Getting Reviews

I’m not an expert on how to get reviews, but I did track down two useful blog posts that I think are worth looking into:

Ten Crucial Tips To Help You Get Your Book Reviewed  by Shelli Johnson

and

Seeking Amazon Book Reviews?  Don’t Ask Your Friends (5 Suggestions of What *to* Do) by Chila Woychik

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Word of Mouth Will Always Be the Best Marketing Tool Out There

Now that I shared the links, I’m going to offer my opinion about reviews.  I don’t believe reviews are as important as we’ve been led to believe.  I think authors stress out way too much about getting them.  You want to know the single most important marketing technique you can use to gain readers?  Word of mouth by people who don’t know you.  But the problem is, that is something you can’t control.  That’s why it’s not a popular thing to talk about.  We talk about “luck”, but you know what luck is?  It’s people talking about your book and recommending them to friends.  It’s word of mouth.  That is the magic ingredient.  You can’t buy it.  You can’t spam for it.  You can write the best book possible and polish it up, but ultimately, it’s out of your control.

A Lot of Readers Don’t Review Books (And I Don’t Blame Them)

There are a lot of people who don’t review books, nor do they care to.  And who can blame them?  Reviews are questioned.  Sometimes they’re removed.  If it’s a positive review, it “must have come from a friend or the author himself”.  If it’s negative, it “must be a jealous author or there’s someone out there with a personal vendetta against you”.  If you review a book, you’re likely to get a slew of commenters arguing with you.  Since when should reviewers have to be questioned for leaving their opinion on a book?  There’s no reason why a reviewer should be attacked, but I see this behavior happening at an alarming rate.  So I don’t blame anyone who decides to not review a book.

Embrace a Variety of Reviews

And what kind of reviews do you want to get?  Would you be happy if you get a few 1-star reviews “warning” other people not to waste time on your book?  I think what authors mean when they say they want reviews, what they’re really saying is they want praise.  They want reviewers to build them up in hopes of other customers being so impressed that they will buy the book.  But do a slew of glowing reviews sell books?  No, they don’t.  They are not the magic ticket.  I’ve seen a lot of books with all glowing reviews or mostly glowing reviews that don’t sell well.  I’ve seen books that have a 3-star average that sell much better.  Sometimes when people don’t like your books, other people are attracted to it.  Yeah, it stings when you get reviews saying your book is bad and why.  But potential readers who aren’t in your target audience need to know what someone else doesn’t like about your book.  Why waste someone’s time if they aren’t going to be interested in the kind of book you write?  There is no one book that fits every reader.  The best reviews are the ones that state specifically why the person did or did not like your book.  There’s no sense in glowing praise or attack.  Just objectively stating the good and bad is best.  So embrace the good, indifferent, and bad reviews.  A balance will serve you better than 100% praise.

Let Reviews Come In At Their Own Time

I do see value in having book reviewers reviewing your books.  They have an established presence and are known for reviewing a variety of books.  So I think contacting them (and going by their guidelines) is a good idea.  But I wouldn’t stress trying to have X number of reviews within a month of publishing your book.  Let reviews build up naturally over time.  I think having them trickle in here and there will benefit you in the long run.  I know some people are in a hurry to sell books so they want as many reviews as possible in a short amount of time, but there’s value in being patient.  Building a business takes time.  While there are a couple of authors who become big successes within a year, realistically, the odds are stacked against you.  Slow and steady still pays off.

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Anyone else have tips to offer on getting reviews or ways to think of reviews?

59 Comments

  1. jennpower says:

    A lot of great stuff here. I also couldn’t help making a comparison between book reviews and comments on blogs. A lot of the same things could be said about people viewing blogs. Don’t freak out if nobody visits, it takes time, people may visit and not comment, it doesn’t mean they don’t like your blog, it just means they would rather read than discuss- which is okay too. I like your posts. I think it’s a great idea for a blog- really helpful for new authors.

    1. Excellent point about the same being true for blogs. I know it’s easy for some authors to get discouraged by lack of reviews on books or lack of comments on blogs. I think most people don’t review or blog because they don’t know what to say. They might like what they read, but it’s hard to add to the discussion if you can’t come up with more than “great book”. LOL I have a terrible time knowing what to say, too. So I sympathize with people who aren’t sure what to say about a book or blog post.

      1. Lack of blog comments bothers me MORE than bad reviews. LOL. However, I’ve noticed I’ve had a lot more “likes” and people signing up for my blog recently. There are some people who “like” my blog every time I post but never say anything. So don’t think people aren’t reading just because they aren’t commenting.

        1. Sometimes when I like the blog post, I want to show my support but have no idea what to say. 😀 I think people like it to show they read it and enjoyed it but couldn’t think of anything useful to add.

          1. This is exactly why I *like* blogs – so that people know I’ve read all the way to the end, even if I have nothing interesting to say in the comments. I get frustrated at the slow build of my blog and my book reviews but I’m rubbish at going out there and reviewing/commenting all the time too.

            1. Blogs are nice. They are great for getting to know other people. 😀 I’m glad there’s the “like” option on the blog posts so I can give my support when I don’t know what to say in the comment section.

              I understand your frustration at the slow build. Sadly, it’s harder to gain momentum now because there are a lot more people self-publishing. I’m not sure what I would do if I were starting out today. I guess I’d mingle on forums, engage with people on blogs, develop a couple of friendships, do some Facebook (not a lot since that site gets addicting with the cute pictures, funny stuff, and games), and keep writing. Back in 2009 when I started in ebooks, the big thing was the stigma with self-publishing so you expected it to be a long, tough road. Now it’s popular to self-publish and it’s hard to wait for things to gain momentum. I can’t believe how so much has changed in such little time.

  2. Rohan 7 Things says:

    I haven’t even read the links yet but I love your thoughts on the matter! I admit that I do stress about reviews. I see books with huge numbers of reviews and I think “what am I doing wrong?”

    Maybe they are hustling really hard for reviews, because as you say it really is a small minority of readers who leave reviews.

    Your post gives me more confidence in my model. I don’t like to hound people with my books, or for reviews so I think I’ll just use the techniques that suit me and let y review build naturally over time 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, really appreciate it Ruth!

    All the best 🙂

    Rohan.

    ps. I’m in no hurry. I see my writing and publishing as a 5 year process (and beyond), slow and steady is where I’m at 🙂

    1. I think it depends on the author in some cases. Some authors ask their fans for reviews when they publish the book. Some might enter people in a giveaway in exchange for a review. Some offer free copies in exchange for reviews. How some authors get a lot of reviews (like 20 or more in the first week the book is published, I don’t know unless they have a large fanbase that is excited about their book and the author requested a review from that fanbase.) I don’t see anything wrong with asking for reviews or offering free books in exchange for reviews as long as the author allows the reviewer the freedom to give their honest opinion. 😀

      There are questionable ways some authors get reviews. I chose not to focus on those in my blog post because I want to keep things going in a positive direction and don’t want to get into the “so and so” did this game.

      The good news is that the amount of reviews you have doesn’t equal how well the book sells. I mean, over time the more you sell, the more reviews you get, but I know some authors who sell very well (one made well over $300K last year–I’m nowhere near that) and they have 20-30 reviews on books that have been out for a year. There are some books that have the same amount of reviews in a couple months that don’t sell anywhere near the first group.

      It’s all a process. 😀

      1. Rohan 7 Things says:

        Thanks again for sharing this knowledge, it goes a long way to easing my review anxiety haha. Sometimes I long for the days when you could just go into a book store and make up your own mind about a book just from the back blurb and a little sneak at the content. No star ratings, over the top glowing reviews and people ripping the author apart. Sigh haha.

        But times have changed. Yes, I do offer my book for free to bloggers who wish to write a review, and I do ask for an honest review. Also that they disclose that they received the book for review. So my reviews are made up of those and the readers who have taken it upon themselves to write a review.

        It’s good to hear that number of reviews does not have a scientific correlation to sales. And WOW $300K, I’d say that author has really put in their time and energy into building their readership 🙂

        Thanks again Ruth! This blog is a fantastic resource. Oh and guess what, today I released my first fiction novel 🙂 Just thought I’d share that, it’s a big deal for me. I’d only written non fiction before now.

        All the best!

        Rohan.

        1. I know what you mean about missing those days. It’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it? I mean, it was also a time when you could focus more on writing instead of going out and hopping on social networking sites. There are pros and cons to both worlds. 😀

          It sounds like you’re doing everything right.

          The author who made at least $300K (I know she made at least that much but not exactly how much) also had a slew of 1-star reviews, too. She took a hard hit on a couple of her books but still prevailed. This gives me hope that even though some people hate the book, the story can still succeed with other readers. It helps to see books do well even if they don’t have 145 reviews with a 5-star average. 😀

          Congratulations on your first fiction title! I’m guessing the way you market for that is different from non fiction.

          1. Rohan 7 Things says:

            Yeah, there’s pros and cons alright. I mean back then an indie author couldn’t sell their work on a digital platform to millions of potential readers either! Got to take the bad with the good 🙂

            I received a really harsh, spiteful review on one of my books last month and I definitely saw an effect on the sales of that book. You just have to take that kind of thing into account, and in the end a few negative reviews at least shows that there are those who love it and those who don’t 🙂 That’s always the way it is.

            Gosh, to be honest, my goal over the next couple of years is to make even 10% of that author’s annual income! And I feel that the way I’ve been going, and with the books and strategies I have planned, that it’s a realistic target 🙂

            Yes, obviously those who read my non fiction don’t necessarily like my fiction and vice versa, so my marketing is slightly different for each type. However there is a fair amount of cross over, and overall I reach a greater audience by publishing both types of books. As of right now I have 2 non fictions and one fiction published. And I only really started taking my blogging and self publishing seriously in October last year. I have a very long term plan with many more books in the pipeline, I didn’t get into this for “over night” success 🙂

            Rohan.

            1. I think your 10% goal is very realistic. I love your strategy and your approach to this. You have a great business sense. 😀

              Do your non fiction and fiction titles share something in common? You mentioned the cross over, so now I’m curious.

              1. Rohan 7 Things says:

                Not really to be honest! My non fiction is on practical philosophy, health and well being, and the fiction (which I co wrote with my brother) is straight up sci fi action/adventure, with only a hint of social commentary and philosophy.

                It’s just that some sci fi fans are also into their health/well being/personal development, and some of those who are into my philosophy/metaphysics/health stuff also enjoy a bit of fun fiction 🙂

                It reminds us that people are complex, with a wide variety of tastes and preferences. And the more topics and style we can comfortably write on/in the better.

                Thank you, that’s really encouraging to hear come from you! I’ll keep at it and keep in touch, I’m loving the journey 🙂

                Rohan.

            2. Thanks for sharing your experience with how your non fiction titles has offered you some cross over, even if the two aren’t directly related. There’s often a question about how well you can use the same author name to write in a variety of genres. I’m in favor of one name just because it’s hard enough to promote one author name out there. I tried to maintain two names and finally gave up because I couldn’t handle the increased work load. In cases of erotic fiction, I can understand why authors would take on a different name. I’ve heard of teachers who got fired for writing that genre. But for most cases, I think an author can find a cross over where readers who enjoy one genre will buy the author’s other genre books. It’s nice to see how that has played out for you. 😀 Granted, you’re talking non fiction and fiction, but I don’t think that’s too different from two separate fiction genres. I might like romance and read them, but my second favorite genre is horror. I don’t write horror, but I’ll read romances and horror, though I don’t care much for paranormal romances. So I usually do straight romance or straight horror.

              1. Rohan 7 Things says:

                Yeah I think that other than erotic fiction it’s probably best to keep all your writing under the same name, especially in this age of search engines and social media. Must be a nightmare running two sets of social media pages! Also if someone searches my name they’ll get everything. They’ll find what they’re looking for but might also be interested in the other things I have to offer 🙂

                That’s interesting. Yeah I have pretty broad tastes, in modern fiction I like horror and sci fi, I also read a the old English, Irish, American and Russian classics.

                Would you ever try writing horror? Might be interesting to make a departure. And I’m sure your experience writing romance would ensure that there are strong interpersonal relationships in the horror story.

                Rohan.

            3. Yep. You just never know what will appeal to someone. I think having everything in one place is a great idea.

              I love your range of interests. It’s been a long time since I read any of the classics, but I did enjoy them back in high school and college (this was outside the classroom). I think I’m better off for having been exposed to the classics.

              Sometimes I think I’ll write a horror with a strong romance in it, but then I think of all the books already in my “to write” pile that I have a demand for from my readers and put the horror novels on hold. I really wish we had more hours in the day. 😀

  3. Great advice. I’m still in the ‘take reviews personally’ stage, but I’m getting better. I think a first-time author needs to get used to it because nobody really goes in with impenetrable skin. For getting reviews, I’ve found that talking to other authors and trading books for honest reviews works. It borders on asking friends for reviews, but I’ve found that other authors tend to be rather honest with their reviews.

    1. I don’t think there’s any way to avoid the stage where you take reviews personally. I think we all go through it. It’s painful. There have been times I was ready to give up because of them. I suggest keeping a collection of positive reviews, emails, and comments you get on social networking sites. I even hung up one email that said, “I hope you continue the good work you’re doing.” It was the word “continue” that pulled me through many trials.

      I think exchanging reviews is fine as long as people are free to give their honest opinion without retaliation. The only time I worry about exchanges is when authors feel obligated to say good things in hopes of getting a good review or because they’re afraid they won’t get good reviews if they don’t praise the other’s book. It takes mature authors to handle honesty. 😀

      1. Right on, Ruth. God bless.

      2. I agree about the honest reviews and think retaliation is a risk, but I think it does bring a level of support too. I ask for honest opinions and give my honest opinion. Though, as I’ve said a few times in the past, I can control people only so much until my telepathy kicks in. 🙂

        The worst review I’ve received is from a person who couldn’t make it beyond the first 20 pages. There was a comment that told me to change my style for the sequel or I’m not going to make it, but I’ve started focusing more on the positive reviews to keep me going. You can’t please everybody and most people review when they’re either excited about a book or despise it. It’s rare that a person reviews a book that they simply enjoyed instead of finding phenomenal.

        1. Very true about people reviewing if they’re excited or disgusted about the book. It seems that some level of passion (good or bad) is a big motivator. There was one review I got that gave me a good star rating but specifically pointed out what they didn’t like in the book. Overall, they enjoyed it, but there was an element that bothered her. I really valued that review because it told me what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. It was specific. (In this case, strength was storytelling but weakness was historical authenticity. So I started doing more research. :D) Anyway, I think an objective honest review does help us become better writers.

          Comments regarding style isn’t helpful. Style is your author voice. It’s what makes you unique. In my opinion, it’s something that people will either like or won’t, and since it’s subjective, I don’t see the point in changing it. Your style is how you’re comfortable telling the story. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether the book is polished or if the story was great. (And I was told back in 2009 in an angry email that as soon as word of mouth got out about my horrible writing style, then people would never read my books. I kept writing in my style and found people who like it. I wouldn’t worry about the comment you got on style. :D)

          1. Thanks. I’ve been stressing about my style for a few days now. Your words and experience really do help me feel better. Glad to hear about successful authors who stuck to their guns.

            1. It helps to know others have gone through it, too. I wish that someone had shared their experience with me back then. 😀 I thought I was the only one who went through it. Later on, I realized it was common with other writers. That’s why I love talking to other writers. Things are easier to deal with that way.

              1. I greatly appreciate it. 🙂

    2. You have to be a bit careful getting other authors to do reviews – especially on Amazon. Someone I met on Twitter purchased and reviewed my book without any prompting from me – gave it a lovely five star review without my knowledge – and I never got to read it because Amazon pulled it immediately. They have a rule about authors reviewing books in the same genre as they write apparently. I was gutted as it was my first amazon.com review and my first (and only) five star review. Sigh. Back to the waiting game! 🙂

      1. This is true. Amazon is going after authors who review books. I heard Amazon bought Goodreads. I wonder if that policy will transfer over there. I know Amazon meant well when it started cracking down on people who were abusing the review system, but it’s a shame when innocent people have to pay the consequences for what others did. I hope more good reviews come in for you and that these are from readers.

        I’ve been writing reviews, but sometimes I wonder if I should stop because I am a writer. I’d hate to think I was wasting my time stating my opinion about a book.

  4. dm yates says:

    Thank you. I like what you said and the 2 referenced blogs.

    1. Thanks! Those were excellent blog posts. I couldn’t have said the stuff better than those authors. 😀

  5. I rarely even check my reviews anymore. It’s funny, I went to my books on Apple, which I’ve never really done before since it was hard to do without an iPad. So I took a look at the Apple store from my iPad and found that my books had better reviews on Apple than on Amazon. I had never really thought about that before, but it made me smile. LOL. Still, I don’t put a lot of stock in reviews because books are so subjective, and people complain about the stupidest things sometimes. When I look at books to consider buying, the reviews are only important to me if there’s something obviously wrong. Like glaring typographical errors. The story is subjective…the errors are fact (unless the reviewer is lying, lol).

    1. My Apple reviews are often better (overall) too. I think more games are played on Amazon than elsewhere, though B&N did have its round of people using reviews for chatting they were doing. I use reviews to figure out if there’s something in the story I like or don’t like. When I hear a reviewer claiming there are grammatical errors, I look at the sample. Some reviewers think they know grammar but don’t. I had one who claimed I had errors. When I asked her what those were, it turned out she was wrong and I was right (according to the grammar book). So I take complaints about grammar with a grain of salt. I’d say it’s half the time the reviewer is right, though, so the sample is important to get a good feel for the book. 😀

      1. Yep, if I’m interested in a book I ALWAYS read a sample.

        1. I wish more people would. How much disappointment could be avoided simply by checking the sample.

  6. Remember, too, if people ask you to review their book to make sure you establish a criteria about that, such as I will give you an honest review. Also, keep in mind reading and reviewing a book takes time and cuts down on your writing time. Before agreeing to do it, you should be sure you have the time to do it. Once an author I did not know approached me about reviewing his book, I told I did not have time to do something thorough but would scan his book and give him an honest review. He never followed up on that. Many potential problems are averted when up front you tell the person, if asked to review their book, what you will and will not do. God bless.

    1. Good points. Reviewers who blog reviews have their criteria and will only accept books that meet those criteria. There’s no reason why authors can’t do the same thing. And there’s also no reason why you can’t say no. Writers are busy people. The next book won’t get out there if we don’t write it. 😀

  7. I agree that reviews don’t always lead to great sales, whatever the review is. In fact, I’ve seen some really great blockbusters recently, and they’ve been badly reviewed in some of the magazines I read. It’s strange but it’s true.
    Still, I wouldn’t mind a couple of good reviews on some of my work.

    1. I think a mix of good and bad reviews helps more than all glowing ones. I’ve found that sometimes the reason someone hates a book is why I’ll like it. I am so grateful that people have a variety of tastes. 😀

      A couple of good reviews never hurt. I don’t blame you for wanting some. See if some book review blogs will read your work and review it. If you target book review blogs that like books similar to what you write, you might stand a better chance of a good review. it’s not a guarantee of a good review, but I found if you get in your target audience, you increase your chances of a favorable review.

      1. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks.

  8. This is awesome! Thank you! This was like a balm to my troubled author soul. So many good points and I agree with all of them and take some of them to heart so that I can stop stressing. I’ve sort of stopped pursuing reviews lately because it’s a lot of work and they take a long time to come out and yeah…this does seem to be a slow business. That’s hard for a fast paced person such as myself, but I’m trying to be okay with it and your piece just brought that home to me. Patience! And write another book! 🙂

    1. Patience is hard. 😀 I’m also a fast paced person, so I know how hard it is to wait. I think that’s why having a list of small daily goals help. That way I don’t get caught up in the overall picture of where I want to be.

      Sending out book review requests does take a long time and is draining. I gave up on searching out book review blogs because of this.

      You’re right about this being a slow business. Sure, there are a couple of authors who hit it big within a year, but most of us will have to trudge along and make progress one step at a time. 😀 it also doesn’t help that sales can be like riding a roller coaster. Great one month, depressing the next… The only thing I’ve found to help overall is getting the next book out.

      1. Good Advice all. I do need to spend more time working on that next book and less on social media! It sucks you in though.

        1. Oh I know! Those pictures on Facebook and Twitter and the jokes pull me in for at least an hour. 😀

    2. “Patience and Write another book”! I think that’s going to become my motto. I was thinking only yesterday – I miss just writing every day without worrying about Twitter and my blog and sales and reviews and all that. I’m not saying I’m not happy to do it, but it’s the difference between being newly married and having kids. Back then it was just *us* – me and my book, sitting in coffee shops alone and figuring things out! Now we’re interrupted all the time and never seem to finish a conversation.

      1. I have thought this same thing so many times! You said it so perfectly. I miss that excitement and how easy it was to write. It’s harder to write when you think about sales and social networking. 😀

  9. lornafaith says:

    I needed to hear this Ruth…as it’s the reviews I’ve been worried about;( It seems like getting reviews for a book must be a little like getting comments on a blog….slow and steady. …Meanwhile I’ll keep writing 🙂

    1. It doesn’t help when marketing gurus tell you to get reviews to help promote your book. I don’t agree with some things marketing gurus say, and this is one of them. I don’t like the idea of sending out cold emails to people you don’t know to get reviews unless they are people who have book review blogs. What I like about book review blogs is that the person will list what they are looking for, so you know right away if they are hitting your target audience. 😀

      Anyway, it does take time to get reviews. I have some books out from 2009 and 2010 that only have 20 reviews and some more recent ones that have more. I suspect that after you’ve built up a readership, you end up getting more reviews sooner with new books. I’m guessing this is because you have a better chance of getting reviews when you’ve reached a larger group of people.

      Hang in there. I know it’s frustrating at times.

  10. thecoffeefox says:

    “Word of Mouth Will Always Be the Best Marketing Tool Out There” I agree. This reminds me of last week at work. We had a customer come in to pick something up but it wasn’t ready yet. This customer is talker, so I kept him busy while my co-worker rushed to get his purchase. It turns out that this man reads the type of stuff I write. I don’t have anything out yet, but when I do this guy a member of my possible audience…and he likes to talk. Marketing in action. 🙂

    1. He’d be a great asset. 😀 On a whim, I handed my kid’s bus driver one of my books when I realized she liked to read romances, and since she’s very outgoing, she went all over town and told everyone about my books. I never expected her to do that, but it was flattering to find out she influenced a few people to buy my books. I think word of mouth is a powerful tool because other people do a better job of making our books sound exciting than we do. I know it’s easier for me to describe someone else’s book than my own. (It’s why I hate writing book descriptions. LOL)

  11. Reblogged this on Sarah Solmonson and commented:
    Really interesting post about reviews. I’ve read so much about needing to acquire reviews but never the possibility that reviews could either hurt or make no impact on sales.

    1. I haven’t seen any proof that a lot of reviews leads to more sales. There are too many books with a lot of glowing reviews that just haven’t had the kind of sales other books with less reviews (and some not glowing) that sell better. I think a couple of objective and well thought out reviews (explaining what they reviewer liked or didn’t like) goes a lot further than a bunch of 5-star reviews saying nothing more than “couldn’t put it down; loved everything about it” type of reviews that don’t really say anything. I think if a review hurts sales, it’s because the people who checked out the review didn’t like some element in the story and the review warned them not to waste their time on it. For example, I prefer sex in romance novels. If I see a review that tells me it’s a “clean” romance, then I won’t buy the book. I’ve been warned to avoid something I don’t like. There are many other reasons why someone might not buy a book based on a review. If someone doesn’t like adultery and there is adultery in a book, then a 1-star review warning potential readers of adultery will help those people avoid spending time on a book. So yes, in some cases reviews could hurt sales. But the goal of selling a book is to find the people who’ll like the elements in the book. 😀

      1. Ruth – I agree completely with what you’re saying about quality vs. quantity reviews. I also agree that our friends and family can be unintentionally dangerous when they leave obviously biased reviews; they’re trying to help us because they’re excited, and at the end of the day, we need to be grateful for their time and support. A bunch of I LOVED THIS BEST BOOK EVER!!!! doesn’t mean much to me when I’m searching for a book. I’ll skim over those. However, if the reviews are quality and mention specifics, I pay closer attention. Amazon reviews may not directly lead to sales, but indirectly, products with more reviews are more likely to appear in the “customers who also bought” lists, which increase the likely hood of sales . I think that there are quite a few people who base their purchases completely on user reviews. Lucky for us there are a billion people buying, reading and loving books, whether they share the love in the form of literal word of mouth or a few stars and a nice write up on Amazon. 🙂

        1. I hope Amazon allows people to rate books without writing a review. Not everyone knows how to explain why they liked or didn’t like a book. I know I struggle with knowing what to say when I review a book. I understand why people sometimes just say “I loved this book!” and I don’t fault them for it. I just hope that authors don’t stress over trying to get a lot of those types of reviews. It’s okay to have a variety of reviews, good and bad. I know the bad ones aren’t what we like to hear, but I think they give a balance to the book and help our target audience find us. 😀

          I have heard of sites that will promote books with a certain star average, and I’ve heard that it can be applied toward customer also boughs, but I tend to sell more books with a 3-star average than a 4 or even 5-star one. I think it goes hand in hand with sales. The more sales you get, the wider your reach is, the greater your chances are of finding people outside your target audience. Also, the reverse is true. You have a better chance of finding people in your target audience.

  12. I agree! I’ve had good and bad reviews, and used to consistently send my books from a small publisher into reviewer sites, and had some good reviews back. But reviews are honestly only personal opinions, and they’ll vary. Years ago I had one reviewer email me and say she loved my first three books (sci-fi/futuristic romances) but hated the fourth so much she couldn’t bring herself to read anymore of my books. That same book she hated won a Top Pick Award at another website. And I can’t say those reviews actually resulted in increasing book sales that much when I look back on it now.

    I’ve only sent my self-pubbed books to a couple of sites. I rely more on sales than reviews.

    Personally, I don’t really go by reviews when buying books myself. I don’t even visit review websites much anymore. And you know, you might get one or two reviews for every, say, thirty people who read your book and don’t comment. I don’t comment on every book I read, but I will post a review at Amazon or Smashwords if I buy a book and I’m really impressed by it. Those same books I mention in my monthly newsletter and in the yahoo reader groups I belong to, as well as Goodreads.

    I totally agree with Ruth Ann. Word of mouth is the main way books sell. One reader who likes it, mentions it to another, then another, and so it goes on. Another big thing is writing – write write write and get those books out there. The more books you have, I believe the more you’ll sell. You need to be ‘seen’ on those book sites, be they brick and mortar, internet, or both.

    1. They are personal opinions. I love how the book one reader hated was the one that got the award. It’s an excellent example of just how subjective taste is. 😀

      I completely agree about writing more books. It’s the only thing that we have control over. And the more we write, the more likely we are to find a plot that appeals to someone who might not take a chance on the other plots we used. I know I tend to lean toward certain plots more than others but have liked an author enough to read plots I usually wouldn’t have picked. I think writing more books is the smartest move an author can make.

  13. I’ve stopped reviewing unless I can give the book at least four or five stars. I don’t have the time to write a lot of reviews and would prefer to stick to reviewing only books I really liked.

    1. Same here. I know some people criticize it when people only review books they like, but I figure if we’re the ones giving the reviews, then we can do it the way we want to.

  14. I also don’t take offense if someone doesn’t like my book. They can comment, hate it, like it…unless a reader emails me personally, I don’t reply. I figure readers have the right to post their opinions. The only time I get a little hurt, is when it’s downright nasty and not a true critique. That goes for any review I read about anyone’s books. Nasty reviews leave a bad taste. Thoughtful reviews, be they bad or not, can be interesting.

    1. I agree. There’s no reason why anyone should get nasty in their reviews. When I see those reviews on other authors’ books, I shake my head and roll my eyes. I’ve had to stop myself from commenting several times on reviews like that. I figure I’ll probably do more harm to the author than good. Even if I don’t know the author, it’s hard not to stand up for them when you see a review that is downright rude. But being an author, I think that puts me at a disadvantage because it looks like I’m a friend of the author (even though I’m not). There are times when I wish I was just another reader.

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