I periodically post a reminder to readers about how valuable their input is to the success of a book. Since my latest book, Gone But Not Forgotten, was published less than a month ago, I am acutely aware of the importance of reviews. A review can be as simple and easy as a reader giving a book a starred rating on Amazon, which can be done in seconds. I’ve read that it doesn’t even matter to Amazon how many stars a book gets, only that they get one.
I appreciate everyone who buys my books. I am touched when someone contacts me personally or on social media to tell me how much they enjoyed the story I wrote. But the hard truth is that this is not enough. Without reviews, there may not be another book, which is why readers see authors asking, sometimes begging for reviews of their books. Let me offer five reasons why.
- Writers and readers have an unspoken relationship based upon communication. The writer “gives” the story to the reader who “receives” it. This creates a circle of sorts. Without reviews, which can be formal or informal, depending on the form of the review and whether it is being done by a professional reader (reviewer) or a consumer of books, the writer is left in a vacuum, not knowing whether her book pleased her reader.
- Reviews provide visibility for books and the people who write them. If readers don’t know about a book or an author, they lose the opportunity to discover both, and the writer doesn’t get to connect with the people for whom she has toiled.
- Sales are what support writers and reviews help create them. Like it or not, money does talk. When readers see a review that demonstrates people are so excited about a book that they stayed up all night finishing it, it conveys excitement and may inspire the reader to purchase the same book (receiving). Sales are what sustain writers and allow them to continue writing (giving).
- A review can create trust in a book. Most readers know ‘blurbs” from other authors found on the cover of a book may be unreliable self-serving commercials. But when a large number of their fellow readers are saying a book is terrific, that the book is better than the author’s previous release, they tend to believe them. The more reviews, the more trust, the more sales.
- Books sold on Amazon benefit in a special way when they receive reviews. However the mysterious world of algorithms works, one thing writers do know is that if their book gets a lot of reviews (and not necessarily glowing ones), the book is given more prominence on Amazon creating self-fulfillment because the more prominence, the more sales.
Reviews from readers do not have to be long; they just have to be written or as simple as a starred rating. Writing a review for a book supports an author almost as much as buying her book.
So the next time an author says, “Please consider writing a review of my book,” please do.
C. Michele Dorsey is the author of Oh Danny Girl and the Sabrina Salter series, including No Virgin Island, Permanent Sunset, Tropical Depression, and Salt Water Wounds. Her latest novel, Gone But Not Forgotten was published by Severn House in July 2023.Michele is a lawyer, mediator, former adjunct law professor and nurse, who didn’t know she could be a writer when she grew up. Now that she does, Michele writes constantly, whether on St John, outer Cape Cod, or anywhere within a mile of the ocean.