Carla Acheson

Historical Fiction Author

Book reviews are one of the most important things in the publishing world, without them no-one gets to find out how good or bad a book is. But what’s the most accurate way of an indie author finding out the value of their work without paying through the nose for a literary review?

Why a single review matters so little.

A ‘single’ reader review reflects only what one particular reader thinks of an author’s book. If twenty readers thought that a book was great, but one person reviewed it badly, does that mean that the book is bad?  Hardly! I remember the first review I received on one of my book’s was highly negative. I was distraught, utterly convinced the book was  doomed.  But I was wrong. Some great reviews came hurtling in later on, so don’t tremble as you await that first review, it isn’t worth much on it’s own – really. Wait until you get a few more and then you will see the true impact your book has made.

It’s good to keep in mind that book reviews are very subjective and apply to individual taste. To get the best estimation of your book, (aside from paying for a critical and reliable review from someone in the industry,) watch out for any repeating criticicms made by your readers. A large number of these will indicate a possible true problem with your story.

Reviews of one of my book’s contained phrases such as… ‘Cannot put it down… was unable to put it down… unputdownable,’ etc… Because of their similarity I learned that the overall consensus was that it gripped them enough to get them to read to the end. Hey! A great thing for any author to know, right?

This is how readers see your book.

Reviews given by general readers who know nothing about the craft will be very different to those given by ‘literary experts.’ Expect the latter to be detailed and often abrupt, as well as straight-to-the-point. Fine-tooth combing on the various elements of the story will just bypass a reader’s head. When a reader reads, he/she looks for entertainment. They want to go on a journey and be transported into that story’s make-believe world. They won’t be out looking for fictional writing errors and sometimes they can’t express or pinpoint what is ‘wrong’ with a story, they’ll just say… ‘this book did not do it for me.’

How to know the true estimation of your work.

When a book receives a vast number of reviews, any repetitive points given will offer an insight into its true value to the reader. Remember, a book is only as good as what a person thinks of it, just as a house is only worth what a person is willing to pay for it. But what one person thinks of a book is truly negligible when compared to the estimation of a much higher number of individuals. Therefore one review won’t make much of a ripple, but many will.  It’s just a funny thing like that.

So to sum it up, if a vast number of reviews are ‘good’ then the book suddenly becomes more valuable in itself, and therefore more appealing to other readers.

So it’s important to get multiple reviews making sure that the book in question is targeted to the right audience. That’s how you’ll get the best opinions on your work.

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