Monday, April 22, 2013

On the Power of Reviews

Over the past few weeks, I've discovered one of the great things about being a member of the wider world of books and authors:  Once you get out there, you can get so many free books.  I get several requests to read and review books by fellow indie and small-press authors, and it's such a cool experience. 

Of course, it doesn't always work out.  I'm a painfully slow reader sometimes, so I may leave the poor writer hanging for a long time until I get through the book.  And sometimes, the books I'm asked to review are not to my tastes.  Occasionally, this is because the book is patently bad.  More often, it's because it didn't strike my fancy for whatever reason -- the wrong genre, a plot I personally dislike, characters I don't connect with.  Other people read those books and see something else in them, and that's one of the really great things about fiction: So many people can interpret your art in so many ways. 

In addition to the things I'm asked to review, I try to keep up with reviews on the things I read for fun.  I do this for several reasons.  First, because reviews really help drive sales -- especially among indie authors.  Second, because analyzing literature and discussing that analysis is one of my favorite hobbies, a hold-over from my college days, and it enriches my reading experience to create and consume reviews.

But I do it for another reason, too.  I feel that it's important to talk about the things that I love.  If I read or watch something that resonates with me, I want to share it with the world.  I can't sit around and passively hope that the world will discover the things that I enjoy; I have to help create that shared experience. 

Now, of course, as a writer I love reviews.  Us writers are insecure folk, and we thrive on feedback.  The image to the left here is something that all writers would love if all readers could do. 

But I'm not going to expect that.  Readers don't owe me -- or any other author -- anything.  You don't have to buy a book, like a book, review it, or anything else.  But if you do choose to take the time out of your schedule to leave a review or Tweet about a book you like or whatever, just know that you're doing your part to brighten an author's day and help connect other readers to the things you love (or, alternatively, helping save somebody from the time and expense of buying a book they'll hate). 

So with that, I'd just like to say:  If you love something, let the world know about it. 

If you want me to review something you've written, toss me an email at tlbodine (at) gmail.com and I'll see what I can do for you!

And if you'd like a review copy of some of my own work, please comment here or drop me a line at my email above and I'll happily work with you :)

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