The Importance of Reviews and How to Leave a Helpful Review

This is going to be fairly short. Reviews are very important. Please remember to review, especially if the book you are reviewing has under a hundred reviews on Amazon.

Surrendering to Her General is now at 44 reviews today as we hit the 2 months mark since its release so if you have read and not reviewed yet, please consider it. We’re so close to 50 reviews now and Amazon will give me a pony if I get 50! (Okay, maybe not a pony, but good things happen!)

Okay, we’re done. That’s the whole post…

Just kidding! As if I’d ever shut up that fast! I am absolutely serious when I say reviews are essential, but here are a few reason why:

  1. The author, unless they are one of the biggies, probably does care what people say in their reviews. They may not read every single one but I don’t know many authors who don’t go over to peek occasionally, especially when a new  book is released. We do value your opinion. So be honest, but please also remember to be as kind as possible.
  2. The number of reviews a book has on Amazon affects everything about how well the book does. Amazon rewards you for getting a certain number of reviews by making your book more visible. If you get over 50 you get more advertising. There is a whole tier system in place.
  3. You are less likely to get angry reviewers who give you a one-star review because they didn’t know the kind of book they were getting if there are enough reviews for them to scan through and understand the content. This is, honestly, kind of a big problem for my genre. Amazon polices how we can describe our books, and how blunt we can be about what’s in them.

Which means occasionally we get vanilla people wandering in and getting shocked by what they find inside. Not everyone understands BDSM or power-exchange romance and if you don’t, these things can come off like abuse.

Now that you know how important it is and that your favorite author will love you forever if you leave them one–let’s talk about a few things people worry about when it comes to reviews. The single biggest reason I hear for not leaving a review is “I’m not good at writing that kind of stuff” or “I never know what to say.”

So, let me be very clear on this, a review can be as detailed or as simple as you choose to make it. Either one will benefit the author. Of course we love to hear your actual thoughts on the book. What did you like? What did you hate? What did you wish you’d heard more about? And I’ve absolutely worked to add things into sequels because of comments I’ve received.

But even if you don’t feel like you’re up to leaving a long detailed review, just the fact that you leave something is going to help with the number of reviews on a book. If all you do is hit the stars and then “It was good. I’d like to read more.” the author will still be thrilled you bothered. Trust me!

Another concern I hear often is that people don’t want their real name associated with ‘those’ types of books. I understand, and I get it! But don’t let that stop you from leaving reviews. You can change your Amazon profile name to any nickname you like and it won’t show your real name.

Alright, now that we’ve covered those issues.  What about people who do want to leave detailed reviews about their thoughts on a book and just aren’t sure what to say. Well, I’ve already listed some helpful hints in the meme at the top for new reviewers, but I do have another handy meme I made a while back that offers some suggestions on what you might want to talk about, and also discusses things that you shouldn’t blame an author for when you review them.

The most frustrating reviews an author gets, aren’t the ones that say they didn’t like the book, or the characters or the plot. It’s the ones that don’t feel fair.

I once got a review from someone who said “The author failed to disclose that there was a ghost with a dominance problem in the book, and he kept spanking people, which isn’t my thing.” When the description literally describes him as a Dominant ghost who grabs and punishes the medium who comes to stay in his house.

It still frustrates me every time I think about it, because I am writing what I’m meant to write for my genre, and she gave me a two-star because she didn’t bother to read the description. So, there are things that you definitely should/could mention, and use to guide your ratings, and then there are things that aren’t the author’s fault. Hopefully you’ll find this helpful:

I’ve made it as large as I can, but there is a lot of text in there, so hopefully it’s readable to everyone. If not, find me here Kessily on Twitter or here Kessily on Facebook and ask me for a copy directly.

Okay the last thing I have to add is a new thing. This is something I’ve started doing recently on my own reviews and I’d love to see it take off. Every since Kindle Unlimited came out the number of verified reviews people get has dropped way down for authors who use it. If you read a book through KU, even though you are paying for your subscriptions, it doesn’t count as buying the book, so you don’t get a verified purchase tag.

I used to get tons of them, now I’m lucky to get a few, and when your reviews are overall good (most of mine are 4s and 5s) and none of them are verified it gets easy for people to wonder if you are padding your reviews with fake ones. This is something I would never do, and I’ve only ever asked people to review my books after they’ve actually read them, and I’ve never asked for people to be anything but honest even then.

But that doesn’t change how it can look. I personally don’t think it’s fair. If someone borrowed the book on KU and clicks all the way through they should still get a verified tag, or at least a different kind of tag “Verified KU borrow” maybe, but until Amazon decides to do something like that, I’ve simply been adding “Read through my KU subscription plan.” at the bottom of books I review.

It’s obviously not as good as the Amazon verification, but I do think it reminds people that when a book is in KU it just isn’t going to have a ton of verified reviews, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real.  Anyway, it’s just a suggestion but I would love to see everyone start doing that.

That’s it for now, I better get back to that series of Long-distance D/s relationship posts, and finishing this book! Have a great week everyone!




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