Why Amazon & BN reviews matter

I had a reader ask me why the Amazon & BN reviews matter… 

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I’ve noticed you’ve been pushing for more reviews…the book club thing and periodic requests for reviews, etc on twitter, FB.  I don’t ever pay attention to them.  I ask friends or go to blogs.  Store reviews just don’t matter to me.  What’s the big deal?

Well, bottom line… they are a very big deal.

I can’t claim a lot of hard knowledge on this but these are some of the things I’ve discovered with selfpublishing.  The number of reviews I received on Blade Song helped get me some of the ‘promo’ deals, like the daily deals, which actually benefits readers, too.

But again, this is just stuff that’s either been my experience or things I’ve learned in workshops, etc.  None of this has come straight from the horse’s (Amazon/BN’s) mouth.

Reviews at Amazon and BN add up to two key things:

  • ‘discoverability’
  • ‘promo’ offerings from online retailers offer (sales, etc)


So what’s with the ‘promo’ thing and what does that matter?

The promo thing translates to sales…and who doesn’t like sales, right?

X number of reviews can lead to things like

  • ‘daily deals’
  • ‘gold box’
  • other stuff

 Reviews alone aren’t going to get the daily deals, gold box deals, etc.  The majority of the reviews need to be positive.  Your pub has to push for the deal, there’s wrangling and hassling, etc.  I didn’t do any of it to get the daily deal… Inscribe did it all for.

But it’s not just the promo thing.  Increased reviews leads to increased discoverability.  You show up in search results more…people who looked at this also looked at…etc, I think.

If people aren’t seeing your book, they can’t buy your book.

Once you hit X amount of reviews on Amazon (and I think BN), you move into a different ‘algorithm’ which means your books show up more on book searches.  When your books pop up, more people see them.  If your books aren’t popping up a lot, then people can’t see them to buy them.  Decreased book sales will eventually lead to your publisher deciding not to renew your contracts…and that leads to canceled series.  Which has happened to me twice.

Yes, the readers looking for you will find you, but the casual buyer?  Not so much.  The browsing days in a bookstore are fading so the discoverability factor for online shoppers is becoming crucial.

The market is getting tough and yes, reviews are important, more now than ever.  You don’t have to be a professional reviewer… just say…hey, I liked this book and here is why.  Or even…this book didn’t appeal as much…and this is why.  I don’t want to be that author who is constantly begging for reviews, but if you enjoy a book of mine, if you feel inclined to leave a review, posting it to Amazon or BN is a huge help and I very much appreciate it.  🙂


5 Replies to “Why Amazon & BN reviews matter”

  1. I’m usually pretty good at putting up a paragraph or two on Goodreads and always rank on Goodreads for every book I read/listen. Lately, I’ve been trying to be better about posting the same review on Amazon and BN. I’m trying to remember that the casual reader isn’t on Goodreads, though it’ll be interesting to see if that changes some now that it’s been purchased by Amazon.

  2. I always post brief comments and rate on Goodreads. I don’t do so on Amazon, because I never give a well-thought review with minor plot details, etc. I jsut give a two sentence or so summation of my emotional reaction and why I liked it or why I didn’t. (I don’t usually finish books I don’t like so neg comments are rare for me.) Is that of any use? I mostly do it just for me …

  3. Goodreads helps with word of mouth, yes… but as far as the discoverability factor and things like daily deals on Amazon, daily finds on BN… no. For things to come up in browsing and to get the promo specials from the retailers, the reviews do have to be posted at the retailers. But please understand, I appreciate all of it. The stuff on Amazon and BN, though, just has a wider reaching effect than people realize. Very much so.

  4. I’m with Mary as I rarely have in depth reviews, does a short review help? and I also put those up on Goodreads (when I remember).

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