How Reviews Can Make Or Break You
Writers write because they love it it. I am not talking about new age publishers. I am talking about those who sit and create the scenes, twisted plots, characters and climax of a story. Not every so called author is a writer, no offense to non-authors who publish, this is not about you. People who actually spend sleepless nights at the typewriter, and now the computer, do so because there is a deep passion for what they do.
Next, the writer writes because they want to share their work with the world. Some poets write to express themselves on paper but they have no desire for the world to read their poems. However, when someone writes a story, that's a different matter. They will ask friends and family for feedback and that's where they usually go wrong. I will explain later.
Then, the writer writes because they want to know that what they share is great. For the passionate writer, a review is more valuable than money. I dare you to disagree. The writer whose first priority is making money is not the writer who will write without food or write in the candle light because the electric went out…or…bill not paid.
Making money is the last reason a passionate writer writes. I was going to say real writer, however, there are great or even real writers out there who just write for a living because there is money to be made from it. Some of these writers aren't passionate about writing and if their earnings should stop, they'd stop writing.
So here is the the thing about writers and feedback. When we publish something new, before we check our earnings we check if someone left a review. If you are a member of a writing community like Hubpages you know the feeling. When you publish a new hub you keep checking for hits, and then for comments before you even check your earnings, this is especially so for newbies.
When you venture into independent publishing like on Amazon Kindle, first time authors are keen to get feedback. This feedback will give them an idea of how well the book was written.
Reviews can either motivate you or demotivate you. A newbie may get a negative review on a book and decide to unpublish that book. While a positive review may motivate them to write another one really fast.
Here is the thing with friends and family reviews that I discovered. Some months ago I published a few novellas on Amazon. I was expecting my friends to leave reviews for me but only a few did. There was one friend whose review I was most looking forward to but it was not forthcoming and I was very disappointed. To tell the truth, I was a bit hurt that he refused to leave me any feedback. His statement was, he hated leaving reviews under four stars.That gave me a start. Was the book in question that bad? How many stars would he have given? At first I thought he was being unfair since most of his new books, I had given him good reviews. I still wish he had left his honest review though, at least I would not be left wondering what he actually thought.
Here is where I was wrong. Friends who are quick to give reviews usually do so because they are friends and not necessarily because they were honest. I will not apologize for that. I have done so myself, not necessarily with the friend I spoke about but with others. I am even guilty of not reading the entire book, yet giving a rave review because I believe it will help my friend. This isn't good. Not only will readers begin to mistrust the author but it gives a false impression of good work that may be potentially bad.
Take for instance, I write a really aweful story that was hard to read. You give me a five star review with excellent feedback. I will now have the impression that my work is great. When someone else gives me a bad review I may take it to heart. I say, if you are a friend of an author and the book is not good, tell the person up front and don't leave a review. Only review if you honestly believe the work to be good.
Let's flip the coin. A writer craves feedback. This is where they get motivation and inspiration. A doubtful writer will find confidence in positive reviews, and even negative reviews may motivate them to do better.
In the last month I was blown away with the reviews from a book for a client. A book I doubted was my best work. This has motivated me to do better and produce my best works yet. So friends, unless you are 100% positive about the reviews you leave for a friend, don't. Those reviews can be detrimental as well as positive so always be honest, especially to your friends.