“Usually, I wait for a book to be out for a while before I read it and review it.”
I said that in a recent blog post, and it inspired a few emails. Some people wanted to know why I wait to decide to buy a book. Others want to know the process. Here are the answers to both questions.
Why I Wait for A Book to Be Out for a While Before I Buy It and Review It
Does this sound familiar? You see some great reviews for a new book. So, you buy a copy and start to read it. But the book isn’t nearly as good as the reviews. Not even close. What’s going on?
The Hype Machine and New Releases
Portrait photographers use lighting to make their subject look as good as possible. Authors and publishers do the same thing with news releases. They crank up the hype machine for a new release.
Members of the book’s “launch team” fill social media with praise for the book. Book reviewers tell you what a great book it is.
Many times, bloggers copy each other. It’s like the dogs in my neighborhood. Sometimes, a dog barks because all the other dogs are barking.
Early Reviews are Almost Always Great Reviews
Read the blogs touting a new release. Read the “reader’s reviews” on Amazon. In the beginning, they’re almost all positive.
Many early reviews are done by the members of the book’s launch team. They’ve committed to promoting the book and one way is to post reviews. Other reviews are posted by the author’s family, friends, and fans. They’re almost all positive, too. In fact, they very often say not much more than, “Another great book from this author.”
Wait for the hype to die down and the family, friends, and fans of the author to move on to other things. Then conduct your due diligence. Here’s how I do it.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
I don’t have as much reading time as I’d like. I want to put it to the best possible use. I’m more likely to buy books that I will read and profit from if I wait until the hype machine sputters to a stop.
I try to wait at least three months. Most often, I buy books released five or six months ago. That’s time for the hype and silliness to die down and for reviewers to include people who aren’t fans of the author.
I only consider books that have at least 25 reviews. Anything less than that, and I don’t get a good impression of the book. If a book has been out for six months and only has a few reviews, I think many readers abandoned it but didn’t write reviews about it. In practice, most of the books I choose to read have more than 50 reviews.
I only consider books that have an average of four stars or more. Makes sense. If a book doesn’t rate at least four stars, it’s probably not going to have the value I want. In practice, most of the books I review have considerably more than four stars.
The statistics alone aren’t enough. I want to read what actual readers said about the book. I choose to read three and four-star reviews because they tell me what’s good about the book and what could be better.
You’re more likely to buy and read high-quality books if you avoid the hype that comes right after a book’s release. Wait a few months. Consider only books that have 25 or more reviews. Don’t consider any book with less than four-star quality on average. Read some three and four-star reviews to get a sense of the book’s strengths and weaknesses.