Monday, July 14, 2014

Reviews

Last week on one of the writing loops I belong to there was a lengthy discussion about reviews. While we writers bask in the glow of a wonderful review, the bad reviews take the wind from our sails, leaving us riddled with self-doubt.

As a writer, I can't stress how important reviews are and, in some cases, how they can impact a writer's career both in a positive and negative way. If a novel receives a majority of glowing reviews, buzz builds about the book increasing sales. The impact may be the author is contracted to write more books for that publisher, or if they are self-published, the buzz may end up having publishers and agents reaching out to that author to offer them a contract or in the case of an agent, representation. Amanda Hocking is an excellent example of this. Of course, I'm not saying every writer that receives excellent reviews is going to have the same experience as Amanda.

If a novel receives mostly negative reviews, odds are sales will be low and the publisher may decide not to publish any other novels by the author. Once a book receives a large number of negative reviews, it's very hard to overcome the stigma associated with the bad reviews. People may decide not to buy the next book based on reviews of previous books. Unfortunately if the novel is self-published, then rumors may start that the author self-published because their stuff is so bad, they couldn't get published any other way. Many times when an author chooses to self-publish that is not the case. They choose self-publishing to have control over the cover art, cover copy, and the like. They also can schedule the release date whereas in traditional publishing most novels aren't released until 12 months or more (usually 18 months) after the contract has been signed. I won't even mention the royalty issues.

Like most things in life, reviews can be good and bad. If you've read a book, please leave a review. You may be helping an author you enjoy reading reach new heights in her/his career.

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