I love reading books. I read a lot. In fact, I usually read one or two books a week. I’m also friends with a lot of avid book readers. But there is one thing that baffles me every time I hear it – it’s when those friends say something like this:
“I loved this book! It’s one of my favorite authors! But I don’t want to leave a review because I can’t formulate my thoughts well enough for it, or I’m afraid that I would make too many grammatical mistakes, or because it takes too much time.”
I’m sad when I hear that, because the BEST thing you can do for that author that you love so much (after buying their book legally of course) is to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book review sites for other readers to see.
You see, the publishing world is not what it was even 10 years ago. Putting a book for sale on Amazon is incredibly easy now – takes less than 5 minutes. So there is a literal sea of new content being put out there every day. And that book that you absolutely loved is just one tiny fish in that sea, easily overlooked by readers browsing for their next book.
So how can you help the author get more sales, which means she or he will get paid enough to write another book? By making their book more visible to potential buyers. And one easy and free way you can do that is by posting a review.
Reviews are important because, at least on Amazon, they increase the visibility of the book. The more reviews it has, the better are the chances that it will be included in the different lists or the “also viewed / bought” tab.
With so many books clamoring for my attention every time I go on Amazon or in a book store, I ALWAYS read a couple reviews before I decided if I will spend some of my hard earned money on a book or not. And I don’t only read 5 star reviews either. I usually pick up one 5 star, one 3 star and one 1 or 2 star review to make up my mind. Which should tell you the reason why all sorts of reviews matter.
That’s why authors are so desperate for reviews, and that’s why reviews are so hard to come by because most of the readers think exactly like the example above.
For some reason, a lot of people still think that only professional book bloggers / book magazines can write reviews for Amazon and other sites. This is so not true! Most of the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads have been posted by normal readers like you and I who loved a book (or hated it, or just thought it was so-so) and took the time to drop a line or two and give it a few stars.
Yes, a book review doesn’t have to be a detailed analysis of the plot and characters that’s over 1k words long. It can be as short and or as long as you want. You liked something about this book, right? Or you didn’t like something, that’s okay as well. So write about that! ALL reviews are important and useful, as long as they’re honest.
If you are still unsure of whether you should leave a review or how to approach it, here are a few tips:
- Write about the book, not the author. Never get personal in your praise or your critique. Never treat this more than a fictional story you read.
- Be honest. Write about what you liked or didn’t like about the book. Leaving a glowing 5 stars review on a sub-par book will actually do a disservice to the author in the long run. Others will read the book as well and might not be as forgiving, so your review will attract more negative attention then positive.
- Avoid spoilers. Maybe there is a plot twist you absolutely loved in the later part of the book, but don’t mention it in your review. You don’t want to spoil other readers, do you? You want them to reach that point and be as blown away as you are.
- Don’t worry if your review doesn’t look professional. So what if you didn’t structure you sentences properly or made some spelling and grammatical mistakes? You aren’t writing a dissertation or an article for New York Times. You are just sharing your opinion with fellow readers.
So now that you read all this, how about you go to Amazon and Goodreads, open the page of the last book you read, and leave a review? Share your love by helping the author get more visibility.
One thought on “Help the Author – The Importance of Book Reviews.”
Thank you for this! I have been tearing my hair out since my book
“The Raven Watched” was published in the fall of 2014 because so many people have told me exactly what you quoted… they have read the book and say they enjoyed it, but when I ask them to please submit a review/feedback on Amazon or Good-reads they even say they will, but then it never appears…
The other part of this is people who get the book but then never get around to reading it at all. But I can understand that. I don’t always get around to reading every book I buy immediately either.