Monday, August 29, 2016

Why Write Book Reviews?

It seems I’m always begging people who like our books to post reviews on and Goodreads. Yet most don’t. Why not?

Actually, all it requires is a couple of minutes and a couple of sentences. The star rating counts the most.

5-stars = Excellent read
4-stars = Good read, but not outstanding
3-stars = Just okay (On Amazon, it’s considered a negative review. On Goodreads, it’s neutral)
2-stars = Not great, but may have a quality or two worth reading
1-star = Should never have been published

I almost never write anything less than a 4-star review. I recognize tastes vary, and what may not appeal to me may appeal to someone else. I’ve only posted two 1-star reviews. One was so badly written I couldn’t get through the first page. (Amazon subsequently removed this one because of all the negative reviews and comments. I was far from alone.)

The other was by one of my favorite writers, but this book was dreadful. Quite a few others also hated it. I had previously written many positive reviews for this writer. This book had many reviews, and I felt obligated to warn others away from this title.

The vast majority of my reviews are 5-star.

You don’t have to write a treatise. One or two sentences will do. You can always start with: I liked this book because… Then list a couple of reasons you enjoyed it.

THEY ARE FRIENDS (and now Goodreads since they are now owned by Amazon) will not allow friends of the author to post reviews. How Amazon is aware of our friendships is beyond me. But it's worth writing one, even if Amazon removes it. You and the author will know in the future. (And Amazon may not realize you have a relationship.)

So why should you—and I—post reviews on books?

It may seem strange, but the number of reviews a book receives affects how it shows up in Amazon listings. The algorithms by which Amazon makes these placements is arcane and confusing to nearly everyone, but the more reviews, the better the placement. A well-reviewed book will show up on the suggested books list for other books and may be suggested as a bundle with other books.

Publishers will feature their well-reviewed books more often in their publicity. Since they do little of it anymore, good reviews give the author a boost.

Some other sites which feature authors and books require a minimum number of Amazon reviews before they can be listed. These sites have large followings and can give a listed book greater visibility. But if there aren’t enough good reviews on Amazon, they won’t be considered.

Readers looking at books to read on Amazon or Goodreads often use reviews to decide whether or not to purchase the book. Good reviews generate sales—always a positive for authors.

So, if you enjoy books, please follow up with a positive review.

And if you’d like to post a review on one of our books, here are the links:

We would appreciate your reviews, especially if you have enjoyed them!

Do you write book reviews? Why or why not?


  1. Many non-authors really hate to write reviews. They're afraid their assessment will be "wrong." Of course, there's no such thing as a wrong review. Everyone has different opinions.
    Another problem is the GoodRead site is hard to navigate.

    1. Both sites require some practice to learn how to maneuver. I write a review on Amazon, and then I copy it to GoodReads. I hope they will be completely integrated soon!

  2. I write reviews too, but not as many as I should. Love it when I get reviews, so I should reciprocate.

    1. I feel like I need to write good reviews for writers I love.

  3. Great post, Lorna. I love to write reviews, and sure wish all my readers did. If only I had more time to read so I could leave more reviews.

    1. I often get pre-pub copies of books from several publishers, so I read a lot.

  4. Well said, Lorna. I regularly write reviews and enjoy doing it. Like you, I try to give a supportive review whenever possible. There are a couple additional reasons why writers should do reviews. First, it helps hone your writing skills. Second, and muy importante--writers should support one another. We're all in this together.

    1. I agree, John. Writers are also readers, and we need to support each other.

  5. I only write reviews for books I like, which is almost all that I read. I've never given less than a 4-star review. I've only had 1 bad review and it was from a friend that I went to grade school and high school with and am still friends almost daily. Her review wasn't bad, but she only gave me 3 stars, which immediately lowered my 5 star rating to 4.5 where it remains to this day. With my first book, someone I don't even know thought she was helpful by going on B&N and not even writing a review, but giving it 4 stars "to make it look real" because she'd never read the book! She's in a grief group I belong to. I would have choked her, had I known her. I had all 5 stars till her "help".

    1. I had one 1-star review from someone who said she didn't likes books in the genre, didn't like first-person reviews, and didn't read the book. I checked her other reviews, and ALL of them were negative. Makes me suspicious... Fortunately all the others before and after have been positive. The current rating is 4.6, but it has enough additional reviews to help mitigate the bad one. I also respond to all reviews--except this one. I figure someone took the time to write a review, so I should thank them.

    2. Should have been point-of-view, not review.