The Right Kind of Book Reviews to Help You Grow
Book reviews are a form of literary criticism in which a book is evaluated based on content, style, and merit. They can be written by readers or professional book reviewers. Writing a book review allows one to initiate a dialogue about the book and enter into a discussion with the book’s writer and its readers. Reviews offer agreement or disagreement and identify where the work was found exemplary or deficient.
As a writer, you can benefit greatly from the right kind of book reviews. While the positive ones undoubtedly offer encouragement, negative ones are generally perceived as unfavourable. However, this is not always true. Negative book reviews, when written meaningfully, can be a source of constructive criticism. Therefore, if you find yourself reading a few unsavoury reviews after you publish your next book, don’t be disheartened. Read through to distinguish the ones that can actually help you improve your craft from the ones meant to simply denigrate your work. This post, by outlining the factors you should consider, will help you identify the former.
Ensure that the source is reliable
A benefit of living in this digital age is that books are accessible to everyone. This means that anyone who can find your book in the digital or the print format can read and interpret it. Since everyone is entitled to an opinion, you will find yourself reading reviews from all kinds of sources. Therefore, it is imperative that you recognize which ones are reliable. This will help you filter out the ones that will help you grow and the ones that won’t. Naturally, it would be better to trust reviews that come from literary critics or professional readers. Since they are experts in the field, they are better equipped to offer an informed response. You can utilise their reviews by displaying the affirmative ones on your author’s website or the back cover of your book. As for the negative responses, analyse them to understand how you can work upon the shortcomings.
Consider the message and not the tone
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. Remember that there are as many ways of interpreting a book as there are readers. This means that not everyone will agree with what you’ve expressed. As a writer, it is easy to feel discouraged just by glancing at a negative review. However, it will be more helpful if you consider what is being said over the way it is being said. For example, consider the following two ways in which a review can be written about the same book. Identify the one that is worth your consideration as the writer of the book-
A.“ I did not like this book at all. I got bored while reading it”
B. “The book would have been more impactful if the writer had chosen to keep the storytelling brief to sustain the reader’s attention”
While the first one is a direct personal opinion, it does not state why the reader responded negatively to the book. On the other hand, the second reviewer mentions clearly what they felt is the issue. A review like this is helpful because you can work upon your writing style to make it more concise to keep the reader interested.
The right reviews offer greater visibility
Book reviews give authors greater visibility and their books a greater chance of getting found by more readers. They also help potential readers become familiar with what a book is about and determine whether it’s their cup of tea. With the rise of social media, readers like to spread the word about the books that they’ve discovered and liked. This not only generates dialogue about your work but also brings attention to you as an author. Today, you’ll find book bloggers and vloggers who can bring you the kind of popularity your book demands. This is integral to building your brand as a public figure.
The right reviews can help drive sales
Reviews written on platforms like Goodreads or Amazon can even help drive sales for your book. An articulate review can point out aspects of the book that the marketing blurb might not have. Moreover, one review begets another in a snowball effect. The positive ranking obtained by your book on these websites can play into the booksellers’ algorithm. This will lead to more sales, more reviews, resulting in a higher ranking and exposure to more book buyers. As a writer, you need to identify which platforms would be suitable to find valuable reviews for your book.
Book reviews are the best way to analyse the reader response to your book. The various perspectives offered by readers can help you recognize your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Reviews from reliable sources can also offer you the right exposure and increase your visibility as an author in the public domain. You can leverage the right reviews to boost the sales of your book. Keep in mind that constructive criticism will help you hone your skills and become the best version of the writer you aspire to be.