We’re delighted to have a guest blog from Author Stephen Cox – highlighting the importance of writing reviews. Stephen is the Author of Our Child of the Stars and the much longed for sequel, Our Child of Two Worlds. Stephen has been our Author of the Month here at Tea Leaves and Reads for April 2022 and many of our Book Club members have made their first advances into reading Science Fiction for the first time (and loving it!). Stephen is here to talk about the importance of Book Reviews for Authors.

If you like a book, reviewing it is a free way to thank the author. There are three reasons why authors think it’s a good idea to rate and review books.

Authors write hoping their work connects with readers. They get immediate feedback from friends and family, but thousands of copies go out into shops. It’s nice to have a broader response.

Reviews help people choose the right book for them. More books than ever are being published and yet most books don’t get a lot of publicity. People do use Amazon, Goodreads, and what their friends say on social media when thinking about what books to read. Telling your friends is the best review of all.

Reviews benefit authors directly.  Amazon uses a computer algorithm to decide which books to suggest to consumers.  More reviews influence whether a book gets recommended or not.  It’s mysterious, but more reviews will be better than fewer. You may not like Amazon but it is a big market for authors.

How to write a review on Amazon and Goodreads

There are 99 good ways to write a review. You may be sweating and be thinking of an English essay from school but a review can be quite snappy. Why you liked it. What the main character choice is. How it made you feel.  A lot of mine are 5-6 sentences. Here is how I reviewed Donna Tartt’s the Goldfinch.

“I understand this book divides opinion, but I enjoyed ploughing through it. The obvious comparison is Dickens, a thick book of characters and twists and turns of the plot. It kept going, so that I had to keep reading to see what happened. Charming, violent, mournful, comic, it is an extraordinary experience, and shows that the long read remains attractive, if the author is good enough.”

I would hate it if you decided this was ‘the right way’ to do a review. In this case there were hundreds of reviews summarising the plot so I didn’t.

Please don’t spoil the ending and if you do, lead your review with Spoilers!

What about bad reviews?

People’s opinions about books vary. Whatever authors think in the depths of the night, people are entitled to their opinion. You might find my books too emotional or too implausible. Most ‘bad reviews’ come down to, ‘this book is not for me’.  Authors need to have that in mind.  Whether a case is made well or badly, the best response for an author to a bad review is as follows.

  1. Put kettle on.
  2. Drink tea
  3. Just get over it

Sometimes a bad review makes a good point. Authors tend not to react to reviews in public because a) On Amazon and Goodreads authors are specifically told not to and b) a lot of people believe reviews are for readers and authors should stay out of it on principle.

Should I tag an author in a bad review?

It’s generally not done because a) they’ll see it anyway and b) if you think my baby is ugly, you are entitled to your opinion.  You’re not really entitled to come to my house and shout YOUR BABY IS UGLY through the letterbox.

Huge thanks to Stephen for taking the time to put together reviewing from his perspective and why it’s so important. On that note, if you read and enjoyed our April Book Club choice (Our Child of the Stars) and you’re following it up with the recently published sequel (Our Child of Two Worlds) then do leave a review on whatever platforms are available to you. Who knows, you might even find your own quote on the pages of a book one day and if you’re wondering whether you’ve missed out by not reading this book, you probably have! However we have signed editions in stock and the books are available across multiple bookshops. You can connect with Stephen on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

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