As a reader, how many times have you come to the end of a book and had such a strong emotional reaction to it, whether that was a good or bad one, and decided to go on and write a book review?
If your answer to that question is: I have never written a book review and I probably never will, then here are a list of reason authors would love for you to reconsider.
Book Reviews are valuable because:
Believe it or not, readers are more likely to buy a book with 1000 reviews where the average rank is 3 stars than they are to buy a book with a 5 star ranking, if there are only two reviews. In the competitive world of selling books, leaving a review at somewhere like Amazon or Goodreads could mean an author is more likely to sell that book. How many times have you looked through your online bookstore and felt inclined to buy a book because of the number of reviews? Book reviews can help us decide whether a book is for us and out of the thousands and thousands of books you could buy, if you came across one that looked okay but so did the one underneath it but the one underneath had 100 reviews and the one you originally thought was okay but only had 3 reviews, which would you choose? Authors rely so much on readers giving reviews to help sell their books.
Authors can see what might not be working too well with their writing. In the end, all appreciation of anything is subjective but if a writer was constantly being criticised for poor dialogue or dodgy plotlines, it's something they need to know.
On the flip side, authors get to find out if their writing is working well or not. Several follow up books and sequels have been written on the basis of fans loving a particular character or plot and couldn't get enough of it. This is something readers can communicate in their reviews and inspire the authors next book!
Authors love to talk to their readers. Well, I do anyway. And that means the readers we never get to see. Friends and family can tell what they liked, loved, hated about your book but usually friends and family tend to love everything you write. It's not that their opinions aren't valued but nothing is more validating than someone you don't know personally, telling you how much they enjoyed your book and how much it meant to them.
On that note, here are a couple of reviews from people who bought Holding Paradise the first time it was published in 2014. I have to admit, whenever I'm having a bad writing day, when I'm doubting myself and think I suck as a writer, it's great to look at reviews because they give you the strength and belief to go and write that next chapter!
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and moving story
Reviewed in the United States on 7 April 2015
Holding Paradise is one of the most powerful and heartwrenching novels I’ve read lately. It covers various generations of women originally from the Caribbean who immigrate to London in the 1950s. ‘My mother’s story has taught me how strong women can be’. You must read this novel to meet Josephine, born on a sunny island, displaced to a rainy metropolis, who struggles bravely to make a living and keep her family together through thick and thin. The events portrayed are sad, moving, and infuriating, as deplorable secrets are gradually unveiled. It’s a well-deserved tribute to past generations, which also holds the promise of ‘paradise’ for the future if we are able to learn from our own and others’ mistakes, forgive, and understand. This is not a light, easy read, nevertheless its pages will lead you on a satisfying and well written voyage, well worth taking.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Warmth of Paradise.
Reviewed in the United States on 26 July 2014
This is a superb book! Fran has crafted her characters beautifully. Poignantly written, it follows the story of mother and daughter through their lives from childhood into adulthood. From time to time, we all have situations in our lives that are hard to deal with and/or put into perspective. Fran shows the value of family, love & friendship. She also teaches us about paradise ... that one thing we should prize above all else. Once we have found it, we need to hold onto it. Her characters are fantastic and the situations they find themselves in are frighteningly real. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's beautiful! I can't wait for her next one. Congratulations Fran.
I'm so hoping to see reviews like this when the second edition of Holding Paradise comes out in January 2024! Have you subscribed to my mailing list to read the first 4 chapters for free?