I used to be pretty hesitant to write book reviews. I mean, truly, reading is subjective. My definition of a great book is probably decidedly different than yours. Which is as it should be. Takes all kinds.
Only a few books are universally loved – and even those books aren’t universally loved. I’m thinking of the Harry Potter books (at least the first three), Charlotte’s Web, Skippy Jon Jones or most everything by Dr. Suess.
I racked my brain to think of adult books that are universally loved and as I thought of each one, the little negative nelly minion with the glasses and the clipboard on my shoulder said, “but, but, but…”
Some of the books I thought of were- Prayer for Owen Meany, She’s Come Undone, The Art of Racing in the Rain, or Life of Pi. I loved all those books and would put them in my top 30 (no WAY I could have a top 10). But some of you might have hated those books or some of you might read different genres and have never heard of them.
I admit to a rather narrow personal bookshelf. I’m not a huge fan of fantasy or science fiction. I’m curious about erotica, but have yet to explore it, and I truly do not understand poetry. I’ve never read a real horror book – I can’t handle the images. I find thriller books to be too intense for me – I can only read them in one sitting otherwise I stress about the situations too much, particularly when it involves children in danger. Although, I read Elizabeth Brundages, The Doctor’s Wife, obsessively, not even stopping to eat. I couldn’t not turn the page. Even mysteries are hard for me because I hate the not knowing, it irritates me. It’s generally my book club that pushes me out of my ruts. Mostly, I stick to literary fiction, historical fiction, womens fiction, occasional chicklit, memoir, and a smattering of young adult. I know, I should get out more. But there it is.
Back to my original point- reviews are subjective, but that’s no reason not to write them. As a writer, I depend on them. I’ve been trying to be better about asking people who read my books to review them. Asking people for anything makes me uncomfortable. Maybe I’m a product of my generation of women who think they can handle-anything-don’t-need-nothing-from-nobody.
But here’s the thing - I don’t care if you like my book or hated it or were somewhere in between, I need your review. The number of reviews impacts book sales, promotions, and whether or not Amazon will ever move my book above the YA book with the same title in the search results. More than that, it’s pretty much the only way other people can discover my book. When I’ve mentioned this at book clubs or workshops, people seem surprised. I don’t think the average reader realizes how important reviews are to authors. I know I didn’t.
Now, I review every book I read. I’m a team player as a writer and want to do everything I can to support other authors. We need each other. My reviews are nothing special, but I try to be honest. I try to write more of what I liked than didn’t like. I’ve discovered that I can find something nice to say about pretty much anything I read. That’s because I don’t read books I don’t like. If I’m not finding anything I can appreciate by page 50, I put the book down and move along. There’s too many others out there waiting to be read.
I don’t want to beg, but I can think of nothing I’d appreciate more from my readers than an honest review on Amazon or goodreads or ibooks or Barnes & Noble or BAM or any other site that sells books (you can even copy and paste the same review to all the sites – totally fine and I’ll even invite you over for fresh cookies and red wine if you do). It doesn’t have to be lengthy or fabulously written- simply heartfelt. So, here’s me asking – if you’ve read one of my books, please give it a review (or two).