Thoughts on Book Reviews

I recently read these words in a book review featured in my local newspaper:

“The book is too long and poorly organized; perhaps it was rushed out because virtual news becomes old so fast. But, if you have a teenage daughter, read this.”

up or down

Is that a negative or a positive review?

I would consider it a positive review. Why? Because the reviewer recommended that anyone with a teenage daughter read the book in spite of its shortcomings. That’s a good recommendation.

I read a lot of book reviews. Christian Small Publishers Association’s (CSPA) BookCrash program offers bloggers a Christian book in return for a fair review. The reviews these bloggers write cross my desk. As a result, I have developed some thoughts on the power of book reviews.

1. If a reviewer is recommending that others read a book regardless of the negative comments she makes about the book, the review is a win. People will still purchase the book and read it.

2. A mixed review, one that lists negatives, but also recommends that people read the book, is a much stronger review than one that is just mediocre.

3. Mediocre reviews do not draw people into a book. Reviews like the following thee star reviews on Amazon don’t attract readers:

  • “Not exactly what I expected, but okay.”
  • “I don’t believe the book was terrible.”
  • “Solid, helpful content presented poorly.”

It is better that the reviews for your book are either hot or cold, over lukewarm.

4. A book that garners a handful of four- and five-star reviews along with a handful of one- and two-star reviews, is doing better than a book with mostly three-star reviews.

The book with mostly three-star reviews is viewed as just a mediocre book, while the book containing both positive and negative reviews is either really liked or disliked by the readers. Most potential readers are more likely to take a gamble on a book that people either love or hate than on one that is just mediocre.

So, don’t get discouraged if the reviews on your book are split. Your message may not be for everyone. You should be more discouraged if the reviews on your book are mostly mediocre. It means that your book needs some work.

Related Posts:
Are Reviews Important?
Are Reviews Really Important?
Are Your Book Sales Discouraging?

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1 thought on “Thoughts on Book Reviews

  1. Thanks! This has confirmed my own thoughts. I’m trying to get reviews on my own book, and have encouraged people to review it even if they have some negatives. (I think some people I know personally fear offending me.) All positive reviews actually make me suspicious when I look at reviews for a book. If the book is that good, there should be content that will challenge and cause critique.


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