Why Reviews Are Important to Authors

Book reviews. They are important to authors. From accolades to one star they serve a purpose beyond feedback of a story. Reviews are an essential means by which authors can promote their books.  Without them, they are lost in a digital sea of ebooks or are collecting dust on a shelf.

Reviews are garnished in a variety of ways.  However, some retail venues, such as Amazon, can be a pain when it comes to receiving and keeping reviews.  Their policies go far beyond no family members or friends posting reviews. They are now targeting individuals who may interact with authors on Facebook or other social media platforms.  Big brother is watching.

Here is an eye-opening article regarding this problem.  On author forums, you’ll read plenty of complaints about disappearing reviews from people they don’t know personally.  A lot of book reviewers as well are getting nasty-grams from Amazon threatening to be blocked. These over-reaching rules go far beyond the purpose for which they were initiated to cut down on fake reviews. My gut feeling is that the independent author rather than the traditionally published author is the main target.  READ HERE – Amazon’s Review Policy is Creepy and Bad for Authors.

Beyond this challenge, reviews are integrally connected to marketing. Marketing is a pain. It’s expensive. It’s a time-consuming task. It’s necessary to get visibility in a saturated marketplace when you don’t have a mainstream publisher backing your book.

The biggest obstacle in releasing a new book is the lack of reviews that plague authors on Amazon for months on end. Without reviews, they cannot market. Without marketing, they cannot get noticed.  When you hear the best way to thank an author is to write a review, I sincerely hope that you will consider supporting the authors you read in this fashion. A few words and a number of stars help immensely to aid authors in getting noticed.

Did you know that after 20-25 reviews, Amazon notices and will include authors in the “also bought” list or the “you might like list” as you browse for books on Amazon? After 50-70 reviews, you might get an email recommending an author’s book to read based on your genre preferences.

You may ask — well why don’t authors pay for advertising? Authors do but are restricted where they can advertise because of lack of reviews. There are multiple places to market books. Some are as cheap as $5 a day to as high as $600 a day, depending on the marketing venue. Almost all of these advertisers have requirements that include a minimum number of reviews and minimum star ratings to be accepted. They either post it plainly on their website, or the marketing resource will check all your book ratings on Amazon, iTunes, Nook, Kobo, and Goodreads to see if you qualify.

BookBub is by far the best place to advertise, hands down but competition is fierce for placement from publishing houses to other successful independent authors. Only 20% of those who apply are chosen to run an advertisement.  Depending on the genre and if you advertise in the USA, internationally only, or both, costs can be astronomical. For a one-day historical romance advertisement, the fee is $640 for a book priced at 99 cents. The fee rises if the price is higher.  Results on BookBob are phenomenal but not cheap.

Remember the next time you read a book that the author is hoping for a review.  It can be a sentence or a multi-paragraphed discourse.  It brings feedback on the story, helps authors to get noticed, and makes them eligible to obtain advertising from third-party websites.  They also bring encouragement and advice on how to be a better author going forward.

If you don’t know how to write a book review, don’t worry.  You won’t get a five to one-star review in return for your effort.

Your Admin from Historical Romance Books