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Why it’s Important for You to Review Books

Writing is a lonesome act filled with hazards. Okay, not life and death hazards like bullfighting or stunt piloting. But hazards nonetheless. There’s the I-suck-at-this hazard. The overly-confident hazard. And let’s not underestimate the ill effects of the no-one-seems-to-give-a-shit-so-why-should-I hazard.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at These Hazards

The Over-Confident Hazard

This hazard, in my experience, is a rare but costly one. It usually stems from putting a book out there without the necessary steps of cover review, editing and/or beta reading. It is rare because...well, because over-confidence isn’t the average author’s problem. Most of us are fraught with under-confidence. But more on this later.

The I-Suck-at-This Hazard

This one is pretty self explanatory. It stems from the wicked little pixie that sits on every author’s shoulder, shouting “YOU’RE AWFUL!” This often results in stories that hover above the safe (and boring) cities of “Don’t-screw-this-up-ville” and “Don’t-you-dare-take-any-risks-land.” As a reader, you should want to help kick this pixie to the curb.

The No-One-Seems-to-Give-a-Shit-so-Why-Should-I Hazard

This one is perhaps the most devastating of all three hazards. I say this because, how the author completes the “Why should I” question will determine whether or not they survive this author business.

The least debilitating to the author, but perhaps most debilitating to the reader, is the “Why should I give a shit” query. Easily overcome by apathy, the author can continue to crank out uninspired work. And who, in their right mind, would want to spend their money on that?

Next step up the debilitating “Why should I” ladder is “Why should I continue writing?” If a writer starts wondering why they’re writing in the first place, it’s only a matter of time before they throw it in altogether. And then what will you read?

And, the top step of the rickety “Why should I” ladder, and without doubt the one with the most real life consequences, is the “Why should I go on living?” step. This one actually makes authoring as potentially deadly as bullfighting and stunt piloting. Because we authors pour our blood and marrow into our projects, to be received with crickets casts the purpose of our very existence into doubt.

As a reader, you have a duty to kick this hazard right in the nuts and poke it in the eyes.

Removing the Hazards, One by One

The Over-Confident Hazard

By simply stating, “This book could have used an edit” (or a new cover, or more time in the plot-line incubator, or whatever you found lacking) you will immediately cure an over-confident author of his sickness and, if not for this book then for his next, he will likely put out a greatly improved product.

The I-Suck-at-This Hazard

Perhaps the author wowed you with her storytelling ability, or her character development, or her humorous use of dialogue. Don’t you think she’d like to hear that? You’d be amazed at how one or two words of praise can spur an author to write even more amazing things in their next work. A simple, “Great book!” or “I loved it!” will go a long way toward curing an author of her I-Suck-at-This-Ism.

The No-One-Seems-to-Give-a-Shit-so-Why-Should-I Hazard

Save an author’s life. Seriously. You have the ability to save an author by removing suicidal thoughts from their already-over-burdened head. I’m speaking from experience here; life is challenging enough without having to face an unappreciative audience. A simple, “Thank you for writing this book,” can remove all negativity from the author’s mind, freeing them up to focus on their next telling.


This writing life ain’t all midday mimosas and quiet retreats through the wilderness to commune with nature. There’s a LOT more to the craft than meets the eye. And, while blue moods are inevitable in any author’s journey, they do not need to be the driving force behind their every work...behind their very existence. You, the reader, have the power to improve lives with a single word. How? Just by leaving an “Awesome!” “Amazing!” “Heartfelt!” review.

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