But there is another side too, and that is (unsurprisingly) finally being a published author. I will not lie, I regularly check reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I'm fairly certain that the good reviews there were significant in convincing several librarians to stock my book in their systems. (I don't know for sure, but if they did any research at all, they found good reviews).
I'm a fan of 'show not tell' and living by example. I mean, I write a blog so sometimes there just has to be some telling involved (like right now), but I really can't expect people to write reviews for my books, if I don't try and at least do a few reviews for the authors in my own life. Of course it is easier to do reviews for authors I don't personally know, because then I feel less awkward about identifying any weaknesses in the story.
I've also found it interesting to compare how people rate books on Goodreads and Amazon. Amazon is a commercial service, and the stars are overall geared towards measuring how happy customers were with their purchase. A reviewer can 'like' a book, but give it four or five stars because it was worth the purchase. However, on Goodreads an average book is only going to get about three stars, as the rating system is presented differently:
1 star - did not like it
2 stars - it was okay
3 stars - liked it
4 stars - really liked it
5 stars - it was amazing.
I do appreciate that Goodreads actively assigns a specific reaction to each star, as I feel it makes the rating system clearer and less arbitrary. Also, in general, in Goodreads reviews I get more of a sense of "here's what I did or didn't like" in a more critical manner, whereas on Amazon the reactions are often less analytical and more 'loved it, good purchase' or 'horrible, don't bother'. This makes sense, of course, because Goodreads is specifically a community of readers and Amazon is specifically a (non)-community of purchasers.
Anyhow, it's been interesting to reflect upon and analyse these differences a bit over the past year.
By the way, if you haven't had a chance to read "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" yet and would like to get your hands on a Kindle Version for 99 cents, sign up for my quarterly newsletter (or keep an eye on this blog!). I've got a sale coming up very soon, but it'll only be lasting for a couple of days, so you'll want to be ready to buy!