do you review?

Do you shop on-line? I do! One of the greatest benefits of doing so, in my opinion, is the opportunity to read what fellow shoppers love (or hate) about a product. It helps my decision to know if it delivers on its promise. After all, I’m buying something sight unseen, and I need all the facts I can get before adding it to my virtual cart. Naturally, I scan comments to find what pertains to my specific concerns (who has time to read every one?), but what I really watch for are the in-depth reviews. You know, those that explain why something is good rather than just saying “it’s neat-o”.

Well, as a writer, reviews are equally-if not more-important! Of course, I love to hear how much someone “enjoyed” my book or “couldn’t stop reading it”…such feedback brightens the dreary days of writer’s block and lack of motivation. But, to be honest, the comments I truly thrive on are those which go a step further. When someone takes the time to provide honest and constructive insight into how they viewed my book, I get a greater idea of what I’m doing right…and where I’ve gone wrong.

Case in point: I’ve recently received reviews from complete strangers and though their comments weren’t entirely positive, they were more beneficial than most. Not only did they take the time to write, they made the extra effort to give concrete examples of what worked and what could be improved. Never once while reading the reviews did I feel a need to explain or contradict. Instead, the clarity and intent of their words were like little pieces of gold. I so enjoyed the suggestions for plot, characterization, and technique that I read, and re-read each one, eagerly searching for additional ideas. They were so well-written and perfectly on the mark, I wondered if they were fellow writers. It doesn’t really matter, though. The messages were received…and ingrained into my approach of future works.

So, the next time you love, hate, or even feel wishy-washy about something you’ve bought on-line (books included!), consider making the time to offer a thoughtful and detailed review for your fellow consumers out there in cyber-land. I guarantee they will appreciate it, but I can also tell you from experience the seller (or creator) will embrace the opportunity to offer you a better end-product in the future!

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