As a writer, the opinions of the reader can be pretty important. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's a bad thing. Sometimes it’s the thing that can give your self-confidence a nasty shake--if you let it! Today I’m exploring the importance of reviews on Amazon.
Do they really matter?
After all, it's not like the people commenting are world famous critics. Sure, they may picture themselves as the Simon Cowell of the literary world, but in reality, most readers who leave a review on Amazon are your Average Joes--ordinary people who like to read.
Yes, I've heard and seen first-hand the readers that just like to rip apart a book because they can. I don't like that practice, but it is what it is. I also don't think that most readers intend to be that way. But a word of advice to all you writers who get hot under the collar about such things--chill out. Don't respond. Don't comment or try to justify yourself or your book. It never ends well and always makes the writer look like an ass.
But back to the question I posed today: Do reviews on Amazon matter?
I say yes. They definitely help other readers figure out whether or not this is a book that might be for them. Through review comments, a potential buyer can learn the genre of the book, how long it might take to read it, and whether or not it's got the right tone for them. The more reviews you have on Amazon, the better they can make the determination as to whether or not they should add your book to their collection.
Don't believe me?
Read through some of the comments from reviewers on Amazon. Many of them say they purchased the book because of all the reviews.
Of course getting reviews is a whole other blog post…
For you readers who aren't sure whether to leave a review or not, I say do it. Even if you didn't like the book, leave the review. Feedback is the breakfast of champions. How else will writers improve (assuming the ego can get past the sting of criticism) and get better? Editors, agents, and publishers are all well and good things to have. But nothing tells you where you are at in the process of writing like a review from Average Joe.
In fact, what prompted me to write this post was the anger of an Average Joe reviewer--my mother. She is an avid reader of the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin. However, when she reached the end of the fourth book, I got a nasty phone call. She hated the way the book ended. All the characters she wanted to know about where in the next book and she'd invested all that time getting through the novel only to find that out at the end! How dare Martin trick her like that!
I asked her if she was going to read the fifth book. She answered "no" and then revised that answer to "well, at least not right away." Mr. Martin could wait a little while before he got her money for Book 5!
That's when I advised her to write a review on Amazon. Maybe this was something other readers might want to know about.
Of course, I doubt George R.R. Martin (who needs two middle names?) reads the Amazon reviews, but you never know!