You might be wondering, why I am on such a harangue about reviews? Every day it seems review requests bombarded me for a review for whatever I bought online from screwdrivers to mixed nuts. It is annoying, to say the least, so I am of two minds about asking for reviews myself.
I hate to admit it, but reviews sell books. Do reviews also sell mixed nuts or screwdrivers? Maybe. If you are like me when you go into a bookstore, no matter the size, you are a little taken aback by the sheer amount of books available for sale. Five years ago, (latest stats I could find) roughly 850 books were published a day in the United States. That is some serious glut on the market!
The chances are good that you have bought at least one of those books in the last year. And most likely you read that book and possibly others as well. Did you enjoy any of them? And if so, did you leave a review for the books anywhere? I’d say nine times out of ten, the answer to this last question is no. Before I began my career as a writer, I’d have to answer “no” as well. Now, I make it a point to review books because I know how important it is an author. That, by the way, doesn’t mean I like reviewing books. Writing reviews requires a thought and time, but I do it anyway.
Why are reviews important, even if you didn’t love, love, love a book? There are several reasons. Here are four:
- 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. 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 move on. They won’t know about the 98 readers 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.
- 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 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.
- A larger number of reviews, especially positive ones, helps books show up on sites like Amazon. Booksellers have mysterious algorithms that determine which books pop up on lists such as the “you might also enjoy this” suggestions. I read that it takes more than ten reviews on Amazon before a book can be added to those lists, so a minimum goal is ten to have any book. Visibility is important in a marketplace flooded with so much competing merchandise, so every little bit helps.
- Word of mouth is important. If someone sees an honest 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.
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. I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to leave a review now or in the future, I would also be so grateful. If you’d care to share this post via any of the social media below, that would be fantastic, too!