Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Online Book Reviews and How You Can Help Your Favorite Authors Without Actually Having to Write a Review

by Deb Baker/Hannah Reed

Reviews. We love ‘em. Or we hate ‘em. And as the Cozy Chicks become more well-known, the weirdos come out of the woodwork and believe me, they've mastered the nasty review. Sometimes it’s obvious that the reviewer hasn’t even read the book, sometimes it’s just plain mean spirited. Maybe they have an agenda. Who knows? To top it off they usually hide behind Anonymous or use a pseudonym like Fairy Lover’s Mom.

One thing I do know is that the Cozy Chicks don’t fake good reviews for each other (as some readers think), and we’re lucky if our family members even read our books, never mind asking them to take that extra step.

If you’re an avid reader, you know that every book is subjective. We like different things. My cup of tea might not be yours. Therefore, I refuse to write a bad review. I don’t want to hurt any author’s chance of success. I know what they’ve put into it.

Still, with the influx of independent publications, I depend on reviews to guide my choices. If I don’t know the author, I read all the reviews – good and bad – and make a judgment call.

Recently a bad review actually helped Murder Passes the Buck. Here’s what was posted at Amazon: “Total waste of 99 cents. The Gertie Johnson character is obnoxious.” A woman reading this particular review loved the fact that Gertie was obnoxious, has purchased and read all 4 in the series because of that review, and we’ve had some fun emails back and forth.

But I bet that’s a rare case.


Call to Action

The next time you love a book, help the author out by going online. You don’t even have to write a review. With the following two quick and easy steps, you can drive a book up the ladder to success. Here’s an example of what works for Amazon, but the same applies to Barnes & Noble, etc. So head over there and find the author's title that you loved, loved, loved, and:

1. Directly under the title, click the “Like” button. See? Totally painless. You've done your good deed for the day. You can stop here or move on to step two, which has even more power.
2. Right next to the "Like button", click on the "customer review link". That takes you to a new page. See the "Most Helpful Favorable Review vs the Most Helpful Critical Review"? What you want to do is remove any truly nasty review from that most helpful position. To do that, read through the reviews. The ones you like best, mark as helpful. The awful one(s), those designed to damage (and you'll know that when you see them) mark as unhelpful.

That’s it. Easy right.

We are all part of a wonderfully supportive reading community. Let's form a line of defense against those nasty people with destruction in mind!