Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bring on the reviews!!!

Hi all, MaryLu here!

If you're reading this post, then you are probably an avid reader. Me too!  I love books!  I love story in any form, book, movie, TV, or just someone telling me a story. In fact, most days I have a complete story world happening in my head. Just ask my husband. For me, there's nothing better than flipping open a book or my IPAD and entering another world.  But how many of us, myself included, take the time to post a review online for a book we really loved?

I've been a published author for over ten years now, and I can honestly say that reviews matter!  Regardless of what "they" say, potential buyers look at book reviews. Some may just look at the overall rating, others may take time to browse through the written reviews, while some read every review on a book. Regardless, most people will decide to buy a book based on reviews

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.

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.

This is a double-edged sword for most authors because, let's face it, reviews can be so subjective! What's to stop a reviewer who has a personal vendetta against an author from trashing that author just to be mean? Also, heard of Amazon Trolls? They are people who go around posting bad reviews on books they've never even read. I've had a few of those myself. I've also had reviewers who get offended at the Christian message in my books leave horrible reviews. These reviews don't just slam my book, but have attacked me personally.

Yet....despite all of that, good reviews sell books.  Yet so few readers take the time to leave them. Current estimates say that only 1 in 1000 readers will leave a review. What gives?  I've talked to many readers and most of them give one of the following reasons:

  • They don't have time  (It actually only takes 5 minutes to write a review)
  • They don't feel qualified to write anything  (No English comp degree required. Just tell the truth)
  • They didn't like the book (Okay, I get this one!)
  • They don't know how (Ask for help. Ask the author to help! I'm sure they will)

Reasons for a reader to take the time to write a review


  • More reviews on a book make it more visible on sites and enable more people to find the book
  • Were you blessed by the book? Why not bless the author in return?
  • The more good reviews the author has, the more they will sell and the more they will be able to write more books. This is the key. If you want to read more books by a particular author, do them a favor and write a good review! Writing is a business and we have to make enough money to keep writing! 
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What are your thoughts?


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21 comments:

  1. I love posting reviews for books I've read. When I see a book I'm interested in, the first thing I do is check reviews. So important. So if you like a book, go leave a review!

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    1. Thanks Sally!! I love posting reviews for books I have adored! I want others to enjoy the story too.

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  2. You summed it up beautifully, MaryLu. Thank you!

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  3. I hadn't heard of the Amazon trolls, Tamara. It's sad to know there are people out there who trash books with a Christian message. Since I buy books based on reviews, I post reviews. Also, I often send the author a personal email.

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    1. Yes.. it's a sad reality, Jill. But I believe God is bigger than a bad review.. so I try to not worry about the Christian bashers. The personal email is a really nice touch. :-)

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  4. I don't mind writing reviews sometimes, but it takes me an hour or more; certainly not five minutes. It's very time consuming with a lot of thought. I usually write a rough draft by hand first. This has lots of scribbles, cross-outs, and paragraph switches. After that I type and copy it into various review sites.

    This is what I mean.:)

    https://www.pinterest.com/nina4sm/book-reviews/

    I certainly plan to keep writing some reviews, but I want them to have personal thoughts and answer questions readers might have (without spoilers). Since I don't want to read an impersonal,three or four lines that tells one nothing, then I don't want to write a review in that style. I'll admit I'm probably too wordy and lengthy, but I look at it as more of an opinion piece. Give the potential buyer/reader something to mull over, make them curious, and whet their appetite for more!:)

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    1. This is the same method I use. Rough draft with lots of cross-outs and word revisions.

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    2. This is the same method I use. Rough draft with lots of cross-outs and word revisions.

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    3. Wow, I had no idea some readers spent so much time. Now I appreciate those reviews all the more. Thank you for taking the time to write a thoughtful review. :-)

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  5. I struggle when I write a review. I want to make the review as interesting and eye catching as I can. I try to find a quote in the book to use which will pique their interest. I never know if I should write a short paragraph or a brief description of the main characters and theme.So I usually just try to share what parts I like about the book and the writer's style.

    I write reviews but I never thought to send the author an email, too.

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  6. I struggle when I write a review. I want to make the review as interesting and eye catching as I can. I try to find a quote in the book to use which will pique their interest. I never know if I should write a short paragraph or a brief description of the main characters and theme.So I usually just try to share what parts I like about the book and the writer's style.

    I write reviews but I never thought to send the author an email, too.

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    1. Thank you, Kathy, for putting so much time into your reviews. I know authors like me really appreciate it!

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  7. I love reading good action books, especially by Christian writers like Camy Tang, who always tells a good story. I also enjoy writing Reviews. I look for the positive in a book, not the negative, but at the same time I will not read erotica and books heavy with profanity.

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    1. Yes, Camy rocks! Love her books. Thanks for writing reviews, Tom. :-)

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  8. I read a good bit and usually at least give each book I read a star rating on Goodreads.

    I'm not a writer and struggle to write a review letting know others why I liked the book, sometimes I can't put into words myself why I really liked a book.

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    1. Thanks so much, Patty! I guess us writers sometimes take for granted how easy it is for us to write a paragraph or 2 about a book. thanks for reminding me that it's difficult for some. :-) Now, i appreciate reviews all the more.

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  9. I always write reviews for books I've read. I know how important it is to the authors. This is worded perfectly, MaryLu. Sharing.

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  10. Loved your post, MaryLu - I know reviews are important to authors, and love sharing books I enjoy with other readers (whether in a review, Facebook share, or as a gift purchase).

    I feel Christian Fiction is underrated, often not appreciated for the reading gift it is, a part of the author his/herself, and a huge investment by the author in many ways. I know there are often less financial rewards to an author than his/her book merits, and appreciate authors who write because God compels them to.

    I'm afraid I'm not one of those people who can write a review in 5 minutes either - blame it on my perfectionistic tendencies and problems with length, lol. Although I do, at times, write shorter ones for Amazon and other sites versus those for blog posts. Neither am I a swift reader - since I love to savor every word!! Otherwise, I'd get much more reading and reviewing done than I do!!

    I'm loving "Charity's Cross" - thank you for the opportunity to read/review it!! Your books and blog posts are a huge blessing which He uses to speak to me!!

    Shared post!!

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    1. Bonnie, you are one of my biggest supporters and I appreciate you so much!! Thank you for understanding how hard things are for us crazy authors. I'm a slow reader too, so I understand.. and thanks for the time you take to write reviews. I always enjoy reading them!! Glad you are enjoying Charity's Cross!!!! Hugs!

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  11. It takes me longer than 5 minutes also, but not a whole lot more. I think the most important thing with me is to write it as soon as I finish the book. The longer I wait the less likely I am to leave a review. :-) Great post!

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