The Importance of Reviews: Quantity, Quality, and Individualism

A review of  Gods From the Machine  taken from Good Reads

A review of Gods From the Machine taken from Good Reads

Today, let's talk about the importance of reviews. Not just the quality, but the quantity. And the importance of being an individual.

The most fundamental importance to all new and upcoming authors are the reviews. Much how terrible reviews from Yelp can either make or break a restaurant or a local business, the same can be extended to books. Good Reads, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, are just some websites readers use to gauge whether or not they choose to invest their time in a certain story. 

Back in the old days you could open the New York Times newspaper and flip through the pages and see a single review. Based on that you would go to the local book store and pick it up or forgo it altogether. Simple. In this day and age of modern technology people have an easier time reaching out to others, but this at the same time is the problem. The internet is flooded with word-of-mouth reviewers who believe themselves to be the next Ebert or Roeper of the novel world.

To the average person quantity is the new quality.

Going off the moviegoer analogy, take for instance popular movie review website Rotten Tomatoes, which pulls from several publications as well as the voices of the general population. People want to watch a movie that will seemingly guarantee to give them an enjoyable time instead of risk wasting money on a horrific viewing experience in a dark room for two and a half hours. That is reasonable and the main reason one should go to a review site and see what their peers have to say.

But be careful. Not all written is as it seems.

Let's get back to the books. Sure, writing one scathing review will turn off some of your friends and family from ever reading that particularly bad book. But what if that happened ten times, or a hundred? By then you couldn't pay anyone to read a book that poorly received. Is that fair? Perhaps yes and perhaps no.

The digital realm allows people the freedom to pick apart everything with less remorse than third grade bully, yet that is the problem. Sometimes an author has a different direction that isn't cookie-cutter and maybe that isn't for you, but that doesn't make it bad. Often times people jump on a bandwagon for fear of looking less popular and going against the grain, but I assure you that having an independent thought is what the world desperately needs. So the next time you want to read a book, pick it up and find out if that journey was worth undertaking by your own terms. Don't follow the herd. You're not a sheep.

Bottom line: review, review, review. But be honest.

Whether it's good or bad, people need to know. It also gives way for the creative to learn from their mistakes. And if they don't learn from their get the gist.