Reviews are nice things. Authors often consider them precious things even. Reviews and other comments are very convenient “tools” for an author to determine if she or he is doing something right.
Are the stories still interesting? Are there things in a story that irk a reader? Are there suggestions hidden inside the reviews? Things like that act as a thermometer for the ‘health’ of an author’s writing.
Of course, a writer does not set her or his sails on reviews alone. There is always the creative flow that keeps going, which, like a river, can meander left and right through the landscape of imagination.
But let’s come back to reviews. For instance, on Smashwords I found a review stating:
I just finished the latest Hilda book. I thoroughly enjoyed all of them and very much appreciate the authors hard work on these stories. They are well written with entertaining story lines, I would like to see more of the retelling of classic fairy tales by the way!
Now, it is always a pat on the back of a writer’s ego to hear or read that her or his work is appreciated, but the trick in this part of a review was this bit: “I would like to see more of the retelling of classic fairy tales by the way!”
It was this that made me think about a new Hilda story which incorporates another fairy tale. This review was posted on “Hilda – Cats”, the fifth book in the series, and only as I am designing book 9 this seems to come to life.
There were several reviews on the first Hilda book which stated it was poorly written. So I reworked the story and made a new version available, which is more coherent, many typos and other errors are removed and in general it became a better book. (Well, at least I think so, you be the judge, dear reader.)
Another example is a comment I found on the cover-art image for the first book of Lily Marin. Someone posted:
These three short stories were probably the best Steampunk stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to read
Just a short and simple comment, perhaps, but it does motivate me to keep writing Lily’s stories as well.
So you see: reviews can influence a writer, and help her or him to know what the readers like. Of course there is a message in this article. In case it was not very clear, I shall take it upon myself, dear reader, to spell it out just this once:
If you have read a book and you have comments about it, good or bad, it is very much appreciated if you take the time to leave a review or just a small note on the website where you found the book. It helps other people decide if it is worth acquiring the book, and it also tells the author
something a lot.
Thank you in advance. On behalf of the all the authors who appreciate reviews.