Well, I guess I should qualify that. Writers will always get good and bad reviews; that’s the nature of the game. You learn to enjoy the good ones (keeping in mind that not everyone will believe them) and be philosophical about the bad ones (hoping that not everyone will believe them!). I try to remember what I do when I am on Amazon and shopping for another good book. First, I see the title and cover. If those entice me, I read the description. Then I see how it is rated (number of stars) and most importantly, what people say about it. If there are no reviews or the only ones there sound like they are written by their mother, or wife or brother-in-law, I tend to pass it up. Once recently, I saw a book about time travel that sounded interesting, and even though it had no reviews, I bought it. I didn’t even get into the first chapter before I was rejecting it. Formatting issues, typos and other problems told me right away that this was an amateur endeavor. Funny thing is, I didn’t write a review expressing this. I figured the guy was trying, and his first review should be a positive one, even though I wouldn’t be the person to write it.
Getting reviews is very important to writers–traditional and indie authors both. If you are like me and sell almost all of your books on Amazon, they become even more important. You want those who really like your books to add a review. Surprisingly, I also want those who didn’t like it to write a review as well. It adds credibility to your list of reviews, and it also tells me where I need to improve.
I am active on goodreads.com (and if you are a reader, you should be too), and one of the features they offer is the chance for authors to host giveaways with the hope that those who win will provide reviews. So far I have given away Infinity’s Reach, The Champion and its two sequels: The Heretic and Elijah. Goodreads says that about 70 percent of those who win a book write a review, but I find that it is about one in ten. In any case, I got a very nice review for The Champion from Scott Rudolph on Goodreads and on his regular blog here. I think it will translate into a few more sales, and perhaps even more reviews. Time will tell.
In any case, all a writer can do is remind readers how valuable their opinions are, and what a review can do for the success or failure of a book.