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.

So…

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!

23 comments:

Shel said...

Deb, this is absolutely inspired!! I'm off to Amazon and BN right now to like every single one of the Chicks' titles. I can't write decent reviews, but I can sure click a like button and mark those unhelpful reviews!

ev said...

HEHEHEHEHE.....thanks for the heads up.

Sara Rosett said...

Wonderful ideas, Deb! Thanks for getting the word out.

Sue said...

At the end of a book on the kindle there is a place to rate the book to. I always go to Amazon and Barnes and Noble and rate the books. Sassy gets my ratings and whenever I see y'all post about a book on facebook, I just can't help but pitch in my 2cents worth. I've got Gertie's books sampled on my kindle so when it's her turn, I will read her books and rate them as well :D

Terri said...

How dare they dis Gertie!!! Posting these helpful tips on Sassy Girls!!!

caryn said...

Deb, I did not know that abut Amazon and I spend far to much time on that site! I'll make a point of doing what you suggest in the future.

dollycas aka Lori said...

Fantastic post!!!! As a reviewer who loves cozies I hope my reviews will get some helpful clicks as well and the likes for all the books!!

Lori

Debra said...

I had no idea I could rate a purchase on Amazon without writing a review! By the way, I love Gertie, because she reminds me of my Nana.

Leann Sweeney said...

Deb, thanks for pointing this out to readers. Just like you and probably every author, what I write is not for everyone. I wouldn't mind a review like: "This book wasn't for me because I like dogs better than cats." I received some like that and I have no problem with reasonable people with a different viewpoint. But for someone to title a review: "Don't bother. This is the worst book I've ever read," is plain mean and makes me wonder why someone feels the need to write something so full of anger. Perhaps, just because they can? I respect readers, and understand I cannot please everyone, but I will admit, I have received an amazon review or two that brought me to tears. I wouldn't go to someone's job, stand over their shoulder and say, "You suck at what you're doing." But then, kindness and consideration matter a lot to me.

Anonymous said...

I read recently that bad reviews sell just as many books as good reviews. I think because we all read them and say, "Oh, come on - it can't be that bad." Then we have to read it our self to find out.

I agree with your post though. It falls under the if you can't say anything nice rule. Anonymous posters seem to only want to spread hatred and I feel sorry for them. I think they need a hug from someone.

Great post!

Terry P. said...

I agree with Shel, I can certainly do that. Bad reviews makes me think the person is jealous. Probably can't write a decent paragraph much less a whole book. I'm not much on writing reviews like the pros, but I'm honest. Besides I don't think I've ever read a Bad book!

Denise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denise Swanson said...

Great post, Deb!

I must admit that no matter how often I tell myself to ignore those nasty reviews, My stomach still aches for quite a while after reading one.

Denise

Martha Paley Francescato said...

I have been doing this for some time now, and I am glad to know it helps. I'll do it every day now. Great!!!!

Vickie said...

I tend to stop reading a book I don't enjoy. My motto is "Life is too short to read bad books". Now what's not for me can be for someone else and it goes in the trade pile.

When I read one that didn't quite grab me, but I finished, I review honestly like I do for all of the books I read. I am never mean, I don't like mean people and cannot understand why some get so much pleasure out of being such poop-craniums.

Off to plink some Like buttons!!

Nancy said...

Deb, the internet has indeed spawned a whole lot of ignorant behavior. It seems to make some people feel important and powerful to be able to put everything and everyone down. It's a shame. Clicking on "Like" in Amazon and B&N is an excellent idea. You can also rate books in Shelfari giving them from one to five stars. I think there is also a rating system in place for readers who use Goodreads. Hurrah for Gertie! I've read all of her books, loved them and downloaded one of them to reread. Your doll series and bee series are wonderful, too! Phooey on nasty reviewers! Ignore them.

Linda McDonald said...

Nasty people suck! Okay, got that off my chest. Thanks for the info on the like buttons, helpful buttons, etc. I will do my part, and try and post more reviews too.

Dru said...

Thanks Deb. I already like books on Amazon, but I didn't know about the helpful thing for comments. Will follow through with that as well.

Kate Collins said...

Deb, you've done both readers and authors a great service. Reviews should not be a place to make nasty comments. They should be appraisals of a book. Thanks, Deb!

Aurian said...

Thanks for the post. I'm never on Amazon as I shop at The Bookdepository (free shipping!), but I'm going to visit weekly to "like" what I have read.

Bev said...

Thanks for the info on the like button. My job is stressful and I read a lot of cozy mysteries. I have several series that I follow (including most of the ones belonging to the Cozy Chicks). If I can support you even more by clicking on the like button, I'm happy to do it!!

Deb said...

Thanks, everybody, for your enthusiastic responses. You're wonderful!

Fred said...

I agree 100%, Deb.

Someone posted on Amazon who didn't finish the book and panned and still gave it 2 stars. Still haven't figured that out.

Looking forward to Ellery's, Kate's, Heather's and Lucy's upcoming books.