Ask any author and they’ll probably tell you that one of the scariest things about publishing a book is waiting for those first few reviews to come in. What will readers think? Love it? Hate it? Be completely indifferent?
Reviews are exceptionally important because they are our feedback from our customers. I read every single review I receive on Amazon and positive ones absolutely make my day. They’re like a warm hug, a thank you, and a dollop of motivation rolled into one. They inspire me to keep writing.
Negative reviews…. well, I’m sure you can imagine it’s not a warm hug I get from those. Occasionally (rarely) I might pick up something constructive from a negative review that makes me think, but more often than not, it’s just an angry rant and often feels quite personal. Cue tears and reaching for the chocolate.
At the start of 2020, I had a writing goal to get 100 reviews on one of my books. At that point, I already had about 95 on the original version of New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms. When Boldwood relaunched it with a fresh edit and makeover in February, I knew it wouldn’t be long before that goal was achieved. The rest of the series – and the other books due for a makeover – all had about 30-45 reviews each so they were a little way off that goal.
What I didn’t have was a goal to get 1,000 reviews. Definitely not on my bucket list. Not a goal at all. Why? Because, just like a book of mine going into the Kindle Top 10, it felt like such an enormous impossible goal to achieve. Yet yesterday, Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes hit 1,000 reviews.
All weekend, it had hovered tantalisingly close. On Sunday night, I went to bed with it at 998. Surely it would be 1,000 by the morning given the rate at which they seemed to be coming in? I logged in on Monday and it was still 998. Then 999. Just one more needed. I couldn’t wait to grab that screen shot with a clean 1,000.
I never actually got it because, next time I refreshed my screen on the afternoon, it had jumped to 1,002. I’d done it! I’d achieved another goal that wasn’t even a goal! Woo hoo!
This morning, at the time of writing, Carly is at 1,014 reviews/ratings. 72% of these (723 of them) are 5-star and 19% (192) are 4-star. So that’s 915 out of 1,014 reviews or ratings (91%) that are positive. I’m so proud of that.
At the lower end, there’s only one actual 1-star review (plus 11 ratings) and it’s a bit mean: “The main character is ridiculous. Her sister is destroying her business, etc. etc. etc. I made it through one-third of the story and just couldn’t make it any further. When the main character has you rolling your eyes, page after page, I refuse to continue wasting my time with it.” Ouch! So it clearly wasn’t for that reader although it’s a shame she didn’t read on as she’d have found out the reason why Carly accepted Bethany’s behaviour but time is precious and why spend it reading something that you’re not enjoying?
For 2-star, there are three reviews (plus 12 ratings) and a couple of them do make me laugh because the reason for the 2-stars is: “Thinking about Christmas and it’s only September. Well, I realised that only after I bought this book…” and “Well, I think it could be worse. Thinking about Christmas and it’s only August. Well, the book will sit pretty on my wife’s shelf and not get read…” What part of a book called “Christmas at….” with a snow-laden cover including a Christmas tree and a blurb which begins “It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s December on Castle Street; the fairy lights are twinkling, snow has settled and the festive season is in full swing…” would make them think that the book is anything other than a Christmas one?
Let’s ignore those, shall we? An enormous thank you goes to Nia, my editor at Boldwood Books for the amazing editorial advice which took a good book and polished into a fabulous one which, in the space of only three months has reached 1,000 reviews.
As for the reviewers/bloggers/readers who’ve shared the book love, I am forever grateful. Please keep leaving reviews for authors whose work you love and we’ll feel those hugs, that motivation and that inspiration to keep going.
If you haven’t read Carly’s story, there are a phenomenal number of listening/reading choices:
- Download the eBook on Kindle, Kobo or AppleBooks
- Buy the paperback from Amazon, the Waterstones website or order it via any other good bookstore
- Buy the audio CD from any of the above
- Buy the large print version from any of the above, or borrow it from your library if they stock it
- Download the audio CD from Audible, Kobo, SCRIBD, AppleBooks, Libra.fm, or Chirp (USA only)
- Borrow the audio version from your library via the uLibrary app or Hoopla in the USA and Canada
- Stream it via Spotify, Deezer, AppleMusic and YouTubeMusic
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
It’s December on Castle Street; the fairy lights are twinkling, snow has settled and the festive season is in full swing.
For Carly, the owner of Carly’s Cupcakes, it’s the busiest time of year getting everyone’s Christmas treats ready on time. However with her clumsy sister, Bethany, as a co-worker, it’s proving a difficult task. They say you shouldn’t mix work with family. Maybe they have a point…
As Christmas approaches, Carly is also eagerly awaiting the return of her best friend to Whitsborough Bay. Liam has no idea he’s been the object of her affection since their schooldays. After years of pining after him, can Carly pluck up the courage to finally tell him how she really feels by 25th December?
Could a little festive magic make all of Carly’s wishes come true this Christmas…?
A heartwarming, short festive story of friendship and family from bestseller Jessica Redland. You can find out what happens to Carly next through exploring her best friend Tara’s story in Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café.
7 thoughts on “The one where I got 1,000 reviews. Woo hoo!”
Congratulations Jessica that’s awesome. The best news. Do you remember the time you weren’t sure if you should write any more books? I sure do. And I am so glad destiny too showed you the truth. You should keep writing always and forever
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Hey you, great to hear from you. Yes, I remember it so well. This time two years ago, I was probably at my lowest with my writing and questioning what on earth I was doing with my life. Tell you what, I appreciate the amazing things that have happened this year all the more for having hit such a low point. As they say, you need some rain to find your rainbow. I certainly found mine writing-wise this year. I hope I am able to write forever and that you’ll continue to love the worlds I create. Hugs to you x
Congratulations! Over 1,000 reviews is amazing. It doesn’t sound like you can get any constructive feedback from the 1-star and 2-star reviews–the book just wasn’t for the reader.
I haven’t read this book, but I hope to do it some time.
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Thank you for commenting, Satabdi, and for your kind words. I am fortunate not to have many 1-2 star reviews across my books but there’s definitely nothing constructive in any of them. As you say, it’s personal taste. I tend to find the 3 and 4-stars sometimes have a gem in them which gives some insight into what they would have liked to have seen to give a 5-star and I have acted on some of those. I hope you do get a chance to read Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes. You’ll have to let me know what you think if you do 🙂
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I’m going to make a concerted effort to leave more reviews. I’m too lazy about them, but if I was on the other side of the review fence, I’d be gutted not to receive them. I’ve found that every book I’ve read with ‘Christmas’ in the title relates precisely to …er….Christmas. It’s not rocket science. Some people!
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Ha ha. You’d think it would be obvious, wouldn’t you? Reviews don’t need to be long but are such a valuable way to say thank you to the author if you’ve loved a book and, as you say, you’ll definitely be wanting them when you’re published. I never left them pre-publication, not appreciating the importance. I went through a phase of retrospectively adding them in but I had to draw a line when I started to forget what I had or hadn’t read!
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[…] This is just a short post from me (for once!) If you want to read my original post about my journey to reaching 1,000 reviews, you can find it here. […]