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?