I’ve mentioned before that reviews are the lifeblood of authors, especially indie and self-published ones. Sales are always nice, but unless you have a large audience constantly purchasing your work, they can be little more than numeric blips on the radar. Don’t get me wrong, sales are great, and it’s a wonderful feeling whenever someone buys an author’s book. It’s just that they are very much a background element that only the author (and their publisher, if they have one) can see. They don’t mean a whole lot to other readers.
Potential readers what to know what a book is about, and they want to know if other people enjoyed it or not. Ratings and reviews tell them that. Ideally, ever reader would leave a review, regardless of how high or low they’d rate a book. Nothing will appeal to everyone, so differences in opinion are to be expected. Often, they are welcome, as what one person hated about a book, someone else might enjoy. Not everyone has the time or desire to write a long review, however, and that’s okay. A helpful review can be as little as one or two sentences long if it says what the reader enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about the book. There’s no pressure to write 1000 words or more, unless you’re a book reviewer who advertises that kind of in-depth critique. However much or little a reader writes in their review is entirely up to them, but for those who worry about the length of their reviews, rest assured that even a single sentence is helpful to an author, and to other readers considering picking up a copy.
Some people don’t like writing reviews at all. That’s okay. There are sites such as Goodreads that let you rate a book without writing a review to go along with it. Though they don’t give as much information as a review, ratings are helpful in their own ways, and both are a great way to help an author. Sales provide some support, but on their own, they won’t bring in more readers. Ratings and reviews will.
The best way readers can help authors is by rating and / or reviewing their work. It’s how we as authors gain traction with a wider audience, and even if you didn’t love our work, most of us still appreciate you taking the time to read it and share your thoughts.
So, have you rated or reviewed a book lately?