Why You Should Read & Rave: The Power of Reader Reviews
Hey, book ravers! This is Megan LaCroix and Tamara Girardi. As members of the Pitch Wars Class of 2016, we know several authors who have debuted recently (or who will debut in the coming year), and the importance of reader reviews keeps popping up in discussion.
With this in mind, we decided to create #BookRave as a giveaway and hashtag to celebrate great books and get people talking about them. The goal of #BookRave is simple: Read. Love. Rave! Each month readers can earn chances to win books and book-related prizes by leaving reader reviews to support their favorite authors.
For more information, click on the #BookRave tab at the very top of this website, and be sure to read through the rest of this post to catch the details of our very first giveaway!
But first... What makes reader reviews so powerful?
It’s easy to think the big, splashy reviews from places like Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly are the only ones that matter, but reader reviews are just as vital to authors. They increase sales by increasing visibility. Think about it—you can’t buy a book if you don’t know it exists, so the more you talk about the books and authors you love, the more exposure you’re giving them and chances are someone else is going to pick up that book up and love it too.
Reviews boost online sales. Sites like Amazon use algorithms to decide which books to promote and the more reviews a book has, the better the algorithm. Visibility leads to sales, and more sales = more chances for a book to snag a spot on one of those all-important bestseller lists!
And lastly, positive reviews are the ultimate ‘thank you’. Authors pour blood, sweat, and tears into their stories and then they shoot them into the void, so it’s really nice for for a writer to hear you enjoyed their work and how much it’s meant to you.
So it all boils down to this—it’s not enough to love a book, you have to RAVE about it and writing a review is the perfect way to do that! It tells the author you appreciated their work, it helps other people find that book, and it can increase sales which means your favorite author will get to keep writing books!
We asked these authors why reviews are crucial, and here's what they had to say:
"Positive word of mouth (such as reviews!) will always be the most important means an author has for reaching readers. All the social media, advertisements, and product placement in the world will never sell as many copies as enthusiastic fans raving about their favorite books."
Susan Dennard is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series as well as the New York Times bestselling Witchlands books, Truthwitch and Windwitch. Her website is also a well-known resource for writers interested in craft and publishing. Check it out at: susandennard.com.
"For better or worse, authors live on book reviews. The number of reviews grants credence to a book (look, lots of people are reading this!) and the quality of reviews ups reader interest (look, lots of people like this!). Readers often ask how they can support an author. This is how. Buying a book is also great, of course, but leaving a review means that many more people might buy the book--keeping the author in business that much longer."
K.M. Weiland is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning author of many acclaimed writing guides, including Outlining Your Novel. Her blog: www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com has been voted as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writers Digest for the last three years.
"Reviews are essential for authors because it gives the novel credibility by the people who matter most--Readers. Even one or two line reviews make a huge difference because it allows those considering reading your book a glimpse at what they are in for and from someone exactly like them, a person who loves to read. It also, at least in my case, inspires me to keep writing and keep creating. The fact that anyone takes the time to review after reading is a huge testament to the work, and to the author. It truly means the world."
Molly E. Lee, author of the Love on the Edge series, and a Pitch Wars mentor. Find her online at: mollyelee.com.
"When you leave a review for a book, you’re doing more than just telling the author what you thought. You’re making a difference for the life of that book, and maybe even for future books from that author. More reviews means more visibility on Amazon. Book buyers, sales and marketing teams, and publishers also look at those numbers when deciding what books to push and buy. So whether it’s a 5-star review, or a 2-star (I’m going to pretend there are no such things as 1-star reviews!), the fact that there is one more out there makes a big difference. I don’t always enjoy reading reviews, but I always love seeing that a new one has popped up!"
Page Morgan is the bestselling author of nine books, including The Dispossessed series. She writes YA, MG, and historical romance for adults. Find her online at: pagemorganbooks.net and angiemorganbooks.com.
I want to write more reviews, but what do I say and how do I say it?
A reader review doesn’t have to be a full-on essay. Even a well thought out sentence or two describing your gut reaction can do a lot to help boost a book (and its author!).
If you find you’re stuck on what to say, try asking yourself these questions:
Did the book elicit strong emotions? Were there parts where you laughed or cried?
Was the book a page-turner? Did the plot keep you guessing?
Who was your favorite character?
Was there a character you loved to hate?
What were some of your favorite quotes?
What did you like about the setting?
What made you want to pick up the book in the first place? Did the story live up to those expectations?
Suggest the type of reader you’d recommend the book to. For example: Fans of another author/series.
Where can I post my review?
There are lots of sites that rely on reader reviews. Here are a few of the most popular:
And now for the details on our very first #BookRave giveaway! We have two amazing authors participating in June: KAREN McMANUS, whose hot debut, ONE OF US IS LYING has been hailed as “flat-out addictive”, and PAGE MORGAN, whose THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED was a Seventeen Magazine Summer Book Club Read, and a #1 Amazon bestseller!
The #BookRave Rafflecopter will open at midnight on Wednesday, June 14 and run through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, June 16th. Winners will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours to claim their prize. U.S. residents only.
Check back on June 14th for the LIVE GIVEAWAY blog post and be granted access to the Rafflecopter for your chance to win one of these brilliant YA books, or a $10 Amazon gift card!
Have questions? Chat with us on Twitter at @meganklacroix and @tamaragirardi!
If you're interested in learning more on the subject of reader reviews and their importance in the publishing industry, check out these blog posts:
2 Ways to Make the Most of Goodreads by Jane Friedman, Editor of The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for professional authors
The Importance of Reader's Reviews by Katie Rose Guest Pryal, Novelist, Journalist, Attorney
Why Book Reviews are Important to Authors by Trish Milburn, award-winning author of romance, young adult, and women's fiction
Why do Your Book Reviews Matter? by Lauren Faulkenberry, Author, Book Artist, and proprietor of Firebrand Press.