Why Reader Reviews Matter

Greetings! Monsters and Mayhem is slammed at work this week, so I’d like to offer up a guest post I did for Ana at The Adventures Within blog this week about why reviews (and really any kind of feedback) are vitally important to authors. 

We should be back with more monsters next week…because if I don’t finish this work project, it’ll be mayhem around here. Until next Tuesday!

Guest Post: Why Writers Need (and Love) Reviews

In the wake of the “sock-puppet review” scandal, it’s easy to see why readers are wary of leaving—and believing—reviews. But it’s still one of the most important Writer Writingthings you can do to support your favorite authors. Genuine, earnest reviews lead to sales. (So does word of mouth…we’ll come back to that.) Sales lead to more books by your favorite author, which means more awesome stuff for you to read.

It’s not only for sales, though. Knowing what you like—and what you don’t—helps authors improve their writing, determine if a story-line in a series is working or whether certain characters are annoying or beloved.  Let’s face it, though…the primary reason authors love reviews is because we want to be heard. It’s very exciting to know people other than Aunt Sally and the next door neighbor are reading our books. These days, readers expect authors to be interactive on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. For some, this is a necessary evil. For others, like me, it’s a chance to learn what resonates with our readers and make connections we might never have made.

So, let’s go back to the word of mouth thing. Publishers can buy all the advertising in the world. A book can get a stellar review from Kirkus and Booklist. Yet, it still might not sell. Why? Word of mouth.  Even with the reviews and the advertising, if enough readers are saying “Meh,” about the book, its sales will level out, then drop.

To counter that point, there are tons of books selling really well on Amazon that have a mixed bag of reviews because people are talking about them.  If you love a book, you tell your friends about it, right? And they might buy it. If your friend likes it, they might post something on Facebook, which might get shared, then suddenly the book’s sales take off. The readers—you—have the power to make or break a book. Writers rely on you…without readers, our stories would go unheard.

The next time you read a really amazing book, take a minute to leave a short review…or tell a friend about it. Your review or recommendation could be the one thing that keeps a writer going while creating that next story.

As a reader, it’s all in your power.

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