You love to read, don’t you? You seek books that will sweep you into another world or time or place. Books with characters you love or love to hate. The rush of reading as fast as you can or the savoring every word can leave you with a thrill. Books that do that for you are precious. And we writers dream of creating that book for you. But do you know what your book review can do for the author, for other readers, and for the book publishing industry?
Yes. You, dear reader, have the power to influence a book’s success but only if you review the books you read. What is this power?
The Power to Share
You’ve read a great book. Don’t be selfish. Share it.
On sites like Amazon or Goodreads, you can give the book a star-rating.
Your written review spotlights the book for other potential readers. More than 85% of buyers on Amazon check the reviews before they buy.
You’ll not only point readers like you to the book, but you’ll also thrill the author.
The Power to Spare
You’ve read a not so great book. Don’t be mean about it. Remember how you’d feel if someone made disparaging remarks about the way you talked or dressed.
If there’s something positive you can say, share that information.
If you couldn’t finish it. Say so. Be honest and helpful. Give a brief statement of why you couldn’t finish (too many spelling and grammar errors, characters weren’t believable, etc.)
You’ll spare other readers from being disappointed.
Your review also gives the author a clue that the ad copy is misleading. Or that the editing or writing needs improvement. Your kind feedback will be appreciated more than you know.
The Power to Boost
Did you discover a great author who isn’t getting the attention you think the work merits? Writing a review will help boost the visibility of the book and the author. No matter if you’re the first or the hundred-first reviewer. Your review could be the one that boosts that book to greater visibility.
The Power to Increase Writing Skills
Analyzing, reviewing and critiquing books are skills. If you want to improve your skill, practice it by reading and writing reviews.
The Power to Hone Reading Skills
When you read a book with the intent of writing a review, you may read a little slower or pay extra attention to details that will enhance your reading skills. It may mean you get more out of the book.
The Power to Influence Other Reviewers
Your review may draw the attention of like-minded reviewers. You have the power to show other reviewers your appreciation by clicking the like button under their review.
The Power to Alter Also-Boughts
Did you know that when you review a book, your book buying history is important? The books you’ve bought before may show as an also-bought under this book you reviewed. It may also list this book as an also bought under other books you’ve read and reviewed. This points potential buyers to the book you reviewed.
The Power to Lure Other Readers
Your review may point out an attraction or feature of the book that the marketing did not. When that happens, you help lure other readers to the book. You also may help the author reach a broader audience.
The Power of Quality Control
Your kindly worded review may point out flaws that prevent other readers from reading a book of poor quality. If your review is kind and specific, you may help an author improve a weakness.
The Power to Influence the Industry
The business of writing fiction is changing. The internet, Amazon, digital books, and independent publishing are shaking up the book world. Your likes and dislikes will influence future decisions made by the authors, editors, artists, and publishers.
The Power to Brighten an Author’s Day
Your review can be a gift. It can brighten the days when the words won’t come or the one-star reviews arrive. You can make an author bounce with joy. (Or was that just me?)
How to Write a Review
If you haven’t written a review for fear of “doing it wrong,” you aren’t alone. But writing a review isn’t hard. And it doesn’t need to be long.
Here are some ideas you can consider including in your review:
- Book title and author
- An overview of what the book was about.
- What you liked best about the book
- What you thought could have been better
- If this book reminded you of another book
- What type of reader do you think might like this book
- Would you recommend this book
You don’t have to include all the above ideas. Write your review like you are telling your best friend about it.
Where to Write a Review
If you purchased the book, consider leaving a review on the bookseller’s site (like Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble.)
If you received a copy for free, it’s a good idea to mention that. Say something to the effect that you received the book for free without obligation. There wasn’t one, was there? A review should never be required to get a free book.
You can leave the review on a book review website (BookBub, Library Thing, etc.) or your own website.
Other places would include newsletters, magazines (online or print) or a review site.
One caution: if you are a personal friend of the author your review may be seen as a type of ballot-stuffing. Write your honest review. A website like Amazon or Goodreads may remove your review because you’re friends with the author. Don’t get mad. Post that review on a different website.
What Your Book Review Can Do
There are authors who will tell you that reviews are critical to their success. It’s true, reviews have the power to influence the success of a book. More than that, thoughtful reviews are a benefit. They benefit readers, authors, and others in the business of publishing books.
*Shameless plug* If you’ve read My Soul to Keep, have you reviewed it? *End shameless plug*
What your book review can do is amazing, isn’t it? Have a question about writing book reviews? Put it in the comments below. Did you review the last book you read? Tell me in the comments.
I don’t review other than the brief comments I put on my blog about what I’ve been reading. The reason is 1) it takes time I don’t have and 2) mainly, because of the high possibility it’ll get tossed out on Amazon, since I’m an author and I know a lot of authors. I never name books I don’t like, and try to keep the descriptions vague, because more often than not, the book simply wasn’t to my taste, or I wasn’t the audience for it. That’s also what I find in most of the negative reviews I see – the reviewer just wasn’t the readership for that book.
I understand where you’re coming from, Jennette. I’ve been trying to do more reviews-not terribly successful at it, because like you I won’t review a book I didn’t like, especially if I was not the intended audience. If I find the writer needs a pointer or two, I’ll offer that in a private email. Sometimes they take me up on it and sometimes they don’t.