We´ve all seen them. They´re all over the internet, on movie / book covers and even in magazines in form of recommendations or as one-liners included in ads. In one form or another – we´ve all been confronted with someone´s opinion on something that piques our interest. Reviews.
We live in a time where everyone has the opportunity to raise their voice and be heard and the easiest way for that to happen is through the internet. Luckily- not everyone has to be a professional writer to whip up a few words and publish them.
Reviews play a major role in the book industry.
When an author decides to publish their work they need people who will read their book and leave an opinion on their story, or else, their dream of „ getting out there“ will less likely come true.
Sadly, alot of great books don´t get enough recognition. Many good stories never see a large audience. Why is that?
Well, maybe the book is terrible. Maybe the genre of the book isn´t popular and therefore hasn´t been able to reach a larger audience. Or, maybe… just maybe the book doesn´t have enough reviews.
In alot of cases, all points above can be the reason for lack of success. In my humble opinion- the main reason for a missing fame is a missing review.
Mouth to mouth propaganda used to be a reliable source when it came to spreading the word. But these days- it´s not enough to tell your neighbor about the awesome book you recently finished reading. You have to use the tools you´re given in order to help spread the word and that tool is the internet.
Now, I know what you´re thinking because I think about it alot before I purchase a book.
Are reviews reliable? To be perfectly honest… the answer is YES and NO. The problem with reviews are- they´re subjective. Reviews are 20% based on facts and 80% based on personal feelings. Every reader who writes a review will always know what the story is about but their feelings on the story is what makes a review a review. So, can I trust a stranger´s opinion about a book I want to read? The answer is still YES and NO. It depends.
But one thing is for sure- reviews help and here are the 5 reasons as to why reviews are important.
Reviews Help Indecisive People
Despite the fact the reviews are subjective, they still help readers make a decision. It´s a trust issue. It could also help to read more than one review before picking the next read. What usually helps me is to skip all the 5 out of 5 star ratings and go straight for the 3 star reviews. Those are mostly more trustworthy than all the ramblings from the outstanding ratings. Reviewers who give 3 stars often take a step back and try to be less emotional about what they´ve read.
Reviews Increases Sales
Believe it or not. Reviews help with sales. If you´re a fan of an authors work, especially a fan of an independent author, then publishing an online review can help them climb up the ladder of success.
Reviews Help Get An Author Noticed
So you read a book and want to share your thoughts? You call a friend or you mention the book at a party and that´s where it usually ends. The bush drums have collected dust over the last few years. My first boss used to tell me- „Good news spreads at a snails pace but bad news spreads quicker.“. There´s alot of truth behind those words but nevertheless, if you don´t spread the word ( positive or negative ) then people won´t know. People won´t notice the amazing author your discovered if you don´t use your tools ( technology ). It takes one curious person to stumble upon your opinion on the internet and you have the power to persuade that person with your thoughts. And in the end, you also helped an author get noticed. It´s a win / win for everyone.
Reviews Help Authors Improve Their Skill
Reviews are not only there to help with sales and convince a reader to buy a book, reviews are a form of feedback for authors.
If 20 people wrote that they hated the story then that´s their opinion based mainly on their feelings. It´s then a matter of taste. But when 20 or more reviews say the story lacked emotions then that´s something an author can work with. That´s called constructive feedback. Sadly, both don´t really help an author with sales but it can help an author improve their skill and write a book with more emotions for the future. If no one points out the positive or negative then an author will never know if they´re doing something right or wrong.
Bonding Through Reviews
Who would have thought that reviews are also a great way to meet new people and possibly make new friends? Yupp. Whatever a review entails there are always going to be people who either agree or disagree and that can bring people together. It can be an author who liked your review or it can be another reader… when someone reacts to your review and reaches out then there´s a good chance to make a new friend ( or enemy ). It´s not science, it´s nature. And here´s the clue- when people bond over a mutual interest then they eventually expand and form groups that often turn into larger groups and that always leads to a small fan base. The small fan base meets another small fan base and they create a large clique. That´s how an author CAN get fans and fans meet new people and sooner or later they become devoted cheerleaders with a purpose. Another win / win.
The truth, though, stays the same. Not everyone wants to write a review for the public eye. Many are just comfortable reading and leaving it at that. Which is fine. But keep in mind- If no one writes a review then others can´t be helped. Reviews do not have to be as lengthy as a novel. They don´t even have to sound professional. The sole purpose of a review is to help ( or not help, depending on the type of feedback you want to give ). It only takes a few words, maybe 5 lines to state your opinion. You also don´t have to use every single social media to publish your review. Pick one platform ( Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, FB, etc.) and I guarantee someone will see it. You can even contact a blogger and speak with them about your thoughts and maybe co-write a review with them. The possibilities are endless.
And that, my dear readers, is why reviews are important.