When you first release a book, it may seem like you have dozens of readers, but as time goes on, this trend may slow, and you may end up having dozens of reads without any reviews.
Why are reviews important?
Reviews are important because they draw in new audiences that may not have heard of you or your books. People want to see what others say about your work before they read you for the first time.
What if the few reviews that I do have are bad?
I’ve noticed that there are a lot of readers that feel comfortable leaving bad reviews, but there are few that leave good reviews. Now, I have talked to my readers personally, and I have received several compliments over time. However, people are usually too busy to leave a review or just plain forget about it. Sometimes, you have to do your best to remind them that their opinion counts and helps you. That doesn’t mean you should harass any of your readers by constantly asking for reviews. One subtle reminder should do.
Wouldn’t I get better reviews if I just signed up for a paid review site like Booksprout or Netgalley?
You might, and you might not. It is illegal for people to pay for reviews, so sites like these have you pay a subscription fee to their platform instead of paying outright for the reviews. Booksprout’s subscription is more affordable, where as Netgalley can cost hundreds of dollars.
Nevertheless, paying to be on websites like these may not always get you the best reviews. Reviewers are to be honest with their feelings about your books when working on these platforms. Also, in some cases, if they pick out your book and don’t like it, they can refuse to do a review.
The significance of this is that a lot of the time, there is a limit on how many review copies you can put out per book. Therefore, if someone picks up your book by accident, decides that he or she doesn’t like the genre, and isn’t going to read it, you just lost one of your allotted review copies.
So, how do I get more honest reviews without having to pay to be on a platform?
There are websites like LibraryThing that allow authors to put review copies on their website for free. You can reach several people by doing this. Also, it doesn’t hurt to interact with your social media channels and see if there is anyone on there that may want to review your book. There are several book reviews pages on Facebook, and there are probably several people that haven’t even heard of your new release. Advertisement is key.
I think that as authors, we forget that just because we are pumped about our new book, not everyone knows about it yet. It is important to advertise and network, so that people know about your publications. The best way to get your book out there and get reviews is to advertise. You can pay for a review platform and get reviews at a faster rate, but you will have to sacrifice time and money to do that, which can dig into your overall profits. Sometimes, it takes time for the number of book reviews to accumulate. That’s okay. Patience is better than spending all of your profits on a service that may or may not work.