Julie here, and I have a riddle for you: what do owls, Mylar tape, and duck poop have to do with posting reviews?
Well, you see, my better half and I are blessed to live on a lake where my husband has become sort of a Pied Piper to the ducks in our cove because he feeds them twice a day. Consequently, if the man even looks out the window, ducks come flying, swimming, and catapulting from all directions—God’s truth—and he absolutely loves it, calling them his Welfare ducks. Which … does make me wonder sometimes if I need to give him a litttttle more attention …
Anyway, the down side to all of this is that now a battalion of ducks sit on our dock, waiting for the man in the black hat to feed them, which means most of that “feed” eventually ends up on our dock. Ahem …
So for a Christmas present, I decided to research deterrents for keeping ducks off docks and was ecstatic to find I could buy a fake owl to do the job. So I high-tailed over to Amazon and was aghast to learn that no, fake owls do not do the trick, but there is something that does. You guessed it, Mylar “scare tape.” And how did I figure this out? You guessed it again:
Now I happen to be one of those gals who absolutely LOVES reviews. I mean I love reading them, writing them, and even getting them … uh, as long as they are not the one-two-punch kind (1- or 2-star reviews). Believe it or not, I actually talk to restaurant managers on an average of 2-3 times a month, just to brag on an employee as a sort of verbal review. Because I believe that in a world where there are too many rude or mediocre service people, products, or books, we need to applaud those who go the extra mile to provide excellence.
Take book reviews, for instance. Often a reader will go to great lengths to write a sweet thank you/encouragement note to an author. But many times that same sweet reader will never even think of posting a review. Which is why I will often ask them if they’d mind posting even a paragraph from their letter as a review on Amazon. Because in truth, the #1 way to say thank you to and encourage your favorite authors is to post a good review. Why? Because according to Publisher’s Weekly, reviews sell books! Want proof? Here are a few quotes and statistics I ran across:
— 53% of readers are “somewhat” swayed by reviews, 18% are “very much” influenced by reviews, and 29% fall into the “not very much” or “not at all” categories. — Survey by Formatting Fairies, a top formatting company founded by NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Marie Force.
— 43% will wait to purchase a book if they see “low” star ratings, 38% will still try a low-starred book if they like the cover and blurb, 9% rely heavily on the stars in a review, and 11% say starred reviews are not important at all. —Survey by Formatting Fairies, a top formatting company founded by NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Marie Force.
— 50% of readers said retail-site reviews are the most important to them (i.e. Amazon, CBD, B&N, Deeper Shopping, etc.), 16% said Goodreads, 13% said blog reviews, and 10% said publication reviews such as RT Book Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, etc. —Survey by Formatting Fairies, a top formatting company founded by NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Marie Force.
— Retail reviews, such as those found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retail sites, are the most important reviews in today’s environment. —Survey by Formatting Fairies, a top formatting company founded by NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Marie Force.
— “Reviews sell books. Don't be too worried about 1- and 5- star reviews, most readers will ignore these, it is the overall score that really counts. In the early days of your book, getting reviews is more important than sales.” —Gary Smailes of Bubblecow, one of the leading editing companies in the world.
— “Review systems DO have causal and positive effects on sales; books with more and better reviews are shown to sell better.” A study by Cornell sociologists Shay David and Dr. Trevor Pinch.
— “Amazon reviews are just as likely to give an accurate summary of a book's quality as those of professional newspapers.” — A study from Harvard Business School.
— “Reviews (or lack of them) influence shoppers in online bookstores.” —Dana Lynn Smith, author of How to Get Your Book Reviewed, based on research study by the Yale School of Management
So, the good news? Reviews really DO matter! To your favorite authors, to other readers, and to you! Because if you post a good review for a favorite book or author, you are not only blessing that author with your kind words, but you are also helping to make sure they can keep writing and selling those books that you love so much.
The bad news? “Only one reader in 700 will post a review” according to Charles Spender, author of the Formatting of Kindle Books: A Brief Tutorial, and according to Steven D. Levitt of Freaknomics blog, his estimate is “about 1 in 1,000 book purchasers will post a review on Amazon.” YIKES!! Kind of makes you wonder where the other 999 are, doesn’t it?
So why don’t more readers post reviews? Well, this is just my opinion, but I came up with a few reasons why not … and a few reasons why maybe they should.
WHY I THINK READERS DO NOT POST REVIEWS:
A.) They don’t think they write very well.
B.) It takes time.
C.) They don’t want to offend one author by posting a review for another.
D.) They can’t give it more than a 3-star review.
E.) They’re an author and can’t post reviews on Amazon for other authors per Amazon rules.
F.) They don’t want to. Now, let me go on record right now to say that is completely OKAY because not everybody likes posting reviews. I personally hate chain letters of any kind, even religious ones, so I totally understand!
G.) They’re afraid because they don’t know how. I have had a few readers who told me they wanted to post a review and even tried posting a review, but they didn’t know how. So, if that’s you, I actually have step-by-step instructions I can send you for posting on Amazon, so leave a comment if you want them, okay?
Obviously as an author, I would like to see more reviews posted, so I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a while now. But it was actually the fabulous graphic above (created by author Candace L. Bowser) that lit the fire under me, so a big thank you to Ms. Bowser!
BUT ... if reviews are not your thing, that's okay. However, I would like to make a suggestion that if you do not wish to post a review for a book you enjoyed, why not say a prayer of blessing for that author instead? Writing books is not easy, and yet authors give us readers (yes, I’m a huge reader myself—4-8 books a month!) so much joy, adding another dimension to our lives.
WHY I THINK READERS SHOULD POST REVIEWS:
A.) The more reviews, the more visible the book due to Amazon’s algorithm, termed “Social Proof.”
B.) More reviews push a book/author higher in search ranking.
C.) Amateur online reviewers and bloggers have more influence than professional reviewers. — Washington Post article on Harriet Klausner.
D.) Book reviews bring books to the attention of people who might not have learned about it otherwise.
E.) Book reviews help customers decide if a book is a good fit them for them.
F.) The more reviews, the more places those reviews appear = greater reach and selling power.
G.) Shoppers look for some factor to help decide between books, and reviews provide that.
H.) Lack of reviews on Amazon gives the impression a book isn’t popular, therefore stunting sales.
I.) Reviews give shoppers more insight into a book, beyond the product description.
J.) Good book reviews bless the socks off of the authors!
In summation, I’d like to close this blog today with the following Scripture, which I think sums up the BIGGEST reason you should consider posting a review for a book you love:
“So in everything, do to others what
you would have them do to you,
for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
— Matthew 7:12
Whether you are an author or a reader, everybody has talents they wish people would acknowledge. Whether it’s a book you write or a craft you do, it’s always a blessing to have someone appreciate your hard work.
So for me, the lesson of Matthew 7:12 is this—if you want reviews, post reviews, and if you can’t honestly post a good one, don’t post one at all unless the book is so offensive, you feel compelled to do so. Because trust me, when it comes to people’s feelings, sometimes silence is golden.
Okay, it’s your turn—how do you feel about posting reviews? Do you or don’t you and if so, why? Anyone who comments is in the draw for a giveaway of any of my ebooks … OR a signed manuscript copy of my new novella, A Glimmer of Hope, which is the prequel to my latest novel, Isle of Hope, that is due to release in February.
Hugs and Happy Reviewing!