Swimming The Mighty Amazon (.com)

The Importance of Book Reviews

Until I became a self-published author, I didn’t realize the phenomenal importance of leaving a review for books I purchased from the mighty merchandizing river of Amazon.com.

Once you publish your book and it’s listed on Amazon, Goodreads, etc., reviews become the coveted prize and one of the most difficult ones to attain. Yet receiving reviews is a critical step to a book’s success.

Walt Disney once said, “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

He was correct and the same holds true for books. You can write, create and publish the most wonderful book ever, but unless a lot of people read it…

I present the following analogy:

If you live near a river, you are probably familiar with spring flooding. Warning signs are posted, and news reporters urge people not to attempt to cross a road covered by flowing water no matter how shallow it appears.

The danger is not that few feet of water over the road but the torrential energy of the millions of gallons of water behind it pushing it along. With the assistance of gravity, the force of the Mississippi River is reported to be 800 times more powerful than wind in regards to its potential to produce electricity.

Imagine your newly published book is carefully sealed inside a glass bottle and placed at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota where the mighty Mississippi River begins as a mere trickle of water.

The birthplace of the Mississippi River.

Now imagine this is the ‘birthplace of the Amazon.com’ river of marketing.

This trickle represents the beginning of your book’s journey to the Ocean of Success. Every drop of water in that ocean represents a book sale – where your book is seen, read and loved by millions of eager readers.

You ‘launch’ your book, so excited it’s on the way at last. The “bottle” it’s sealed in represents all your hard work of editing and presentation. It’s durable and waterproof. Your heart swells watching your creation float away.

You receive a few sales and reviews and the trickle of water increases to a small stream. You run along the bank cheering and following its progress.

You notice a few broken bottles stuck in the mud along the way, with sodden book pages jutting out and feel sorry for the authors whose books were flawed. They didn’t make it. Poor editing or just poor writing. You don’t know, but your work is sealed and seaworthy, and your confidence soars. Soon you’ll be sailing that ocean.

“Come on, Book. Reach for the ocean!”

Then the bottle containing your book washes up on a small sand bar in the middle of the stream. Water flows relentlessly by on either side. You stare in disbelief. All you need is just a few inches of water to sweep it back into the current. Just around the bend, the river deepens and widens … if you could just get your book that far, you know its future is bright.

At least a hundred people have bought your book already. You’ve given away another hundred copies or more to people who promised to review it. With a sigh, you settle down by the edge of the stream and wait.

“I know it’s a good book. Where are those reviewers?”

Any moment now, those reviews will sweep your book back into the stream, and you’ll be rushing toward the Ocean of Success. You can taste the salty ocean breeze and hear the waves rushing to greet you.

You just need more reviews, and if you receive them it will happen and here’s why.

After twenty reviews, Amazon suggests books in “Also Bought” and “You Might Like This” lists. This increases a book’s visibility which boosts sales.

After 50-70 reviews, Amazon highlights the book for Spotlight positions and also for its newsletter. This is a massive boost for the author and helps sell more books.

If a book is good, even great, but doesn’t get promoted, it’s nigh impossible to find people willing to take a chance and read it.

If you buy a book or are given a book to read with the request of an honest review, please leave a review for that author.

It doesn’t have to be extensive or detailed although it certainly can be. Just a couple of minutes out of your day could change an author’s life and other people’s lives too. It will make a difference and that, in turn, will give you a boost. It feels good helping other people.

Don’t worry about competing with other authors. There’s plenty of room for all of us out there, and there always will be.

“Come on in! The water’s fine. Price of admission – one book review.”

So, read those books and write those reviews, but please remember one important thing.

Never drive across that flooded road no matter how shallow the water appears.

We want to read reviews, not obituaries.

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