Show Authors Love. Take the Review Pledge
Reviews. They're not just candy for authors hungry for the sugar high of validation. In large number, they are the ambrosia of the gods. They do far more than to merely satiate devoted authors with the knowledge that hours spent toiling over a manuscript served a reader a gratifying meal. They are the very sustenance that nourishes the industry as a whole.
But we're starving for them. And it's not because we're vain, it's because we read our own statistics. And when we see that hundreds or thousands of people are reading our book, we want hundreds or thousands of reviews. But that rarely happens. Speaking for my own work (free fiction that I published online), my stats prove that, over a four-year period, I've earned 1.3 million reads, which culminated in approximately 7,000 reviews.
The conclusion that I draw from this is identical to that of my other author friends, who report that only a fraction of their reads culminate in an outward display of appreciation. I know what you're thinking: that maybe those reviews that didn't get written were from readers who simply didn't like the work. But I don't completely believe that. Because I've been guilty of not reviewing, too.
The question is why, and I have a theory on that. I think there are two kinds of non-reviewers: the non-author readers, who don't understand the power they hold and the author-readers who understand exactly the power they hold and procrastinate from a desire to leave a thoughtful, well-written review. But here's what I'm here to tell you. Most authors would be happier with any review at all than no review. That's why I decided to start the #ReviewPledge.
Here's what taking the pledge means:
- A commitment to reviewing every single book you read.
- A promise to going back into your reading history and writing something about at least 10 books you read but neglected to review.
- An understanding that while it doesn't have to be a lengthy tome that presents a dissertation as to why you liked or didn't like a book, you will write a sentence or two that fairly sums up your feelings.
- Dedication to being candid, but kind. Authors really do want to know how they can improve their writing, and can do so when criticism is constructive. Flames are rarely actionable and can be difficult to take seriously.
Beyond taking the pledge, here's how you can help the community. Post on social media about this. I'll make it easy for you. Just copy and paste the following into your Facebook or Twitter feed:
Are you a voracious reader? Make a difference in just a few words. Take the #ReviewPledge and support your authors! http://bit.ly/2gAlZNt
And you can also save and share this image on your social media:
Now, go forth and review!!