Saturday, April 12, 2014

Book Reviews – a win-win

I love to read.  Reading has been one of my favorite pastimes for most of my life.  I started reading in elementary school and I have never stopped, from Charlotte’s Web to Harry Potter, reading books has been an important part of my life.   It is not surprising that most authors are also avid readers; there is a direct relationship between reading and writing.  As I muddle my way through the maze of marketing and promotion for self-published authors, I am also finding a very direct relationship between my reading & being a successful author. 

One of the most coveted things for every author is book reviews.   I know as a reader, when I look for new books on Amazon or Goodreads, I check to see what other readers have said about the book.  Before becoming an author myself, I never realized the importance of those book reviews.  Having positive reviews can have a significant impact on the success of your book. 

There are literally thousands of new books being published each week, big publishing houses, small publishing firms and loads of independent authors using publishers like Amazon’s Kindle Direct, CreateSpace, Smashwords and others, have allowed anyone who wants to publish their work to enter into the world of published books.  While this opportunity for anyone to publish is a great thing, it has made it harder to get noticed among the many new releases out there.  Positive reviews are an important way to distinguish yourself and get your work noticed, reviews can help you to be heard above all the noise.  The challenge is how to get those first reviews.

As I am learning the ropes of indie publishing, I have begun to do reviews for other authors.  I see these reviews as a win-win.  To me it is positive author karma.  Not only do I get to read a lot of great books, which helps me in my writing craft, but I know I am helping those authors by providing the valuable reviews they are seeking.  I also hope that when my books are ready that many of my fellow authors will reciprocate the favor and review my books in return.  I have found that doing reviews for other authors is not only a good way to read some great books and help out the writing community, but it is a fantastic way to build relationships. 

As a new author I have worked hard to find and encourage people to review my book.  I have asked friends and family to do a review.  I have searched online to find people who offer book reviews. These valuable book reviews make a huge difference in a customer’s decision whether or not to purchase my book.  Positive reviews are the most important form of advertising for an author.  Reviews tell customers that your book is worth reading.  Reviews can also help to improve your writing.  Reviewers can offer valuable feedback for the author.  I have also had the wonderful privilege of having folks called ‘beta readers’ review my book.  These are individuals who are willing to read your manuscript and provide feedback prior to publishing.  I did use a paid editor for my final manuscript, but I also had a few beta readers review my book, and I found their feedback to be very helpful.  Authors need and really value this feedback to help improve their work.   I am overwhelmed by how supportive the writing community has been so far. 

If you love reading – please help out the authors by posting reviews!  They will love you for it.  And if you have time – please leave a review for my book too! 



  1. I try to write reviews of other authors' books, too, but reviewing new releases can be a challenge, since I can't afford to buy every new book I'd like to read as soon as it is released. I expect other readers face the same problem. Do you offer free eBook editions of your books as an incentive for writing a review? If so, do you track whether an individual actually writes a review so as not to give him/her any more freebies until they keep their promise to write a review? Tracking this aspect could get a bit difficult as more and more requests come in. I've toyed with making this an option for my books, but I haven't made it a policy yet. What are your thoughts?

  2. Thanks Michael, I have provided a copy for anyone who states they are willing to review my book, but I have only gotten a few reviews posted so far. I'm not specifically keeping track of who I provided a copy to and who actually posted a review, but I think that is a good idea. At this point I am still in a big learning curve. Right now there is a lot of trial and error. I did offer the book for a free day on Amazon & promoted it widely, I was hoping that would generate some reviews as well.

  3. Laurie, I see that you have a very good ability to structure your thoughts. I, personally, do not see that in my writing-although my friends and family seem to think I do. I guess it is due to the fact that I have a mental illness. If you can give me some feedback on my writing, I would appreciate it; as I am working hard to publish one day. Particularly, I have on my blog a piece that I am working on known as The Thoughts Of Few Part I-III. My email address is My blog address is Thanks!