When a person is employed, usually the employer has some format in place to assess the performance of the employee. For most of my career with the LAPD I received a yearly Performance Evaluation Report. A few years ago, they scrubbed the old format and came up with the Standards Based Assessment. It doesn’t matter what the department calls them – the officers just call it a rating report. When the rating reports were changed to the Standard Based Assessment, the idea was the report would more accurately document the individual officer’s performance…without any subjectivity. There were, basically, three levels of evaluation an evaluator could choose for the various categories of job performance: Needs Improvement, Meets or Sometimes Exceeds Standards, and Greatly Exceeds Standards.
But the problem is, no matter how many check boxes you put on a form, the person who is ‘checking’ those boxes is using their subjective opinion. There is a section where the rater can add comments and usually, those comments reflect the rating of the officer. Frankly, I wasn’t too concerned about my Performance Evaluations (or my Standard Based Assessments either). I worked as hard as I could and did the best job that I could – no matter what my assignment was. I hoped that my supervisors and commanding officers recognized how hard I was working, but the truth was I knew I was doing a good job and I was able to collect my paycheck without reservation. (There were people I knew who should have been paying the city <g>).
But now I’ve started this new career as an author. There isn’t anyone who will be giving me a written evaluation of my work product. Basically, I have to rely on my sales…and reviews. But for those of you not in the ‘writing arena’, you would be shocked at how few readers actually write a review for a book. Currently, I stand about tied between book reviews and fan letters I’ve received. I love to interact with my readers (so keep those e-mails coming). But I’d also like to know how to generate more reviews from people who’ve purchased and read my book.
I’m not alone. Many writers sing the same song…How do I get my readers to leave reviews? And what we mean is, if you bought your book via Amazon, leave a review on the book’s Amazon page. Same goes for Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords, or whatever retailer you purchased your book. You might also be surprised to know that authors don’t necessarily expect you to gush about their book. They’d rather have the truth than some overblown piece loaded with dozens of adjectives. Of course, if you hated the book, you can say that – but even if that’s the truth, usually, you can find at least one thing to mention that the author did well.
So, if you are mainly a reader: Do you write reviews for books you’ve read? If not, why not? Do you write fan letters to the author? If you are mainly a writer: Do you solicit reviews from readers? Do you like getting fan mail? Dumb question I know – but I have found some authors who don’t like interacting with their readers. One thing I can tell you. My work ethic hasn’t changed from one career to the other. As a writer I still work as hard as I can and do the best job I can – no matter what aspect of writing I’m doing. I hope my readers and peers recognize how hard I work, but the truth is I know I’m working hard and writing the best stories I can, so I’m able to collect my payment without reservation. Until next time, KMA367