Why Are Book Reviews Important For Authors?

Essentially, book reviews are scholarly summaries, or opinions about the literary work of an author. Books are usually reviewed for websites, blogs, magazines, or newspapers and are an amazing way for authors to get their books in front of an audience. Book reviews are deemed as publicity for writers, as they connect them directly to an audience of eager book readers who are determined to tell others about a good read and are intrinsically enthusiastic about literature.

Publishing a book is absolutely an exciting milestone for any author!  However,  you may have to hold off on the celebrations and focus upon selling as many copies of the book as possible to the public first. In this way, the author will be able to make a profit from the book sales and support their growing writing career. Nevertheless, it is not enough to rely on your sales pitch alone to reach out to potential buyers and readers for your book. Readers want to be sure that a book is unique compared to its counterparts in the same genre and that it is worth buying… which is why book reviews are so important for authors.

There are 2 main types of book reviews that can help authors get their books out there for readers to buy:

1)    Reader reviews

These are book reviews that are written by individuals who have read a book already and they have no affiliation with third party sources of book reviews. Most reader book reviews are considered more important and authentic because they have a certain personal feel to them. A majority of online retail bookstores exhibit reader book reviews as part of the book page to encourage book sales.

2)    Third Party Reviews

These kinds of reviews are seen as quite effective for authors in terms of getting publicity for a book and they come from sources such as:

–    Book podcasts

–    Book Blogs or websites

–    Online and printed magazines

–    News outfits

–    Printed Periodicals

–    Professional publications on book reviews

Book reviews, whether they are from readers or from third-party sources, are essential as what they say about your book determines the type of publicity received and in a large degree,  whether the book will sell.

Why are Book Reviews So Important?

*Book reviews help librarians and booksellers know how many copies of an author’s book to stock. Third-party book reviews are viewed as quite dependable in getting publicity for a book, especially professional book review publications whose main readership is comprised of librarians and booksellers looking to stock books that might be read by a significant audience. These professional review publications will review books submitted to them at least roughly 4 months prior to publication. Book reviews provided before publication give librarians and booksellers a clue as to which upcoming books they should include in their inventory.

* Book reviews help to establish an author’s overall reputation. An author’s book will benefit significantly from book reviews in addition to their author status. A book review, and a positive one at that, is proof and reassurance for anyone looking to buy an author’s book that it is the best quality and worth buying. Most readers trust third-party reviews more than other sources because they usually have more credibility. This is something an author should place highly in their book sale process. Also, potential audiences take books that are reviewed by professional book review publications more seriously.

*Book reviews are a form of organic marketing for an author’s books. Word of mouth as a form of promotion is quite effective.  A positive, or better yet a glowing book review, can make one reader recommend it to others. You can trust a typical reader to buy a book, particularly from an independent or first-time author, if they see that it has been bought and reviewed positively by other readers. If a book has more satisfied readers, there is a higher likelihood that it will be recommended to new readers.

*Book reviews can increase the visible presence for a book in the market. One of the biggest reasons why book reviews are essential for book authors would be that if a book gets more reviews that are positive then it has a higher chance of being prominently displayed in bookstores or online. A book with more visibility compared to others is more likely to sell. If a book has a higher visibility, this equates to higher sales and resulting profits for everyone involved.

*A good and honest book review will provide an author with a lot of constructive criticism. The author can take this feedback and further refine their work if they choose to do so.  That is indeed a valuable service.

Choosing a Book Reviewer

Book reviews vary across all genres and the author needs to research and find the ideal reviewer for their book. Some things to look at when looking for a book reviewer include:

–    How many reviews are required for the book?

–    Will the book require professional editing?

–    Will the reviewer need the book to be available on a specific site?

–    Does the book reviewer post reviews to Amazon, their social media account, and their own website?

–    Does the book reviewer accept self-published books or not?

–    How many book copies have been requested and are electronic versions accepted?

–    How many days will it take to review the book?

–    Which genre does the reviewer work with?

After an author discovers what the reviewer they have chosen requires, they need to work on a first impression. An author should present their book and themselves as if they were doing so directly to their audience. Some of the things authors should include in their package are flyers, bookmarks, business cards, a press release, and a biography. It may be nerve-racking for an author to wait for their book review but it is important to give the reviewer the assigned time they have asked for. This will ensure the book gets the adequate attention deserved.

When an author submits their book for review, they will be asking for an honest one. Not all book reviews are top-notch as the reviewer has an obligation to the readers. This is why it is important for authors to think practically because positive reviews are not always a given. However, positive reviews for an author’s book can increase social media engagement, enhance the author’s newsletter, boost visibility, and encourage sales.

All book reviewers will have a book review policy which they follow.  There will be many common elements which exist among reviewers, but there will be differences as well.  It is critical that an author reads the book review policy to ensure that it meets with their own needs.  As an example, this is the book review policy for Leonard Tillerman Book Blogger/Book Reviewer:

  • I will not post reviews which are less than 3 stars. If I agreed to review your book and I do not post a review, it is due to this condition.  I will send you a private email telling you my reasoning.
  • I will post your review to my blog, Amazon and Goodreads. If you have an additional place you would like me to post it to please let me know.
  • I will consider requests for book reviews and interviews
  • I will not accept books in hardcover, paperback, ebook or by email. I purchase them on Amazon to ensure a 100% bias free review.
  • I always go to my mailing list first to select which books I will review. The sign up form to my mailing list is on the top of the sidebar.
  • I do not have a preferential genre. I love them all.
  • I will actively market your book on various platforms (such as Twitter) after I have reviewed it
  • There is no charge for my services.

All in all, finding a great reviewer will really benefit your work.  There are many great book reviewers out there, but the need greatly outweighs the supply.  Of course, there are reviewers out there as well who go out of their way to trash books or artificially elevate them.  To find a reviewer who will take the time to personally connect with your work and provide an honest review is the diamond in the rough you are looking for.