Let’s Talk About Reviews

Hi! Sugar here. I want to talk a little bit about reviews. I had two releases this past week and the reviews have started to trickle in.  The great thing about being traditionally published is that your book gets reviewed in RT, Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist. If you’re a bigger author you might get covered by the NYT or Kirkus or USA Today.  Getting reviewed by those big publications are an honor but do they really matter with readers? Liberty

NOPE. I never heard of RT until I started writing. I never paid attention to Publisher’s Weekly until my first book was reviewed by them and I was a voracious reader. Reading 2-3 books a week. I think most of your average romance readers don’t pay attention to what those publications say.

But that brings me to another question, do any reviews matter with readers? That’s a tougher question to answer.  Yes and no.  As a reader I never paid attention to reviews, because people have different tastes. Just because I don’t like chocolate ice cream doesn’t mean you won’t. So I rarely look at reviews. There are a couple of reasons why.

1.Some people like to give the  whole plot away.

2. If a book only has a few reviews and they are all great, I can never be sure if the author rallied their friends and family to post them on Amazon.

3. Some people are just stupidly mean. Ripping a book to shreds just because they can.

I choose books because my friends recommend them or because I love the author or the book simply because the blurb sounded good. So as a reader I reviews are of little importance to me.

Thrown For A CurveAs a writer… Well… That’s another story. I try not to read my reviews.  TRY. I don’t always succeed. I’ve learned not to pay attention to the bad ones because I know myself well enough to know that it will bother me. And I don’t have time to let one person’s opinion affect my day.

So what about you? Are reviews important to you? Do you read all of yours? Do you ignore them? Let me know what you think.

PS. I’ve been told by people who are in the know, that that whole “certain amount of reviews thing” you need to manipulate Amazon’s algorithms is BS. You can’t manipulate Amazon. Amazon is all knowing and all powerful. They have drones and stuff!

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3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Reviews”

  1. Yes, reviews are a tricky thing, Sugar. The biggies you mentioned like RT, PW, and Kirkus–which can can cost upwards of 4-500 bucks are an ego boost at best and a waste of time and money at worst, especially if the reviewer is having a bad day or thinks your book sucks because it isn’t their cup of tea. Usually, though, you can find some small positive quote to put on your book’s cover that might let readers know somebody “important” thought your book was worth the read. In that case, it’s even better if you have a NYT bestselling author give you a blurb, which I think carries more weight with readers of a specific genre.

    The general consensus in the articles I’ve read about reviews seems to be that reader reviews carry more weight. When someone goes to your books page and sees only a few reviews, whether they are good or bad, they figure not too many folks are buying/reviewing this book, so why should they. It’s natural for humans to want to do what the cool kids are doing, so yes, many positive reviews can spur someone to buy. Most readers expect to see a few negative ones and might be suspicious of a book with all five star reviews, but if there are thirty reviews and the average overall rating is 4+, I have to believe that carries some weight in their purchasing decision. It definitely can make your books stand out in the crowd and give it some credibility.

    Other than getting to hear what readers think of my work–which I love whether it’s good bad or indifferent–reviews are important when it comes to advertising. Popular advertising sites like Book bub, E-reader News Today and Pixel of Ink require a certain number of reviews to even advertise with them–and we’re not talking just a few. Most want 18+ or even 25 reviews with an average 4+ rating. It’s their way of culling the herd so to speak and giving ad space to only the best quality fiction for their readers. I might add that it takes months to get a listing on one of these sites, but when you do, you can sell a ton of books in a day and end up jumping onto the top hundred list which in turn can increase your sales and visibility for days or even weeks afterward.

    As far as figuring out Amazon’s algorithmic mysteries, that makes my brain hurt!

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