Saturday, January 18, 2014

Book Reviews - Why Not?

It’s frustrating not getting as many book reviews as you’d like. It’s probably the most vexing problem faced by writers.  I don’t know what percentage of readers actually post reviews, but I’d hope a minimum of 20% of those reading my novels would take the ten minutes to post a rating and review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Reviews for my three novels are running well below this percentage.  
But why?  
Here are my thoughts on why so few reviews.  I’d be interested in your views.

1.       Readers didn’t find the book compelling and prefer not to say anything.  I’m hoping that’s not the case, and given that more than 90% of my reviews are 4 and 5 star, I have no reason to expect this is the reason.

2.       It’s a chicken and egg phenomenon.  That is, you don’t get more reviews until you get more reviews.  It seems people are less inclined to review a book with few reviews.

3.       Readers don’t think their opinion matters.  I’ve talked with friends and family who haven’t posted reviews for my books that they’ve read, and they’ve told me, “You know I liked it.  What more could I tell you in a review?”  Or they say, “Sure. I’ll review it,” but they never do.  They don’t realize the impact to potential buyers their reviews could have.

4.       People have downloaded my novels, but haven’t read them.  Hundreds of ebook copies were downloaded when I ran a one-day special on my first novel.  It’s possible these are sitting on Kindles and e-readers in a long queue of titles.  My ebooks normally sell for $2.99, so I would think anyone spending three bucks would take the time to read it—but maybe not.
I don’t spend a lot of time soliciting reviews.  I will occasionally exchange reviews with other new Indie authors, but I don’t have time to do very many.  I’ll also gift a Kindle copy of my books in exchange for an honest review, but these also are few and far between.   
I guess the net of this is it takes success to breed more success. In the meantime, I’ll continue to focus on writing.   


  1. I'm going to go with #s 3 and 4 as my guess for the top reasons. I've always reviewed books I've read (or other products I've gotten online), whether good or bad, because in most cases, that's how I decide what to purchase: reading someone else's review. I hadn't realized, until getting to know more authors, how important those reviews are for their marketing and sales, as well as overall credibility in some people's eyes.

    I will admit to biting off more than I can chew in some cases, when books are offered at a special price, or free for one day only. I'll download them but may not always get to them right away. When my Kindle was new, I was a crazy woman, downloading free classics, books I'd always wanted to read, freebies, name it. Needless to say, I quickly became overwhelmed with too many books to read in one lifetime. Now, I'm much more selective and try to weigh whether I'll actually get around to reading the book I'm tempted to download.

  2. Hi, Donn. I can add to your list, and I find this as the biggest reason. Time. People don't feel they want to take their time to add to reviews. Now, we might love to do it, but most people read the book, but only a few review.

    Another problem? Well, it appears that many who do want to review online stores, can't unless they have actually bought from that online store. I've actually had 2 people say this to me. They want to review, but they are not willing to open an account to do it. Others just don't have the time.

    You Know I gave you a review on your book, and I was happy to do it. Others don't seem to get how much reviews mean to the author.

    ISBN-13: 9781615000500


    1. Yes, to post a review on either Amazon or goodreads you need to have an account set up. Most readers have these in place, at least for Amazon. I do agree that time is an issue for most people.