The value of reader reviews

Reader reviews are truly the lifeblood for authors. Whether it’s a work of fiction or nonfiction, reviews provide authors with feedback, are useful for future books, and are a gauge for the success or failure of the book.

In the world of Amazon, where 80% of today’s books are sold, reader reviews are used in ranking books. The more positive reviews a book has, the higher it ranks in Amazon search results, increasing its discoverability. So, yes, book reviews fuel the algorithms that promote books and book sales. Currently, my Amazon rating is 4.4 stars. With 450 ratings, 84% of Proving Her Claim readers are giving the book a 4-star or 5-star rating. That’s encouraging for a debut author.

A four-star or five-star rating tells readers that another reader enjoyed the storyline and the characters. And if the reader also leaves a written review, that provides more information about why the reader liked the book or what they found lacking. Basically, reader reviews are the Consumer Report of the book world.

As an author, it can be difficult to read those reviews. After all, our books are like our babies. We give birth to them, and then we push them out into the world, crossing our fingers that people will like them. During my career as an advertising copywriter, I didn’t have an ego about my writing. If my clients didn’t like the advertising copy, I’d re-write it without another thought. The copy wasn’t about me — it was about my client’s product or service, and they were the boss.

I’m not quite at the “no ego” stage as an author. But when I read a less-than-glowing comment, I need to remind myself that everyone has different tastes and expectations. And when it’s a five-star “love it” review, my heart is happy. Either way, I’m thankful they thought enough of the book to leave a review for future readers.