Why Reviews Are Important for Self-Published Authors
You’ve likely heard that as a self-published author, it’s important to generate as many reviews of your book as possible. But has anyone actually explained why that’s the case?
The truth is that there are many different reasons why reviews can help writers—especially those who don’t release their work through a mainstream publishing house.
Receive valuable feedback
While it’s obviously ideal to have nothing but a flood of positive reviews to generate excitement and hype around your book, even the negative reviews can be useful. Feedback of any sort can help authors pinpoint what works within their writing and what doesn’t. What is it about the plotline or writing style that readers find engaging? What aspects proved to be major turnoffs?
A single book is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea—that’s just a fact of art and life. But reviews can generate a plethora of opinions that will ultimately make your writing that much stronger. It can also help you gain insight as to what readers of that particular genre find appealing. Knowing your audience can prove an invaluable asset when crafting your next manuscript.
Give your marketing a boost
Getting your self-published book reviewed is also a vital marketing tool. While some people are under the mistaken impression that paying for a review is somehow dishonest, the fact of the matter is that paying for an honest review (i.e., not a guaranteed positive review) is one of the best ways to get the word out about your publication. You can also use paid platforms like NetGalley to get your book in front of as many early reviewers as possible in exchange for honest reviews.
The more (ideally positive) reviews that you have floating around, the more likely your book is to be seen by readers who will give it a try. Things really start to come together when those readers leave their (again, ideally positive) reviews on websites, thus generating the digital age’s version of word-of-mouth marketing.
As simple as it sounds, reviews also provide potential readers with more information about your book. And making them feel more confident about exactly what type of book it is—and that it’s the type of book they enjoy reading—greatly increases the chances of them purchasing it.
Readers want to be assured that a book is worth not only their time but also their money. A healthy number of reviews helps give them that assurance and keeps them from second-guessing the kind of book they’ll be getting if they do decide to take the plunge.
As everyone who has ever engaged with an online reading community knows, book lovers are an enthusiastic and loyal bunch. Reviews help build and maintain a feeling of community among people who enjoy sharing new literary gems with others and diving into deep conversations about them.
When readers leave their own feedback about your manuscript, they are essentially reaching out to others in that reading circle who may be inspired to buy your book—and the chain only goes on from there.
Expand your audience
It’s not just ordinary reader reviews that you should consider. Set your sights on professional book review publications that are regularly read by librarians and booksellers. This can give you a foot in the door to brick-and-mortar bookshops, as well as encourage local libraries to stock a copy or two of your work.
By making a good impression through positive reviews with those who make their living by knowing (and stocking) good books, the chances of your title being seen, purchased, and read will grow exponentially. And since booksellers, in particular, tend to stock more than one copy of a book, a well-placed review could result in more sales than you might expect.
Book reviews also help you establish a credible reputation as an author, increasing both sales of your current book and cementing a relationship of trust with your readers that will only help boost the sales of books you may publish in the future.
If thinking that far ahead makes your head spin, just know that it’s never too early to build goodwill among your readers. Reviews can help readers see you as a trustworthy and quality author they can take note of now and in the future.
Increase your visibility
Perhaps the most obvious reason why reviews are important for self-published authors is the simple fact that reviews mean increased visibility. When considering your online presence, this means the more reviews you have, the higher your name and your book title will rank on a website’s search results—thus making you easier for potential readers to find.
A healthy compilation of positive reviews also means that those carrying your physical book in bookstores will be more likely to display your title front and center. And as anyone who has ever impulse-purchased books knows, the more visible the title, the more likely it is for people to pick it up as a last-minute buy.
Long gone are the days when select books are reviewed at a magazine or newspaper’s discretion. In the booming self-publishing world, it’s up to authors to take feedback into their own hands and carve out a space for themselves. And there is simply no better way to do that than to seek out reviews in a variety of different formats and publications.
If you’re interested in paid reviews for your next book, Kirkus Reviews have offered $50 off the price of both their traditional and expanded reviews for indie authors. This offer – like every initiative we present – is intended to enrich your writing journey and help you achieve your goals. Novlr will not earn a commission for any purchases made.