Once you have written a book, you will want someone to review it. I know many writers who run out and get a friend to read the book, and then write a glowing five-star review praising the book as the next War and Peace. They will included phrases such as: I couldn’t put it down; The best book I’ve ever read; I’m already in line at the bookstore waiting for the sequel; How do I get in touch with the Pulitzer Prize Committee?; etc. Whereas one would think these stunning reviews would cause independent readers to get blood blisters and break fingernails in their haste to rip their credit cards out of their wallets and purses to buy the book, I find most of these reviews are discounted for what they are: a friend trying to help out a friend.
If I am considering ordering a new product, whether it is a new book, a raincoat or a new car, I want to know what someone didn’t like about the product. When I scan the reviews, I pass by the five-star ones and go to the ones with a lower rating. If someone says a raincoat leaked as if it had a sprinkler system built into it, I want to know that, and I am probably not going to order that raincoat. On the other hand, if the raincoat got a three or four-star review because it was too hot, and I am planning on wearing it mainly when fishing in the fall, then being hot is not a problem. A four-star review never bothers me unless words such as; boring, slow-paced, unbelievable characters, unrealistic dialogue, or I nodded off a couple times so I’m not sure how it ended are used. I will never be compared to William Faulkner– unless we are talking number of eyes. I did not finish my novel In The Sticks and run out and buy a new suit to wear when I accepted my Nobel Prize in literature. I am not a perfect writer. I have flaws as does my writing. Criticism, done constructively, only helps me to become better.
I have only asked one friend to write a review for my book, and she never did. She told me that she liked the book, but I think that sitting down and writing a review for other people to read was just too intimidating for her. That is why when people I know, and some I barely know, take the time to write a review I am thrilled beyond description. As previously mentioned I am not sure if it helps sales, but it helps my heart, and sometimes that is just as important.

Next time I will tackle review sites, those sites that review books for a living.


About thewritingdeputy

Joel Jurrens was a deputy sheriff for 26 years until he retired in 2013. He has published three novels: In The Sticks, Graves of His Personal Liking and County Ops: The Vengeance of Gable Fitzgerald. He tries to keep his blog light and humorous and sometimes downright silly.
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  1. Marja McGraw says:

    Good post! It made me stop and think about reviews. To be honest, I very seldom look at book reviews. Word-of-mouth seems to work best for me when choosing a book. However, I’d look at the ones rated “5”, too, and then make up my mind. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t pay too much attention to the ratings, just the review itself.

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