The Importance of Book Reviews and Supporting Your Favorite Authors

I wanted to discuss book reviews for a moment. Readers don’t know how important they actually are (I sure didn't before I became an author!) or where to put them, and authors are having a difficult time getting them for the hard work they've done. I see worthy authors begging for reviews nearly every day on social media, and I haven't been above begging for reviews from time to time myself!

Statistics say that between 600,000 and 1 million books are published each year in the United States alone. It is estimated that Amazon, the largest self-publishing company nationwide, adds a new book to their website every five minutes!

With that much new material flooding the market each day, it can be very hard for new and less established authors to gain much, if any, visibility with potential customers. At the very least, it takes a lot of time, effort, advertising dollars, and prayers and maybe even a little Irish luck to get noticed in today's market. Reviews on sites like Amazon affect the sites' algorithms so that the works that are searched for, clicked on, or reviewed more often show up higher in search results and on "bestseller" lists in different book categories. There is nothing as frustrating as being a bestseller in your genre one month (which equates to an author rank of about 20-30k) to ranking in at over 1 million the next (which essentially means you're a nobody again haha)!

If you’ve recently read a work that you think others will like, too, there are a few things you can do as a reader to help that author gain some visibility in the ocean of books.

  • The website from which you ordered or downloaded the book or the website for the store where you bought the book will usually accept reader reviews. This is probably the #1 way people decide if they do or don’t want to spend their hard-earned cash on a book. They look to the advice of other readers to help make their decision.

  • Sign up with Goodreads. It’s free and as easy as linking your Facebook account to it in just a few seconds. It’s the ultimate book review site not tied to any particular retail outlet. It is comprised of readers who love books and want to recommend what they are reading and find new books to read in their favorite genres. Many readers rely on reviews on the site to help them find new material to read.