Thursday, August 10, 2017

How to Encourage Readers to Post Reviews

As a follow-up to the great August 6, 2017 Novel Spaces post by Linda Thorne regarding reviews, I was speaking to a close friend last night about why one book receives hundreds of reviews in let's say, 1 month, and another book receives only a few reviews, if any. The two books might be just as good, yet the variance in the number of reviews is apparent.

My friend and I were trying to come up with ways to inspire readers to understand the importance of writing reviews. We're working on that.

But for now, my opinion is that once a book initially receives a great number of reviews upon release, the book attracts the attention of prospective readers who become curious, and then once those readers buy and read the book, they're more motivated to go back and write a review as well.

Reviews really are a great way to show us authors that readers enjoy our work. Reviews, good or bad, can make readers curious, and in turn, increase sales.

My friend mentioned that some readers might feel that taking the time to sit down and write, edit, look it over, and then post the review, is like homework. Something they don't have time for. And Amazon in particular won't let you only give the book 1 to 5 stars. You must also post a certain number of words.

Years ago, I think reviews were written more frequently. I'm not sure why that's changed. Maybe because there are so many more choices. Also, I think that some genres garner more reviews than others, i.e. romance novels receive more reviews than women's fiction in some cases. And obviously, the popularity of the author, subject matter, and interest play major roles.

I found that with my 2016 title, The Practice Wife, after offering advance reading copies in exchange for an honest review, I did end up with quite a few reviews on or just after the release date. But also, Amazon removed some of the reviews, as Linda Throne mentioned can happen (or at least they were posted in a way that people could not see them), because the books were not purchased via Amazon.

If we can all try to outright ask readers to post reviews, whether to Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads, etc., I think they will, though we don't want our sales to be their responsibility. We want them to buy whichever books they want, the way they want, as often as they want. And if they review them, we're grateful. But we can nudge them along.

Let's keep spreading the word about the importance of reviews, and in the meantime, my friend and I plan to come up with something to inspire readers to do so, just as a small way to contribute to the big picture.

What do you think can be done to encourage readers to write reviews?

Write on!


J.L. Campbell said...

As you noted, the main way to encourage readers is to help them understand the importance of writing a review, no matter how short.

Memes are attention getting and share a message in a few words. People are inspired by them and will share same.

SJ Francis said...

Excellent post here. Thanks so much for sharing such a relevant post. Why is it that getting people to write book reviews is like pulling teeth? I write reviews for everything I buy. some critical descriptive reviews have actually saved me money from not buying something.
My debut novel, Shattered Lies when first released in Oct. 2015 received several reviews off the bat, then slowly trickled in then stopped. This year, as if somebody has discovered my book, more reviews have popped up. why? How? I'd like to figure out the reason why some people won't post a review.
When anyone figures out this mystery, please let me know.
S.J. Francis

Charles Gramlich said...

I think free giveaways were a very good way but with Amazon's rule changes they've kind of killed that for them at least

authorlindathorne said...

I actually went so far as to ask my publisher to add something to the final page of my book. It says: Thank you for reading my book. Did you enjoy it?
An author's success depends on readers like you! Please take a minute to post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Your opinion will make all the difference.

So far I haven't see a review from a book sold with this addition, but then I haven't sold a lot of books lately. Something like this can't hurt. If I find out it helps, I will let all of you know.

Marissa Monteilh said...

J.L., I will indeed try memes with a message, thanks for posting!

Marissa Monteilh said...

S.J., I'm really trying to figure out why. I was checking Amazon today to see if there's a way to send readers ebooks in exchange for an honest review. I'm reading pros and cons. Thanks for the feedback!

Marissa Monteilh said...

Charles, yes, Amazon's rules are ever-changing, and frustrating. It's about making money, and if someone who has never bought on Amazon has never bought anything on Amazon, they are not able to post a review, even if the author gifted it to them. Whew!

Marissa Monteilh said...

Hi Linda, that sounds like a great idea. I asked on FB the other day, and nothing. So, the investigation goes on. Cheers to you for being creative and asking. We'll get it figured out yet :)

Liane Spicer said...

I no longer go out of my way to garner reviews; they either come organically or they don't. One thing I used to do was ask readers on my mailing list to post reviews in exchange for free books. I usually got a few that way, but I don't bother anymore since Amazon changed the review system so radically.

My books have been selling fairly well on iBooks since January, and I've come to like their rating system a lot. Readers can rate books without leaving reviews, and they do so at many times the rate that they leave a written review. I wish Amazon would adopt this system.

Marissa Monteilh said...

Liane, I understand, we're on the same page. I don't currently offer my titles on iBooks, but I will look into it. The rating system sound interesting. Thank you!