A book review is an essential aspect of book marketing and promotion, this is a true statement with respect to any author but could never be more true than for a new or emerging book author. The reason why book reviews help new authors is because potential purchasers of a book tend to rely heavily on the views and recommendations of others, even complete strangers. And especially when there is no track record to refer to.
Clearly then a negative book review is going to have a negative affect and will put off a potential buyer. Is that strictly true though or is there perhaps another way to view a negative book review? It is at least an emotion that someone has expressed and they were at least driven to make a comment. So can anything be gained from a negative view?
I read a book recently by the founder of Smashwords (Mark Coker) where he said even negative reviews can sometimes help with book sales. I thought that was a strange thing to say, but the explanation was essentially – one man’s meat is another man’s poison. In other words someone writing a negative comment and awarding a poor rating to a book, because of certain aspects identified within the book, could identify a feature that is exactly what another person is looking for.
I go along with that to a certain extent but I would then consider, personally, that if all reviews are negative that there is perhaps a lesson to be learned and that the book reviews might be an indication that an author has missed the mark on their chosen genre or failed to deliver on their promise to the reader. A mix of both positive and negative reviews however and you can see how Mark’s appraisal would indeed be considered valid, although I am sure he wouldn’t disagree that all negative comments are not the ideal.
So what is the best type of review a book can receive? In truth it is an honest one based on a real appraisal of what was delivered versus what was promised.
If there are bad parts say so, but likewise if there are good parts say that as well. A review is after all your opportunity to share your point of view and let someone else assess whether they are likely to enjoy a book or not. A false expectation as a result of a glowing review, that is clearly not accurate, is likely to result in a stronger negative response to the book than might otherwise have been the case; and may invoke an equally negative or worse review as a result.
Authors do place themselves in the public eye and yes they will, as most people do, crave positive reviews of their work. Who doesn’t, everyone likes a pat on the back. But no reader can be forced to write a review, it is after all their choice whether they go to the trouble and effort required. So getting a review should not be considered a given it has to be earned and hopefully will fall in the positive part of the equation. That said it doesn’t hurt to ask, and any author writing a book can add in a request at the end of their book suggesting that the reader does a review if they enjoyed the book.
A positive review delivered honestly is not only likely to promote further positive reviews but also further book sales. Which at the end of the day is the objective when authors have spent months sometimes even years crafting their art. Also, if you are a reviewer, think about what you are writing, if an author says he is providing you with the basic information you need to grow tomatoes, don’t berate him or her because they didn’t go into the atomic structure of tomato seeds, that is not what they promised.
If you have bought and read a book then remember you can help out. Reward the writer of the books you have read with an honest review that will provide him/her with essential feedback. Plus, of course, you will also be helping other potential customers make a buying decision which can be based on real information.
The best place to review a book is where you bought it, so that could be on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble etc. Alternatively if you have found a book on a site like this one then you can leave a comment. Nothing could be easier than that.