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Reviews—how important are they?

Recently I’ve had a lot of questions about reviews. You need some, want more, had a bad one… How important are they?

Well, it’s obvious that a good movie review sometimes sends the production into the top sales rank. But have you ever watched a movie based on those trailers and reviews, and you ended up hating the film? The same theory applies for books. Most of us have taken the advice of a friend and read a book she loved, only to stop after three pages.

This is one of the biggest things to remember about reviews—they’re subjective. Opinions vary widely, and sometimes reviewers have very strong reactions to your books, whether good or bad.

Authors sometimes “stalk” themselves on sites such as Amazon or Goodreads, glutting themselves on their reviews like crack. It’s bad for you, but sometimes oh, so good, right? I always encourage authors not to bother looking at reviews. A lot of very successful authors throughout history have ignored their reviews—never look at them.

Also, in this day and age, some people are sneaky. They pay their friends for reviews or pay a service to put up a certain number of 4 and 5 star reviews for their book. Did the people read the book? Unlikely. But it looks as if their buy page has a large amount of great reviews, and that makes the author feel good!

Another burning question is, “Will my bad reviews hurt my book’s sales?” IMHO, no. NO, NO, NO. Sometimes poor reviews just beg a reader to pick up the book and see what’s so bad about it. Other times, too many fantastic ratings turn people off. It makes people suspect that the book can’t be all that good if they’re getting so many rave reviews. Look for a balance of mid-range reviews, and you’ve got a solid story you’ll probably like.

My best advice is to find reviewers you trust, whether friends from a book club who will give honest opinions, or professional review sites where your review will have a large viewing. And don’t fret about those reviews—focus on your story and craft. Keep writing!

Whispers Publishing
Explore Your Fantasies
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