Reviews are a Risk an Author Takes
Every published book is on public display for readers to read and judge. An author can’t control the reader’s perception of the book. Nor can they prevent the reader from voicing their opinion on the site where they bought the book. Authors have to expect there will be some readers who like their book, and others that won’t, because no book is perfect. Every book contains flaws.
Similarly, if authors submit their book to blogs, newspaper or magazines seeking professional reviews, then they take the risk of receiving praise, criticism or both. If an author can’t take any criticism on their work, then perhaps this isn’t the profession for them.
Be Professional in Your Approach
An author’s book is their product. Their name is their brand. A fellow author is your peer. So, if you’re reviewing a peer, be courteous, professional and constructive in your feedback. There’s no need to be rude or nasty, because it doesn’t reflect well on you. Our members are here to help promote other authors, and provide them with constructive, educational feedback that will help improve their craft. Don’t crush anyone’s dreams.
Give Honest Reviews
Indicated highlights and adopts Amazon’s customer review guidelines as an example, because they will not accept artists posting positive reviews for peers in exchange for positives review back. As part of this program, Indicated expects its members to follow Amazon’s example and:
- Post constructive, honest reviews of a minimum of 100 words
- Provide both critical and favorable feedback on purchased products to avoid misleading other customers (i.e. write what they liked and what they didn’t)
Having a mixture of good, bad, and okay reviews adds authenticity to the novel’s review lists, and a reader can always spot nice, fluffy reviews. Yet a lot of authors exchange such reviews that focus on all the good points of a novel, but don’t address problems. Why? No one wants to offend or hurt a peer. No one wants retaliation for saying something that might be perceived as negative. Indicated strongly discourages its members to trade such reviews because Amazon has been known to ban members not complying with their review guidelines. In the end, posting such reviews does not support the author or help them improve their craft for future writing projects.
No Tolerance Policy
Indicated will not tolerate any of the following from it members:
- Posting hurtful, scathing, nasty reviews for spotlight novels just because they didn’t like it or because they received a review from another member that wasn’t favorable to them. Retaliation is childish and does not belong here.
- Any obscene or distasteful content (i.e. swear words or colorful language)
- Profanity or spiteful remarks (i.e. personal jabs at other authors).
- Promotion of illegal or immoral conduct (i.e. if you liked this book you might like mine).
If any of our members receive reviews with any of the above content from another member, please notify contact. In accordance with the Review and Support System Rules, members found to be posting such reviews will be warned. Two warnings and the offending member will be banned. Remember, our members are here to help support others not tear them down, so let’s be respectful and honest toward one another.
What to do with a Bad Review
We understand a bad review stings and are is a blow to the ego. But as Beth Revis’ points out in her post on How to Respond to Negative Reviews, there are bound to be readers who don’t like your work, just as there are people in the world who dislike bacon, chocolate or famous books like Harry Potter (there are over 24,400 1 star reviews for book 1 on Goodreads!). Unfortunately, it’s a part of the industry and you can’t prevent them, even if you’re a super-dooper bestseller like JK Rowling.
Some authors might mistake a constructive feedback for a bad review, but if the same issues are consistently pointed out, then perhaps its time for the author to think about this it and fix it if they can.
For those negative and unhelpful reviews, just ignore them, they don’t serve any other purpose than to bring you down. Roll with the punches, grow some thick skin and respect that not everyone will like your work, just as you won’t like some novels.
What NOT to do with a Bad Review
Do not engage with ‘negative’ reviewers on review sites. They are entitled to their opinion just as you are yours. Attacking or rebutting reviewers discourages readers from reading your work, and can be a smear on your author image. Who will want to read and review your book(s) and give you a review if they can’t speak honestly on what they liked and disliked?
And by all means, don’t submit a retaliatory review back. It’s just asking for trouble. Some authors are sensitive and if you stir trouble, then you’re lighting a fire you can’t put out.
Tips to Maximize Getting Reviewed
If you think of your book as a business, then you want to put your best product forward, not the weakest. Any author who’s sent their manuscripts to literary agents or publishers know they need to present a polished manuscript to maximize their chance of being represented and published. The same applies for this review system and for getting everyday readers to notice your work.
Like customers browsing online book retailer sites, reviewing members will be given the opportunity to read sample pages of spotlight novels, so there is a chance they may decide not to review your work. Indicated makes no guarantee that spotlight novels will receive reviews or support. This will be dependant on several factors, including the personal taste of the reviewing members, whether there are members reviewing that particular genre, the author's writing style, the novel's tidiness, if there is a killer plot, relatable characters and a great hook.
Here are some recommendations for members to consider to get the most out of this service:
Upload your best quality work. Ensure your novel has undergone several revisions or drafts, and that has been critiqued by other readers/writers or professional manuscript assessors
Present books that are edited, proofread and formatted so the presentation is tidy. A pet peeve of many reviewers is poor grammar and spelling mistakes, which can lead to readers putting your book down
Use an eye-catching cover to draw readers in. The first thing a reader will see is your cover, and most judge a book by its cover so you don’t want to skimp on this step
Make sure you have got a killer blurb that blows a reader away and makes them drool so much that they want to read your book.
Indicated wishes to highlight that Amazon for example will not accept ‘Reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product. This includes reviews that are a part of a paid publicity package.’ While Indicated is a paid- membership system, it is NOT a paid-for-review system. It is a way for authors to connect with other authors, readers and writers with the aim to support and promote each other. For this reason, Indicated will not post reviews on behalf of its members, but will strive to support its members in other ways.