Why Should I Leave a Book Review?

The easy answer: it helps everybody from authors to readers to booksellers to the people leaving the reviews.

But how, exactly?

I don't usually share much about the writers' side of publishing or how I get my books all the way from an idea in my head to something readers can get their hands on.  But I believe reviews are too important to the reading and writing communities not to pull the curtain aside.

What does a book review do?

For people who haven't read the book, reviews give them insight into the book's content and quality.  Book browsers want to know if they're going to like a book before they buy it, and reviews are one of the things they look at.

For other people who've read the book, reviews by others provide new perspectives.  Reviews can validate other readers' thoughts or be completely different. This creates connection and discussion.

For authors, book reviews are amazing.  They can open doors to marketing and advertising opportunities we can't use otherwise.  They provide feedback on our work that helps shape what we publish and how we write it.  Some authors decide which series to focus on based on how much reader interest they get, which can be partially measured by reviews.

Booksellers benefit when they sell more books, which reviews can definitely set in motion.

People who leave reviews not only sharpen their skills with each one they write, but they open up opportunities for themselves to get free copies in exchange for honest reviews.  Some authors contact reviewers and bloggers directly for this.  Some websites like Goodreads make it easier for readers who leave reviews to win the book giveaways they enter.

What if I don't want to leave a bad review?

You can use the same question I ask myself when I leave reviews: Is the information I know now something I would've wanted to know before I bought this?  In other words, would your own poor review have saved you from spending time and money on a book you didn't end up liking?  If so, consider reviewing it.  Low ratings won't automatically kill book sales - I know that from experience.  But they can add to the overall picture of how readers react to the book.

What if I don't have time?

Try leaving a short review, especially if you loved or hated the book.  You can always go back and write more later.  Even if you don't, at least the author will know what you thought.  Your review still counts, and it's still appreciated.

What if I don't like reviews and surveys and sharing my opinion?

You don't have to leave a review, but the process is kind of like voting.  Those who participate shape the future.  If you loved a book and chose not to review it, maybe it has no effect at all.  Or maybe the author gives up or doesn't write anything new in that series.  Maybe a book you didn't like and didn't review ends up on a best sellers' list with a high rating you don't think it deserves.  More writers are publishing than ever before, giving readers the unique power to boost books they like over ones they don't through the support of their reviews.

If you need some ideas to get you started, you can check out my post with tips on writing a review.  Thanks for considering adding your voice to the reading and writing community.  As an author and a bookhead, it means a lot.

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