To Review or Not To Review…

Reviews are not easy for most people, even if they’ve liked a book. Professional reviewers and bloggers follow a format…they tell what the story is about and then they say what they liked or didn’t like about it.

But reviews don’t have to be long or follow a format. Sometimes my reviews of other people’s books are brief and to the point, maybe a couple of paragraphs. When I don’t have time to review, I leave a rating.

Why are reviews and ratings important?

Retailers like Amazon count them—yes they do—and will sometimes recommend your book with similar books under the “Customers who bought this book also bought” and “You might also like” section of a popular book’s page, but only after 20 to 25 reviews or ratings. They don’t even care how many stars are shown.

Exposure increases sales. Despite the number of stars awarded, if an author gets 50 to 70 reviews, the book often will be featured in Amazon’s newsletter and they will promote it. Other retailers follow these same guidelines.

Visibility equates to sales. Reviews help other readers decide if they’ll plunk down their $2.99 for an e-book or more if it’s a paper copy or a very popular author. It also gives the author feedback on what you liked about the book or what you thought could have been handled better. Trust me, we want to know.

It’s hard to write a book. When it’s finally out and it sits there with less than ten reviews, it’s discouraging. My first book had 18 reviews and 34 ratings. The second one had 47 reviews and ratings. But I had help. My publisher had ready-made fans of the genre who buy all their new releases. Sometimes a 99-cent release price helps, but not always. You Were Mine at Merlot, my first self-pubbed book, had a 99-cent price the first week and wound up with eight reviews. And I was grateful for them.

Reviews for all genres, whether you read thrillers or women’s fiction or books on politics and economics, can make or break a book. Even a great book will remain at the bottom of the list if nobody knows about it. So even if you don’t review, but liked a book, tells someone. Word of mouth is good advertisement, too.

And please fill out those ratings and award those stars. Click “Follow” under the author’s picture on their book’s page. Your author will thank you.

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