“I wanna have pride like my mama had, but not like the kind in the Bible that turns you bad.”
— “The Perfect Space” by The Avett Brothers
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Most of us aren’t prideful people, though we take pride in certain things like our work ethic, kids, etc. And most of us can eat humble pie when we need to.
And yet … there’s something about asking for book reviews that feels all slimey and icky and, I dunno, kinda like prostitution. Why? I don’t know. I should probably see a shrink about that issue (and my odd aversion to round things, but that’s another story). I’ve seen authors hold contests for those who leave reviews, comment on positive reviews, outright beg on Facebook, etc. These are all risky practices, IMO.
The point I’m eventually getting around to is that authors–especially indies who don’t have a huge powerhouse (read: money) behind them–need book reviews. We need them bad, like wine and Cheez-Its at the end of a long week. We need them at the point of purchase (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc.); on blogs; and on Goodreads.
I’m especially fond of that last one because every time someone reviews my book, it pops up in their Goodreads news feed. All their friends see my cover, even if they don’t bother to read the review.
If the person who reviews my book on Goodreads is my friend, I can “like” their review, and my “like” shows up in my feed, so all my friends can see it, too. Sometimes they then “like” that review, as well, in a show of support and guess what? Their “like” shows up in their feed for all their friends to see. It’s a domino affect.
Do these reviews and likes guarantee sales? No, probably not, but it does make sure my story isn’t getting dusty because no one’s reading it. It puts my name out there, plus the covers of my books. (And let me tell y’all, I’ve got some damn fine book covers! <—There’s that pride thing.)
Marketing wisdom says someone has to see a product a certain number of times (seven?) before they finally remember it and/or decide to make the purchase.
That’s a lot of “likes.”
Points of purchase
Reviews on Amazon help a potential reader decide if they want to take a chance on that title, plus, if the review is relatively descriptive and readable, it prevents a reader from picking up a book that really isn’t their thing, and they won’t leave a bad review. See how it’s symbiotic? Let’s all take a moment to scratch each other’s backs …
I was fortunate to get a pretty solid number of reviews on Goodreads when my first book came out, most of them positive. Those numbers have declined with subsequent releases, and I’m not sure why that is. What I am sure about is that I’m grateful for each and every review, good and bad. There’s nothing better than clicking on a review and seeing that person’s friends commenting with things like, “Oh, sounds interesting!” or “I’ve been thinking of reading this. Since you liked it, I’ll give it a try” or even, “I don’t think this book is for me, but I’m glad you liked it.”
So please, if you’ve read someone’s book, leave a few lines to tell others what you liked and what you didn’t like. And yes, it’s perfectly fine if a book wasn’t your cup of tea. It would be nice if you refrained from completely trashing a book (and attacking an author personally is never good form), but trust me, by the time one of our books hits the public, we’ve gotten LOTS of criticism. We can handle it.
Question: What motivates you to leave a review of a book?
Yes, yes, and yes. I agree with every word. 🙂 I try to encourage my friends and family to review the books they read, especially if they like them, but few do. Some don’t appreciate the importance of leaving a review, others don’t know what to write, and the rest simply say they don’t have the time.
Jennifer Douglas said:
As a literary agent who supports indie authors I agree with all you write. Book reviews = exposure! exposure! exposure!
I couldn’t agree more with everything you write. I feel totally gross seeking reviews, reminding friends and family to spread the word about my work, etc. If I only had as many reviews as I’ve had folks come up to me and tell me they love my book and can’t wait for the next one…