I'd bet every single one of you has—at least once—seen an author share a graphic reminding readers about how review numbers play into our success. Each image mentions visibility of a book and the importance of this new version of word of mouth, and most mention the selectivity of Amazon's algorithm.
- As an aside, some vastly more experienced authors claim there in fact is no magic number of reviews that makes Amazon care more about your book when it comes to including it in "also bought" or "similar product" recommendations. So, who knows.
Some graphics, like the one below from tallpoppies.org, also try to educate readers about the reality of being an author. No, we're not all best-selling gazillionaires. (I know: you're shocked!)
There are entire businesses built around helping authors get more reviews, because we've all had it drilled into us that reviews are the only way to save yourself from being swept into obscurity by the ocean of (e)books.
But one of the things that is rarely included (though Tall Poppies did touch upon it—go them) is how important reviews are to an author as a person and not just a business. Yes, reviews help authors be considered for competitive ad placements like BookBub, and they might affect how/when Amazon shows our books, but in reality, they're so much more than that, as I was reminded late last week.
Lately, I've been battling discouragement (to put it mildly), and trying to decide if pushing forward was nothing more than falling into the trap of the sunk cost fallacy. I'm still not sure what the right answer is, but a fantastic review for Tasting Temptation from BiblioManiac could not have been better timed, reminding me that my stories do impact people in a positive way; that, just maybe, they are worth reading. The review was so wonderful, I have a hard time choosing a snippet from it to quote! Is it any wonder, with lines like:
"This story is emotionally gripping and explosive." Or:
"I love Gina. Despite everything she's gone through, she really is a fighter and doesn't ever stop. She's brave and strong, and someone I strive to be."
Seriously, after reading Emma's review, even I'm sold on on this book! ;-)
So yes, please, if you've read a book, leave a review. And it's true, the numbers don't care whether you loved or hated the book, or how many words there are in your review as long as it exists.
But if you've enjoyed a book, then all of this applies to you even more so. Not because we only want positive reviews, but because authors are people, and sometimes we need a reminder that this whole putting-our-work-out-there thing is worthwhile.
Other Important Tidbits:
- There is still time to enter the giveaways celebrating the 1-year anniversary of Mortal Musings!
- For those who'd like an even deeper look into my writing/publishing journey, including sneak peeks, exclusive giveaways, and more (everything's still TBD!), I've created this reader group on Facebook. The group is closed so that our discussions stay private, but anyone interested is welcome to join!