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With over 500,000 books being published each year, authors are struggling to distinguish their offerings and gain the attention of readers. One of the most popular ways is to get readers to review their books. Book ratings provide valuable insight into the quality of a book. But like books themselves, the review is only as good as its author. Regardless of the rating stars, a few good words in a review will make all the difference.

There has been a lot of controversy lately over how authors get book reviews and who is giving them. The New York Times did a long article on how Amazon is deleting some book reviews and still allowing some massive reviewing to be done by individuals. (See: Giving Mom’s Book Five Stars? Amazon May Cull Your Review, 22-Dec-2012)

If you get a less than 5 star review keep the following three things in mind:

  • If readers see only 5-star reviews for your books, they’ll think you paid for the reviews or had family members flood the review site.
  • Everyone isn’t going to love your book, but with a few less than 5-star reviews showing on your book’s ratings you prove that at least some of these reviews were honest and objective.
  • If reviews with less than 5 stars provide some comments, all is not lost.
  • Even a one star review isn’t a failure if the reviewer provides a reason why they didn’t like your work. Maybe the thing that made that reviewer not like it is exactly what will interest someone else.
  • There is no such thing as bad press
  • Having a few less than stellar reviews showing on your books ratings will get people wondering about the book.  Why did this person not like it and yet others did? Part of marketing your book is getting people to talk about your book.  You might not always want to hear what they have to say, but at least they are saying something about your work.  Take something from every review. You might just find some useful constructive criticism in there that you can use to improve your next project.  Your friends and family may not always be one hundred percent honest with you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, but an honest reviewer will tell you exactly what caused a story not to ring true with them. Read it and decide if you agree.  Either way, move on and keep writing.
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