Reader Reviews: Why They Matter

Jacqueline SeewaldMultiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Fifteen of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise including books for adults, teens and children.

Her 4th Kim Reynolds mystery The Bad Wife was published by Perfect Crime Press both in print and as an e-book. Death Legacy, originally published by Five Star/Cengage in hardcover and praised by Booklist as well as Publishers Weekly, now has an e-book version.

Luminosity recently published Dark Moon Rising, a Gothic romantic suspense mystery thriller. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies such as: The Writer, L.A. Times, Reader’s Digest, Pedestal, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Over My Dead Body!, Gumshoe Review, The Mystery Megapack, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

Her writer’s blog can be found at:

As a reader you might think that your opinion of a book or short story you’ve read doesn’t matter, but you’d be wrong! Not only does your opinion matter to the author but it matters to other potential readers as well. Writers who can’t build a readership because they remain unknown are likely to become discouraged and stop writing. So if you do respect and/or enjoy a book or short story, voice your opinion. Give that writer some encouragement and publicity. Amazon is one place to do it and so are Goodreads and Library Thing. But there are many other sites as well.

The Bad WifeFor those authors who are published in print, major editorial reviews only matter as much as they do because the reviews offered in such publications as: The New York Times Book Review, Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus etc. are what acquisitions librarians consider when they place their orders. Librarians are often referred to as gatekeepers, but this is not quite true. For the most part, just a few publications control what books will be purchased worldwide. But these review pubs merely voice the opinion of single reviewers, and these reviewers don’t know more than the average person in regard to what should be available to readers. If a book gets a rave or starred review from these all important publications, then in essence that is what readers will find available in libraries and bookstores.

Unfortunately, a great many fine, quality books will be ignored and get no reviews or publicity because they aren’t offered by the big publishers who heavily advertise. It appears that the major review publications give special preference to the publishers who advertise with them—not at all surprising. Readers should check out some of the internet review sites for buying recommendations. Also, why not request that your library order books from smaller, independent publishers that you think might be a good read?

The internet is now offering readers real alternatives. This is wonderfully democratic. A great many small independent publishers are making a variety of books available to readers. If you read a book you like, speak up and be a reader reviewer. Tell other readers why you would recommend a particular book. Write and be counted! Your opinion matters! But one caution: take this as a serious responsibility. Of late, it has been noted that some individuals bash books, sometimes books they haven’t even bothered to read. This is highly destructive, much in the way that hackers attack the internet. So be a responsible reader reviewer and help others make good choices.

The Devil and Danna WebsterI greatly appreciate the reader reviews my Clean Reads YA novel The Devil and Danna Webster has so far received. I hope for many more now that the book is available in print as well as all e-book formats.

Just republished in all e-book formats is Stacy’s Song. A somewhat different version of this novel was originally published by L&L Dreamspell in 2010. It was well-written and well-edited and received excellent editorial reviews at the time. Unfortunately, L&L folded due to the untimely death of its co-publisher. Stacy’s Song received short exposure. I’m happy to say Clean Reads Press has now published this orphaned novel.

Stacy's Song

I’ve rewritten and updated Stacy’s Song and Clean Reads provided exacting editing plus original cover art. So what was a fine novel is now an exceptional one. All that’s needed now is you the reader to play the most essential part. I hope you decide to read this coming-of-age YA novel which is also a romance. Give it to your teenage daughter, nieces, granddaughters etc. And if you like what you read, please review it!

Your thoughts and comments most welcome.