Why Reviews Are Important

Positive or negative, reviews are important. Particularly on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads. Why? Well not only do they help other readers decide on whether or not a book is worth spending money on, but they also help the writer.

Reviews of books act as a way of communicating between writer and reader. The author can track how well (or badly) a book is received. Books that are adored and grow a fan following may then be turned into a series. However, if a storyline is considered to be bland, then the writer knows to leave those character where they are and move on.

Reviews can also help with getting that much-wanted contract! If a writer receives negative or no reviews, then publishers may be less inclined to sign their next book up, while someone who gets great or mixed reviews is more likely to get a contract.

Of course authors would love to have nothing but 5-star reviews, raving about how fantastic their book is, but honesty is more important. I know of several writers, myself included, who have had negative reviews from someone who is only out to spite the author (personal vendettas, jealousy etc.) or simply haven’t read the book but for whatever reason decided that the first chapter was enough to warrant some quite nasty and personal comments!

Unfortunately in some cases, these unwarranted reviews then drag the books reputation down and lead to lower sales. (We’re not all millionaires, those sales pay our bills!)

Not only that, but as a writer, I truly appreciate hearing the thoughts of my readers. If you didn’t enjoy the book, how could I have improved it? If you liked the book, which parts were your favourite? Why should other people read it?

And don’t forget, if you loved a book, your review may help another reader find their next favourite author!

7 thoughts on “Why Reviews Are Important

  1. I had the experience of getting two bad reviews that I’m sure hurt early sales. It took a while before I found my real readers and those reviews were excellent. Fair reviews are great but too many of us encounter nasty people writing nasty things for the fun of it. The other side of the coin (and I’m seeing more and more of this) is authors/small publishers who come onto the market with twelve five star reviews totally gaming the system. Some readers tend to think these are valid.

    1. I recently came across a book that had quite a few reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads. The average on Goodreads was 3.56 stars. On Amazon it was 5 stars (with 50+ reviews). I wondered about the difference until I started to look more closely. Of those 50 reviews, 44 were from people who had only left reviews for that book – nothing else. So yes, that is a big problem, and as you said, I’m seeing it more and more often.

      1. I don’t mind, in fact I do encourage, friends and family members who have read my books to leave reviews. However, I always tell them to be honest. We, as writers, will never be able to improve our craft if we’re blinded by constant praise where constructive criticism is needed. But that’s just my opinion.

  2. I think that user reviews are very helpful for me as a reader, but they do require a certain discernment. Reviews that are poorly written reflect more on the reviewer than on the work in question.

    I also tend to look at who is leaving poor reviews–if a book has several favorable reviews and a few bad ones, I check out the other reviews by the people who are leaving the bad ones–there are some people who seem to enjoy savaging everything they can out of pure spite.

    On the other hand, sock puppet reviews are also pretty obvious–if a reviewer’s profile shows only five star reviews for one author’s work and no other activity, I assume that those reviews are–at the least–biased.

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