I am now offering a critique and manuscript assessment service. For further details, please e mail me at

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Reviews. Show an author some Amazon love...not, like, big women with bows and arrows though. Unless you like that sort of thing.

Do you know how important it is for authors to get reviews?

Probably not, because if you aren't an author, ie, you are one of the sane 93 % of people who take one look at what's involved in writing a novel and, very wisely, decide that that kind of torture is not for you and you'd rather eat another Fondant Fancy and watch Strictly, then reviews are almost always bad things.  In most jobs the only kind of review you get - apart from when a rather nice customer says that he (or she) always enjoys your custard slices - is a performance review, when management try to think of things to say to you and you try to think of ways to answer them.
Stick to the Fondant Fancies. It's the only sensible thing to do.

But to authors, ah, to authors reviews are Very Important Things.

Not for us to read, of course. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don't.  I mean, the reviews aren't for us, are they? They are for readers to tell other readers what they thought of the book, which is fine. Even if they hated it, it's still fine.  If an author does read their reviews, then they react in the following way:

"I loved the bit where..." 'they liked that bit. That means they hated all the other bits and are just being polite. I am a rubbish writer.

"I really enjoyed this book." Only 'enjoyed'. They didn't love it. Why didn't they love it? I am a rubbish writer.

"This book made me laugh and cry." I bet they laughed at all the sad bits and cried at how bad it all was. I am such a rubbish writer.

"This was the best book I've read since The Wasp Factory." They didn't say when they read the Wasp Factory. It was probably yesterday. This is the best book they've read since yesterday. I am a rubbish writer.

So really, when you leave a review, try not to think of the author...  Instead, think of Amazon.
No, not that one. This one..
Because Amazon has Algorithms. Which aren't a kind of intestinal parasite. Or pithy sayings from Al Gore. It's some kind of number magic, by which they calculate which products get shoved in the face of their millions of perusers. So, the more Amazon Reviews a book has, the more it is wafted in the direction of other people who might buy it. The more popular it is, the more popular it becomes. Because, Maths.

So, if you have read and enjoyed a book, even if you have read a book and thought 'I liked that bit where...', even if you only think it's the best thing you've read since The Wasp Factory, last Wednesday, then please leave a review. It doesn't have to be a long one, just 'a good read' will do. 

Because we can't fight Amazon.  It's the crocodiles, you see.


angela britnell said...

Seems to be an uphill battle to me!

Jane Lovering said...

Yep, Angela, it's a bit of a struggle, isn't it? Leading horses to water and all that...even if that water is in the Amazon.