You are shopping for a book online. You see the little picture of what it would look like if you could see it. You see the description (which is often not the jackback) the author thought you should know about the book. Still, you are not sure. Where do you turn? The reviews.
Almost every book has at least one five-star review. If there are none, it should help you make your decision more easily, but what are those reviews really telling you?
The first reviews of a book are most often friends and family of the author. They may have been part of the beta team or in writing groups with the author. Most of them will have had intimate knowledge of the book and been eager to help get the book launched successfully.
Does this mean you should not trust them? Not necessarily. If you know what to look for in a review, you may find they are competent and accurate.
The middle reviews are usually mixed between Loved it! and Quit writing! These reviews are usually customers. Regardless of any adulation, what is important is the timing of these reviews. They will be dispersed throughout the longevity of the title. What does this tell you? People are still buying the book.
The last review for a book is more significant in older titles than it is for new ones. If a title has been on the market for more than a year, the last review, especially if it is new, can be a window into how accurate and timeless the book really is.
Every day authors pay people to review their books. The most outrageous price to date is around $750. Most paid reviewers are in the $50-150 range. Although many paid reviewers give less than five stars, look over the reviews of other books before you take a paid review as gospel. Some have a cookie cutter method of not posting anything less than three stars.
One school of thought is paid reviewers have large followings, and the price is commensurate with the exposure, even if the review is less than expected. The other is paid reviews cannot be trusted because the opinions are bought. Both arguments have credence.
Getting an independent review of your book is a fabulous way to extend your marketing reach. The audience for the interview should be outside your natural social media circles, thus introducing your book to a new potential buyer pool. It does double duty of having a reviewer vouch for the book.
While readers often mistake interviews for book reviews, occasionally interviews can double as book reviews if you are creative in the way you answer the questions. You can effectively review your own book.
Good books have a habit of continuing to garner reviews long after the launch parties are over. Even when sales are lackluster, the buyers who read the book appreciate the bargain of a good book. Readers see consistent reviews as validation your book has lasting merit.
Your potential readers: Book reviews can convince otherwise undecided potential buyers to become buyers.
Your current readers: Seeing someone review a book you love (and agree with you) builds community.
Your marketing audience: Having an outside opinion of your product is better than Buy my book!
You: In the end, turning potential buyers into readers puts your book in more hands.
Have you ever given a book review? Do you know where to find book reviews? Which book reviews influence you the most?
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