Helping Authors Get Their Books Out There
Rebecca Mikkelson, Editor-in-Chief Authors 4 Authors Publishing
Getting the word out about books is hard, but it’s even harder when authors don’t have reviews. No matter what it’s for, we always check the reviews in multiple places to make sure we’re getting the right product for us, and when it comes to our entertainment, we’re extra picky.
Why should I review?
Well...why wouldn’t you review? Everything we purchase or try is based on reviews—and that doesn’t just mean reviews on Amazon. We try foods based on friends “reviewing” and saying they tried something new and really liked it. Looking for a new lawnmower? You look at reviews to see if the price—which I recently found out is way more than anticipated—is going to be worth the amount of time you’re going to keep and use the machine. Do you need a vet? Best find one that is clean and cares about Fluffy just as much as you do.
It goes on and on and on. Reviews are the lifeblood of any business, but for authors, it’s even more important because the amount of reviews—not necessarily the quality—signals to Amazon to start showing it in more places. Awesome, right?
What benefit does it have?
First and foremost, this helps authors get their names out there. The more reviews a book has, not only does Amazon help it out as mentioned above, but the more people are likely to stop to see what the book is about. If you had your choice between a book that has one-hundred reviews as opposed to one that has only three or four, you’re going to gravitate toward the higher reviewed one first consciously or unconsciously.
This means that no matter how talented an author is, if they don’t have the reviews, they’re going to be passed over. Authors who self publish and authors who work with micro-presses and independent presses aren’t going to be able to compete with the Big-5 publishers that are putting out formulaic work.
A second, and huge, benefit is the more reviews that an author has, the easier it will be for them to get one of the coveted BookBub featured deals on their website and email list. If you haven’t heard of BookBub and you like to read, I would highly encourage you to sign up for their mailing list in genres that you love to read; you can find books at discounted prices or free to read. Any author who gets into one of these slots finds will find their sales drastically improving, and it can even translate into higher sales for a series already out, or an upcoming series because the author has landed a featured spot.
Much like you see your friends and family say on Facebook and Twitter—and whatever other social media platform you young folk are using these days— “Support small businesses!” Well...authors are small businesses in and of themselves, especially independent ones. Help support them with reviews and buying their books. Sometimes it means the difference between giving up on their dreams or realizing people want to hear what they have to say.
Can I only review if I have something good to say?
The short answer: No.
All reviews are welcomed, and anyone who requests only good reviews is violating Amazon’s terms of service. No review can be coerced by reward or quality, such as, “If you leave a review on my book, I’ll give it to you for free!” You might feel a small amount of panic at that one, but this is different than ARC (Advance Review Copy) readers because they will get the book whether they leave a review or not, and in no way is anyone to ask for only good reviews.
Another pitfall that authors—and even publishers—fall into is saying, “If you liked my book, leave a review!” That’s coercion for quality. It’s such an easy thing to fall into, and it feels so natural to ask if you liked something, leave a review.
So all of this is a very long way to say: please support authors and leave a review, good or bad.
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