Book reviews are like gold for authors. We all want them. They’re the “social proof” our books are being read by readers. But…how important are they? How many do you really need? What’s their point? What do we do with them?
Earning reviews on books helps potential readers decide if the book is for them or not. I worked hard to earn 50 reviews on my book The Selection. I joined groups for reviews.
I started a Facebook group called The Review Circle where a bunch of authors would agree to read and review the book of another author while also being read and reviewed by a third author. It works like this: Author A reviews Author B. Author B reviews Author C. Author C then reviews Author A. I didn’t want review exchanges, but the freedom of the author to read and honestly review a different book knowing they were not being reviewed by that same author. The concept works and we’ve done many “review circles,” but it was difficult to keep up with, especially when the same authors signed up and we avoided (as best we could) having people review authors who have already read them.
With all that work, how important are reviews? It depends on what your goals are.
Many book promotion sites require a certain number of reviews before they’ll accept your book. Many need to see at least 10 reviews, others less. It’s funny because the largest and most effective book promo site, BookBub, does not have such rigid requirements. I understand why some of the services do. They want their readers to know the books they’re promoting aren’t hack pieces and have some legitimacy to them.
How many do you need? I guess this depends on what you need them for. If your book sells even though you have few reviews, maybe you don’t need that many. Or, maybe you could use more to increase those daily sales. If you want to schedule an email blast promo, you’ll need as many as they require for you to sign-up.
Why do we crave reviews, what do they do for us? The easy answer is that they let us know we’ve somehow touched the reader with our book in a way that compelled them to leave a review. It’s one of the most gratifying experiences to read a positive review of your work. At the same time, it’s crushing to read a negative one, though if taken as a learning tool, it can help sharpen the writer’s skill for future works.
I welcome any and all reviews, as long as they’re honest. If you’ve spent your money on my books or picked them up for free during a promo, I fully expect that your time will not be wasted in my words and my hope is that you’ll leave an honest review of my work. If you don’t, that’s cool too. It’s your call.
I’ve retrained myself to always leave a review of the books I’ve read, especially if it’s a fellow indie author. My hope is that it will encourage them to continue or maybe give them just enough to book a promo they’ve wanted to do. And the great thing is, it doesn’t have to be a long in-depth review. Just a few words saying “I really liked this book” or something like that works too.
What’s your take on reviews? Do you think they carry more weight than I’ve described above? Do you leave them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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