Support an Independent Author: Leave a Review!

amazon-700x467Recently 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. 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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!amazon-700x467


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