Public Service Announcement for Readers

Have you read a good book lately? If so, you can help the story find its target audience in a number of ways:

  1. Write a review. Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, blogs – the more exposure, the better. Once a book has 50 reviews on Amazon, the search engine recommends the title to other readers. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the reviews are. Reviews don’t have to be long. Short and sweet is perfectly fine.
  2. “Like” and “tag” the book on Amazon. When you hit the little gray “Like” button under the title on Amazon, you help make the book more visible. There’s also a place at the bottom of the product page where you can see tags (words/phrases people associate with the book that help readers to find it when they conduct a search) others have left and add your own. I noticed this morning that INHALE has a “foul-mouthed hero” tag. That cracks me up! And it’s totally true, so I clicked it as “relevant.” :-)
  3. Recommend the book to your friends. The best way to help a novel sell is to talk about it. In addition to chatting directly with friends about the story, you can utilize the power of social networks to share the love (there’s a “Recommend it” button on Goodreads, and you can easily Tweet an Amazon or B&N link to a book).

It’s fine if you hate a book, but remember this: the author put countless hours into writing her story. Yes, you put in quite a few reading it, but this is the author’s baby, and many of us do read reviews. Venom hurts. Honesty sometimes does too, but if you frame it politely, you can soften the blow. Books with less than 100 ratings suffer a lot from a 1- or 2- (sometimes even a 3-) star rating. I’m not telling you not to give low ratings. Just be sure your opinion of the book really warrants the rating. A flippant 2-star that could’ve been a 3- if you’d really thought about it is incredibly damaging to ratings for lesser-known authors.

Also, leaving a 1- or 2-star rating with no commentary tells potential readers nothing, other than you didn’t like the book. Why didn’t you like it? If it’s because you don’t like people named Fred, and Fred’s the main character, you’re influencing others to doubt the book’s quality based on a personal preference that most readers probably won’t care about. If it’s because Fred was a poorly drawn character you couldn’t relate to, say it. The more information you can provide, the better. Not every book is for every reader. Help others figure out if a book is right for them by stating your opinion, backed up with facts from the story.

I understand that writing a review takes time, but it doesn’t have to be an essay. Just talk about the things you liked and didn’t like. Be honest and fair. That’s all we authors ask. I appreciate and try to learn something from every single review — even the bad ones. If I really screwed something up, I want to know about it so I can avoid making the same mistake in the future.

Thanks to everyone who’s read and reviewed INHALE.

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6 Comments to “Public Service Announcement for Readers”

  1. By Hildie McQueen, May 7, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

    Great post, I am super tempted to cut and paste it to my blog!

  2. By Kara @ Great Imaginations, May 7, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

    Kendall, you know I love you, but It seems an awful lot like you are telling reviewers how to write their reviews. I am totally against that. Reviews (as much as they hurt) are not for authors, they are for readers.

    I don’t know what to say to you here. I am assuming you got at least one bad review today. And I’m sure that hurts. But I can’t stand by this post. I write my reviews how I want to, and though I loved Inhale and will probably love the rest of the books in the series, I have written some pretty vitriolic reviews. I am a passionate reader. Some books make me angry. I will always stand by my right (and my fellow bloggers’ rights) to write my reviews the way I want to.

    • By Kendall Grey, May 7, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

      It’s not my intention to tell anyone how or what to write, only to show readers what it’s like from a writer’s perspective. Sorry if the post offended you.

      • By Kara @ Great Imaginations, May 7, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

        It did. It actually hurt a lot. And I wasn’t going to say anything about this post, but I have drawn attention to other authors making similar posts. If I didn’t say something here, that would make me a hypocrite. I really don’t know what to say. I just feel like if I buy a book I have a right (as a consumer) to express that opinion. It’s not right to have to worry if the author will come after you. *shrugs* Sorry you feel this way.

        • By Kendall Grey, May 7, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

          I don’t think you’re a hypocrite. You have a right to your opinions, and I respect your right to say whatever you want.

          Again, I apologize.

  3. By Jessie Stank, May 8, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    Hmmm… I think the previous commentor missed the point of your post. The POINT as I gathered, was to convey the importance of posting reviews and “liking” books to make them more visible to other readers. I didn’t get the impression that you were trying to push people into lying in a review for the sake of sparing the author’s feelings. But, I also know it is easy for people to be cruel when they are hiding behind their keyboards. So, encouraging some positivity can’t hurt, right?

    I thought your post was well thought out and concise. I am sure most readers don’t even think about the author when they post a review. You shed a light on the fact that writers are people, and we are vulnerable. Great post!

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