Saturday 14 June 2014

Do You Review?

Reviews can often make a book, and their lack can often break a book.

In truth it’s always been the way, but authors feel it more keenly now. Mainstream publishers do check the number of reviews on distribution sites when deciding whether to renew a contract, and for indie authors many internet promotion portals determine entry by the number of reviews it can verify online. Being an author leads to being a reviewer.

Most members of Hornsea Writers would prefer to review without any kind of star system, even though most sites make it obligatory. Both Amazon and Goodreads offer a guide in making a decision, though why anyone would doggedly persevere with a book to give it an “I hate it” one star is beyond us. Hitting one’s thumb with a hammer would doubtless give as much grief in far less time, allowing a better suited book to be enjoyed sooner.

Some of us do persevere with books that will eventually be labelled with two stars, but the reason is well argued within the review. What we feel is a waste is a regurgitation of the book’s blurb. If it was a good read we say why; if we thought it so-so we explain what kept us reading and mention what grated. All readers are individual in their tastes, even those reading within the same sub-genre, because reading is not a passive occupation, it’s an engagement.

Long or short, every review is welcome as each sheds a distinct and individual light on to an author’s work. If you read, do you review?


  1. I buy a lot of books and I do check the reviews before. Not the content but the average rating. Yet even that isn't enough to sway my opinion. I have bought some real dross which had good overall ratings, yet there have been some real gems with poor or no ratings. I'm willing to take the risk just for the good stuff which sometimes slip through.

    1. I agree, Roger. That's been my experience exactly!

    2. I tend to read the reviews, if possible. The language used and the enthusiasm or its lack tend to give some impression of the likely quality of the story and writing. Of course, with a lot of books it's now possible to sample before purchase and I try to do that if the reviews have attracted me. Doesn't always work. But that system, coupled with the recommendations from respected readers and friends gets past much of the dross, I find.

  2. Thanks for joining us across at HW, Roger. I was surprised to see that you go by the average rating. I can see that it can act as a decent rule of thumb, but I like to read what's been written to gain an idea if the reader left the review in a bout of euphoria (or a rant) after finishing the book. However, I always Read Inside as the method of conveyance weighs heavily in my decision-making.

  3. Yes, I've had the same experience as Roger. I will persist with a book, but if I'm beginning to skim by 20% of the way through, I stop wasting my time. Problem is all reviews are purely opinions and whereas I tend to trust the number of 5 stars - like Broken Dolls by James Carol, easily the most scary book I've read of late - then I will take a chance on sheer numbers.


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