To review or not to review?

Since the rise of the indie author the way readers’ find their books has changed. When a reader goes online to buy a book either from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords etc they face reviews they can opt to read or ignore.

The majority of reviews they see are NOT written by big names or large publisher’s – not even a newspaper review will be in sight. It used to be like this, but over the years the writing arena has changed.

So who are writing the reviews now?

People! Ordinary people who love to review – pass on their own thoughts and findings – whether good or bad. I call these organic readers! Reviewer’s words mean a lot to an indie author. It’s not just a pat on the back for them – or a kick up the arse in some cases- reviews express the opinions of the reader and informs prospective readers to pick up the book and read it for themselves!

In my eyes this is a good thing but with good comes bad. Here, the ‘bad’ are the trolls who will follow authors and leave a trail of 1 star reviews with no reason or explanation. As an author I expect any prospective reader to use their own judgment whether the 1 star is genuine or not.

We also see ARC (Advanced Readers Club) reviews – these are unbiased reviews given prior to a publication going live. On the whole I trust these reviews and they can make me decide whether I want to read the book or not. They also assist the author in pitching and promoting their new release. These will not show up as a ‘verified purchase’ but I can assure you they are genuine.

What happens when an author reaches 50 reviews?

When I first reached my 50th review with Betrayal, I thought it was great! I heard through FaceBook groups that this was the magic number for any author to hit. “It changes everything!” and “Your book will rocket up the charts.” Also “The big A–Amazon- will email you and promote your book!”

Yeah? Well, I waited for the email from Amazon–to congratulate me? Help promote my book? To say they would give me a mention in a newsletter? Hah! Nothing happened–nothing at all.  Oh, it must be when you hit the big 100, I thought. Yes, through you, the reader, I got to 100 reviews and past it -but still no big fanfare.

This got me thinking. I was being overzealous, egotistical and naïve! With those thoughts I realized I was looking at it all wrong. Amazon, with its ratings, rankings and reviews had turned my head away from what really mattered, YOU, THE READER!

Without the words of encouragement, good advice and sense of enjoyment that are written in the reviews on my Amazon page I would have given up! I didn’t. I wrote more.

What can a reader do to help?

For an indie author we don’t look to reviews for monetary gain or fame–far from it. Reviews help to encourage a writer, it’s what makes us continue to write for others to enjoy.

Don’t like writing reviews?

Some people don’t like writing something for others to see–some can’t find the words they want to use to express why they have given it say a 3 star or a 5 star.

Authors don’t look for in depth reviews–well I don’t!

A quick …

“I enjoyed this,”

“Good,”

“Excellent,”

“Crap,”

“Don’t give up the day job!”

Reviews are important and they matter. Most indie authors have their own Amazon Author page and all have a FaceBook page. Don’t want to leave a review but enjoyed it? Let us know!

 

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