Why Book Reviews Matter for Indie Authors

As an Indie Author, my books live and die based on whether or not the readers like them and the word of mouth generated. I don’t have the marketing arm of a publishing company behind me to buy my way onto a display stand at the front of an airport bookstore. I don’t have a publicist to get me on talk shows.

What I have are the words I write and the readers who will read them.

And the way I get those words out is via book reviews. Yes, social media helps, because sometimes people will tweet or share on Facebook/G+, but the way to get my books into the hands of strangers who might like them is through reviews.

  • Reviews provide social proof: When browsing Amazon, would you buy a book from an author you didn’t know if it had only 5 reviews? Or would you rather buy a book with 205? 205 reviews mean 205 people had a strong enough reaction to publish their thoughts on the book. That legitimizes it.
  • Reviews help push a book on Amazon’s rankings: The biggest problem with selling books on Amazon isn’t quality (although quality is important), it’s visibility. There are millions of books out there, and new ones every day. How do you find one to read? You either get a recommendation, or you search Amazon. When you search, Amazon is going to suggest books to you, and the quantity and quality of the reviews is one of the factors.

A small percentage of the people who buy a book will actually leave a review. And it’s heart-breaking for us authors, because those reviews mean everything. I’d much rather have you leave a review than get the commission from a book that costs $2.99 or $3.99.

So next time you like a book, leave a review. It makes all the difference in the world.