Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Do Book Reviews Matter?

This past week, I finalized the list for The Vetsch Posse, a group of my readers who have agreed to become "Influencers" for my books. (Influencers use their social media platforms, book clubs, library contacts, etc. to get the word out about an author and his/her books.)

I wound up with about 25 super-awesome folks who have saddled up with me to scour the prairie for new readers.

As posse members, these fine folks have many important jobs, but one of the most important is leaving reviews of the books they read. Amazon, B&N, FictionFinder, Goodreads, ChristianBook, and anywhere else they shop or talk about books.

When putting together the posse, and what expectations would be on both sides, I knew I wanted my posse to review books, but part of me wondered if those reviews mattered to anyone but the author of the book.

So I considered my own habits. When looking for a new book to read, I browse amazon or Christianbook, and if I am not familiar with an author, I scroll through the reviews to see what other readers are saying.

I also did a little online research looking for information on the effectiveness of product reviews. Did you know that a whopping 88% of shoppers check reviews before they make a purchase? According to, almost 90% of shoppers sometimes or always check reviews, and 60% of shoppers are likely to purchase from a site that has reviews. Yowza!

Word-of-mouth has always been the best way to sell books, and WOM used to be just a friend's recommendation, but now word-of-mouth also encompasses online reviews. Your book can suddenly have a lot of 'friends' talking about it. (Hopefully in a positive way!)

I have been blessed to have some lovely reviews on my work, and I am grateful for them. I also try to review books I read, sort of paying it forward. (In a future post, we can talk about how to write a review and what makes for a good, helpful review. :) )

So, a few questions for you:

Do you review books online?

Do you read reviews before making a purchase?

How influential are reviews in your online buying experience?

Erica Vetsch:
Executive Assistant
Earl Grey Aficionado 
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  1. Oh yes! I made a promise to myself at the end of 2013 that from then on I would review EVERY book I read and I've kept that promise. I find myself checking reviews often. Usually I look at one star reviews, mostly they tell me if a book has bad language, sex scenes, no depth. I know then to pass over these books. I can tell if someone is truthful or just being mean. I value my time and I read only books I know I'll enjoy. I've only given four and five star reviews because I do choose carefully.

    1. You are my hero, Gail! Thank you for reading and reviewing so many books! :)

  2. Wow! Those are some impressive percentages! I almost always check reviews and customer ratings when I'm buying a new item or from a new seller. Thanks for the information!

    1. I was stunned at those percentages, too. It's a changing world we live in.

  3. Yes I do review books. I am blessed by authors and love to review their books. Don't know if I'm on your posse but I am on some street teams :)
    I do read reviews & I shop by reviews too.. I will skip a free download if a review rates
    a book with bad language, sex scenes or too much passion.. I won't leave a 1 or 2 star review, I'll just not review the book. I have left a 3 star but always explain why I didn't like it but that it's just my opinion.. I tend to overlook 1 or 2 stars because their reviews usually don't even match the books description! I'm looking forward to some tips on if I'm saying the right things to help the author... Enjoyed the post today!

  4. I do read reviews before a purchase; and generally check out the bad reviews first. A surprising number of these deal with customer service issues, and have nothing to do with the book itself.

    The main deal-killers for me are shoddy research and an attempt to sell disguised polemics. I'm pretty tolerant of what some call poor writing, as it's very subjective, and I've found some "badly written" books to be very fine indeed.

  5. I love doing reviews and now do one for every book I read. Until about 3 years ago I never knew reviews were so important! I always check reviews and pretty much ignore the 1 and 2 stars since they rarely have to do with the book anyways. Sad that those are allowed on there. (the ones that are about customer service or someone having a bad day) I read the 3 stars to find out what they didn't like and then decide if it matters to me or not.
    My biggest pet peeve in reviews are those people who basically just re-write the back blurb. If I wanted a summary - I read the back blurb - I don't want a review saying the exact same thing. I make sure my reviews always talk about the action, characters and what moved me. It's what I look for in a review.

  6. Wow, those percentages were surprising. I had no idea...
    I try to review books, though I don't do so well at it. I try to write at least a short comment or two, if nothing else. However, when it comes to me deciding to purchase or read a book, I almost never read a review first. I'll read (usually, I just browse) the synopsis and I'll see what the average rating is... but I prefer to not read any reviews. At least not until after I've read the book for myself. After I read the book, I'll go back and read reviews and give the ones I like a "thumbs-up" or positive rating.

  7. Yes, I review books on my blog and I also post my reviews on goodreads, facebook, amazon, the publishing company and any others that I am aware of.

    I do read reviews before I purchase an item and for the most part it does influence my purchase but there are exception to some for example if I am familiar with the author's work and someone else has left a not so nice review then I don't go by the reviews. I also look to see which authors(that I do read) have left a review!


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