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How to Make an Author Happy

Have you ever read a book that resonated with you deeply? Have you ever believed a piece of literature stood out from the others in the same genre?

Several years ago, I only wrote reviews about books that grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go. After I became an author, though, I learned that one- or two-sentence reviews could truly make my day. It changed my perspective on writing reviews for other authors. Now, I write a review for every book I read.

If you are among the groups who already write book reviews, you are the lighthouse in the dark night, giving authors hope for the future. You have my deepest appreciation.

When I make my case for writing reviews, my listeners nod their heads, but when they are asked if they write reviews, they often look away and provide an excuse. Some people say they are too busy, others say they don’t like to write, and a few individuals squirm until I laugh and tell them there’s no pressure.

There’s really no pressure. (But in the words of David Wooderson, “It’d be a lot cooler if you did.”)

As an artist, I’d love for everyone to read and review my work, but I understand the demands on your time. I’m aware that there are writers who don’t like to read and readers who don’t like to write, so it might be difficult for some people to type a review. There may be a multitude of other reasons readers don’t want to leave a review, and authors understand. However, if you want to write a sentence or two about my books, or a book by any other author, it could make a difference. It may not push an author into a best-seller category, but it might influence a purchase, or simply make him/her/them smile.

Should you write a review if you read a book with your children (or anyone else’s children)? Yes!

When I was looking for a book to present to my children about their bond as siblings, a review would have helped me. Without consumer reviews, I ended up with a product that had numerous errors. I have also read children’s stories that have flawlessly delivered beautiful messages of positivity, hope, and friendship. I feel drawn to reward these authors with a lovely review, especially since their words were instrumental in providing substance to the quality time I spent reading to my young progeny.

Should you review the books you don’t like? Well, that’s up to you.

If you find glaring errors, you may reach out to the author or publishing company instead of writing a scathing review. Perhaps the wrong version was uploaded, and you could save the author or company from further embarrassment. On the flip side, if you just don’t like the book, and you feel you must write a review, you’re faced with a harder choice. You could write a review with a balance of negatives and positives. For instance, “I liked the story, but the protagonist’s views conflicted with my own.” It’s not going to make the author jump up and down with glee, but it maintains your integrity.

But what if there are no positives?

Out of the mountains of books I have read, only one book has fallen into that category for me, and I didn’t write a review for it. I made the choice to read it, I kept reading it, and the author was not responsible for my actions. Since then, I have learned to put a book down if it doesn’t agree with me.

If I don’t like a book, won’t it hurt my Goodreads challenge if I don’t log all the books I read?

You can add the book to your Goodreads challenge without rating it. The day you finish reading the story is the only information you are required to log. If you are so strongly against a book that you don’t want it to show up in your reading history, you can devour a novella in a short time to fill the gap.

I don’t have the time to write reviews.

We all must budget our time, and I’d rather you spent your free periods reading than posting reviews. I don’t want to think of my readers agonizing over punctuation and adjectives. Instead, I envision them pleasantly whisked away into an intriguing mystery (in one of my books, of course).

Sometimes, I’m asked how to post a review. I talk about starting Goodreads and BookBub accounts, and I discuss the ease of following favorite authors and tagging them in a review. In addition, Amazon sends me emails about each product I purchase, books included. I follow the link in the email, and it takes me a couple of minutes to write a review.

Rumors fly about increased Amazon promotion due to reviews. Amazon seems to operate on logarithms, so it makes sense. It seems, after fifty or more reviews on a particular book, the author receives more visibility, so your short review may carry more weight than you realize.

Finally, positive reviews help authors feel validated, vindicated, and/or valued. Words of affirmation are powerful, and they can inspire an author to write a new story. Every time I receive a positive review, I read it to my children, and we dance around the kitchen in celebration.

The next time you wonder if you should write a review, I hope you picture a favorite author dancing a jig after reading your words. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and J.R.R. Tolkien (you know, when he was alive) come to my mind. I wonder if they would dance the Lark in the Morning or Morrison’s Jig. I bet Stephen King can pull off a fantastic Drowsy Maggie!

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Courtnee Turner Hoyle