April 18, 2016

Why Write Reviews?

Monday before last, I talked about having the goal of reading and writing reviews for two books before the end of June. Why am I doing that?

There are several reasons behind this decision.

1. Reviews are important.

Whether you're an author or a reader, reviews are helpful. Especially when you're considering a book by an author you don't know anything about, reviews can help you decide if it will be worth the price. Authors are on the other side of that coin. Good reviews help increase sales. Bad reviews can prevent sales. If you love reading, writing at least a one or two sentence review ought to be something you seriously consider. Without them, your favorites might not be able to keep writing.

I've already been leaving Goodreads reviews for the books I've read over the last several years. However, a big chunk of those were classics where the author is long dead. I recently shook myself awake and realized those reviews weren't doing a whole lot of good, especially when I already have three or four books by authors who are writing and publishing right now.

Since I want to be helpful not only to other authors but readers as well, I'm going to do what I've seen another local author, Ian McLeod, do and leave a review in several different places to increase its reach. I will publish my reviews on my YouTube channel, Goodreads, and over on my author blog at the very least.

2. My children need a good example.

We're a household full of dyslexics. Reading is a big deal in our house, and at the same time, it's not a favorite activity for the girls because it's hard. How can I expect them to grow up to be avid readers if they don't see me reading? What better proof of the fact their mother is reading than having her basically do a book report on each book? 

They're getting close to an age where they need to start writing book reports for school. It's something we will be implementing in fifth grade, so Boo Bear will work on her first sometime next year. The reviews will become both an example and a teaching tool.

3. I'm trying to change my mindset.

I was raised with a competition mindset. Basically, I was raised to see absolutely everything as a direct competition between everyone else and me. This has been a motivator, but it's also been something of a poison over the years.

When you've been taught all your life that there's only so much to go around and everything someone else achieves is something you didn't, you can become a bitter, jealous wretch pretty quick. It wasn't so bad in school. Most of our teachers didn't grade on a curve, so no one else's grade had any affect on yours. It's harder to break out of that, "Get the worm," mindset when you're a business trying to make sales.

I remember getting started out at the farmer's market and later at my very first events watching people sneer or shake their heads as they passed my booth, mumbling about too high a cost, and go spend large sums of money at other booths. I'd keep a blank or even happy expression on my face. But inside I was panicking and seething in equal measure as I watched other venders sell out of stock each and every week while I sold almost nothing. I kind of started to hate myself by the end of that fall. I was bitter and jealous and just out and out not someone I wanted to be.

How sad is it I only heard about the theory of cooperation amongst "competitors" within the last couple of years?

This is the mindset I'm working to adopt. I've already accepted it, but it takes time to break years of training and habit. Thought patterns get ingrained, and it takes time and conscious effort to change them. Actively supporting other authors who aren't "just" aspiring writers but authors out there publishing and marketing books is one way I'm trying to retrain my brain.

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