By Claire Booth
I wrote a review this week—not for a book, but for a service. We had some construction work done, and the company did a great job. I told the owner that, and he said, “Do you ever go on Yelp?” Because that helps tremendously. Reviews get the word out, he said. Lets people know that you provide a good service.
I had to laugh—for two reasons. One, because of course I checked reviews before I chose a construction company. I went on Yelp and Angie’s List, and I carefully read what people had to say. That helped me steer clear of unreliable companies and make a good decision. So me taking the time to post a good review for the next folks looking for a contractor is extremely valuable currency for somebody in a word-of-mouth business.
I’m sure you’ve figured out the second reason why I laughed. Guess who else is in a word-of-mouth business? Me. And all authors. We’re just as dependent on reviews as that neighborhood contractor is.
Taking the time to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads is one of the greatest gifts you can give an author you like. It doesn’t have to be lengthy—one sentence is enough. And it doesn’t matter where you read it. If you checked something out at the library (yes, please do!), you can still review it anywhere you please. Because the blunt fact is, the more the better. The higher the number of reviews for a book, the more prospective readers it attracts. Because they legitimately want to know if a book is going to be worth their money and their time.
I had a conversation recently with a lovely lady in my book group, who was gushing about a literary novel she’d just read. She said no one she talked to about it had heard of it or the author. I asked if she’d written a review. She said no, because she felt like she would be going out on a limb because no one else was familiar with it. But think about how valuable your review would be, I said. A glowing review for someone who only has a few would carry a lot of weight. It would be like you recommending it to hundreds of book clubs, instead of just to our little group. This lovely lady lit up. She hadn’t thought of it that way. I haven’t talked to her since, but I hope she wrote that review.