In your book reviews, is it what you enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

Insecure Writers Want to Know

“Book reviews are for the readers.” I agree with this statement. Writers, as readers, need to entice others to read the book they just finished. We should look for the good in each other’s books and not critique another writer in public on social media. For that’s what book reviews are: public advertising for the book.

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However, writers should not lie about a book’s merit in a review. All books are not for every reader. Readers have their own tastes. They are looking for the next best read. For them. If a writer/reader can’t find anything good to say about an author’s book, she has two choices:

Not review the book.


Share any concerns with the author in private through email or the author’s website.

If you share concerns with the author, you’re looking to gently explain what didn’t work for the story as a whole or for you as a reader. We are not talking about genre. If you don’t like horror, don’t read horror. I’m talking about story specifics as it relates to the particular story you just finished. Writers should try to help each other. Not discredit them online. This is why we need beta readers and/or editors we trust to help us make our story the best it can be.   

Book reviews are the lifeblood of any author’s advertising campaign for the book. We need book reviews to get readers to even notice our new releases. There are thousands of books coming out continuously. Who’s going to notice little ol’ nobody me when my college memoir launches? This is my main insecurity. This is my dark night of the soul. It’s what keeps me up at night. Truthfully.  

As I perform the last readthrough of my college memoir before I hand it over to a copyeditor, I worry that no one will care about this heartfelt story. This struggle to succeed. The tension, both internal and external, of being a mother of five in college. I want to indie publish this story that I’ve been working on far too long.

How do YOU get over these feelings of insecurity, of thinking no one will care about your story? I so need your thoughts on this. Help me, before I never sleep again.

I’m extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors on this scary writing and publishing journey.

Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web. Please come again! Have a beautiful holiday season. Merry Christmas! I’ll “see” you in the New Year.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I’d like to thank our co-hosts for December: C. Lee McKenzie, JQ Rose, Jennifer Lane, and Jacqui Murray! Please visit them if you can.

Our group posts on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE

10 thoughts on “In your book reviews, is it what you enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?”

    • Good advice, Alex. As writers, we can’t control how others will receive our books. Thanks for offering your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great week!

  1. Hi,
    Agree, completely, and damning reviews can be so wrong.
    More than wrong, they could be hurtful.
    College memoirs ? Ouch… Timely reminder, I must write, not just email Christmas letters to all those friends.


    • Yes they could be hurtful, Esther. As much as I’d like to say I have a thick skin, I’m sure I would be hurt by a truly bad review. Thanks for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great Christmas!

    • So true, Natalie. Lord knows I worry. You all have the right idea. If you can’t say something nice about someone’s book, don’t say anything. Have a great week!

  2. I once had a reviewer insist on knowing why the kitchen was blue. I read that and shook my head because, as we all know, you never respond to a review. But at the end, the protagonist returns home after pretending to be dead to find that her kitchen is now yellow. Sometimes we authors must remember that not all reviewers are good at reviewing. Great post, Victoria.

    • Never respond to a review, Vic. Remember that!

      Thank you for sharing that great insight with Adventures in Writing followers, Joylene. Truly appreciate it. And you are correct. Not all reviewers are good at reviewing. Have a great day!

  3. Love your thoughts on reviewing, as for your fears about your book, they are completely valid. Here’s the thing, most people will not care. They are not your audience. But there are people who will care. One will tell you that your book changed their life. And that will make it worth it. Your kids will care. My two are grown and still brag to their friends that I am a published author and refer my books to people. And at the end of the day all that really matters is that you cared enough to write it.

    • I so need to hear this, Heidi. Thank you with all my heart.

      You are correct, of course. To change even one person’s life through my writing would be amazing. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful insight here at Adventures in Writing. Have a great week!


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