Another 5-star review of Safe Harbor landed yesterday. “I couldn’t stop reading it until I finished it,” Elaine S. Brooks enthused on Safe Harbor’s Amazon.com page. I immediately started Tweeting .
Because reader reviews on an author’s Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Createspace or other pages are the best kind of reviews there are. They’re not the reasoned and polished reviews that run in magazines and major newspapers. They tend to be short, spur-of-the-moment and, hopefully enthusiastic, such as this one by Marny on Amazon.com: “What I liked best about this excellent book was its treatment of timely topics. Rosemary weaves many themes and current issues in a masterful and engrossing mystery which kept up the pace right to the end. The characters were believable and I can’t wait to read more about Pat Tierney!”
And by MysteryReader: “Safe Harbor is a book that keeps you up at night, so don’t start reading right before you go to bed. You won’t be able to put it down. The characters are realistic, likeable and interesting. The novel is fast paced and keeps you guessing until the end.”
And how could I dislike this comment by “catwoman” on Amazon.co.uk: “Rosemary McCracken looks set to be THE female writer to watch out for!”?
Good reader reviews are absolutely critical for an author. They announce a book’s availability. They give it a reader’s stamp of approval. And they’re consulted by prospective readers who can look at them right at the point of sale.
Most authors also get their share of bad – or one-star – reviews. And that’s okay. They lend credibility to the good reviews. And whether or not a reader likes a book can be a matter of taste. Readers who like cozies probably won’t enjoy a dystopian thriller, and vice versa. And some bad reviews say more about the reader than the book, such as this one that landed on Safe Harbor‘s page in June: “Twice she referred to God as her, so this will be the last book by this author that I will read.”
Samuel Johnson said, “I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works.” I’m happy that I did something strong enough to provoke the one-star reviewers into reacting in writing.
I mentioned the word “credibility” above because there are reviewers and websites that charge authors to review their books. I consider that completely unethical. I’ll ask readers who contact me, saying they’ve enjoyed my book, if they’d consider posting a review on Amazon. And I’ll gladly gift an e-book, or even a paperback, to a reader or a blogger for consideration for a review. But I’ll never try to influence a review by paying for it.