write review

When you’re an indie author, there’s one thing we would like the most. Give up the day job and write for a living. For that to happen, we need a simple thing, a review. Well, to be honest, we need multiple reviews and preferably ones that see our writing in a good light.

The vast majority of readers don’t do reviews. They either forget, can’t be bothered, are too shy or can’t think of any words to write. That’s fine, we understand. But a review can make all the difference to a writer’s career. Multiple reviews, make a dramatic difference to our sales ranking on Amazon and that means more people will discover our books.

Take my book The Brittle Sea. It’s been out a year and has some great reviews so it’s sold pretty well. An older book of mine, Operation Werwolf, had good reviews but hardly any lately, and is therefore way down in the Amazon rankings. That means anyone doing a search for a book like Operation Werwolf will probably never see it in the search results. That means no sales, and consequently no reviews. It’s a sort of literary vicious circle.

So how do indie authors get reviews for their books? That is a difficult question to answer. Many indie’s rely on friends and family buying their books and giving a good review. But if Amazon suspect something potentially underhand, they will refuse to publish the review. If a review is not written in a certain way, Amazon will refuse to publish it. If they find out you paid for a review, not only will they refuse to publish the review, they may even suspend your account.

The answer is that you need organic reviews, meaning ones that come naturally. The more natural the better, but it’s hard for indie authors to sit on their hands and wait for the reviews to fly in, because they rarely do that.

Another way to gain reviews is to do a book giveaway. Now that works fine if, like my The Brittle Sea novel, you have a trilogy. The way it works is simple. Give away the first book, but you must advertise it far and wide, and then you can expect quite a few reviews and ratings on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

With The Brittle Sea, I gave away 2094 free books. In return I received 33 ratings and 16 reviews on Goodreads and about the same with Amazon. Some of these are overlapping, meaning the appear on both platforms, but many aren’t. However, it’s a very slow process because you are relying on people to download and read your book asap. That, in my experience, doesn’t happen. I was told by one reader that they bought and downloaded one of my books, but it took a year to get round to reading it. So I’ll bet a big proportion of the 2094 books I gave away for free and not been read yet.

As with all things for the indie author, I’m afraid it takes time.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2021

Books and writing books are my life, and though I may get a modest remuneration from sales, it’s still a great feeling. An even better feeling when you gain a sale is I’ve gained a new reader and hopefully a review.

If you want to read of a few chapters of The Brittle Sea for free, use the link below.

 

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