Life Cycle of Book Reviews


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Book reviews. Such an essential part of an author’s existence. They give an author validation and confidence, and they can make the author feel like utter failure. But I have noticed certain patterns with the life cycle of reviews.

Book release! Yay!

Here’s when you get a solid number of four and five star reviews. This is so great! These reviews come from fans, friends, family, and fellow authors the author is in contact with. They also come from carefully selected reviewers who were approached before the release with ARCs. All of these people went in with a desire to read the book. Yay!

Soon we see the slammers…

Yes, with all this positive attention, the trolls emerge. They see a high rating, and pick it up in search of a way to pick it apart. Yes, people do this. It’s crazy, but that’s life. An author is best ignoring these reviews, and taking them as proof that the book is getting enough attention to attract those wanting to tear it down.

Around this time too, the Netgalley reviewers start rolling in. In Netgalley, these reviews seem to come in extremes. They love it or hate it. I honestly think trolls patrol the site, but luckily, more honest people head there than they do. I’ve picked up some beloved reviewers through Netgalley.

After about 3 months…

Things start to stabilize here. you get the mid range reviews of three and four stars, while still getting five stars and the odd two. Usually by this point the one star hate diminishes.

After 6 months…

If things are still rolling nicely, these reviews usually stay at 3+ star ratings, and very few are people connected with the author in any way. Rarely are they from requests or Netgalley.

What are your observations and experiences with reviews?

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 10,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook or at her own blog.

2 Comments

  1. Katie, I’ve wondered about Netgalley as well. At least I’m used to reviews now–would hate to have dealt with the trolls the first time around. If these readers hate books so much, why are they part of Netgalley? Oh well.

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    1. I think they’re just looking for something to pick at. Usually, if a book’s description doesn’t appeal to me, I don’t read it. And if I end up not liking it, I try to be nice about it. But, some are probably there to get their free read and don’t really care about much else. That said, I have picked up some awesome readers from Netgalley who have read every single one of my books. So, with the bad, you get great readers too.

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