Writers need and want reviews of their books, not just for their egos, but to help with sales. We know family and friends will probably buy our books (At least, we hope they will), but to sell beyond that group of people we need to interest readers who don’t know us. The blurb on the back of the cover or below the title of the book on on-line sites helps, but many book buyers also want to know what others (who bought the book) thought. They look for the reviews.
Nowadays, with so many self-published books available, reviews have become extra important. If I see a 1 star rating, I want to know why that book received that low rating. Was the book riddled with spelling errors, typos, poor grammar? Were there plot inconsistencies? Was it poor writing, or did the reader simply not like the subject matter? (That can be a personal choice.)
Another reason writers want reviews is there are some advertising venues that demand a certain number of 5 star reviews before they’ll handle a book.
I want people to write reviews of my books (and short stories), but I don’t always write reviews myself. Why? Because I don’t want to give a review to a friend that is less than a 4 star. I know how subjective critiques and reviews can be. What bothers me in a book may not bother most readers.
Oh, if a writer I know publishes a book with a lot of errors in it, I will give a low rating and post a review that states that, but most of the writers I know wouldn’t publish such a book. Most of the time my judgment is based on more subjective criteria: pacing, motivation, characterization, plot, and so on. We don’t all like the same types of stories, and just because I don’t care for something doesn’t mean it’s bad or I’m right. More than once I’ve read a book that has made the New York Times best seller’s list and wondered how the book received so many 5 star reviews when I thought it was, at best, worth 2 stars. (There were a few other reviews that agreed with my assessment, but maybe we were all off base. I don’t know.)
So what about you? Do you write reviews? Do you give poor ratings to writers you know personally? How do you handle reviews?