Who wouldn’t have purchased books through Amazon or Barnes & Noble without first reading book reviews? Be it be an aggregated “star” rating or customer/editorial review on online bookstores or articles from Kirkus Review or The US Review of Books, book reviews hold a strong influence over the purchase decision of your potential readers.

But how powerful book reviews are and how do they influence sales?

Customer and professional reviews can make a huge difference in the sales of your books and, above all, the performance of your author brand. Book reviews have become a vital currency in:

  • Building their author brand;
  • Increasing online reputation; and
  • Creating a community

“It’s a virtuous cycle – the more reviews, the more buys. The more buys, the more reviews. The more buys, the higher your rank in search and the more sales you get,” said Alice Kim, owner of online cosmetic brand Elizabeth Mott.

For self-publishing authors, it is not just enough to write a great story or put out a fantastic book cover to attract readers. One important thing they could do for readers is to provide them with information – information that will support readers’ purchase decision and their reason for recommending your book/s to other readers. This information is indeed the core message of “star” rating and customer/editorial reviews on Amazon or book reviews written by professional reviewers for Kirkus Review, The US Review of Books, and City Book Review.

Today’s customers rely on online information sources before they purchase anything. They regularly read product or service reviews and make a purchase decision only after reading a slew of reviews.

Online customer reviews, such as book reviews, are widely used as an effective marketing tool that can improve the efficiency of finding product information. Book reviews provide information from the perspective of readers, also including book reviewers, who have purchased and read your work/s. Readers tend to regard product information in book reviews, especially the verified ones, as being more persuasive and trustworthy than what you will say or write about your own book.

As a form of electronic word of mouth, reviews help with book discovery and visibility, which, in turn, help with sales. Reviews help readers decide between titles and confirm which one is better before clicking that “Add to Cart” or “Instant Purchase” button. Readers are more trusting to buy a book written by a self-publishing author when they see others have bought a copy and talked about it, good or bad, before they did.

Book reviews are more than just a tool for book promotion services; they are readers’ stories. Whether availed through paid book review services (such as Kirkus Review) or written by book bloggers on their websites and social networks or by customers on online bookstores, reviews will influence the marketing direction as well as (other customers’) purchase decision and book sales.

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