The answer to that question is as varied as the people asking it. The bottom line is, a review is not only gold to an author, it is a valuable nugget for the reader as well. They provide the author with validation that someone besides friends and family appreciate their efforts. Even if the review is less than three stars, it is still beneficial, because, one, not everyone is going to like a specific book, and, two, maybe there is an area to improve upon.
There are literally thousands of new books released each month. When a reader wants something new, they typically start with authors they know, then move to someone they haven’t read before, relying on recommendations from friends, social media or suggestions from online retailers like Amazon to tempt readers with new selections.
Fine, but how do they know what selections to tempt them with? Simple: Algorithms. A fancy word for numbers. Numbers that are derived from multiple places, one is which is reviews. And it’s numbers only; not what you said or how many stars you rated it; just the fact that a review was posted. The more reviews a book receives, the higher up the food chain it goes and Amazon will then boost it with promotion.
While Amazon is not the only spot to place a review, it is the largest. Others like Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and Goodreads are also great places to post a review. Reviews don’t have to be a dissertation; they can be as simple or as in depth as you want them to be. Below are some tips to help you the next time you go to write a review:
1. It is not necessary to purchase a book from Amazon (or any other retailer) to leave a book review.
2. Reviews can be posted at any point, months or even years after you read it. There is no deadline to post.
3. Reviews can be long or short; doesn’t matter. You can say something like “I loved the book and can’t wait for the next one” or go into detail about what you loved.
4. By the same token, if you really didn’t like the book, take a moment to let the author know. Contact info is pretty much standard today and an email to say what you didn’t care for could help the author going forward.
5. When leaving less than 3 stars, Please. Be kind, not hurtful. “I couldn’t get into the story” or maybe “didn’t care for this or that character” versus something like “this is crap.”
Writing is hard work. Rarely does it flow like a mountain stream. It takes months or even years to get a quality, finished product to market. And once it’s there, it takes more time and effort to promote. Most readers, myself included, rely on reviews to help us select our next favorite book. Are they the final determining factor? No, but they are extremely important.
So, the next time you reach ‘the end’ and sigh a contented breath because of the joy you found within those pages, take two minutes to post a review. Who knows? That may be the reason the next person picks up that book.
On behalf of writers everywhere, “thank you for your reviews.”
Awarding winning author Dana Wayne is a sixth generation Texan and resides in the Piney Woods with her husband of 39 years (and counting), a Calico cat named Katie, three children and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks at book clubs, writers groups and other organizations, and is a frequent guest on numerous writing blogs.
Her debut novel, Secrets of The Heart, was awarded Best in Texas, Contemporary Romance, 2017 by Texas Association of Authors, was a finalist for the 2017 Scéal Award for Contemporary Romance, a Reviewers Top Pick and on the Top 10 Books to Read This Winter from Books & Benches online magazine. Her second novel, Mail Order Groom was released in April, 2017, received 5-Star Reviews from Readers Favorite and Books & Benches online magazine.
Affiliations include Romance Writers of America, Texas Association of Authors, Writers League of Texas, East Texas Writers Guild, Northeast Texas Writers Organization, and East Texas Writers Association.