I’m not sure many readers appreciate the importance of Feedback and Reviews. For those people, allow me to assure you, both are VERY important although for different reasons.
I have been fortunate enough to receive feedback from readers on many of my books. Most recently, a lovely lady sent me a DM to inform me she and her son both love my Mik Murdoch books. They have read them all and she had taken the time to talk about them on Instagram.
I can’t tell you how important that DM was. Like many of you, I have been feeling the challenges of being home alone all day, most days. COVID has severely restricted my movement; my wife works in healthcare and I don’t want to be the one to contract the virus and have it spread to her patients. The DM I received really boosted my spirits when I needed it most.
If I were to ignore the pandemic for a moment, I also suffer from that malady many other writers have. That most debilitating of problems known as self-doubt. There is that part of me that knows my writing is good. There is that more vocal minority that rears its ugly head periodically that insists I’m a poser. (Positive) feedback helps reinforce the (former) belief that I’m good enough and should keep writing.
There is a small problem with feedback, however. As good as it can make me (and I’m certain, you as well) feel, it doesn’t sell books or even make people more aware of them. That was where my first example truly shines. The lady in question let her community know my books were worthwhile. Feedback with the added bonus of a visual review.
That segues nicely into the subject of reviews. Any and every writer will almost certainly tell you how important reviews are. There are many sites that specialize in showcasing reviews. Some are better than others, but they all have their merits.
The biggest merit, of course, is readers can get the opinion from other readers whether you book is worth reading or not. For me, the site I want as many reviews on as I can get is Amazon. Love it or hate it, Amazon is the 900 lb gorilla of books sales. If you as a writer want to get your book recommended to buyers, you have to have a minimum number of reviews of that book (last time I heard a number, I believe it was in the 40’s). If you have less, you are not featured. That makes more (positive) reviews on Amazon extremely important.
I have many reviews on Goodreads, for example, but none of them connect readers with a means to purchase the reviewed books so I don’t see much for sales from Goodreads reviews. I don’t have nearly the same number of Amazon reviews, so my book isn’t featured (and Amazon doesn’t use Goodreads reviews). It can be frustrating.
So which is better?
Both are important to a writer. Rather than ask which is better, ask why not do both? If you are prepared to send a nice note to a writer about how much you love a certain book, take the extra few minutes to tell the world that too. Sometimes you can even use the same words. 🙂
Be tactical in your reviews too. As I mentioned, Goodreads reviews are nice, but I get more bang for my buck from Amazon reviews. The same is true of Kobo. Putting your reviews directly on the sales site will always help the author more than a non-sales site.
How do I do it?
That’s the easy part. A review or feedback doesn’t need to be long or involved. Something as simple as “I really liked the book” is enough for either.
Can I help Michell?
Not a self-serving question at all, is it? 🙂
Still, if I were to be totally honest, I would ask for reviews. Of any of my books. On Amazon.