Why you should post reviews

People often feel uncomfortable writing reviews because they feel that they’re passing judgement on those who made the product or provided the service. They may also worry that if they post a negative review, they will get back negative comments from the person they reviewed.

Reviews are also clouded by the ways people misuse them. We’ve seen unscrupulous vendors post fake reviews to pump up their sales or discredit competitors. People also use one-star reviews to wage personal attacks on business people they don’t like or to make political statements.

But this doesn’t mean that your reviews aren’t valuable or needed.

Consumers make buying decisions based on your reviews. We recently had to get a plumber to fix a clogged shower drain, so I looked for one on Yelp. I read all of the reviews carefully. They showed me how well the plumbers did their job, whether or not they showed up at the appointed time, and their responsiveness in resolving any problems that happen afterwards. I look at the negative reviews too. I can tell if they are just rare complaints from disgruntled customers, or if there is a pattern of problems. With this information, I found a great plumber at the right price who was able to fix our problem.

As a writer, I look to your reviews for useful feedback to improve my writing. I can learn what you like and what you don’t. I also pick subjects to write about based on the number of times a post is read and what type of ratings you give it. And no, I don’t get mad if you post a negative review as long as it makes valid and honest points.

And reviews are also good for you as a reviewer.

Your honest and well-developed reviews establish you as an expert. People can depend on you for sound advice and recommendations. And learning how to give effective evaluations can help you in all parts of your life.

Post reviews, whether it is of my books, some other novel you read, or the restaurant where you had lunch. You will be doing the author or business person a favor, you will be doing consumers a favor, and you will be doing yourself a favor. When you write an honest and helpful review, you can give yourself five stars.

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