Why Authors Should Read Reviews

Good morning, everyone, PH with you here today, wishing you a wonderful day. I don’t know how many times something serendipitous happens with you and then you gain a better perspective or find a better way to do something but it happens to me often. Recently, I came across an inconsequential blog post and, as I read it, I realized something very helpful.

man sitting on bench reading a book. Bench surrounded by tall grasses, sun shining, portion of lake visible in backgroundMany of us authors spend a lot of time seeking out reviews. After all, a review can be very helpful to readers and validate our books. A glowing four or five star review can also make your day we. Reviews can also be hard to generate but they are gold when received. Personally, I should probably do more to seek them from bloggers than I have. It’s something else to work at in my spare time, spare time being twist of words for me these days.

However, a rather serendipitous event happened for me regarding reviews. It wasn’t a review of one of my books but a review of a book which I never read. The review was very standard and gave me some insight into the book itself. Even though the review was a near four-star and informed me that there were some problems in the book, I chose to at least try to read it through Kindle Unlimited.

Not too long after reading this review, something else occurred to me. At the moment, I am editing a book of my own and know what a major flaws exist in the book. While I am addressing that flaw, it was interesting to note from the reviewer the same problem was noted regarding this book by another author. This observation is not good news in and of itself, but what really hit me was that I gleaned something from the review that helped me with my book in some small way.

This realization also provided me with an insight as to what I should be doing more of: reading more reviews. While I should be seeking out more reviews, it is extremely clear to me that a good reviewer will point out all kinds of observations about a book which can be helpful to a reader. Such observations can also be helpful to me as an author. I can be aware of similar issues that a good reviewer points out.

This is an additional value to a review from an author’s perspective, that being learning from a reviewer what is important and what reviewers and readers are looking for in a book. I sometimes read my own reviews but those can be hard to digest since they may be somewhat inaccurate. There are many which provide a useful insight. Some I take with a grain of salt and say that’s a fair observation. But reading a review about a book in which I have no real emotional investment gives me a better chance to catalog possible problems to avoid in my own writing.

There you have it, fellow authors, the reason why you should be reading reviews of books on a regular basis. You are able to find a wide range of issues and observations that can be helpful to you while you’re writing your own books. Of course, you must take some of these for what they are worth, but do not ignore them entirely as these points can improve your book immensely.

Now it’s your turn, please leave your reactions and comments below and I’ll respond as soon as I can. Thank you for stopping by Story Empire today. Please share this post with your own readers and followers. Also, leave a comment that tells us about reviews that you have found helpful about your books or those by other authors.

P. H. Solomon

48 thoughts on “Why Authors Should Read Reviews

  1. I am a review reader. I read the reviews of my books. I read reviews of books I’m interested in reading, though I stop the minute I feel that they are going to give spoilers. I hate spoilers. And I read reviews of books that I just finished reading just to see if other readers felt the same way I felt about a book. I agree with you that review reading can help us become better writers because we can see a pattern in what stumps readers when they are reading. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post idea, Paul. I agree with you completely. Reading reviews of other people’s books is very helpful in us to avoid similar mistakes in our own writing. I also find writing a review helps me with my own writing as it aligns my thoughts about what is good and not so good in a book.

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  3. I think we can all agree that reviews are subjective to the reader, but by the same token, I think we can learn and grow from reviews of our work. My theory is that if an author gets their feelings hurt over a critical review, they shouldn’t put their work out to the world. I pulled my first book down and revised it after a review that noted some critical errors in it. I certainly didn’t relish that task, but it’s the best thing I ever did for myself and my reputation. Great subject, P.H.!

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  4. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    Do you read reviews? Yours or those of other authors you’re planning to read? You should, and P. H. Solomon’s post on Story Empire today explains exactly why. Check it out to see what he has to say. It’s good stuff! Then consider passing it along, if you would, so others can learn from it as well. Thanks, and thanks to P. H. for reminding us how much we can learn from reviews. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great points here, Paul. I do read my own reviews, every single one of them. And I pay attention to any issues that readers may have had with the story or characters. I’ve been lucky not to get too many bad ones, but I learned from every one of them. I have an artist teacher and friend who once told a class I was attending that the only people not making mistakes in life were those not doing anything. So, I figure we all make them, even in writing, and we can all learn from them.

    I also read a few reviews before buying a book, both positive and negative. I’m very careful with that, though, because nothing makes me madder than spoilers. In fact, I don’t even finish any review that recaps very much of a story. I mostly just want to know the subject matter and if it was done well. But if there are a lot of reviews indicating it wasn’t done well, I will sometimes check those more deeply, because as you say, it can be a real learning experience. Something I can apply to my own work, often.

    Thanks for the reminder that reviews can do more than just sell our books. They can actually help us become better writers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I do read the reviews of the book, but make my determination based on the premise of the book itself. There are some things that a reviewer may not like, but do not bother me. This is a good point, as a good reviewer will help you glean insight into the mistakes of the book they review and point you in the right directions in your own work.

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  7. I read a lot of books, so I also read a lot of reviews. I do read my own reviews and have learned from comments others have made regarding my work. I hadn’t thought of looking at the reviews of others in that scope, but it’s an excellent point. My normal practice (when I’m deciding if I want to purchase a book) is to read a number of 4 and 5 star reviews, then read several of the low end reviews before making a decision on purchase. There are some really good reviewers out there who take the time to address what works and what doesn’t without being disparaging.

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  8. “While I should be seeking out more reviews, it is extremely clear to me that a good reviewer will point out all kinds of observations about a book which can be helpful to a reader. Such observations can also be helpful to me as an author. I can be aware of similar issues that a good reviewer points out.” – what a great point! I tend to write reviews along those lines if possible, but hadn’t thought of applying it to my own work, nice! 😊

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      • Not in terms of my writing, but definitely in terms of my art, which is mostly what I’ve been enjoying for the last few years. The two art forms have always alternated between each other over the decades 😊 I do think, ironically, in terms of writing though, it’s been my own reviews of things I’ve liked in other authors that did help me the most, whether of it be fiction or poetry. For instance, I like turn of phrases in poetry that both surprise and please me, even if shocking or surprising, so realizing that, has given me more freedom to allow myself those twists of phrases twisting elegantly in poems I write to go with my images. We are, I do believe, our own harshest critic, and if so, when I like something I see or read, it sometimes finally strikes me, why have I held that back in my own work, lol! Anyway, you made me thing that out a bit, P.H., asking me, so thank you! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I do read reviews of my books as well as other authors. But I’ve never looked at reading other author’s reviews with this perspective. Great point. I have purchased books based on negative reviews because I know the things some reviewers hate I will like.

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  10. Good point. I never thought of that.
    But now I think of it, I learned a lot from reading others’ reviews back when I was posting on Scribophile (other writing communites are available).
    Trouble is, I already spend so much time reading stuff like blog posts when I ought to be editing my stories that I’m getting no time to log into Scribo or – indeed – to write.

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