I had a discussion with a fellow artist not that long ago about why we do what we do. This person was not a writer, but their particular medium of art was also one where reviews are an important part of success. Our lengthy discussion revolved heavily on gaining enjoyment from seeing others appreciating our work.
Afterwards, on the train, I was looking through some of the reviews I have been lucky enough to receive and found myself feeling exhilarated. The profound truth is that though you may make a sale, or have someone download your work for free, you will never truly know whether they liked it or not unless they write you a review.
What is it that drives people to write reviews? I still don’t really know the answer. I know that I have only recently taken to writing reviews and much of that is driven by my own desire to receive reviews. I like to think of it as good fortune. If I give a little out into the world, perhaps I will gain a little back.
A review to an artist is a confirmation that what they are pursuing is worthwhile. That it means something to someone. Even if it is a bad review, we at the very least know that someone read or listened to our work. And we can learn from the criticism. This is the only way we will know as artists, what people like, and what they do not like.
So I encourage you all to take five minutes when you read a good book, listen to a great song, or watch a great film, to write a review. Or even just click a box to give that piece of art a star rating. The artists appreciate it more than you could know.
I’m much the same as you. I didn’t leave many reviews before I began writing seriously and thinking ahead to the time I myself would need them. Until you’re on the other side of it, it’s difficult to realize how important those reviews really are, in so many ways!
Hopefully you helping out others will flow back to you in more reviews of your work!