But it's not just that. We need numbers, but we need numbers when it comes to stars also. And no, they don't all have to be 5 stars. An occasional low rating shows the reviews aren't rigged. Not that I'm encouraging you to give me a 1-star review, but you never have to feel like you need to inflate the score because you either know or know of the author. Score the book the way you feel it should be scored.
And the third thing we need as authors is for the reviews to be useful. Not that I would ever say no to someone who writes a brief, "I loved this book because I did" 5-star review. I will take those all day. But the kind of review that really gets other people to take a chance on buying a book is the one that gives them a reason to believe it will be worth their time and money. The problem, though, is that a lot of people are intimidated by writing reviews because they just don't know what to say. So for those folks, here's a list from author Luisa Playa of things to consider including when you write your review. I adapted these from a website called Booktrust. Click the name to go to the original post.
- Give a one- or two-sentence summary of the book, being careful not to include any spoilers. If the book is part of series, this would be a good place to mention it. And you should also, as best as you can, tell the genre of the book.
- Tell what you particularly liked about the book, such as plot, characters, writing style, dialogue--whatever you enjoyed.
- Tell what you didn't like too. You should be honest. If you found a character or situation shallow or implausible, say that. No book is perfect and folks don't usually find reviews that claim one is to be believable.
- Wrap up with a general comment about what you liked and didn't like. This would also be a time to talk about what other books, types of books, or authors this book reminds you of, such as, "If you like the writing of Robert B. Parker, then you will enjoy this book."
- Finally, if you're on Amazon or Goodreads, decide how many stars you think it deserves.
So I hope you find that helpful and, more than that, I hope that if you've read and enjoyed one of my books but have never written a review, that you'll seriously consider it. It really is the greatest gift you can give an independent author.