Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Free books do not a good review get you
Last year I gave my first 1-star review. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience for several reasons… and among them is that I was gifted the book… which is uncomfortable for quite a few reasons, to be honest. The thing is that I ALWAYS tell people I’ll be honest when I review. I don’t toss the towel, I don’t ignore shortcomings, and I always keep it honest.
I share this because if you’re an indie author, there’s something really important you need to know: giving someone a free book cannot and should not come with the expectation of getting a positive review back.
The book I alluded to was a very rough read and although I gave a negative review, I tried to be constructive with it. But it was still a 1-star review and I stand by my opinion. I know a LOT of people who gift their books and as an indie author, I’ve done it as well, with mixed results… which is actually a GOOD thing. I’ve known to send along books to reading groups and get back 3-star reviews. Some of them were constructive and some weren’t. At the end of all my books, I include a message asking the reader to please leave a review. I don’t ask for a good review… I just ask for a review and I appreciate the people who are gracious enough with their time to leave a review and I’m immensely humbled by the people who go all out and leave an in-depth review, be it good or bad.
In the reviews I’ve received, I’ve gotten praised, but I’ve also been called out on typos, excess amount of characters, disjointedness, and several other things that have or haven't bothered other people. Still, these are all great things to know because I’ve learned to see what I’m told and focus on what will help me improve as a writer. Some things you read are more on the lines of I didn’t like this plot element, or a character, or something of the sorts, and that’s to be expected and in cases, encouraged. It’s good for different people to like different things. It’s healthy for some people to not like certain things in what we write… opinions are good and being engaged with what you read is best.
But please, please, please avoid asking for people to leave a kind review meaning you want people to 5-star you. For me, I did give a kind review… it just happened to be 1 star… and sometimes we all need for that to happen.
Peace, love, and maki rolls