It’s hard to reflect just how important and valued reviews really are to authors. New authors need a loyal readership and exposure for their books. They depend on real people who will invest six or seven hours of their time reading their book, who will then make the effort to leave a review of that book online. It turns out that 88% of book purchases (fiction and nonfiction) are made using a recommendation from someone else. The main online review sites include Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbubs, but there are loads of others.
Behind the scenes, reviews have a huge impact, particularly on Amazon. To be included in the promotions such as Kindle Monthly Deals, a book usually needs to have a certain number of reviews (usually 25+) for them to consider including it in the promotion. So the reality for a debut author is more reviews you can generate for your book, the more visibility you might be able to get on Amazon. That will lead to more sales and it is a numbers game.
An emerging tool to sell more books is the specialist blogger. This is where a blogger focuses on a particular genre and compiles a formidable body of works and reviews to share with their followers. Espionage is still an active genre and so are the bloggers who write about it; Spys and Gals, The Real Book Spy and Give me a book and a cup of tea are just a few of dozens out there.
All reviews, regardless of who generates them, are valuable because they are often the difference between ordinary books and bestsellers. There is no doubt that book reviews give debut authors in particular the exposure and visibility they need to break into one of the most competitive industries in the world. So next time you read a great book, do the author a favour and pen a review, they will really appreciate it. I know I will!