No review for you

Reviews can be so controversial, and yet there is a not a definitive answer on their validity. Some people never read reviews  others swear by them, and some people only read the low ones.

I always raise an eyebrow when people say ‘reviews are not for authors’. I always think of movies about Broadway shows or similar where the cast all get together the next day to check out the newspapers and see what the ‘critics’ thought. It’s never the audience rushing off to find out what the critics thought before they buy a ticket.

I understand the point that reviews are left for potential purchasers to get an idea of what others think of a book. But, let’s be honest, a lot of reviews are not helpful. Not helpful to other potential readers and not helpful to the author.

You tell me. Helpful or not helpful?

– A review that tells the whole story?

– A review that says ‘worse book ever’ but not why?

– A review that says the story didn’t end how they wanted it to end?

– A review that bemoans the lack of warning about something they consider a warning should have been given about?

– A review that says ‘I enjoyed this book. It made me laugh/ cry/ think differently / feel good / understand better’?

– A review that says the story was good, but it wasn’t for me?

– A review that says if you liked X then you’ll love this?

– A review that says it was another great book by the author?

What’s helpful? What’s not helpful? Who are they for? What’s the point of reviews? More people don’t write reviews than do. Is it for word of mouth? Is it to help the author reach a magic number of reviews? Is it to help other readers make an informed choice? Is it a smear campaign? Is it to help the author improve their product? Some authors seem pretty desperate to get these reviews that “aren’t for authors”. They put out a lot of free copies out of their book for … their health? Hmm. I thought reviews were for ‘businesses’ to garner positivity and address issues with their product. Oh well. No review for you.

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