Why Book Reviews are Important to Authors

Chances are most people reading this have bought at least one book this year and read that book plus others you already had. Did you enjoy any of those books? And if so, did you leave review for the books anywhere? I’d say nine times out of ten, the answer to this last question is no. And I’d have to answer “no” as well. I’m just like everyone else in that my time is limited or I simply forget to write a review for a book I enjoyed. But I need to be better about leaving those important reviews at sites such as Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble and via social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Why are reviews important, particularly if you enjoyed a book? There are several reasons. Here are a few.

1. We live in a world where people are much more likely to vent online if they hate something than to post something nice if they enjoyed it. Sad but true. So if you have 100 people read a book and 98 love it but only the two who thought it was garbage post a review, guess what. People who come across that book on a retailer’s site are going to think it’s garbage. They won’t know about the 98 people who thought it was a wonderful story with engaging characters. Those negative reviews could keep people who might enjoy the book from buying it, depriving the author of sales that are necessary to help pay his or her bills.

2. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, authors look for good opportunities to get the word out about their books. Sometimes online advertising venues have requirements such as a certain number of positive reviews on retailer sites before they will even consider selling you an ad. The same is often true of book review sites, especially if those sites are popular and have a lot of clout among readers.

3. I feel like a larger number of reviews, especially positive ones, helps books get seen on sites such as Amazon.com. We authors have heard about the mysterious algorithms that determine which books pop up on things such as the “you might also enjoy this” suggestions, but we don’t know what aspects of our books are weighted more heavily than others. Visibility is important in a marketplace flooded with books, so every little bit helps. I have seen mentioned elsewhere that it takes 10 reviews on Amazon before a book can be added to those “also bought” and “you might also like” lists, so my goal is to have at least that many for each of my books. But the more, the merrier.

4. Word of mouth. If someone sees a positive review of a book and decides to give it a try, he or she might also enjoy it enough to not only leave a review but also tell their friends about it. We’ve all heard stories about how word of mouth sent a book from obscurity to the bestseller list. Sure, it’s a long shot, but it’s better than no shot.

Authors truly do appreciate the time and effort it takes readers to write and post reviews. We know your time is every bit as valuable as ours, so I for one would like to thank everyone who has ever taken the time to leave a review for one of my books. And if you leave one for any of my books in the future, I would be ever so grateful. And if you’d like to share this post via any of the social media below, that would be awesome, too. Thanks!