Love (Hate or Even Just Like) a Book? Leave a Review
Guest post by Amy McNulty
If you spend any time following social media or reading newsletters from authors, you’re probably no stranger to their calls for readers to leave a review. Maybe you’d like to help, but you have no idea what to say. Perhaps you’ve left a review or two before, but it takes up a lot of your time. Maybe you figure enough other readers will leave a review, so your thoughts on a book don’t really need to be said.
However, I’ll be one more author to ask that you please reconsider—and always leave a review. Amazon reviews are still the most beneficial for authors, although Goodreads, your blog and social media profiles, and any other retailer of your choice are good places to leave reviews as well. However, the reason why authors value those Amazon reviews so much is because so much of our marketing strategies still rely on the number of ratings (and average rating) on our books’ Amazon pages.
Amazon itself is more likely to highlight books with lots of ratings and books with a high average score. These free promotions can lead to hundreds or even thousands of sales in the course of a week. Book bargain newsletters—some of which may be familiar to you, such as BookBub, Ereader News Today, Book Gorilla, Book Barbarian, Fussy Librarian, etc.—oftentimes only allow books with a certain number of ratings and a certain average score to be featured in their newsletters, which can lead to dozens or hundreds of sales in a day. A high Amazon score also just helps the casual shopper decide whether or not to buy a book that’s been recommended to them based on their interests. These shoppers are less likely to stop by Goodreads to read reviews before they buy.
The best way you can thank an author for writing a book you love (especially if you got a free review copy) is to follow through and leave a review in as many places as possible. That said, I hope you’ll consider leaving a review even if you just thought it was okay—even if you hated it. A book that has nothing but 4- and 5-star reviews may have indeed been that universally beloved, but many shoppers view those books with suspicion. It can actually help an author to have a few 1-, 2-, or 3-star reviews if that’s how the readers genuinely feel about the book so casual shoppers know people are sharing their honest opinions.
What do you leave in a review? You can write as much or as little as you like. Goodreads users especially seem to enjoy long reviews, even complete with images and GIFs, but there’s no need to spend hours on your review if that doesn’t interest you. On Amazon especially, a simple “I liked/loved/didn’t like this book” is genuinely all you need to help an author out. If you want to go into more detail, you might discuss your favorite and least liked characters or things in the plot you liked or didn’t like (be careful to warn about spoilers), but you don’t need to feel daunted by writing a detailed review. You might even focus on how quickly (or slowly) you felt compelled to read the book or just the feelings it left you with.
While not all authors read their reviews, those who do find positive reviews especially bolstering. It’s nice to see that our characters and worlds connected with readers, that you love the result of a lot of hard work and time spent on writing and polishing our books. That said, you’re free to write negative
reviews as well, but if you loved a book especially, please consider letting other people know via a review. Sometimes an author needs that boost to keep working hard on the next project.
Leaving a review needn’t be as time-consuming or daunting a prospect as you might think. It’s really one of the key ways to give back to an author, after buying their books (or getting them from a library) and sharing your recommendations with friends. Thank you to every one of you who has ever taken the time to write a review!
About Amy McNulty
Bio: Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently writes professionally about everything from business marketing to anime. In her down time, you can find her crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.
Books by Amy
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