Book Reviews And A Whole Lot of Luck

Now available: The Undercity Series

I’ve been doing several book reviews these days.

Unfortunately, book reviews are not something I used to think about doing in the past.  When I have read a book or used a product, I may share my thoughts with a friend or in a casual conversation, but that’s about it.

These days, reviews–particularly book reviews–have become one of the most important parts of marketing success.  And the request for reviews or ‘how did we do’ surveys are everywhere, from retail stores who judge their employees’ performances by customer reviews to indie authors like me in their quest for book reviews in order to advertise their books.

This is how life works in the indie author world.

  • write book
  • edit
  • edit
  • edit until you can’t stand to read the dang thing one more time.
  • get cover
  • format book, which usually entails uploading it a hundred times until that little blip messing up the look goes away.
  • publish book
  • and now market…

Ugh.  Marketing.

Is it just me who thinks marketing is like slogging through a bog with a sack of ten cinderblocks strapped to your back?  Some days, I’d rather clean toilets: spray, scrub, swish and flush, and you’re done.

In the indie author world, one of the very first things you need is book reviews.  Why?  Well, here are some obvious and not so obvious reasons.

  1. People read good reviews or see lots of stars, they are willing to try a book
  2. People read bad reviews or few stars, they probably will stay away.
  3. Many advertisers require a certain number of book reviews to advertise a book.
  4. Many advertisers also require a certain number of stars.
  5. Those that don’t have any minimum requirements are still influenced by reviews and ratings.
  6. Amazon will not recommend a book unless it has at least 25 reviews.

In other words, book reviews allow an author to build their career.

Now, some people might suggest that a good book will automatically get reviews.  Well, speaking from my own personal experience this is not necessarily true.  I’ve read many books that I’ve loved and never once thought about giving a review.  I’ve also read many books that I’ve hated and not thought about giving a review either.

The main reason for this is simple. Aside from the fact that life is busy and filled with all kinds of details, I just never knew it was important. I never thought about the author behind the words trying to make the most of their creation and their career.

After all, I’m used to publishing companies and big name authors. In the grand history of books, the indie author is a relatively new beast now that the Internet is here.  Now, an author can self-publish and build their own career, but they still need help from readers to keep going.

So, if you read a book and enjoyed it, I encourage you to leave a review.  It doesn’t have to be a long book review.  Just a ‘this was pretty good’ and a star rating will do.  After all, no one can create in a vacuum.

Oh, and if you are looking for places to find some indie authors to check out, here are a few suggestions. Many of the books are free or on sale.

Know of any other sites that are great for finding books?  Drop a note and let me know.

Got a good book you’d recommend?  I’d love to hear about that too.

Spread the love, people.  Spread the love.


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  1. I think that number one and number two are assumed, but aren’t actually true in practice. A lot of reviews overall may make me consider a book because getting many reviews is difficult. It suggests hard work or a book that inspires reaction, which may mean something. But my non-writer avid readers know nothing about the Amazon rating system, and my writer friends who actually read a lot as well seem to agree that five-star reviews are fairly useless. I myself have never been convinced to buy a book because of a five-star review, but I have by a one many times.

    The five stars are usually vague, boring, and often insincere. It’s usually hard to tell if the reader really felt like it deserved a five, or just gave a review to be supportive, give a review swap, or was compelled by any other reason to not be truly analytical and give their honest opinion. You can’t use them to separate a good book from a “bad” one because every single book has between a 3.5 and 4.5 average.

    It isn’t even possible to take anything from the overall rating for that reason, so if your reviews are reflecting sales, it’s the information in them. Despite what many authors think, a bad review isn’t going to deter anyone unless it soubds credible, which means it points out actual problems in the book, or subjective points in taste, in which anyone deterred wouldn’t have like your book anyway.

    As an avid purchaser of self-published novels who finds reviews a small impact on my decision making, I always feel like authors who think bad reviews chase people away and good reviews bring people in don’t even try to use the review system to determine what books to buy. Your ideas on are point elsewhere, but I personally have yet to find bad reviews hurting an author more than they help them.

  2. Very informative!

  3. Im thankful for the blog post.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

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