Monday, 27 June 2011

Writers and reputation: when writers review books

Every now and then I go through Goodreads ratings to check what readers have to say about my book and those of others. It was at such a time a few days ago that I noticed other writers leaving one- to three-star reviews and ratings for competitive indie titles. Having worked in PR for a few years, I was seriously shocked. Surely, as a writer one understands the magnitude of one's reputation and the impact it can have on one's career as well as the fact that the writers community is small and everyone knows everyone.

As a writer, reputation ranks almost as highly as skill and novelty. We would never find the likes of Stephenie Meyer and JK Rowling rating a fellow writer's work because it's not in their interest to alienate both fellow writers and their fanbase/followers, who are potential readers of one's own book. From a PR perspective, this is a huge no-no. In fact, traditionally published authors are often encouraged to endorse each other's books and so widen their markets and target audiences.

Indie or not, I suggest never to rate a writer's work below four stars. If you can't give it four stars, then don't leave a rating at all because leaving a trail on the Internet is forever and someone's bound to find out sooner or later and might not take kindly to it.

To all fellow authors out there, we're writers and not reviewers. What you may not like, others might end up loving, hence, it's not in your best interest to insult any reader's (or reviewers') taste and lose potential sales. Since you have your own style and expectations as to what fiction should read like, you're not unbiased. By leaving a low rating, you're not helping your reputation in the writing community either because people will start talking about you, and certainly not in glowing terms.

Sometimes silence is worth more than gold!

To your publishing success!


  1. Some writers do and some don't. Stephen King does all the time, and he can be quite blunt. That's not to say people should be rude, but hiding behind a polite silence isn't some people's styles, I guess. And other writers wouldn't say boo to a goose (whatever that means).

    Reputation is built on various things and people who make a mess of theirs tend to find a way to screw up no matter how many guidelines they're given. It's a talent.

    The thing is the only real way to realise what you're doing isnt working isn't by people telling you, it's by making huge mistakes and learning the hard way. Or never learning, whether people tell you or not.

    Moody Writing

  2. LOL, Mood. I guess I'd rather read guidelines because I've never been a fan of learning the hard way, but you're right not everyone's the same. This said, Stephen King can afford to say (almost) whatever he wants because he has a huge fanbase. Most writers are nowhere near his status. I believe he started out by keeping his mouth shut. Thanks for stopping by, Mood. I love your comments and always look forward to your input. Wishing you a lovely day, Jayde

  3. I have to agree with this advice, and thank you for it. It wasn't something I had ever even thought of until you pointed it out to me, but it just makes so much sense.

    Thanks, Jayde!

    Just 1 Writer

  4. I agree. We should all stick together and not down an author's work. Whether you like it or not, that author worked hard. And to give it one star is just rude. Awesome article!

  5. I have to agree. As sharp as Stephen King is with some of his jabs at other writers, he's not exactly trying to establish himself. I read a ton of books. But I only review the ones I like. Well ... unless the author is long dead ... :) Jane Austen here I come!