jordyn's Bloodline Trilogy are on sale for $1.98. Yes. That's for the entire collection.

146 comments :

  1. Jordyn, i just finished Bloodlines and was blown away! This is the first of your books I've read, and it certainly won't be the last. I've written the review but haven't posted it yet because that is two separate things for me! And yes, as a reader I do also read some books that I end up not liking but I would never say it was a bad book. Books are such personal items! Thanks for the post.

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  2. I do a LOT of reviewing as a reader and if I've found a book that wasn't particularly good, I try to be honest, fair and pleasant in my review. I never tear down a writer! If I am unable to do this for whatever reason (and I was given a book for free by the author), I will personally write to them and tell them why I couldn't review it. I've had authors thank me for being honest with them.

    I always feel bad if I have to leave a less than positive review, which thankfully, I haven't had to do too many times. I really struggle to write them and try to give reasonable reasons why I didn't like the book. It may just simply be that I didn't connect with it or wasn't my taste in a book. I always state that the writing was good, but the book just wasn't for me.

    I don't know if authors should or should not leave a review for other authors. As a reader, I'd be interested to hear what others say so I'll come back to read the comments :-)

    No need to enter me in the giveaway, I have this book on my shelf. I'll pass so someone else can have a chance at it! Jordyn....great post and very thought provoking.

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  3. Jordyn, welcome back and I salute you for tackling this topic.

    For me it's not a matter of WWJD...it's the fact that my momma would wash my laptop out with soap if I broke the house rule.

    "If you can't say something nice, keep your big mouth shut." [wink]

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  4. Oh, reviews! (Imagine me pressing the back of my hand to my forehead.)

    I never write reviews for books in my genre but I try to support authors in all the other ways. Way back in 2013, I wrote two reviews for Love Inspired books and Amazon took them down because of a "conflict of interest" (I wrote for Love Inspired, too). That was a wake up call. I didn't need to get on Amazon's bad list. They've gotten even tougher about it now so I'm glad I made that rule so long ago.

    I write reviews ALL the time for books not in my genre because I read a lot and I love writing reviews! But I never write them for people I know personally and never give one stars (unless I truly, truly hated it and it has more than a thousand reviews so nobody will notice my rant). I write them as a reader, sharing what I loved and what confused or annoyed me. I don't talk about how the characters were too Mary Sue or whether the dark moment wasn't dark enough. That's writer talk. I write reviews for other readers and keep it reader friendly.

    A lot of "professional" reviewing seems to be getting blurry edges. Reviewers are putting out their shingle as editors or marketing advisors. They're friending authors on facebook and running paid blog tours or ads for authors, while also reviewing those same books. I think reviews lose integrity when reviewers are being paid by the authors themselves in some way, or snapping selfies with authors and trading tokens of affection. It makes me think of how restaurant critics used to wear disguises so they didn't influence the chef's performance.

    I write reviews, I read reviews, and I read reviews of my own books. I think the best are reader reviews with NO connection to the author (no street team or influencer reviews). Just plain old "I found this book and I loved it".

    Fun post!

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  5. When I leave a review I don't say I'm a writer. I do leave them because first and foremost, I'm a reader too. The fact that I'm a writer and know how much work goes into a book tends to mean I might have a bit more grace too. If a book is poorly written, I just don't buy it. I always read a sample before downloading a book (this includes free books too). Usually the first paragraph tells me if I want to invest time in it.

    That said, I won't leave anything under a three star review. I'll just not leave a review. Occasionally I will review books of friends, but again, not if I really disliked the book. I've decided life is too short to read books I dislike. :) It's also too precious to hurt a friend, or even another writer. If I absolutely must impart constructive criticism in a review, I can do it kindly with a three star review.

    Elizabeth Gilbert's advice is priceless. We've done our part, now let it go. I need to tattoo that onto my retinas. ;)

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  6. Jordyn, thanks so much for speaking to this!

    On some occasions I've reviewed books on my blog (and yes, I always note if the author/publisher's provided the copy in exchange for "a fair and honest review.")

    Here's my rule of thumb--since I'm not specifically a reviewer, I choose the books I do review on my blog very carefully. I'm very fair and unbiased as I give my impressions, but the thing is--if I don't think a book's for me or if the subject matter isn't quite my cup of tea, I will not review it. I would never want to be unkind or risk hurt feelings. Also, since I write, too, my time's limited in regard to book reviews. That being said--I wholeheartedly support authors in other social media outlets, often tweeting or mentioning their books and why folks should read/buy them.

    I think writers risk credibility when taking on too many reviews. It's indeed a fine line because there are so many wonderful books and I'd loved to review them all.


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  7. As a reader I do try to write reviews - sometimes time just gets away on me or I forget.

    I tend to focus on the positives. With any negatives, I try to be gentle.

    WOM is powerful. Most often how I decide what to buy or read.

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  8. Hi Jordyn, Thank you for your blog today. I have to say I'm with Tina, "If you can't say something nice, keep your mouth shut". I am a regular blogger of Christian fiction and sometimes non-fiction. I tend to read books that I'm pretty sure I can leave a positive review. I have only given a low rating once and that was because the book wasn't what I expected and not the type of book I normally read. I explained that someone else who enjoyed reading that type of genre in first person POV would most likely love the book. I was very nice in the review pointing out the things I did like, however, I received a NASTY review of my review from another reader on Amazon. I wrote back telling him it was strictly my opinion but wow, it scorched me for a while.

    I would love to have my name tossed into the pumpkin. Pumpkin M & Ms I didn't know they existed. :)

    I would also like to thank everyone at Seekerville for all of your prayers, sweet emails and beautiful card (thank you Debby) concerning my recent surgical procedures. I received the results back yesterday and the biopsies were all benign. Praise God!

    I pray you all have a blessed day!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  9. In addition to my previous post, my review was a 3 for the book I didn't enjoy and it was because of my taste in books not the author and I did make that clear. I would never try to tear down an author because I know they have worked hard to put words down for others to enjoy.

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  10. Welcome, Jordyn! Thank you for addressing this topic, which has proven to be quite controversial lately.
    If I really enjoy a book, I'll leave a review on Amazon. It doesn't seem fair, as an author, if I purchase a book through Amazon, don't I have a right to review it without fear they'll flag my name?
    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  11. Hi Jordyn,

    Welcome to Seekerville. Congrats on your LIS! What an amazing prize. A hand-stitched pillow, a new flavor of M&Ms, your new book and Starbucks. Wow!

    I've just recently started thinking about authors and reviews. You've given me more to consider on this topic. Thanks so much for sharing today!

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  12. Nice prize package I'd be thrilled to win.

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  13. Virginia!!! I love that you are swooning.

    This topic makes me swoon with concern, lol.

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  14. STEPHANIE! I don't think I've ever seen you here before. I bump into you everywhere else. Wonderful to see you and your opinion.

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  15. The closer you get to publication, the more this topic because scary, Cynthia. I agree. I am a coward. Can you hear me doing the chicken dance?

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  16. Someone reviewed your review, Cindy?

    That's when you remember the Golden Rule of Reviews. "DO NOT ENGAGE THE LOONIES" I believe it was author Allie Pleiter who came up with that.

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  17. JORDYN, I do review, especially if I've received a free copy (usually from here). But I won't review something I actively dislike. If I can't give it at least four stars, I pass. This isn't a problem with Christian fiction because I can almost always find things to like. It also helps to know the genre and the conventions. You don't review a sweet romance as women's fiction or as a mystery. The conventions are different.
    I agree with Tina, "Don't engage the loonies." My day job is in print journalism for a small-town weekly newspaper, and I take a fair share of criticism, usually when I write about both sides of an issue, because people tend to only see their side.
    We should review the way we judge contests, and accept reviews the way we accept contest comments.
    And never be snarky. The 12th commandment is, "Thou shalt not snark." I forget the 11th, I think it had something to do with the Internet.
    KB

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  18. I agree with CINDY W. We should never let the author down. Anyone who comments here or reads this blog knows how hard they/we work.
    I think it's also crucial that we review for the reader, even if we are also writers. We need to look at whether it works and is an overall good read, and reasonably accurate in its research. We need to communicate that. Not that the GMC is weak in Chapter 19 or that the POV could use work in the beginning of Chapter 5. We review with the same attitude we do in judging, but the goal is different.
    Kathy Bailey
    Still working it out in NH

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  19. Excellent post on a tough topic, Jordyn. I leave reviews because I know how important they are to the author, but I really don't like writing them because it's so hard to know how your words are being taken. So, I usually only leave a sentence or two (or in some cases, I don't add a comment) and I mark how many stars I give the book. I also won't leave a review if I thought the book earned less than three stars.

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  20. I've been on influencer lists for years, and I occasionally still leave reviews. For the past year I've been on the fence about continuing to review. I want to spread the word and help authors, but I can do that through my blog. Thank you for helping me make a decision I've been unsure about for a while!

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  21. Hi Jordyn Thank you for addressing this issue and joining us here today in Seekerville. This has been a subject that can so easily get under my skin. Not because of what reviewers said, but because I've given away so many books to people specifically for a review. Nowadays I realize I need to be careful, but in past days I generally said "I'll send you a free copy if you're interested in writing a review" So many asked for the free copy and most of them never posted a review. That really kind of annoyed me. Now with the new rules, I don't do that anymore. Well actually I stopped doing it because I wasn't getting the reviews. LOL Then I would think they didn't like it, but they would tell me how much they did. So I think people get intimidated thinking they have to write a book report.

    Another thing is before I was published, I used to write tons of reviews. I wrote them to support my author friends. I would buy their books to support them and then write reviews to all the vendors ie Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbooks.com, etc. Then when I got published, very few of them wrote reviews for me. I was so shocked and actually hurt by that. So I stopped writing reviews for author friends. Now that sounds childish since writing this, but I did say this topic can get me upset. LOL And now we are told not to review authors we know anyway. So things work out.

    I treasure the reviews I do have because they are really authentic and most are from people I don't know or don't have anything to do with me. There are some friends who have written reviews that I truly treasure.

    And it is important to write reviews of books you have read. Nowadays it is extremely important because the algorithms for sales with Amazon depend upon them. Sad to say. But that is the way of it.

    But I'm with Tina. I don't write bad reviews. I just don't say anything.

    Thanks again and have fun today.

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  22. Cindy So glad to hear your results. Yay!! I bet that is a big relief. Still praying for you though to feel better soon.

    Happy writing.

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  23. Hi Virginia That's great advice to review books not in your genre. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. The reviews I really love are those on blogs that specifically review books. I follow those and take their recommendations, especially if I find I'm in agreement. That means I can trust their taste in books.

    As someone said, we all have different tastes and what appeals to one reader might not appeal to another no matter how well the book is written.

    For example, I can't read horror, especially from a good writer because they can scare me too easily. LOL

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  25. Food for thought, Jordyn. Very interesting topic. I think there are two types when it comes to reviews: those who cannot wait to get to the computer to write their review of ___________ and those who have never written and probably never will write a review for anything, ever. Same goes for commenters.

    I've never commented on a blog until Seekerville and I wrote my first book review (For Ruthy's book, Refuge of the Heart) after I became a writer. I know they're important to authors (and I would want them myself) but I'm really bad at follow through. Gotta get better at that.




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  26. JORDYN, welcome back to Seekerville. I write few reviews and have never written a bad review. I like some books better than others, even books that are written by authors I love. If a book isn't for me, that doesn't mean it's not great for someone else. And honestly, I've never read a book that I'd give a one-star review to. Perhaps I'm more selective about what I read or don't have those hot buttons some readers seem to have. But if I would dislike a book, I wouldn't leave a bad review. This is a tough business and I can't see making it tougher for an author.

    Janet

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  27. I dont write as many reviews as I should. However, when I do write a review, the book is a 4-star or 5-star. The one thing I wonder about is that you can see the average rating people give on books. If I'm always giving a 4- or 5-rating, does it make it look like I always write only good reviews and I not being critical.

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  28. Jordyn, How nice to read your column this morning about reviews. This is a subject not discussed much and you pointed out some good tips that made me think. In the past, if I started a book and didn't like it I would force myself to read it. Then, a couple years later something changed in me and I had a revelation there's too many books and so little time. So now I close it and put it in the donation pile. I held back from reviewing books like that. I agree that a review shouldn't be hateful and I love to put a good review about the story and characters I liked most. Even a badly written book can have a great story driving it. As a writer we do have a harder time reading a book. We tend to edit as we go along. Sigh. Thanks for sharing your review information today

    By the way, we bumped elbows in the Blurb2Book LIS contest and both were in the last ten picked. Congrats on getting your book published. I think you have a bright future and are already shining. Smile. Oh boy, M&M's. I say "Bet you can't eat one." Yum!! Bless you for your generous prize too.

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  29. Thanks again Seekerville for the great ride. Today is Day One of the tenth year. We made it. Time for baked apples, tangerines and yogurt to get off those extra pounds from all the birthday goodies. We are on the countdown to Thanksgiving now. Have a great writing day.

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  30. Hi Marianne!

    So glad to hear that you loved the Bloodline Trilogy and thanks for leaving reviews. I always appreciate someone taking the time to do so.

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  31. Hi Trixi,

    I think you respond very similar to me. I have e-mailed an author directly when they've asked me to read their book for endorsement and I'm not able to do so. One such book was because the medical information was so inaccurate and because that IS my platform I couldn't do so.

    Most often, I'm like you. The writing was good-- this book is just not for me and here's why. However, one book I did rate low and basically said it was flat out a dangerous book because it dealt with the occult, but didn't have any serious repercussions for doing so. So, from a Christian standpoint, I would find that valuable in another review-- particularly a YA book that my daughter might be interested in reading.

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  32. I haven't written a book review since I've been published. First and foremost, I consider my stance a matter of professional courtesy. This is a tough job, and there are plenty of other critics in the arena. Second, I view books differently as an author than I did as a reader. I've read plenty of reviews where the author/reviewer is completely unaware that she's not really critiquing the story, she's stating how she'd have written the book herself. Third, I don't have the time anymore! Mostly the third thing :)

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  33. Although, before I was published, I wrote tons of reviews and I am extremely grateful for all the readers and aspiring authors out there who take the time to write reviews!! I definitely read them and learn from them. I will even reach out to folks who write detailed (often painful) critical reviews. They've become some of my best beta readers.

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  34. Thank you for this post, It was helpful. I recently got around to reading an e-book that an author saw my name on goodreads and sent me the book, It was a Christian book and then had swear words on every page. It was so full of them that in good conscience I could not finish the book so I never finished the book nor did I say anything to that author. I don't like confrontation. I didn't write a review either,

    Because other people follow my reviews, I have mentioned in the review if there is even one swear word, but if they have done a good job in the writing I have still given them 5 stars for a job well done but still warned those that might be offended by something. I have learned that as Christians we have liberty and do not all have the same standards. I try to allow for that in the way I write my reviews. Just mentioning things that I do not agree on and that I know might bother some people in my church who have told me they buy books based on what I say.

    I can't wait to read your book. I worked for a year in an ER as a sitter with the psychiatric patients and also as a CNA. I find now with my writing that some of those experiences find their way into the book.

    Last night I thought I was just creating a blog and would eventually have a web site but it appears I have created a website, This is a big learning curve for me, But I haven't resorted to tears or thrown the laptop across the room yet. (That might still come). Now I need to eat and then sit myself down and begin writing on my nano book.

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  35. I will say that while I do write reviews when I think I can get away with it, I am careful about two things.

    1. My Amazon Review name does not reveal my last name.

    2. I do NOT sign in anywhere using anything but my email address and a new password. Don't allow Amazon to track you all over the internet and then tell you that you are breaking the rules because you are friends with someone on Twitter, Facebook or a Goodreads follow. Keep all these entities separate. (Reality is, I am following xx author on Twitter and FB and she follows me but she wouldn't recognize me on the street and I WILL REVIEW HER BOOKS because I love them.)

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  36. This is a great post. Personally, I only give public reviews if I think the book was OUTSTANDING! When I recommend a novel, I want to make sure my recommendation is honest, uplifting, and from my heart. Authenticity and honesty are so important to me...as is kindness :-)

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  37. Hi Tina,

    Thanks so much for having me back!

    Questions: Is saying something that could be constructive not nice?

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  38. Hi Mary,

    Yes, I've heard other authors share about getting that "conflict of interest" letter. I generally don't leave Amazon reviews. I think it's getting a little too hairy over there and they have a big sword to yield as far as taking your books down.

    I think it's fine to be paid for a review as long as it's disclosed. We see paid endorsers all the time and I think we can tell the difference between who genuinely loves a product and who is just getting paid to say a few good words.

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  39. "Questions: Is saying something that could be constructive not nice?"

    Good question.

    I'm a very literal person and frankly, I am blunt. So it would take a lot of time I don't have to provide a constructive criticism. I do this daily for unpublished authors I critique. Published authors would need to pay me if they want my feedback, lol. Not gonna do it.

    On the other hand, I gush really well.

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  40. Good question: "Is saying something constructive not nice?" Because constructive reviews are left on public platforms, there's no way for me to measure how the author will take it. I don't know where that author is mentally/emotionally in their career or on the day they read the comment. They could be having a bad day and take my constructive criticism in a completely negative light. I could give constructive criticism of their novel privately, but I would only do that with an author I knew very well (and who knew me very well) and who was okay with it. The trust and sense of creative safety would have to be present in the private author-to-author relationship, otherwise I wouldn't offer constructive comments in private either.

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  41. Does anyone read Craigslist? HUGE ads daily to get paid to write Amazon reviews.

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  42. Hi S.R.,

    I've heard a lot of other people say they have this policy-- not leaving anything under a three star review. I do think three star reviews are probably the most balanced in a a sense. I've heard other authors say don't read the one or five star reviews but everything in the middle.

    However, I am one that reads reviews and I don't really like just the star rating and no words. I always want there to be a justification for the rating (good or bad.)

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  43. Hi Cynthia!

    Good to see you here! I will say I do feel obligated to leave a review if someone gave me the book to review AND asked if they could send it to me. Though I do confess it can take me up to a year to do so because of my reading and writing load. When asked to endorse I do move those books up and try and meet the deadline.

    But, if you send me a book and never asked prior to sending it then I feel no obligation to read and review it whatsoever regardless of our relationship. I think you should always ask first.

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  44. Hi Mary,

    So considering WOM spread-- do you consider reviews (as in number) a type of WOM spread?

    For me, I'm definitely more likely to read a book that is garnering a lot of reviews-- such as getting into the thousands or tens of thousands and especially if it's in my genre. To me this says this book is catching reader interest and I like to read those books to find out why.

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  45. Cindy,

    Good points and I'm so glad your biopsies were negative. Praise God!!

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  46. Jill,

    Yes, I agree. Particularly if you paid for the book on Amazon-- you should be able to leave a review without fear of consequences!

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  47. Hi Jackie!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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  48. Great start to this discussion. I love it!!

    I'll be stepping away for a few hours to take a mandatory nursing class. Can't wait to be back this afternoon!

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  49. TINA, I hate that reviews are paid for!

    Janet

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  50. Thanks for bringing up this subject, Jordyn. I have been following this topic for a couple of years, and it seems not much has changed. It's still a touchy subject, some folks get very upset, and especially with Amazon it can be difficult.

    That being said, I do leave reviews on some of the books I read. But I do have some guidelines. I took the advice of a successful author who said she does not leave reviews less than 3 stars. If she hated the book that much, she just didn't review it. I usually only put my reviews on Goodreads,rather than Amazon, because that seems to be a better place for authors to share.

    As an author, I understand the importance of reviews. Even lower star reviews. If you have all 5 star reviews, it looks unauthentic. A 3 star review or two can actually be a good thing. As a reader, I often look at the lower star reviews to see what they say. A lot of times what they didn't like (such as the book being "preachy") I wouldn't mind, or might even like. So I buy the book based on a bad review.

    Also as an author, I've had folks leave critical reviews of my books and it did help me to see a weak point in my writing that I could improve. I am grateful for that.

    I wear my reader hat when I leave reviews and talk about what hooked my, the characters, etc. If I have a critical comment, I try to sandwich it and label it as my opinion. In all things I try to follow the Golden Rule, do unto others as you'd have them do to you. If I wouldn't want someone reviewing my book that way, I won't review theirs that way.

    Back to being an author, I told my family that the day I received my first 1 star review, I would take them all out for ice cream. (That's a big deal considering there's 14 in my family! LOL) I figured it would be a cause for celebration because it means my books are getting out to more people than just my personal circle. In fact, it might be reaching the people who need its message the most.

    I apologize for the length of this comment. Thanks for starting the conversation! I'm looking forward to reading everyone's comments.

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  51. Hi Jordan
    Just downloaded your Bloodline series (thanks, Tina, for the link).

    I like to review books I get via authors and here that I win at Seekerville (which reminds me, I'm behind on a couple of prize books). I'm of the mindset to keep my reviews short and positive. On the rare occasion of a books I did not like, I've kept it positive with the "a well written book, but not what I expected or not my preferred genre". I did read a book once that wasn't well written, but I liked the idea behind it. I think my review mentioned typos and confusing sentences that pulled me out of the story but that I really liked the story premise.

    I'm so bad with author names, I probably wouldn't recognize an author review unless they are a Seeker. So I guess I'm okay with author reviews. There are times I'm tempted to purchase a book when I see a particularly snarky reviewer just because I feel that reviewer is a miserable person seeking to spread their misery to an unfortunate author.

    I stay away from Goodreads. That site scares me. I usually just stick with Amazon and putting notes on my FB page. I know it isn't much, but I do like supporting those who feed my book/reading addiction.

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  52. Amber Schamel, I miss you!!!!!! So good to see you here!!!

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  53. Stephanie!!! So glad you stopped over here today, and I totally agree with Elizabeth's words, too... "We've done our part. Now let it go."

    I check my reviews now and again... I'm blessed to have some great influencers on my team but also lovely readers and they stop by and post... and it seems to hold true for Goodreads, too, and that's lovely (even though I've never been able to really use Goodreads because of an e-mail snafu, but my readers use it. They are clearly smarter than I am!!!!)

    Jordyn, this is such a hot topic. Good for you, jumping in on it. I always figure I'm blessed to have authors endorse my work... I'll let the readers be the reviewers. And so far, so good!

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  54. Hello Ruthy!
    I miss you too! This summer has been crazy, but I'm finally back on track. I've been trying to keep up with everything going on here, but haven't been able to jump on and comment in a while. Congrats on your new release! Love the cover.
    Glad to be back with all of you here. :)

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  55. I'm going to disagree with Mary Jane on one point here... I love being friendly with reviewers. I love meeting with them, chatting with them, and friending them on facebook not because I expect special treatment (nor do I think that's ever been the case...) but it's a tough world out there, and I appreciate all they do.

    And I trust them to do their job, the same way they trust me to do mine. I agree that lines have blurred, but that's more because of the huge changes in the publishing industry than anything else... indie publishing, social media, internal groups... and when you put all that into the mix, you're going to get less distinction, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's just a different thing.

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  56. Speaking of reviews, I saw one of mine not too long ago that really disliked something in the book, she wanted me to take lessons in child care, I believe... and I'm guessing that she was a much more "helicopter" parent than I would ever be... :) But it's important for us to recognize that not all of our work will touch everyone's personal lives the same way.

    So my tough-love-on-kids persona might not strike a gentler mother as being the right thing... and I totally understand that.

    The more we realize that, how we won't be everyone's cup of tea, I think the easier it is to welcome those reviews in the door.

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  57. What a topic you've tackled, Jordyn. And with lots of practical wisdom, I might add.

    For me, it's taken me time to figure out how to write a decent review. I try to write it as a reader, not as a writer, because I figure most of the people who may read it are readers. I also try not to summarize the book in my review, but rather share a little about the main characters and other aspects I liked or that stood out to me in the story.

    That said, I don't write many reviews, in part because I take a lot of time to attempt to make it good. :) And, I don't write a review for books that I can't give at least 4 stars to. I keep the mindset that the author spent HOURS of time and probably poured out lots of their hearts into their story. I want to be gracious in what I share online. Just because a book didn't resonate with me doesn't mean it won't resonate with others. I don't know if this makes sense. :)

    Great post.

    And I would love to be in the drawing. :)

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  58. Great post! As a reader I don't leave a review if I feel it's under a 3-4 & I usually say what you do. It wasn't for me but.. As an author you would see much more in the writing technique :)
    Please toss me into the pumpkin..

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  59. Jordyn, thank you for being a pediatric ER nurse!

    Interesting thought that a reader needs to be exposed to a book six times before they make a purchase. I've never bought a book because of a review, but I do buy books based on word-of-mouth recommendations from people I know. If six readers I know recommended the same book, I would hurry to buy it :-)

    Nancy C

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  60. Welcome, Jordyn! I really appreciate your perspective on authors posting book reviews. I especially liked what you said here:

    "People who like my novels might take a chance on reading a book I recommend. People who like what I read might take a risk on reading one of my books."

    After all, authors are readers, too, with our own reading tastes and opinions. But maybe author reviews and recommendations fall more under the banner of endorsements, which is why Amazon is probably not where authors should be posting reviews.

    BTW, If I sound like I'm rambling, I probably am. Got up at 5:50 this morning to take Project Guy for foot surgery. My brain is still catching up. The Keurig is calling my name.

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  61. I used to write book reviews. I worked for my small local newspaper and did a weekly book review for ... I can't remember but maybe a couple of years.

    As far as leaving reviews online, like Amazon, I am in the 'if you can't say something nice' category.

    But as an author ... and someone who uses her own, whole name on Amazon reviews, I figure I'd better be very careful what I say.......and btw that's probably good advice regardless of who anyone is and whether it's anonymous or not.

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  62. What Ruthy said about reviewers well, the CFRR was a gathering of readers/reviewers and writers and it was such a wonderful time.
    Really so great, so uplifting.
    So I loved meeting reviewers!

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  63. Jordyn, first of all, thank you for being a nurse.....a profession which has my highest regard. Second, thank you for your medical blog. I've visited before and found it useful. Third, thank you for mentioning your 3-book set. I love a bargain and just downloaded the books.

    Concerning the topic.....critiques and reviews are different. If a writer requests a critique or submits to a contest, I will point out the problem areas, along with positive thoughts. However, reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are not the place to criticize an author's work....which I know to have involved a great deal of effort. A reviewer needs to use caution to explain why a book didn't resonate...."I didn't like the theme" or "there was too much violence for my tastes." If useful, errors can be mentioned to the author via email. One-star reviews can be so vicious. I believe in a kind and gentle world where writers encourage each other. If "I can't say anything nice," I don't review.

    Thank you for your post!

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  64. Welcome back, Jordyn! We're so glad to have you today. This is a really interesting topic. I haven't reviewed a book in ages. I just got to the point where I didn't feel comfortable doing it any more. Not even a positive review. I guess I quit doing them about the time Amazon started taking down reviews by authors who they found were connected to the author of the book in some way.

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  65. Hi Jordyn!

    I write book reviews and sometimes, not often, struggle with finding something good to say. But I agree, tearing someone down is never the right thing to do. Even if I don't like a book, it doesn't make it bad, maybe just not my kind of book.

    I do love reviewing books and established a blog for that purpose. Reminds me of grade school and doing book reports. :) I especially love the opportunity to tell folks about other Christian authors. It's like bragging on my friends.

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  66. Mary Virginia, comparing book reviewers to restaurant critics is a good comparison.

    You know, I've started looking at reviews a little more critically (even for non-book items). I don't pay as much attention to the reviews that say they received the item from the seller (because I've discovered they're almost always positive). I've found myself scrolling past those to look for reviews that say verified purchase but don't have the disclaimer at the end. I want to know what those people think of the product.

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  67. I think having relationships with readers who review is totally different from authors doing reviews. I love connecting to people who read and review our books! I'm with Ruthy on that. We trust them to do their job as they trust us to do ours in writing the books. :)

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  68. Tina,

    I love that-- "Don't engage the loonies." That's a good rule in many different ways;).

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  69. Excellent points, Kathy! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  70. Good points, Rhonda.

    I've also seen people just leaving a review without giving stars which I do kind of like. You get thoughts on the book but the review is kind of open to interpretation if written pretty evenly. It's funny to me, I think sometimes writers get more offended by the star rating than what is actually said!

    But, as I've mentioned, I don't like one or two star reviews without a reason. I want to know what I did wrong!

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  71. And what is your decision, Jill? Will you still be leaving reviews?

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  72. Hi Sandra,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. I get the frustration of sending books out for review and then people don't review them. I have learned to let this go-- particularly after becoming published and realizing how little time I had to read because of reading books for research, etc.

    I think it's reasonable to expect that less than half the books you send out will actually get reviews.

    Leaving reviews for other authors-- it's not that I don't want to it's more of a time issue. I'm usually pretty straight forward with people to say that I will get to it at some point but it could take up to a year. Most seem okay with that.

    I used to get quite a few books via Net Galley, but have basically stopped because I'm just not able to time wise get to them a lot and I do feel if you pick up a book on a review site (which it is designed for that reason) then you should do all you can to review the book and not just use it as a way to get free books. I think Net Galley is wise on this because generally you won't get the prime books unless you're pretty consistent about leaving reviews.

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  73. Sherida, that is such a good point... a critique should go deeper... And if you're writing for a publication and they want a lengthy review, then that's more of a critique I think... but for reviewing a product or book online, I think simple works. And when someone tags a review with "too much violence" or "too little action", I get that. And that's fair because in their expectation we fell short...

    But when folks go into major detail about what the author did wrong, then my skeptical hat goes into place, because clearly the editor made a GRIEVOUS ERROR in hiring the writer, just because that person didn't like the story.

    The happy medium works for me, but I don't review books anymore. Like Jordyn said, it's a dicey situation once your name is on a spine.... A book spine. Not like a people spine. That would be weird, right?

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  74. Sandra,

    What book review sites do you like?

    I do like reviewing books both within and outside my genre. I think it's important within my genre because I consider myself a suspense aficionado and love to direct readers to new suspense authors. Also, I have found other authors in genres I would never read. I still may not like the genre but I really like that author. Peter Leavell's western novels would be an example of this.

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  75. Josee,

    Thanks for your insight. I'm not the greatest review writer in full disclosure. I don't find it really easy to write them either.

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  76. Janet,

    I gave a very critical review of a VERY popular Christian author. I truly loved her early books and when she came back on scene I was befuddled to be honest. Her genre was romantic suspense and the first book in the new trilogy was anything but.

    I'm sure this was a risk, but I also wanted readers to know not to give up on her and to read her early books which were fantastic.

    We had a young woman living with us at the time and she said-- if I had just read the author's current novel and not seen so many people mention in the reviews that this was not an example of how gifted she was-- I would have never read anything else by her.

    So a critical review that points to other books that the author has written that you really DID like I think are valuable for that reason.

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  77. Hi Walt,

    Yes, I personally do see that as a risk. When I look at the scope of reviews for a person and see they're all five stars then the review (though nice for my rating) holds less water for me. Same for the reviewers who have the bio with no picture and the only book they've rated is mine and it's a one star without a reason. Though I also do realize, particularly in Christian fiction, that most will just do 4 and 5 star reviews as many have said here for many reasons which I respect.

    I kind of wish leaving one star fly by reviews (with no bio or picture) wasn't allowed because I think the system can be abused to lower an author's rating.

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  78. Hi Suzanne!

    So give me an update on what's happening with your LIS manuscript that made it to the top ten of Blurb to Book.

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  79. Sherri,

    GREAT comments. Definitely agree with you on both those issues.

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  80. Wilani,

    Good luck with Nano!!

    I am like you in that I feel that because I have many Christian readers and do read a lot of mainstream books that I also warn readers of content that they may not like to read-- particularly if I give the book a high rating.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  81. Thanks for sharing with us today, Jordyn.
    Very thought-provoking post and it was interesting to read your pros & cons of leaving a review. :)
    I tend to only leave reviews of books I really liked, because if I'm excited about that author's work, I want to let others know!
    I echo what some others have said on here today - - Thank you for being a NURSE!! (and I'm amazed that you do that AND write novels - - wow!).
    One of my sisters has been an RN for many many years, and I admire her (and nurses in general) SO much.
    Blessings from Georgia (where it feels like summer!), Patti Jo

    p.s. Please toss my name in for your drawing. :)

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  82. Good points, Preslaysa. What a great name! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  83. Tina,

    I am a very blunt person as well. I do tend to save more what I would view as a critique for contests like Genesis because I think that's what you're paying for. At least, that's what I was paying for. Brutal honesty so I could get better as a writer.

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  84. Preslaysa,

    I really do think Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert should be required reading for every writer. It just dispels a lot of these myths about reviews and our reactions to them.

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  85. Tina,

    Craigslist and finding paid reviewers-- I'm sure Amazon would frown on this, correct?

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  86. Great point, Amber. Thanks for stopping by!

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  87. Hi Deb,

    Thanks so much for grabbing the Bloodline Trilogy! Curious to know what scares you about Goodreads?

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  88. Jordyn, thanks for tackling this topic. I struggle with the issue so much that I've almost stopped reviewing books. I'm in the MARY C. camp: "As far as leaving reviews online, like Amazon, I am in the 'if you can't say something nice' category." I feel guilty if I give a book 4 stars instead of 5. I'd much rather connect with readers or bloggers who really want to review my book.

    Now endorsements from other authors are different. I have no problem with an author giving a friend an endorsement to use in the front matter of their book or in an ad.

    What really bugs me though are people who leave bad reviews on Amazon because they didn't realize it was a Christian novel before they read it. Well, DUH! Why even review it? It could be a fabulous book, but they object to the Christian content, so they leave a 1-star review on Amazon. Go figure.

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  89. Ruth,

    I think that's a very important lesson for all authors to know. We're not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Love that.

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  90. Hi Jeanne,

    All good points. I guess I'm a little more liberal with my reviews in that I won't leave an author a one star (I might of early on before I realized how hard it was to write books!) but I have left critical two star reviews.

    And I'm with you-- I truly do not write great reviews.

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  91. Hi Nancy C,

    Aww, thank you. Kids are awesome and actually very fun to work with.

    Regarding word of mouth spread, the more I see the photo of the book popping up in my Goodreads feed and the more reviews it has AND if it's in my genre-- it will probably be added to my TBR list.

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  92. I've been mulling the "Is saying something constructive not nice?"

    I think that comes back to perspective, too.

    We might think it's constructive.... but if it's an opinion, and others may have different opinions, is it really constructive?

    I used to think that I was supposed to tell the truth in reviews. Back when I was stupider and thought a review should be honest. But once they began weighting an author by their reviews, then it became more than my opinion... it became a lever.

    So I stopped because if you can't give a five star, anything else seems to become a weapon of mass destruction. When it's from another author, that is.... It's like damning with faint praise.

    Clearly I don't have the nerve to do it... but I'll defend to the death others' right to do it! (Or something like that. I'm not usually that dramatic, but I'm hungry. Hunger breeds drama.)

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  93. Hello again, Jordyn!

    So glad to see you back on Seekerville!!!

    I leave reviews, but I'm not eloquent at all. Mine are normally short and probably not very useful. Three star is the worst I would give on a book review unless they really made me mad. (Can't think of a reason an author would make me mad, but I say this as a disclaimer...)

    Reviews are very important to me with most things on Amazon. If half the bad reviews are from customers complaining the product didn't work and then customer service was bad, I stay away.
    But w/books, I put more stock in the first chapter sample. I still browse reviews, but I don't take them as serious because opinions vary so much.

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  94. I cannot look at those M&M's any longer. Heading to store to find them.

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  95. Raising hands. And feet. (eww, what a visual). Fear of Goodreads Club Member.

    Unable to give rational reason.

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  96. Interesting post, Jordyn. I just don't write a review if I really didn't like the book.

    I need clarification on something. Maybe it was mentioned in another comment but I don't have time to read them all. When we win a book in the Seekerville drawing and write a review, do we have to say that we received it from the author?

    Thanks.

    Please put my name in the drawing.

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  97. Oh my STARS guys! (To borrow a Ruthyism.) ;)

    Goodreads is one of the BEST reader and author sites ever. And it really isn't scary. I have a power point presentation that I used for a few virtual Goodreads for Authors 101 sessions that I auctioned off for the ACFW scholarship program. I have a feeling I need to inbox it to ya'll.

    Seriously. If you love books, you will love GR.

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  98. Hi Myra,

    Yes, I'm wondering if that is the difference on some of the restrictions between Amazon and Goodread-- that Amazon is a sales site.

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  99. Mary,

    I agree with you. I LOVE reviewers and am always so thankful when one takes the time to review one of my books.

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  100. Hi Sherida!

    Thanks so much for downloading my books. I hope you enjoy them.

    I really like you pointing out the difference between a review and critique. Great point there!

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  101. I think that an author (especially one that reads as much as I do) has every right to write reviews because I read almost as much as I write.

    When I write a review I tend to state what I didn't like (and unless the story is perfect there's at least one thing- I'm an inherently critical person and so I can usually find something that I didn't agree with in most things) but also what I liked. That way I feel like I'm giving an honest review.

    However in order to get reviews I sent my story out for a blog tour and I got two three star reviews! (Horrors!) The reviews didn't even state anything negative about my story, the writers of them were super nice, but still it tore me to pieces to know that someone didn't like my book so much that they would only give it three stars, and now I'm terrified that I'll get an even lower review than that because my blog tour isn't even over yet!

    Oh the dilemmas that we face!

    So now I think that I am going to make a conscious effort to write nicer reviews (not that my reviews were inherently mean before) from now on because now I know from personal experience how much reviews can affect authors.

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  102. Hi Missy,

    Yes, I'm with you. Although I do review, I pretty much stay away from Amazon.

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  103. Hi Sharee,

    Thanks so much for using your time and talent to promote Christian authors. I know I'm very appreciative of anyone who takes the time to review books.

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  104. Hi CatMom!

    What area of nursing does your sister do?

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  105. Amber, I'm embarrassed that you know my ineptitude!!! I keep thinking if I could get the e-mail thing straightened out, I'd be Queen of Goodreads!!!

    And yet: the truth: EPIC FAIL!!!!

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  106. Barbara,

    Yes, I hate that, too. I just listed Fractured Memory for a Goodreads giveaway. I actually put a warning on it---"This book contains Christian content."

    Doesn't it speak sadly about our culture when we put that as a warning to prevent one star reviews for that reason. I don't see other authors warning about sex or profanity in their Goodreads giveaways.

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  107. Ruth,

    Hmmm . . . interesting. "it if's an opinion and others have different opinions, is it really constructive?"

    The problem with writing is it is an art and people will appreciate it differently-- all reviews are opinions. So this is why I think looking for trends is important among reviews. If many people say-- this author doesn't understand POV-- I'll probably start to wonder if I do have a POV problem.

    Which is why I don't mind reviews that function more as a critique.

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  108. Hi Connie!

    Aww- thank you. I always love these opportunities to discuss hot topics in Seekerville. I like that you give the first chapter a try-- let the writing speak to you rather than the voices of others.

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  109. Tina,

    Let me know if you find those M&M's! Yes, someone needs to tell me why they fear Goodreads. I love it over there! I have a lot more reviews on Goodreads than Amazon and I find it truly is a book sharing community.

    Personally, I've never had a bad experience there.

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  110. Sandy,

    Yes, I would disclose you received a free copy of the book from the author, but that the review is solely your opinion. That in receiving the free book it did not require you to write a positive review.

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  111. Yea, Amber! I'm with you. I LOVE Goodreads.

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  112. Hey JORDYN! Thank you for your post! I do find it interesting what authors are reading. I've chosen books based on an author's recommendation.

    I always leave a review on both Goodreads and Amazon.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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  113. Nicky,

    Read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It will really help you think rationally about the writing life because I think we're all a bit crazy on this writing journey. At least I am :).

    I don't think three star reviews are bad at all. Truly I'm happy with three and up. I don't even mind one or two stars if they leave a reason-- even if I disagree with it they defended their position which I appreciate.

    What I do HATE are the drive-by one star reviews where I am the only book they reviewed and there is no written review, photo, or bio. I don't think those should be allowed. At least not without a photo and bio.

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  114. Hi Caryl!

    Yea! That's great. Hopefully you found some new authors to love that way.

    I know several readers who found me via other authors. I do think it's a good way to help a newer author find readers.

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  115. Hi Jordyn:

    I'm a reader/reviewer so I can only speak from my own point of view. I've only been reviewing a few years, but I've learned a little along the way and have established my own standards on reviewing.

    God has not given me a "sandpaper ministry" where it's my job to rub off an authors rough edges. That's why I review within a 3-5 star rating system. I don't think there's anything wrong with a 3 or 4 star review and 5's go to the best of the best.

    Anything below 3 is definitely below average, so I just don't write those. After all, my opinion is only my opinion and who am I to call someone's work below average?

    I have no problem writing reviews for authors or guests I've met here at Seekerville. If I like it I review it, but I admit I find it impossible to review everything I read.

    Thanks for tackling this topic, I think it's taboo for so many.

    *btw: I agree with Amber, I don't get the Goodreads phobia, I keep a list of all the books I've read and want to read on there, and love to push myself on the reading challenge every year.





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  116. I sure wish someone would write me some nice reviews. But not bad reviews. My biological children need no criticism.

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  117. I'm scared of Goodreads because I cannot figure it out and also have heard horror stories of people being mean to reviewers they don't like.
    Apparently I need a tutorial on how to navigate Goodreads, because I get lost right away.
    No other rational reason. Lazy? Amazon makes reviewing pretty easy I guess...

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  118. Hi Tracey,

    Thanks for your insight! I'm like you-- I like the Goodreads reading challenge. I'm almost at mine-- just have to read two more books! (Or listen to-- is that cheating?)

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  119. Deb,

    I will say not responding to reviewers should perhaps be another golden rule-- for both good and bad reviews. I don't even press the "like" button anymore (unless I truly know the person) because I don't want the reviewer to feel like I'm stalking.

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  120. Jordyn, sorry I'm so late to the blog. I was out of town and didn't get home until this evening. Great topic. I appreciate reviews folks write. We're fortunate to have so many readers and writers within the Seekerville community who offer support, encouragement and reviews. God bless them all!

    Love your needlework! The pillow giveaway is so nice. How do you find time to stitch with your nursing and writing?

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  121. Great info on reviews. I do use Goodreads, although not as much as many of you. But I appreciate the reviews and write many myself.

    Thanks for the giveaway!!!!!!

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  122. Jordyn,

    You have made us really soul search today and think. Thank you for being with us!!

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  123. Great post! I always appreciate the ones about review writing since that's what I do and I can always use more tips! I recently had a blogger-turned-author tell me that she misses sharing reviews but feels conflicted about reviewing as an author. It does seem like it's a fine line to walk on. Above all I appreciate honesty in reviews because it helps readers understand a bit what to expect so they know if a particular book is for them or not.

    Thanks for the fun giveaway!

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  124. JORDAN!!! Soooo glad to see you back on Seekerville, girlfriend, and WOW, what a controversial post!

    YOU SAID: "I’ll be the first to admit this is risky because many writers don’t take a critique as an evaluation of a product but rather a criticism of a biological child."

    I will admit that in the beginning of my career, this is EXACTLY how I felt. I was devastated when one of my sisters told me my third book was "sophomoric." Excuse me??? Mind you, this was a sister who doesn't read much and didn't finish high school, so I was not just crushed, I was angry. Why in the world would anyone say that to anyone, especially a blood relative? She claimed she wanted to help me be a better writer, but her husband later took her task on it, saying it was the equivalent of saying my baby was ugly. He was right.

    And I'll even admit that I was miffed when another sister gave me a 4-star rating on APMP because I didn't represent the horrors of war correctly. Sigh.

    But I'm happy to say I've grown a lot over the years, so bad reviews don't have the impact on me they once did, and I've even gleaned important changes in my indie books from them, so YAY!!

    S.R. KARFELT SAID: "That said, I won't leave anything under a three star review. I'll just not leave a review."

    I am in total agreement with S.R. on this statement when it comes to reviews of authors I don't know. But when it comes to good author friends, if I can't honestly leave a five-star, I just don't review it. I used to review every book of author friends that I ever read, but it got to be too much, so now I very seldom post reviews unless I'm asked to endorse, and then I will post that endorsement as my review if it was a book I really loved.

    Personally, I was relieved when Amazon frowned on authors reviewing other authors because frankly, it's just too hard to keep up with those reviews and sometimes it's awkward not to post a review if I didn't like the book.

    Very interesting topic, Jordan!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  125. TINA'S MAMA SAID: " "If you can't say something nice, keep your big mouth shut." [wink]

    HEAR, HEAR!! For the life of me I cannot post a bad review for authors I know. As far as I am concerned, that belongs in a critique, not a review.

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  126. I have been reviewing books for about one year so I am fairly new in the game but I try to be as positive as I can. Some books are easy to offer a good review but, if that isn't the case, then I point out a well-written scene or a nicely developed character. And if I have to abide by the adage "If you can't say something good...." I will explain this to the author.
    I would hope that authors reviewing other author's works would also remember the Golden Rule.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  127. Hi Debby!

    Needlework is truly my ONE relaxing activity so I'm generally stitching in the evenings if I don't work at the hospital. Crazy, I know.

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  128. Hi Heidi,

    I guess this hits on why I don't think some things should be controversial. Authors are ultimately readers who should be able to offer their opinion about what they read. I guess it goes along the lines of perhaps unduly influencing someone but then again-- an endorsement is the same thing (except they are always nice!).

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  129. JULIE!! So glad you stopped by!!

    All great points ;)>

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  130. Hi Connie,

    Thanks for your insight and thanks for the time you take in reviewing books!

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  131. Seekerville!!!

    Thanks again for such a wonderful day. Very intriguing conversation and insight.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this topic.

    Signing off.

    Sincerely-- Jordyn

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  132. Tina, I totally agree with what your mama said. Always excellent advice.

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  133. Hi Tyora:

    You wrote:

    "I kind of wish leaving one star fly by reviews (with no bio or picture) wasn't allowed because I think the system can be abused to lower an author's rating."

    Especially by authors you just gave a bad review to. What do they say: "What goes around, comes around."

    When I was a reviewer for the newspaper I gave exact reviews from 1 to 5 stars. However, if the review was bad, I always gave reasons and examples why I thought the book was unsatisfactory. I did this because my reviews for the newspaper were a kind of consumer protection/advocacy.

    However, when I stopped reviewing books that the newspaper asked me to review, because of my expertise in a subject, I was no longer in the consumer protection business.

    I now write reviews showing what the author did best and try to point out, as best I can, who would most enjoy the book. My prime objective today is to attract the attention of those readers who would most enjoy and buy a book -- if only they knew about it.

    I also only give four and five start reviews now which means I only review about 20% to 30% of the books I read. Sometimes I even mention this in my reviews. It's not that I like everything I read; it's just that I only review those books I really like. These are the books I'd like to share with other like-thinking readers. (Also, life is short. I usually stop reading a 1 or 2 star book long before the half way point.)

    I think this policy is wise because it is not my job to discourage readers from reading any book. Too many readers give excellent reviews to books that I didn't like. Why should I discourse them from reading these books? I don't. Their reviews might well attract the kind of readers who will actually enjoy those books!

    As far as 'saying something nice or saying nothing at all' I don't think that is very Christian either.

    "If you can't say something nice about someone, say something nice about their pet or family or friends. Always say something that leaves another with a positive charge and feeling better about life." It costs nothing to do this and it makes lots of favorable impressions.

    Vince

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  134. Wow, I hadn't thought much about this--I know that most authors are readers first, and it makes sense to me that they also share their thoughts on books they read. I guess it also makes sense that even more so they temper their reviews with kindness--it's important for us all, but especially if the books are in the same genre, negative comments can unfortunately reflect poorly on the writer :(

    Very interesting topic!! And may all the reviews you receive be beneficial!

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  135. Hi Jordyn:

    I meant to type Jordyn but when I went back to be sure of the spelling of your name, Seekerville had posted a new post and I didn't notice it was tomorrows post. Sorry.

    Vince

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  136. I am glad to have learned to leave reviews a few years ago - I never knew they were that important!

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  137. Jordyn, You might not see this but since you asked (LOL) my sister was a Labor & Delivery nurse years ago, but in the past 20 years she's done Mother/Baby nursing. She LOVES helping new moms with their babies, and she's great about putting the moms at ease (and the dads too!).
    Thanks again for yesterday's visit!
    Blessings, Patti Jo :)

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  138. Great post! I don't usually write long reviews, most of the time its only a sentence or two. I'm not really sure what all needs to be said in a review. I will say that i don't believe I've written anything bad about a Christian book. Which is basically all I ever read. I do rate every book I read though, on Goodreads.

    I love the hero's name in Fractured Memory. I married a Eli a little over 2 months ago. <3
    Thank you for the generous prize!
    God bless.

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  139. Hi Jordan. This is an interesting post and one well appreciated. I occasionally write reviews for Reader's Favorite online. One thing I like about their policy is that if your review would be less than 4 or 5 stars, it will not be published and you can comment directly to the author. You basically help promote books you feel worthy. In my case, I review books containing Christian content. If a book doesn't "sit well" for any reason, I can opt out, which I have done. It's a touchy subject because it's hard not to take a review personally. We know the type of review we would like to receive for our own work and pray for compassionate, thoughtful reviews...WWJD.

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  140. Well done, Jordyn!

    Please enter me in your generous drawing.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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  141. Hi Vince,

    I actually really like your thoughts on this-- particularly the difference of how you viewed reviews while working for the newspaper and doing them now. That's something I hadn't considered.

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  142. Hi Patti Jo!

    Aww- mother/baby nurse. That's fantastic. Not really an area I could do so glad she loves it.

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  143. Hi Abigail,

    Your own real life Eli! Hmm-- wonder how he measures up to the hero in Fractured Memory. I'm sure your Eli is better ;).

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  144. Hi Rebecca,

    This was also a point that Kristen Lamb made-- essentially that the author through lack of reviews will get that they may not have written a good book.

    The trouble I have with this a little is discoverability and the whole algorithm issue. I think even 1-3 stars help with this. And personally, I don't take a 2 or 3 star as a bad review depending on what they say. One stars-- yes.

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  145. I am not a writer, just a reader, but I can see how other authors might take particular offense to and especially negative review from another author.
    I am a member on Goodreads, and sometimes do read what a favorite author of mine said about a particular book, but wouldn't say it influences me more that some of the other reviews.

    Boo-tterscotch M & M's, never heard of them but I am sure they are yummy!

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