Reviews and ABC

Authors are a funny lot and often have a way of connecting things which on the surface are totally unrelated. In a convoluted way I moved from enjoying an Elvis tribute artists’ show on Facebook, to explaining the scenario of one of my books to an elderly man who doesn’t read English. Would you believe I became emotional about the story and actually had tears in my eyes? In case you’re wondering, the book was ABC Destiny. It’s a little quirky in that each chapter starts with the letters of the alphabet in order. Now you’ll have to read it to see what I came up with for Q and Z. 😀

I often bleat on about the importance of leaving a review after you’ve finished reading a book. It’s easy to say, but not so easy to do. As a reader, I recently realised that a book I’d read and enjoyed, and where I thought I’d left a glowing review was still sitting in the TBD pile. Do as I say not as I do!

Some of the reasons I’ve heard for not leaving a review are:

I don’t know what to say

I’m a reader not a writer

My thoughts aren’t important

I don’t know how to do it

It’s easy for writers to get blasé and even upset, particularly when someone downloads a freebie and that’s the last they hear of them. As you probably realise by now, marketing is my worst nightmare and if you were thinking of employing me as your publicity agent- Don’t!

What can you do to pay it forward?

Go onto Amazon, Goodreads or wherever you buy your books and 10-1 they’ll have an option to leave a rating. If you’re not up to writing ‘War and Peace’ (even if it allowed you that many characters)
‘Just finished reading this. Enjoyed it very much’ would do nicely, thank you kindly. As I’ve mentioned before, the only taboo is giving away a spoiler.
‘Loved this book but would never have imagined that A was actually B in disguise so wasn’t really dead and was the real murderer.’ Please NO!

‘Wow! Didn’t expect that revelation at the end which took me totally by surprise,’ is perfect.

Reviews are not only about posting on various forums. Word of mouth is invaluable and, in some ways, far more satisfying. Love it or hate it, some years ago a certain book took the literary world by storm. It wasn’t perfectly written or edited, was in an unpopular genre but became a phenomenal success. I first heard of it when I asked a work colleague about the book she was reading. She showed me the cover and I asked what was it like. Her one word response was ‘filthy’ which was enough to pique my interest and I ended up buying the series.

If you enjoy a book, particularly by an emerging author, tell your friends. They in turn might tell their friends, and the snowball effect could make the difference between an author giving up the fight or actually writing more books for you to enjoy.

I belong to various writers’ groups and had to laugh recently at a social media thread where authors published some of their more unlikely reviews. One involved vampires in submarines and there were some quite heated comments from people who knew about submarines, having worked/lived on or visited them so had first-hand knowledge. The fact the vampires were safe as they weren’t exposed to direct sunlight was incidental. Think about that for a moment. If you’re now researching submarines, I’m delighted you’ve been sucked into my vampire story. I told you authors were a funny lot. 😀

Thanks for listening and see you next week.

© Val Portelli May 2021

2 thoughts on “Reviews and ABC

  1. I used to leave a lot of reviews of books that I’ve read (mostly from the public library) but I’ve kind of stopped since Amazon changed their policy (not sure if they tweaked it again) of having to purchase the book in order to review it.

    Probably should get back into again, but I’ll always have that worry of leaving a review that may come off as overly nasty/bitter that would have some unintended consequences.


    1. As far as I know, GB, you can still leave a review on Amazon even if you didn’t purchase the book through them (but you do have to have spent a certain amount of $s /£s to have that privilege. I can’t see you as being nasty/bitter, so as long as no spoilers I’m sure readers would appreciate your input (as would the authors.) 😀


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