Mussorgsky Mondays – The Importance of Reviews


If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few weeks, it’s the importance of reviews.

Even a decade ago, a review was for the most part done by professionals. The New York Times reviewed books, as did your local newspaper. Siskel & Ebert reviewed movies. Restaurant reviewers let you know where it was good to eat.

Times certainly have changed. We now have websites like Urbanspoon to tell us where to eat, Rotten Tomatoes to tell us what movies to see, and Goodreads to tell us what to read. And the big difference?

The reviewers are us. The consumers. No longer is a professional food critic/movie critic/literary expert the be all end all for us. We tell each other what we think, taking word of mouth online.


To a writer, a strong Goodreads presence is essential. People go there, as well as sites like Booklikes, Shelfari, and LibraryThing to catalogue what they’ve read and leave reviews for other readers. These are places where an author needs to be out there, but also watching their P’s and Q’s – folks on these sites love their books and love their authors, but if you’re an ass on one of these sites, people are going to hear about it. Here’s a link to another blog with 11 different alternatives to Goodreads (the industry standard, as far as I can tell).

Readers also leave reviews on websites where they purchase books, such as and Books-A-Million’s website. And then there’s the 800 pound Gorilla in the room.

That’s right.


Amazon reviews can literally be the lifeblood of a book. To get access to certain services like BookBub (a book promotion site) or others, you have to have a certain number of reviews before they’ll even consider your book, and often a minimal average rating. Again, writers need to be careful here, as you can comment on reviews (don’t) and muddy the water. Here’s a link with some suggestions of what to do if you receive a negative review.

Most of us buy a book, read the book, and either put it on a shelf or give it to a friend. The best thing you can do for an author, however, is take a couple minutes if you particularly enjoyed a book and log on to Amazon to leave a review. Honestly, even if you felt there were things the author could have done better, mediocre or even bad reviews are helpful in their own way. I found this particular article quite interesting. The other one I wanted to link to I just can’t find, but an author made a compelling argument that any review, good or bad, helped his bottom line.

***And now, a quick call to action. If you have read The Mussorgsky Riddle and have a moment, please log on to the book’s link on Amazon and leave a review. Most importantly, leave an HONEST review. If you didn’t like the book, that’s fine. Let me have it. I can take it. Seriously… 😉 I’m still trying to get to that magic number of twenty, (currently at thirteen) and every review helps. Goodreads, B&N, Books-A-Million, etc. are all helpful as well, but the Amazon reviews are where it’s at.

And while you’re at it, think back to the best book you’ve read in the last year and go leave a review for that author as well. It doesn’t cost you a thing, and might be just the thing their book needs. Unless you’re one of the big big big authors, every book out there is “The Little Engine That Could” and a little push up the hill is always appreciated.

By the way, this article deals mainly with the business of reviews. For me, to be honest, I just love to read that someone enjoyed the book, that someone identified with one of the characters, that someone found one of the little Easter eggs I left. I’ll likely write an article on that sometime soon, but for now, it’s late and my bed is calling to me. Have a great week everyone. Signing off and crashing in 3… 2… ZZZZZZZ…


P.S. A great big thank you to the fellow authors, book bloggers, and friends who have already reviewed the book on your various websites. Your kind words have warmed my heart numerous times over the last month. I’ve been collecting links to the various reviews on my website and squirreling them away like nuts for winter.


About Darin Kennedy

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