This is a somewhat rewritten post from last year about a point I believe will always be important.
You may be here to learn about writing but when it comes right down to it, the thing that drew most of you to this blog, the thing that convinced you to start writing, was most likely a love of books.
We all have books we’re passionate about, both well known and almost unknown. I have at some point been touched deeply by books from every genre, but the genres that have impacted me most deeply are fantasy, YA and science fiction, particularly dystopian fiction.
Some of the books I loved are well known and loved: The Giver, Harry Potter, The Chrysalids, The Hunger Games, anything by Terry Pratchett.
Other books I’ve loved are almost completely unknown, like Lady of Hay or A Raw Mix of Carelessness and Longing. How popular a book is has nothing to do with how much I enjoyed it. I can list quite a few popular books I didn’t enjoy much, but I won’t bother. That’s not what I’d like to talk about today.
I’d like to talk to you about those little known authors whose books you love.
Those writers are struggling. Struggling to make a name for themselves, struggling to make a living–or even enough to go out for dinner once a month–from their writing. They might write the most amazing novel you’ve ever read, but without good reviews, their writing will never get the appreciation it deserves and they might well give up altogether.
Which means it’s your duty to review the books you truly love, especially when they’re written by an unknown author.
You don’t have to start a book review blog. You can do a quick review on Amazon and Goodreads and go on your merry way. In fact, it’s really these sites where the more reviews a book has, and the higher its rating, the more likely it is that the author will make some money.
With the sheer number of small presses and self published authors flooding the market with new books every day, book bloggers are always pressed for time. Even the best authors struggle to get reviews, because there are so many different authors competing for each spot on every book blog–and while there is lots of crap out there nobody can be expected to keep up with all the good books either.
Most people who enjoy a book won’t take the time to review it, but every person who leaves a positive review is helping build an author’s career.
Why is this so important? Well, it’s partially because the authors you love can write way more books if they’re actually making an income from their work. This is why all readers should review books they love. But for people like me–and I’m assuming you, if you ended up here–there’s another reason. Because we all dream of being authors too, which means we have a vested interest in the success of the publishing network. As a writer you should review great books for one more reason:
1) Supporting small presses and lesser known authors helps ensure that you’ll have many different publishing options in the future. There are hundreds of small presses, which means that there are hundreds of opportunities for you to get published, but it also means they’re all competing to be heard by the reading community. A small press usually also doesn’t have much–if any–of a budget for marketing, so they are more reliant than anyone else on your reviews.
If you want small presses to keep producing amazing books and maybe even eventually publish your own book you need to support them, which means reviewing their books. And you don’t have to do a lot of work on this–even a three sentence review with a good rating helps.
Support authors and small presses you love and they’re a lot more likely to stay around long enough for you to enjoy the publishing opportunities they provide.
Do you review books you love? Why or why not?