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Why Book Reviews are Important – Here are 5 Reasons

Being an author is no longer about just writing your story and letting others take care of it. Nowadays, an author has to be a marketer too. If you want to get your book noticed, you have to put yourself out there and market it, so that readers can see it. Every day, thousands of books are published, so if you just release your story and then sit back, chances are that no one is going to notice it. Writers know why book reviews are important, although there are other marketing strategies that are equally essential.

Why Book Reviews are Important - Here are 5 Reasons

The Importance of a Book Review

I am going to list the reasons here and then I’ll discuss them one by one.

Book reviews:

  1. increase an author’s visibility online
  2. include keywords
  3. recommend your work to other readers, possibly boosting sales
  4. most readers check reviews before they purchase a book
  5. can tell an author what readers are looking for or what they expect in a book

picking a book

1. Reviews Increase an Author’s Visibility Online

A book that has more reviews will get more exposure, not only to readers, but likely also to blogging communities and book clubs.

A well-thought-out review can point out certain interesting aspects of the story that are not mentioned in the blurb – without giving away spoilers, of course.

booksgosocial slow books sales?

More book reviews increase visibility online and can lead to book recommendations. Amazon sends out emails that recommend certain products, based on your search history. Let’s say you just finished reading “Divergent” and suddenly a new book pops up with the message, “If you liked this book, you may like this independently published book in the same genre.”

Those recommendations occur when the book in question has a lot of reviews.

2. Book Reviews Include Keywords

Every online entrepreneur knows the importance of keywords. This may still be a new concept to some authors, but keywords are also extremely important for book sales.

When you upload your book on Amazon KDP or other online book publishing platforms you are given the option to add keywords. You should give that part a lot of attention, since the right keywords can lead to more clicks on your link.

What will be a more successful keyword: fantasy or contemporary fantasy romance? You can dig even deeper and come up with a long tail keyword that provides more detail.

fantasy

When a reader writes a review, he or she may unwittingly add more keywords that will help people find your book.

For example: “I loved author’s classic crime tale. In a way it reminded me of the Columbo series with a touch of Agatha Christie. The main character is a sassy young woman with a mind of her own, a true modern-day heroine …” And so on.

I just invented this part of a review, but in here you have keywords such as classic crime tale, Columbo, Agatha Christie, and modern-day heroine. Anyone who is looking for a book by Agatha Christie might see this recommendation too. Who knows, but the possibility is certainly there.

detective story setting

3. Reviews Recommend Your Work to Other Readers

That goes without saying, doesn’t it? When I go on Twitter and I see the following:

twitter-book-review

I may be inclined to take a look at this. In fact, this is how I ended up reading most of my books over the last years, by seeing recommendations on Twitter. And seeing the amount of reviews this book has, it has a nice, increased exposure.

4. Most Readers Check Reviews Before They Purchase a Book

When I am browsing books on Kindle Unlimited or Amazon, I always look at the reviews. However, I avoid the ones that give away spoilers. When a book has many 4 and 5 stars reviews and a few 3 stars, and I am interested in the plot and genre, I will buy the book.

book fair

Be wary of 1 and 2 reviews. I do understand that sometimes products honestly disappoint, and so do books. As an author, though, I am also aware how much work goes into a book. It is not done in a day, not even in a month, and for most not even in a year. It takes time to write a story, get it proofread, edited, formatted, a book cover designed, and then finally released. It truly is a lot of work.

book-review

I have come across books I absolutely did not like and that I did not even finish reading, but I would not leave a 1 star review and hurt the author in that way. Perhaps I hate it, but someone else will love it. In that case, I would contact the author personally – if it’s possible – and let him/her know my thoughts.

There are what some call “book review trolls” who generously dish out 1 star reviews and write scathing comments everywhere. Most of these reviews were written by people who just picked a genre that is not for them or who base their review on personal preference.

mean

Negative reviews are, of course, also necessary – if they are called for – but they should be kept professional and focus on poor editing or weak plot, in this way offering the author the chance to improve on that. If you simply picked a book in a genre or topic you don’t care for, then do not hurt the author’s livelihood by trashing his/her hard work.

5. Book Reviews can Tell an Author What Readers are Looking for

Let’s look at this review here

lila-c-duville-pieces-of-my-soul-book-review

This book got 4 stars, which is excellent. The blurb states that this is the author’s first publication of poetry. For this being her first poetry book, I think that she received an amazing and honest review, which also gives her something to work with.

“Some poems could use a little more depth”. These words were obviously written by someone who knows about poetry, and this is good advice for the next bundle of poems, advice I’m sure the author will take to heart.

This one here below is a review of one of my books, and it also received a glowing 4 stars. The reader loved it (hooray!), but she did remark that my story had a little bit of a slow start. I actually like it when books build up slowly. I am no fan of books that start with a bang in chapter 1 and you have no idea who these characters are, what is going on and why they are suddenly in danger.

lucan-book-review-amazon

I do realize, though, that nowadays many readers prefer a quick start, and so I need to adapt a little, without losing my style, of course 😉

See, in that way, reviews can really tell an author what readers are looking for and they can work with that.

Final Thoughts

Book reviews mean the world to an author. It is always nerve wrecking when I know I received a review. Feelings  of excitement crash with eagerness, and apprehension. A roller coaster of emotions surges through many authors when they see that they received a new – and very needed – review.

anxious

When you read a book, please leave a review. It helps the author very much. A review does not have to be a long essay. It can just be a few excitedwords. Write why you liked the book and – if necessary – what the author perhaps could improve upon. If the book was perfect and it needs no improvement, by all means, write that too 😉 .

A book review does not have to be long, it can be like writing a Facebook status update 🙂 And you would really make the author’s day 🙂

Thank you for reading! Let me know if you have any comments.

 

 

booksgosocial slow books sales?

14 thoughts on “Why Book Reviews are Important – Here are 5 Reasons

  1. Hi Christine,
    Great piece of article educating people about the importance of reviews to the Author. I totally agreed with you that people should be professional when it comes to writing a review about a book, but I will like to mentioned based on my experience that some times people do leave 1 Star and a bad review trashing about the book because they made decisions about buying the book based on the previous 4 or 5 stars review only to find out that the book is all about upsell of the author’s other book (mostly in finance and business). I also agreed that it will be nice to contact the author in private first instead to destroy their reputation, which I usually do before putting my honest review when the author ignores or find a way to handle it.
    Overall, amazing post and thanks.

    V/r

    1. Hi Benson,

      It is certainly true that some 1 and 2 star reviews are honestly based on a bad or diappointing experience. It can happen, and in those cases you are entitled to leave few stars. I agree that a book should not be about an upsell for another book, that is not why you buy a book in the first place, you get a finance and business book to obtain information. So, in that case I can totally understand the disappointment. There are, unfortunately, also some bad review trolls who leave negative reviews that are not based on the product but on the wrong expectations, and they do unfortunately damage an author’s reputation. I can understand your point, though, and I agree with it.
      Thank you for your valuable input!

  2. Hi,

    It’s so funny you mention divergent because it’s actually my favourite book, and what inspired me to start writing. I totally agree with what you say- so much of readership is about word of mouth, and that’s how I end up reading most of the books I read.

    I very much agree with what you say about not leaving a review that hurts the author. We can be honest, whilst acknowledging that there is a base level of respect based on the fact that this is someone’s work. In the age of technology, words have the ability to help or hinder a persons work and career more than ever. Personally I love leaving book reviews as I massively enjoy the opportunity to geek out with other people about what I’ve read, and I almost always look at the overall review rating before I decide whether I will invest time and energy in the story. Speaking as someone who has less time to read nowadays (I used to pride myself on finishing every book I started based on principle,) I now essentially audition books for my time as to whether they can grab attention to finish them. Thank you for reminding me, both as a reader and a writer how much book reviews do, this was a really great post 🙂

    1. Hi Natalie,

      I have never read Divergent, but I think I am going to give it a try now 😉 I heard many good things about it.
      I can relate to not having much time to read anymore. It’s the same here. Although I love reading, and I used to devour several books per week, now I usually finish one book per week. I also like to leave book reviews when I finish reading, for the above mentioned reasons 😉 and I am always happy when one of my books receives a positive review 🙂
      Thank you for being such a considerate reviewer, and I wish you all the best with your writing!
      I’m glad you enjoyed my post.
      Thank you for your comment!

  3. Hi Christine 

    I can see why getting reviews is  very important to help you to get your book noticed and you have provided some valuable information  on how to do this. The only problem is  that you may worry that some of the reviews will  not be sincere. Some will  say that the book is better than it really is, whilst others may play it down. You worry that some  are paid to write good or bad reviews and so not give a honest review. I think that some people will become cynical and not believe what is written, but if it does work and the person reading the review likes it, the rewards can be profound.  I  can say I am more wiser after reading this article.

    Thanks

    Antonio

    1. Hi Antonio,

      It is certainly true that some reviewers are paid to leave positive (or negative) reviews, which is an insincere practice that may cause customers to become wary of 5 star reviews. That is, unfortunately, also true, and something we have to pay attention to. That could be an interesting topic for an upcoming article 🙂

      Thank you for your comment.

  4. A good reinforcing piece Christine. Perhaps more so now than ever all of us content creators (books and otherwise) need to remain increasingly vigilant of the importance of having a strong online following that actively engages our audience. Whilst getting ‘quality’ reviews is of course helpful, negative reviews (in my opinion) are perhaps more detrimental. I’d be interested in your thoughts on how to constructively respond to negative comments or reviews if you are the site owner. Thanks – Jason.

    1. Hi Jason,

      Negative reviews are equally important, as long as they are constructive and can help the author improve on his or her work.
      Receiving negative comments on your website is not always nice 😉 but it all depends on how they are delivered, right? If those comments are left in a friendly tone, pointing out where you can improve, then they are welcome, for they can only help you. I have, however, received a few comments on another website I own, and those comments were aggressive and rude. I thought that the best thing to do would be to read them, process my reaction to them and refrain from replying. I waited a day and then I answered those comments, much calmer and more rational. When you give yourself a break from a harsh and rude comment, you will also give yourself the opportunity to turn that comment around and provide additional and useful information regarding your blog post topic for example.
      I hope that helps 🙂

  5. Hello Christine, it’s a great article you have written and I just say you have said some really good facts in this article indeed. Reading a review about a book is really nice especially when you are reading that author’s work for the first time and for a person like me, I love to know the style of writing of a particular author before getting the book so I can know what to expect from the work

    1. Hi Bella,

      Reviews indeed tell you a little bit more about the author’s writing style and the story (as long as there are no spoilers 😉 )

      Thank you for your comment!

  6. Book reviews can be more important than you think. A form of literary criticism, book reviews are written opinions about a particular book. … They can be written by readers or professional book reviews. Reader reviews tend to be more personal, focusing on the individual reader’s experience while reading the book. Thanks for sharing this awesome article.

  7. Receiving feedback and reviews is great as it helps us understand what the audience is thinking or wanting. But at the end of the day, each review is just telling us about that person’s perspective, regarding what they wanted, and what they got from reading our material. Because of this, we would hope that those reading our books or articles are ‘in tune’ with, and desiring to read what we are writing about. This is why our keywords and the reviews are so important in the first place.
    It seems like we are trapped in a circle, as good reviews are needed to get the desired audience to read our material, so they in turn can leave good reviews!
    As a reader, I often rely on reviews before making a purchase, and can generally feel secure that I will enjoy the book if enough of the reviews meet my approval.
    I wish you the best of luck in receiving many, many GREAT reviews for your books 🙂

    1. It is certainly true that each review comes from a unique perspective and every person has different expectations. Your point about keywords makes a lot of sense, and I hope that more writers will pay attention to that.
      Thank you for your comment!

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