REVIEWS -- DO THEY MATTER?
There's a lot of discussion these days as to whether or not reviews matter at online bookstores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iBooks. What's the big deal about reviews? Do we authors really need them so much? There are several dissenting views, but after sorting through many of them in an attempt to make my own rational, business-based decision, I've come to the conclusion that they DO matter for a number of important reasons.
First, more reviews means you and your book(s) receive more visibility. Visibility increases your chances for discoverability, which in this crowded publishing marketplace of today, is critical. More reviews also lead to more opportunities for promotion. Some of the important book promotion sites will not feature your book without a certain number of reviews. Promotion equals increased sales, including things like daily deals and special features. I've also learned that the more reviews you get, the more you are featured in such cross-promotions such as: "Customers who viewed this book, also viewed this book" type of advertisements.
So, how do we encourage our readers to write reviews? That's a tough one. I usually celebrate a book review milestone, such as 50 or 100 reviews reached by giving away a free book or a prize. I always thank those readers I know who alert me they have written a review. I also try to remember to write a review for a fellow author's book that I've read and enjoyed.
I don't know the secret method or formula to increase reviews. I just write the best book I can in the hope it will inspire my readers to let me and other readers know just what they thought of it.