How Important are Amazon Reviews to an Author?
Think back to the last amazing book you read. If you’re like me, being inexplicably drawn into a fantastic story often means the rest of the world comes to a screeching halt until you get to that last page.
You can’t help but care deeply about the characters, you fret about the heroine’s plight, and have a burning urgency to find out what happens next, and next, and next. I’ve been known to skip dinner, stay up half the night, and arrive, bleary-eyed, but happy, book finished, at work the next morning.
My first thought is always to tell my best friends about the amazing novel I just read. I am so fortunate to have a circle of girlfriends, all voracious readers, who share the same enthusiasm for books. It is, most often, from their recommendations, how I decide what’s next in my reading queue.
That said, if it’s a new writer that’s been suggested, or someone I’m unfamiliar with, I often jump on Amazon to scan the novel’s summary, check out the cover, read the author bio, and yes, peruse the reviews—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Certainly, it’s great to see a novel with hundreds of five star reviews (especially if you’re the author) but readers can be a tough audience with high expectations, and not every single book is going to capture the hearts and minds of everyone in the world.
In fact, I prefer to see a smattering of three-star, and even an occasional 2-star review, mixed in with the four and five-star write-ups. That’s balance. That’s life. And it’s reality.
In my opinion, an honest, well-thought out review, short or long, is truly gold to an author. I think that marketer and writer Noah Kagan says it best in this blog post:
“Amazon reviews are most important to your book’s success, arguably more than anything else. As long as your reviews keep going up, your product is being validated.”
Validation, by the way, does not equal perfection. A review means the reader cared enough about the book, or felt strongly enough about the content, to share his or her thoughts.
So are Amazon reviews important? You’d better believe it.
Reviews give potential readers a glimpse inside each book—insight that a publisher’s summary or professionally written blurb can’t offer.
For example, did a book strike an emotional chord too close for the reader’s comfort level? Was the writing lovely, but the reader didn’t quite jive with the genre? Could the book have been shorter? Longer? Did the reader want more dialogue, or greater character depth? Or, if the book was close to perfect, why?
That sort of feedback, those thoughts and ideas, are gold. A smart author will read, weigh, and consider reader reactions to grow and develop his or her craft.
After all, our job, as writers, is to entertain, thrill, delight, and evoke emotion. It is also to transport, inform, and pose tough questions that linger long after the last page is read. It’s our job to leave readers wanting more. And to me, there is no higher calling.
So, readers, let your voice be heard. We’re listening!
Never written an Amazon review? It’s easy, I promise! Here’s how to do it in 3 Easy Steps!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura McNeill is the author of Center of Gravity. When she is not running, reading or drinking coffee - she is hard at work on her next book. Look for SISTER DEAR on 4/19/16.
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