I’ve recently discovered I really enjoy writing book reviews. But not for the reasons you might think.
Yes, it means I get to read more books — and think more critically about them. It ensures that I don’t just rush through a book for the sake of getting through it, put it on a shelf, and dive right into the next one.
But falling in love with writing reviews was something so unexpected that I found myself taking a step back to ask myself why. Why is looking critically at another person’s piece of art so important? And why is it so … rewarding?
It’s not about views or money or anything like that. It’s not even really about what I get out of it … but what the authors of the things I’m reviewing might.
Especially on the internet, people are much more inclined to give negative reviews of things they did not enjoy. They’re much less likely to provide positive feedback for things they loved.
Perhaps book reviews don’t always follow this rule — Goodreads has a way of, for example, prompting you to rate and review things you liked whether you want to or not.
But people “hate review” books on Amazon the way they might any other product. Because they’re unhappy and they want other people — preferably the author — to know it.
When was the last time you gave a good book a good review? Not necessarily a book that changed your life. Just a decent book you’re glad you picked up and read. One you might even consider passing along to a friend or coworker.
You might not even consider reviewing it after you close that back cover. It was good. You’re done reading it. You can move on.
But many if not most authors occasionally peek at reviews. Don’t they? Maybe not always the bad ones. But ALL OF US want to feel good on a not-so-good day. And when you see a four or five-star review on something you made, don’t you want to know what that person liked — even what they might not have liked so much — about it?
You know you do. Don’t lie. :)
If an author has done a good job, they should know about it. It’s nice to be reminded, as a writer, that your work is appreciated. If you’re a writer, you know this. Don’t skip giving a book a review because you can’t think of any criticisms or only feel the need to review books you didn’t think were good.
Tell a writer you had a good time. You never know — it could make their day. Or save their career. Maybe.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.