A Post by Writestream Publishing Contributor Kristyn Fetterman
We are all guilty of making purchases online and then ignoring those emails that tell us to leave a review of our purchase. We do not want to take the extra time out of our day to leave a review when, most likely, it is not going to make a difference anyway, right? Wrong.
Everyone will benefit from a well-written and honest book review, even if it is negative. The author benefits because they get feedback, both positive and negative. The feedback allows them to figure out wheat their readers are looking for and the type of readers they are getting. Knowing their audience and what they want will make their next book that much better.
The potential readers benefit because they can see if they will like the book or not. Even if your review is negative, a potential reader should be able to tell if they will enjoy the book based on personal preference. You will also benefit from leaving a review. Reviews help to narrow down your recommendations. If you never leave reviews, you will only get recommendations based on your purchases. No one wants recommendations based on books (or anything else) that they did not particularly like.
Reviews also help get the book noticed. People are more likely to buy a book with lots of reviews, both positive and negative, rather than a book with no reviews at all. Also, the more reviews a book has, the more exposure it will get. The book will move higher on genre lists and will also be seen on recommendation lists as it gets more reviews. They will also help to get other books written by the same author noticed.
If you are an Amazon user, the reviews may matter even more. Many book sites as well as book stores will only carry and/or advertise a book if it has a certain number of Amazon reviews. This means that the author will have very limited platforms to sell their book without your Amazon review. So when you buy a book on Amazon, even if you did not absolutely love it, leave an honest and accurate review because even a three-star review can help the author just as much as a five-star review.
Your well-written review may help a potential reader figure out if the book is one that they would enjoy if you include a further description of the book (without spoilers, of course). Sometimes, especially online, descriptions of books can be extremely lacking. A potential reader may choose not to purchase a book just because they do not have enough information about it. A descriptive review can help them make their decision whether or not to purchase the book.
You can write a positive review on a book you loved and it will help counter any negative reviews that may have been posted before. The overall number or stars a book has is the average of all of the reviews that it has. Leaving a five-star review will help raise the overall number of stars a book has. The higher number of stars (and reviews) a book has, the more likely someone is to notice it.
At the very least, leaving reviews can inspire others to leave reviews. However, please be considerate when leaving your review. Remember that there is a human being that dedicated much of their time to writing that book and they WILL read your review. A one-star review should be reserved for extreme circumstances. Also, particularly for large online retailers such as Amazon, if there is an issue of delivery or shipping, this should not be reflected in the book review. It is not the authors fault if your book did not arrive on time so please do not make them suffer with a bad review because of something they have absolutely no control over. Remember to be kind in your reviews.
Happy (review) writing!