Writer Dougie Brimson has a post up on the importance of online reader reviews for writers:
As a professional writer of ebooks, whenever I release something new onto the market the promotion of that book falls not to the publisher as it used to, but to me as the author. As a consequence the normal routine is to bombard media outlets, social media, related websites and blogs in the hope that someone will help by providing some publicity.
This, as you can imagine, is an extremely important part of the publishing process because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good a book might be if no one knows about it no one will buy it! But this work can consume an extraordinary amount of time and whilst it can be fabulous fun, it can also prove to be both frustrating and soul destroying.
However, after a certain amount of time you have to get back to the actual process of writing which means that you have to let your latest stand on its merits and fend for itself. It’s at this point that all authors hope that their readers will kick in and take up the task of spreading the word on their behalf. Fundamental to that is the review.
Trust me, as a promotional tool online reviews really do work which is why all authors ask, plead and even beg their readers to post them. It isn’t that we want you to boost our self-esteem (nice though that is!) it’s because the simple truth of the matter is that nothing sells books like word of mouth and these days, that primarily means what readers have to say on the online outlets.
All this is very true. Even simply clicking the LIKE button on a book’s page on Amazon helps a bit, but reviews are essential. Even if a writer is published through a big publisher, that doesn’t mean their books are getting decent promotion, or any promotion at all (most often they’re not).
This is also a wonderful way to reward an author if you enjoy a book you didn’t actually buy, whether it’s checked out of the library, bought used, borrowed from a friend, or even pirated off the internet. They didn’t make anything off your read, but you may help sell a few more books for them, and that’s a pretty nice way of giving back.
You don’t even have to write a lengthy review. Just give it a star rating, write a few lines about what you thought of the book, and click LIKE if, indeed, you liked it.
Also, if you really like a book or an author, you may consider “rounding up” when you rate them, i.e if you figure the book is a 4.5 star book, give it the 5 star rating rather than the 4 star. This will help offset the people out there who will give a book 1 star because it has dirty words in it, or because Amazon sent them a damaged copy, or because it has characters whose politics don’t coincide with theirs, or who read a certain type of book and score it badly for being that type of book. You see these kind of reviews all the time: “I’m sure this is an excellent mystery, and it’s incredibly well-written with engaging characters. But I don’t like mysteries, so I’m giving it only 2 stars…”
I’m not asking you to misrepresent yourself. Just err on the side of kindness. That is someone’s baby you’re talking about…