R is for Reviews

letter rYou 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?


number 1The 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.

How much?

cash-money.jpgEvery 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.

Who cares?

What was the question?

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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  1. A paid review at $750? Ouch.

    I’ve written a couple of book reviews. One time, I could not because the review wouldn’t have been positive. Because reading is so subjective, who am I to turn my nose up at someone’s hard efforts?
    Tess Kann recently posted..Sunday Snippets Blog HopMy Profile

    • I think we all agree writing a bad review merely because we do not like the book is not something we are willing to do. It needs some technical (mechanical, editorial, grammatical) flaws to accurately tick off the stars.

  2. Reviews are helpful most of the time. I don’t like it when there are no words to go with the stars. If you have not read the book, don’t comment with something like “why is this book free, it is awful” You can tell what reviews are real and which ones are forced. I have written a few and have appreciated a few also. I like the ones that give me some positive information about the book. What did you like? Why? What didn’t you like? Why? Don’t just say “it was bad” or “great read” That is not helpful to me.
    Derek Mansker recently posted..Love Always WinsMy Profile

  3. Derek Mansker commented on The M3 Blog:

    Reviews are helpful most of the time. I don’t like it when there are no words to go with the stars.More…

  4. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, or indeed the reading in this case but reviews are definitely a positive way of adding interest, especially in the beginning when one is new to the circle of writing manuscripts.

    I guess that after a few successful books being published the books will sell themselves if the author is good enough? In theory anyway…

    Have a wonderful Tuesday Red 🙂 xxx

    • Even successful authors benefit from reviews. It helps reach new readers. Readers are like any other customer. They are going to lose interest, move on to different subjects and other authors and die. One must continue to interest new readers to maintain momentum. 😉 Hope you are having a terrific evening.

  5. I only read reviews if I’m purchasing a book from an author I’m unfamiliar with.
    If I know the author’s style and previous material, I’ll purchase their new publications without reading reviews and make my own mind up.
    I write reviews on all sorts of purchases and will continue to do so on my fellow Bloggers books.

    As for paying for reviews….I see the benefits but I’m not sure about that.
    I feel reviews should be organic, i.e. coming from those who are freely moved to say something about my book.
    There’s something a little bit unnatural (in my opinion) in paying someone, no matter how big their following, to review your book.
    Phil recently posted..The importance of sharing.My Profile

    • I have never and will never be a fan of the bought review. By design, it is not going to be genuine. Even if the book is genuinely likable, the review will be catered for the needs of the mega-audience rather than the average passerby. Just my two red cents.


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