When my first book was published in the dark ages – the 1990s – I didn’t have to think about online reader reviews.
Amazon was only starting to sell books when WHY CAN’T A MAN BE MORE LIKE A WOMAN? was released in the spring of 1995; Barnes and Noble was still a strictly bricks and mortar business.
That meant that reader reviews came in the form of good, old-fashioned, word-of-mouth recommendations among friends. If you liked a book, you told someone: “You will love this book.”
It was a pretty simple process.
Reader reviews have power
In today’s publishing environment where the Internet lets us recommend books to anyone, online reader reviews have become powerful and influential. In fact, most readers rely on them to make purchasing decisions.
Whether they should or shouldn’t doesn’t matter. The fact is that they do.
This can be frustrating. Unless you’re at the same level as authors who are household names — think John Grisham, Jodi Piccoult, Carl Bernstein — you probably struggle to get reviews.
No matter what you do, and no matter how popular your book seems to be, getting reviews from fans can be a real challenge.
Is that your fault?
Are you doing something wrong?
But maybe not.