Why reviews matter to readers and authors.
More than one thousand books are published every week. With so many choices, readers search on the internet for books to read in the genre they like. They read reviews to get a glimpse at the story and how people feel about the characters. Reviews help the reader see how many people have read a book and help them to decide whether to purchase it or not.
It’s the same with movies. People look at the reviews to help them choose which movie or video to watch.
For authors, reviews give them feedback on how the readers feel about their book. The author can then use this to improve his writing. If the reviews are good, especially coming from someone not in the immediate circle of friends and family, reviews validate the author’s writing. Reviews also drive sales. Most avid readers don’t take a second look at books with less than 20 reviews. Amazon, who drives more than 70% of the book market, looks down on books with less than 100 reviews.
“A book without reviews isn’t necessarily a bad book, but it also won’t have the same appeal as a book that consistently gets rave comments.” Tucker Max, Scribe Media.
Types of reviews
Reader reviews are usually the most common.
Amazon requires readers to have an account and to have made purchases of at least $50 in the last 12 months to be allowed to post a review. If the reader got a free copy, it must be stated at the top of the review. Amazon has strict rules. A writer cannot pay a reader to post a review or promise a gift or other benefit. A family member cannot leave a review. Reviews that fits these criteria will be deleted by Amazon.
These are paid reviews done by companies or professional reviewers with established reputations in the world of publishing and are accepted by Amazon; for example: Reedsy reviews, Kirkus reviews, Online book club, Self-Publishing Review, City Book Review, BookBub, etc. They must be posted by the author in the Amazon Author Page in the Editorial Review section. Amazon will give the author specific instructions on how to post this type of review when asked.
It’s important to note that Goodreads, unlike Amazon, doesn’t require proof of purchase to leave a review and is an important source of information for readers.
Challenges the authors face in trying to get reviews
- Some readers do not have an Amazon account.
- Some readers don’t post a review right away and eventually forget about it!
- Some readers hate a book and want to post an honest review but hesitate because they don’t want to be considered trolls or disappoint a friend. If the book in your opinion isn’t good enough to get a 3 star review, you can just put it as DNF (did not finish).
Suggestions for authors
- Encourage everyone who bought a book to post a review by asking for one at the end of the book. On average, 10% of readers will post a review.
- Encourage fellow writers of book clubs, critique groups, writers with blogs, etc. to post a review after they read the book.
- Join a book review group such as Reddit, Book Sprout, BookRaid, Story Origins, Voracious Readers, etc.
- Use social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. to promote your book and ask readers to post a review.
- Anytime authors ask for a review on Amazon, they should include the special link for reviews. This will make it a lot easier for the reader. You must know the ASIN number for your eBook or the ISBN 10 for the paper book. (not the ISBN 13). The link is
At the end of the link, right after the equal sign, put the ASIN or ISBN 10 number. Always verify the link before you put it out.
Source:Dave Chesson, Reedsy.
Tucker Max, Scribe Media.
Alessandra Torre, Inker’scon.
Written Author Media.
author of I Am Sheffrou, An Alien Love Story.
Facebook: https: //www.facebook.com/alienlovestory
Cami is a retired physician who loves astronomy and science-fiction and fantasy. She published her first novel, a sci-fi romance, I Am Sheffrou, An Alien Love Story, Book 1 of The Sheffrou Trilogy, in July 2020. She is actively working on Book 2, Betrayal, The Color of Treason.