Book reviews are the “bread and butter” for any independent or self-published author. Good or bad, book reviews are great feedback for an author to work on their craft and make them a better author. I can remember the first “honest” review I received on Forever Avalon shortly after it was published in 2009. It’s my one and only 2 STAR review.
“Nice try, but the book seems to be the effort of someone truly not gifted in the art of writing. Skip this one and save your money.”Carl W. Alvers (Verified Purchase)
Ouch! I can honestly say this one hurt, but it also made me take a closer look at my writing and editing. The “vanity” publisher I worked with pushed my book out with no real edit or comments. I think they just wanted to get my money (lesson learned) and I just wanted to be able to call myself published. When they went out of business and I republished Forever Avalon on Amazon, I did a good edit on my manuscript. In the time between my first publication and this one, I took the criticism to heart and worked to improve my writing style, grammar, point-of-view, tense, etc.
That’s what I like about book reviews. Most reviewers love my storytelling, its the mechanics of my writing that they criticize, and I understand that completely. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started working with professional editors to clean up my work. Their insight has made me a better writer.
Book reviews also help with promoting your book with Amazon. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it in searches. Book reviews are important for all books, but especially for self-published books, because most of their sales are online. When it comes to selling books online, Amazon customer reviews can make or break a shoppers interest in a book.
“Authors rely on reviews to build credibility and word of mouth marketing, while readers rely on them to decide whether or not to purchase a book. The more positive reviews an author has, the more books he or she is likely to sell.”Author Learning Center
The problem is that people are not very reliable in leaving reviews. That leads to other problems, as in how to get reviews. I will admit that I have paid for some of my book reviews, but I no longer do that. It leads to spam email and unwanted followers offering reviews for cash. I prefer working with my fellow indie authors. We swap books and provide reviews for each other. Feedback from my peers is priceless.
I get a lot of my reviews that way, but also from people I meet at book fairs and festivals I attend. I like the honest reviews I get from them. They’re not always frequent and not always positive, but it helps me grow. By reading these reviews, I know what my faults are and what I need to work on as I continue in my career as an author.
So, my one piece of advice to everyone out there . . . Help and Author and LEAVE A REVIEW! We can take the criticism and we need the attention, so please help out. It may sound like I’m begging (well, maybe just a little) but its a few minutes out of your day and it helps more than you know.
Mark Piggott is an award-winning independent author of several fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. A 23-year U.S. Navy veteran, his stories will take you from the shores of eternal Avalon to a dystopian steampunk future and other worlds.
The Forever Avalon fantasy book series—including Forever Avalon, The Dark Tides, and The Outlander War—is available online at Amazon and other booksellers. His fantasy steampunk novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.
Cross over The River of Souls in my first fantasy novella from Curious Corvid Publishing. Coming in 2023 from Curious Corvid—the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.