One of the best ways to help any independent author is by writing a review of their books. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who feel like they just can’t write a review, or would like to but don’t know what to say.
We’re not going to tell you what to say, because we – and potential readers – genuinely want to know what you think. But we came up with some easy questions, and if you read them, and pick two or three to write a sentence or two- SHAZAM! You’ve got a review that’s ready to be posted on Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, iTunes – wherever you’d like to post – even your own Facebook or Google+ page.
But before we get to those questions, we thought we’d address why it’s so important for you to leave a review if you liked our books.
We’d love to spend at least 40 hours a week (if not more!) creating new books for you – our readers – to enjoy. We’ve got lots of awesome stories we want to share. We can’t wait for you to meet the characters to come; to see Eva’s heroic debut, to hear Threads’ random observations, and be terrified by Meatshield’s demon familiar. We want you to witness how Atlantic Littoral handles giant sea monsters, and learn just what Ephemera thinks of Amp returning to the Challenger Foundation.
But right now, when we try, Shell ends up using a sick day because she stayed up too late drawing (and then going into work sick because she’s trying to conserve them.) Or we have to stop writing or drawing because we’ve neglected other important things like laundry, and Mike’s wearing his last clean shirt.
We know you can’t afford to buy multiple copies of every book to support us more – but your review might get us another sale, and if we don’t have to do that extra sales legwork, we’ll put that time right back into making a new book for you.
1. Start off just saying whether or not you liked the book. Don’t worry about why at first. Just say something like “I liked this.” Or “This book was cool/OK/all right/spectacular.” That’s all you need to start.
2. Pick two or more of the following questions and write a sentence or two to answer them:
- Was it what you expected when you bought the book? Did you think it lived up to that expectation, surpass it, or let you down?
- Who was your favorite character? Why did you like him or her?
- Was there a character you really hated? Did you still like reading about them (perhaps hoping they’d get their comeuppance)? Or were they annoying?
- Did you like that the world was different because of the Martian Invasion? Or did you have a hard time understanding the concept? Did the appendix help? Did you enjoy reading it or did you skip it?
- Did you like the illustrations? Would you want to see more or fewer illustrations in the book?
- Did the book remind you of anything else you liked (such as a book or TV show)? Which one?
- Was there a scene or concept in the book that really stood out to you? (Try to avoid major spoilers.)
A good example is: I really liked Amp’s powers. They were really different for a main character.
A bad example (from a classic Spider-Man cartoon) is: And then they realized it was the butler all along!
3. Most importantly, remember: A review is your opinion in your words. You don’t have to be a literary master to share what you have to say. When you post a review, you help other people decide whether to buy a book. The more reviews there are – good or bad – the more likely another person is to accurately make up their mind on whether to buy the book.
4. Be honest. Don’t say something’s great if you don’t like it. A review that isn’t honest doesn’t help people make decisions. And you never know, a negative comment could still help us out. If you say “I hate werecats; I wish they wouldn’t use them”, someone who loves werecats may just buy the book. (And possibly hate it because they wanted Tigra and we gave ‘em something more akin to Dog Soldiers… but then they’re sure to leave another review!)
And perhaps just as important: leaving an honest review helps us make better books. We want to know what excites you and what bores you so we can put out a better book the next time around. We’re thick-skinned, and we genuinely want to improve and put out the best books we possibly can.
So help us out. Help other readers out. And help yourself out. Leave a review!