Monday, December 10, 2012

Reading Reviews

I'm big on reading reviews whether I'm getting ready to invest in a computer, buy a pair of socks, or watch a movie, so it should come as no surprise that I read book reviews.

Sometimes the reviews are for books I'm thinking about reading, sometimes they're for books I've never heard of, and sometimes (okay, obsessively) I read the reviews of my own books.

I read reviews of my own books for a couple of reasons.

1) I'm looking for quotes I can use in my marketing efforts.

2) I'm curious as to whether things I thought were cute/clever/engaging resonated with readers.

3) I want to be a better writer, so I study the reviews to see if multiple readers are pointing out the same issues. If they do, I consider whether I want to change my approach with the next book I write.

While I read my reviews, I know other writers who don't read any of the reviews for their books, and still others who only read reviews that appear in trade publications, none from general readers on sites such as GoodReads, Amazon or B&N.

What about you? Do you read reviews before reading certain books? Do you post reviews or ratings of your own?  If you're a writer, do you dread reviews? Or do you look forward to them?

4 comments:

Clarice Wynter said...

I read reviews of non-fiction books and I weight how many good reviews against how many bad reviews. When it comes to fiction, I tend to avoid reading them for books I'm really interested in because I don't want to be 'talked out' of buying something I'm looking forward to. I'd rather make my own decision.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I read product reviews before I order something I'm unfamiliar with - like when we bought a new laptop for my husband. Without the reviews, I never would've known Toshiba was rated 'most reliable' in our chosen price range.

But I don't read a lot of book reviews. Especially when it's a book I love. Bad reviews of books I love just tick me off, and then I get the urge to shoot off a snotty reply to the obviously stupid person who didn't enjoy what was so awesome. No good can come of that.

That's a great philosophy you've got about reading reviews of your books, though. Use the criticism to make your next work even better. I never thought of it that way.

JB Lynn said...

Clarice -- interesting that you use them for non-fiction, but not for fiction.

B.E. -- LOL, I agree that responding to less favorable reviews is tempting...and not a good idea.

I've definitely found some of the criticisms to be helpful.

JB Lynn said...

Clarice -- interesting that you use them for non-fiction, but not for fiction.

B.E. -- LOL, I agree that responding to less favorable reviews is tempting...and not a good idea.

I've definitely found some of the criticisms to be helpful.