Recently, I tried to get some new reviews for my two novels on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. I even offered free Read-2-Review copies of the books to anyone who wanted to do a review. The results... not a single bite.
I couldn't believe it. Giving away "FREE" copies of a book in exchange for an honest review is usually one of the very best methods known to get some reviews for a book. But I wasn't getting any takers. In fact I actually heard back from a few people who had read the books and loved them. Yet when I asked if they would be kind enough to leave a review this is what I kept hearing from a number of them..
"I love to read, but I don't know what to say in if someone asks me to review their book..."
Does this sound familiar to anyone else out there? If it does, don't be embarrassed. A lot of people feel that way. Some don't know what to put down because they see all these other reviews that are like several paragraphs long and go into great detail about the structure of the story, the plot, etc. Or perhaps you just don't have a lot of time to sit down and think, much less write up a big ole review.
These are all valid excuses. But not every review has to be several paragraphs long. Even the simplest review can be just two or three sentences. And of course you'll be asked to give a star rating usually on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being (why did I bother) and 5 being (dear God I want to read more like this).
While you may feel like you cannot convey all you want to say in just a couple of sentences, but that rating and a few words can make a world of difference as to whether that book becomes a hit or not. Every review added to a book can make it a sensation that spreads across the nation and even the oceans. Most book buyers want to know what the book is about, which is the writer's responsibility to convey in their synopsis. But buyers also want to know what other people thought of the book, especially since we're all so spoiled for choice these days thanks to Indie Authors, Kindle, Nook and other e-reader devices.
20-30 reviews, even if half or more of them are just a couple of sentences long can help push that book you just finished and fell in love with, to great heights. The more reviews the better for the author and the book. Amazon and other places base a book's popularity through a logarithmic system that is based on the number of reviews a book is given. If the book has a lot of reviews and ratings they'll suggest the book to other buyers with similar interests creating more sales.
But if a book only has a handful of reviews, they won't do much with it. It's not the length of the review but how many and how favorable they are. So if you really want to see an author or a book get the recognition you think it deserves, please go ahead and leave a rating and just a couple of sentences. The power to make or break an author and their works is in your hands.
So please, support your favorite authors and books by leaving reviews as well as spreading the word about them throughout your networks. You could be helping someone become the next Stephen King or JK Rowling. Remember, without readers we authors are nothing.
Thanks so much for tuning in and please keep writing.
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