Think Like a Tipper

Lately, it has occurred to me that reviews are like tips for authors. My older daughter works for a steakhouse chain. Sometimes she works as a server, and sometimes, she’s that adorable young woman with the curly space buns and smiling eyes (since her actual smile is appropriately hidden behind her mask) who brings your food to the car. Since she took this job, we’ve had many discussions about tips, mostly about people’s failure to give one. Maybe they don’t realize the people serving them or bringing food to their car in the snow or rain only make a little over two dollars per hour without tips. Maybe they just don’t care. In any case, all the talk about tips combined with my new adventures as an author made me think of all the ways book reviews are similar to tips.

I think most people assume authors must be wealthy, but most of the authors I’ve met are just like me...working hard to make ends meet each month. Reviews can make or break the success of an author just like tips determine whether servers make a successful income. Tips can also give their beneficiary a way to measure the effectiveness of their performance. Likewise, reviews help authors know what you like and don’t like so they can provide more of what you want. So, the next time you read a book, try to think like a tipper.

Star ratings should be expected like the minimum acceptable tip, but reviews are better. The length of a review doesn’t matter. Length is like the number of bills in a cash tip. Quality wins over quantity. One twenty is appreciated much more than ten ones. “Great book” and “loved it” are nice, but “fast moving plot with well developed characters” is so much better yet still keeps it short and easy. If you really love a book, then go for the outrageous tip, the one everyone talks about. Leave a detailed review sharing all the reasons you enjoyed the story. Your words may be exactly what helps your favorite author keep writing. Authors spend months stressing over building a world for you to get lost in, consider taking just a moment to leave a few of your own well crafted or heartfelt words when you finish each adventure.

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