I had to ask myself a very pointed question a couple of days ago. How many books have I read in the past year? How many of those books have I reviewed online? I realized I’ve read and enjoyed a lot more novels than I’ve taken the time to review for the sake of the author. Being a novelist, myself, I know how important it is for those authors to receive reviews–hopefully good ones, but I don’t need five stars for every review. Honesty is important for those seeking a good read.
The thing is, I seldom complete a novel I don’t really enjoy, so the only ones that get reviews from me are the ones I absolutely love. Since I put all my reviews on Amazon, because that’s where I get most of my kindle novels, I like to give the highest rating. After all, if I’m coaxed to read all the way through a book, it’s worth the read.
I encourage you to share with other readers if you happen to find a book that has kept you engaged to the end.
In this brave new world of independent publishing, you might be able to find a lot of excellent novels written by excellent writers who are no longer traditionally published. I encourage you to seek out a few. I will always read the sample pages on Amazon–or on the website of the novelist–to see if the book is well written with good editing before I purchase. You can usually get a good idea about the capabilities of the author within that amount of time. If it drags on without grabbing your interest, you will probably be bored by the story even though others may have loved it. If there are a lot of typos in the sample pages (and I’ve found typos in my own work–who hasn’t?) it means you’ll probably find them all the way through the book. If that kind of thing bothers you then you might want to pass on it.
Reviewing a book doesn’t mean you have to actually “write a book report” the way you had to in school, although you can, and many people do write long reports. Don’t let the challenge daunt you. Simply give the book a starred rating, state what you liked about the book, why you liked it, how it affected you. Please try not to give away any surprise endings, but giving a brief description of the book will help other readers know if that’s a book they might like to read. It also helps the writer sell more books–you can’t imagine how helpful that can be to a novelist who depends on reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or other sites to make an income from all her long hours of work.
Now that I’ve made myself feel guilty, I’m going to log a few more reviews for the novels I’ve read recently. I hope you do the same.