Support Independent Authors: Leave a Review!

Support Independent Authors: Leave a Review!

Recently I was reading a series of books (not JAFF) that I really enjoyed. When I went to buy another one on Amazon, I noticed that this particular series didn’t have a lot of reviews on Amazon. The first book had 819 ratings on Goodreads and 252 reviews while the Amazon listing had 11 reviews. Book two fared even worse–with 3 reviews on Amazon.

I suspect this disparity is because the author left a floundering small press that wasn’t paying her royalties (that’s been happening a lot) and re-published the books herself. In the process she lost all of the series’ previous reviews. My heart went out to this author (who I don’t know at all). She had written great books that obviously a lot of people enjoyed, but the number of reviews on Amazon suggested nobody had purchased it or read them. I immediately sat down and wrote Amazon reviews for her books.

Now this may be a specific situation (although it’s more common than you might think as a lot of small presses close their doors), but many authors are in the situation where the number of reviews doesn’t reflect the number of people who buy and enjoy their books. I read that 7% of readers leave reviews for books. Think about that. Seven percent.

So, if you want to support a good author, buy his or her books and then write an Amazon review!

This isn’t a personal complaint; most of my books have gotten plenty of reviews. This is important to all the JAFF books on Amazon. Most JAFF books are self-published and the rest are published by small presses without big marketing budgets. JAFF authors aren’t getting rich (if you are, please call me and tell me how you’re doing it). All of us have days when we wonder if it is worth the hard work and sacrifice. Good reviews help us both emotionally and financially when we’re wondering if we should give up on writing and just focus on our day jobs.

I know it takes time to write a review. And it’s more convenient to give stars on Goodreads than to actually conjure up words for an Amazon review.  There are plenty of times when I think, “I’ll do it later…”  But an Amazon review can be short: “I liked it.” “It was good.” “It was better than Harry Potter and Hamlet combined….” etc.

Why do JAFF authors need Amazon reviews? For a couple reasons:

  1. Reviews are essential word-of-mouth marketing for self-published authors. J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and Nora Roberts won’t miss the thousandth review for their latest bestseller. But writing the fifth or seventeenth or fiftieth review of a self-published book has a huge impact on that book’s wellbeing and helps the author continue to be an author.
    2. Amazon buyers base their purchasing decisions on the quantity of reviews. We all do it. We look at a cover, read the blurb, and see that the book has high ratings. Great! But only five people reviewed it. Uh-oh. Five people could be the author’s friends. Five reviews suggests the book wasn’t very popular. We might not even take the time to read the reviews because the quantity of reviews is enough to dissuade us from giving the book a try.
  2. Promotional opportunities depend on the number of reviews. Amazon, Book Bub, and other platforms will give a book special marketing opportunities, but only if they have the required minimum number of reviews.
  3. Reviewing is a bit like voting. If you don’t vote, you take the risk that the candidates you don’t like will be elected. If you don’t buy and review books by authors you enjoy, you run the risk that they’ll stop writing the books you enjoy. Either the author won’t be able to afford to keep writing or she will just write the books that the more vocal readers like.

Did you enjoy the last JAFF book you read? Yay! I’m so happy to hear that. Now support the author and go write a review on Amazon!

26 Responses to Support Independent Authors: Leave a Review!

  1. Hello from Switzerland
    I want to give only 4 or 5 stars. So what do I do when I could not – from my point of view – give at least 4 stars? I don’t wish to judge publicly an author in a negative way. I think each author tries to give her or his best. For me, the most important is the blurb. Sometimes there are no stars and I liked the the book and sometimes I don’t finish a book with 5 stars. So what do I do???
    Kind regards, Doris

  2. I try to leave reviews when I can especially if I really enjoy the book! I agree it is hard to review one I don’t like because as it has been said I don’t want to hurt any feelings.

    • Hi Cindie, I totally understand that and I tend not to leave bad reviews myself for that reason. I figure it’s more important to try and avoid bad books and put my energy into giving good reviews to the books that deserve it. Thanks for reviewing!

  3. As a fellow author I so much appreciate this post! And I see that many people commenting here are people who regularly leave reviews on JAFF books! Thank you to everyone for what you do! It means more to us than you can imagine.

    • I feel the same way. I think it’s most important to leave reviews for good books–particularly if it’s an independently published book that could use a boost. I rarely give bad reviews and only for non-JAFF books on Goodreads if I feel that readers need to be warned about it.

  4. I review every book I read on GoodReads. I reviewed a few over the years on Amazon but then forgot about it when I joined GR. I’ll now do so in the future and I’m sorry I haven’t being doing it all along. Thanks for the kick up the back side over this matter!

  5. I too review on GoodReads, Amazon and BookBub. I want to do my part in supporting our authors. I’m not on any of the social media platforms… I don’t Face-Insta-Twit-or whatever the new names are. I just don’t have the technology. I can’t even upgrade my phone. My tech-geek told me my phone was old at 5-years. Oh well. Blessings on your hard work and thank you for alerting other readers to the importance of reviewing. I look at reviews before buying a book so I depend on them. I look at GoodReads first to see what my friends and fellow GR addicts think and then I look at Amazon.

  6. I always post a review on Goodreads and Amazon. When I remember, I also post on other platforms such as BookBub.

  7. As a reader, this was very informative. I don’t always leave a review (sorry). I do hit the stars, but I just sometimes don’t know what to say. I will try to do better in the future. Thank you, I do enjoy JAFF

  8. Thanks for this info. I feel guilty… coz I usually review and put it in Amazon only. Once in a while, I put an entry to goodreads and Audible, and rarely on Bookbub and ibooks. It is ok to cut the original review, right and paste it in the other sites, right?

    I’ll be more diligent in putting reviews where I can to help out.

  9. I admit that I don’t always review every Graphic Novel / Manga that I read but I do try and leave a review for most novels that I read on Goodreads and most FanFiction I read on FanFiction.net as well. Unfortunately I recently discovered that Amazon requires you to spend a certain amount of money per year or they don’t let you post reviews. I posted some last November but then didn’t post any for awhile and when I went to post a large group of my Goodreads reviews at once Amazon said I didn’t qualify for sharing reviews. I am currently using Kindle Unlimited to read some of the participating books but am in a budget so it seems wrong that Amazon blocks people from leaving reviews for books read using Kindle Unlimited if they haven’t spent enough money. I do try to leave reviews at several sites though, even if Amazon isn’t currently one of them.

    • Hi Chelsea, I don’t know if Amazon has an official policy that you have to spend a certain amount of money but there are other reasons your review might not show up — for example, if you’re Facebook friends with the author (yes, they actually track that) they assume that the reason you’re reviewing the book is because you’re friends in real life. Authors can find ways around this restriction but they have to be aware of it in the first place. Keep reviewing! It really helps.

      • I didn’t know about them blocking F Facebook friends but I don’t have a Facebook account so that can’t be it although it is interesting. I tried to post a review again and it said U don’t meet the “minimum eligibility requirements to write a review” and when I clicked on the community guidelines under Eligibility it says you must have spent $50 on Amazon in the last 12 months to contribute to Customer Reviews.

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