The world of reviews has changed a lot over the past several years with the cutbacks at newspapers and the advent of the internet. And particularly since Amazon started encouraging customers to post reviews, and reader community sites like Goodreads became popular, and book lovers discovered blogging.
But it kind of amazes me when authors get up in arms about "unprofessional" reviews on Goodreads or amazon.
My take on it is that Goodreads is primarily a social networking site for readers. Some of the reviews posted there are very professional and thoughtful, but some members just put their thoughts, whether or not they're coherent. And that's okay. In fact, it's great.
The way I see it, Goodreads is a place where people who love books can meet each other and share ideas and talk about the books they love and hate. Facebook for avid readers, if you like. As an author, I can't see a downside to this. I think it's awesome. Sure, some people on GR have posted some negative things about my 2 books that are already out in the wild and I'm sure the same will be true for my upcoming releases, and I'm not going to pretend I'll enjoy that. But again, it comes with the territory.
Similarly, customer reviews on e-retailers like Amazon.com, B&N.com etc. are there to boost sales. Retailers know that prospective customers are more likely to make a buy decision for a product if they can read reviews or see ratings from others who've bought it before. In fact, consumers are skeptical of products with no ratings or conversely exclusively high ratings.
Are all of those reviews on e-tailers' sites well thought out? No. Are all of them even relevant to the book? No... But again, as frustrating as it is to read the bad ones or the ones that complain about the cover or the shipping or packaging or other things that have nothing to do with the book, I think overall it's great for authors that these online retailers let prospective customers see which books many people have bought and liked (or hated). And let them give feedback for the books they've already bought.
So, with a new book coming out, I'm simultaneously excited and terrified that people are (I hope) going to be reading and reviewing it.
And speaking of that... Drumroll... I'm doing a Goodreads giveaway!!!
Tell your friends to enter.
Add my book to your shelves. :)
And, oh, you could also pre-order it if you're so inclined.
Then, after you read it... review it. Please. Even if you hate it. I mean it. Really.