Sharing the love: online book reviews

Let me start by apologising to my writer friends and all the authors whose books I’ve read and enjoyed for not posting reviews and ratings on Goodreads and retailer websites.

It is not until you start ‘walking the walk’ with indie publishing that you realise just how important – no, essential – it is to have good reviews for your work.

Consider this. When you’re booking accommodation in an unfamiliar place, you first check travel sites such as Tripadvisor for reviews. Am I right?

On travel websites people pull no punches. If the place is really really good, they’ll say so. If it’s really really bad, they’ll say so. If it’s somewhere in between – good, satisfactory, ho-hum – they tend to abstain from leaving a comment. In general, an overall 4 to 5 star rating gets the business. Amongst glowing reports, outlier negative comments stand out. Often they speak more about the reviewer than the business, and may be due to a personal vendetta about something trivial that has blown out of proportion.

Importantly, accommodation providers with zero stars are avoided. Certainly when I’m looking to book and pre-pay for accommodation in a far-flung country, I don’t take the risk of committing to an unrated guest house unless all other options are unavailable.

And so it is with a book. Not as expensive as accommodation, admittedly. In fact many excellent ebooks cost less than a cappuccino. But in terms of committing time to the reading experience, the recommendation of other readers is an important consideration. Books, and in particular ebooks, without a single review struggle for airspace amongst the plethora of titles available.

How do you choose? Do you judge a book solely by its cover? By the sample chapter provided free? By the track record of its author? Or by the number of stars in the review?

As I write this post, there are 142,728 ebooks classed as ‘contemporary fiction’ on the Kindle site alone. The total number published on Kindle in all genres in the last 30 days is 74,755. There are another 11,093 titles listed as ‘coming soon’.

That’s an awful lot of books.

So next time you read something you like, take a few minutes to log on to your ebook retailer or a site such as Goodreads and leave your recommendation.

It’s easy and it only takes a couple of minutes. Your rating will help boost sales for the author, who is not paid by the hour and has laboured over the story for months or even years.

If you’re already part of a writing community, give someone you know a well-earned boost.

From now on, I will do the same.

P.S. If you’d like to download my book (it’s an adventure short story), visit your favourite ebook retailer (Smashwords, Apple iBooks, Scribd, Amazon Kindle) and search ‘Mowbray Brothers’. If you like it, I’d love to get some nice gold stars.

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About Debbie Terranova

Debbie Terranova is an Australian author of contemporary and historical fiction. 'The Scarlet Key' published in 2016 is the second Seth VerBeek mystery. The crime-busting reporter is back with a new cast of unforgettable characters and a new puzzle to solve. It's about live, love, death, and tattoos, with a touch of the mystical. 'Baby Farm', her debut novel, is a cozy crime mystery about forced adoptions of the 1970s, and a surrogacy and baby trafficking racket. It is the first of the Seth VerBeek series. Debbie Terranova is a prizewinning author of short stories: 'Mowbray Brothers' about growing up in East Brisbane in the 1920s; and 'Mischief' about reinventing yourself and in the process falling in love ... with an adorable but mischievous cat.
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