Shadows Wake was published July 15, 2015, and since then I’ve learned so much more about the aspects of getting a book seen. And there is one element of this challenge that is directly on the readers.
Books live or die by their reviews.
Does that surprise you? It’s true. Authors cannot submit their books to book lists without a certain number of reviews with a four-star average (the number varies by list). Amazon’s visibility algorithms don’t work until reviews begin stacking up. Some say 50 is the sweet spot, others set a goal for 200.
The best thing you can do for an author you like is to review their book, whether that’s on Goodreads, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Amazon. I’d encourage any reader who enjoyed a particular book to review it both where they bought it and on their favorite review site (e.g. Goodreads) if they have one.
Authors have more promotional opportunities based on their reviews. And honestly, we write for our readers. It’s absolutely wonderful to read good reviews (and educational to read bad ones).
Buying your favorite author’s book is always appreciated, and borrows are great, but it’s the reviews that make others willing to buy the book you enjoyed. It’s the reviews that allow a book to get more exposure. That’s why so many authors are more than happy to give away copies of their books if there’s even a remote chance a review will come of it. The publishing world is different today. Indie authors aren’t paid an advance and most traditional first time authors receive tiny advances. Reviews help books sell, which keeps your favorite author at his or her desk working on the next book you’re dying to read.
Your review doesn’t have to be fancy or wordy. Just write an honest view of the book in a couple lines if that’s all you feel like doing. It helps more than you know. Also, if you are used to reviewing on GoodReads, keep in mind that a four-star on Goodreads isn’t an equivalent review on Amazon. Often a five-star review on Amazon is equal to a four-star on Goodreads.