I’ve recently revealed my secret identity (this website and blog) to a whole host of folks who know me through my regular life. And while I have been immersed in thinking and learning about writing, publishing, and marketing books for the last year or so, most of you reading this only think of books from the eyes of a consumer—what should I read next? This got me thinking…If I could share one piece of wisdom that I have gained through my new author lens, what would it be?  Most definitely: the importance of book reviews.

Before I started on my quest to become an author, I had never written a book review. Like a locust, I was happy to consume and move on to the next fertile pasture. But as I started writing and blogging I met a whole host of striving (and sometimes starving) writers and authors. I began to see them as people. I started to see how much effort went into the products they were selling (their books). And so I started reviewing the books I read.

The book review is one of the most critical tools for driving readership and selling  books. Why? Think about it. How do we make purchases these days? If we have to compare cars, lawn mowers, beauty products, whatever it is, we read reviews to determine which product we should buy. We comparison shop almost using Amazon.com reviews. We go to Facebook and crowd-source the decision we need to make by asking others what they recommend.

Book readers are no different. You’re probably reading what you’re reading right now because (a) someone recommended it to you, (b) you’ve read a book by the author before and know you enjoy his or her work,  (c) a purchasing website like Amazon or Barnes and Noble recommended it to you, or (d) it was highly reviewed on such a site. And who can blame you? Our time is limited. Why take a risk on something unknown when you can make a purchase that gets 4.5 stars from the last 812 reviewers? Items without reviews are like pariahs, viewed with skepticism.

Book reviews can help authors get attention in a marketplace flooded with new books coming out daily. So if you read something you really love, consider writing a review on Amazon or a social media site like Goodreads. Especially if it’s a newer or self-published author, it will mean a lot!

Featured image by JLS Photography, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

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