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Discussion Starter #1
I'm just curious. I just published my first e-book last Saturday and I really have no idea how the whole review thing works. I keep seeing on various sites how I should be encouraging people who have bought the book to write reviews.

How do reviews affect sales?

Thanks!  :)

Alba
 

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I estimated that the first year of my first book about 70% of my sales came from Goodread reviews version of word of mouth.

I was very lucky. I don't know if that's standard.
 

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I think reviews really help for new books and authors , and even better if they are not just in amazon but on sites, as its all about
creating awareness, and being found in search

Anthony
 

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Without the benefit of being in a high-traffic bookstore and having your book in a nice display where it looks tempting and accessible, word of mouth is the only way to sell your book.  Well, not the ONLY way, but definitely the most effective way.  Reviews are word of mouth. They are the opinions of real people who actually read your book and wanted to share their true thoughts with other readers.

When you consider buying a book, do you check out the reviews to see what other readers thought of it?  I certainly do!  I browse a whole range of reviews, good to bad, to get a general feel for the book's strengths and weaknesses before I purchase.  You can expect others readers to treat your book the same way.

Getting your first few reviews can be a little tough, but once you have a handful the sales usually increase, as now you've got real people willing to vouch for the quality of your book.
 

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Caitie Quinn said:
I estimated that the first year of my first book about 70% of my sales came from Goodread reviews version of word of mouth.

I was very lucky. I don't know if that's standard.
How did you come by that estimation? I have a feeling a lot of the initial sales of my books were thanks to Goodreads, but I would love to know to what extent... I would pay for Amazon to have a sophisticated stats system that could tell me where my clicks are coming from :)
 

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I have no idea what sells books, but I do know that my three novels were all reviewed by The Globe & Mail (unofficially Canada's national newspaper...)  The reviews were all favourable, especially the one for the third novel.  Unfortunately, the reviews did not seem to do much in terms of sales - that is to say that in the week or two after the review came out, there wasn't much action.  Nonetheless, on promo materials used since then, pull quotes from the G & M or others may make a difference.


 

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Reviews help in an AWFUL lot of ways.

I can think of FOUR good reasons - right off of the top of my brain pan.

Here goes -

1 - A good review is a natural encouragement. Say somebody stumbles onto your book over at Amazon and is thinking about buying it. Having a few SOLID reviews on there help encourage that "stumbling reader" to actually reach for that "BUY NOW" button.

2 - I am also told that a certain number of good reviews can help with your author ranking - depending on the vagaries of the Amazon buzz-machine.

3 - Certain promotional websites - such as Pixels of Ink - DEMAND a certain amount of reviews before they will consider publicizing your e-book on their website.

4 - A good review on an independent blog/website/magazine is - basically - an unpaid for advertisement. I've bought quite a few books in the past just because I read a good review in my favorite magazine. Every good review published anywhere else other than Amazon represents another chance for your book to be discovered by a hungry reader.

Word-of-mouth is one of the single greatest factors towards creating more sales.

The best way to think about it is that every single review is basically one more person - other than yourself - standing up in the middle of the internet telling the world to go buy your book!

(and I want to thank you, Alba, for providing me with an idea for a brand new blog entry!)
http://stevevernonstoryteller.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/how-do-reviews-sell-books/
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for your insight. It never even occurred to me that reviews could affect your rank in amazon. That's interesting.

And, Steve, glad I could help give you material for your blog.  :)  (the smiley face is just for you)

Alba
 

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"When you consider buying a book, do you check out the reviews to see what other readers thought of it? "
For fiction? Never. But I'd be very interested in Amazon's opinion on what percentage of books are purchased by people who pay attention to reviews.
 

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Adriane Leigh said:
How did you come by that estimation? I have a feeling a lot of the initial sales of my books were thanks to Goodreads, but I would love to know to what extent... I would pay for Amazon to have a sophisticated stats system that could tell me where my clicks are coming from :)
Sure!

I had a very quiet (as in, no one new I'd published a book) book launch. I'd have a couple days with no sales, then one sale, then a couple days with no sales.

Then I started getting this days with 3-10 sales then another day with decent sales and then days with no sales again. I couldn't figure it out --- and then I saw the goodreads reviews and started lining them up with my daily sales sheet and they were an exact match. Before I had any momentum, I could tell when a GR review was posted based just on sales jumps. I was only wrong once (and that was based on an independent blogger site). So, after a couple months I did some basic math and came up with the 70% estimation.

The phenomena seems to go away. Now that I have almost 100 GR ratings, 1 doesn't give me a bump as often... or maybe GR doesn't give the bump as often. Maybe the streams are so flooded now that like facebook you only see the last few at a time and no one reads down? I don't know.
 

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Alba Arango said:
I'm just curious. I just published my first e-book last Saturday and I really have no idea how the whole review thing works. I keep seeing on various sites how I should be encouraging people who have bought the book to write reviews.

How do reviews affect sales?

Thanks! :)

Alba
I think review are crucial but asking readers to leave reviews might be a turn off. If they really enjoy the book, they will do this spontaneously.
 

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CabanaBooks.com said:
I'm pretty sure that positive reviews help boost your rankings on Amazon and in turn increase your sales. It's just a hunch though..
I have two books that have sold the same number of units this month. One book has gotten many more reviews than the other, and the rank is MUCH higher. Reviews do play a part in the rank.
 

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I don't know exactly how Amazon reviews work, but I do know that my book with the most reviews was the one for which sales recently took off. Perhaps having a certain number of reviews tips off an Amazon program that then starts advertising your book more on other book pages, increasing the links to your book page and, presumably the number of people who see it.
 

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Chris A. Jackson said:
I don't know exactly how Amazon reviews work, but I do know that my book with the most reviews was the one for which sales recently took off. Perhaps having a certain number of reviews tips off an Amazon program that then starts advertising your book more on other book pages, increasing the links to your book page and, presumably the number of people who see it.
You (previous two posters) could very well be right.

I've never been able to correlate peaks in sales with reviews. Then again, though I have nice (and not so nice) reviews, there aren't all that many of them.

Lately I've begun to suspect that it is more important to have a lot of reviews and that what they actually say isn't important, as long as the average is around 3.5.

Worked for Locke who bought them wholesale.
 

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Andrew Ashling said:
Lately I've begun to suspect that it is more important to have a lot of reviews and that what they actually say isn't important, as long as the average is around 3.5.

Worked for Locke who bought them wholesale.
I'd be surprised if reviews had influence on the ranking…too easy to game as stated above. I'm sure Amazon knows this, right?
 

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I have no idea what benefit reviews and ratings give, besides the anecdotal evidence that it helps people make the final decision to buy the book. Goodreads is a great place to get searingly honest and detailed reviews, that don't hesitate to point out the good and bad. These reviews are the most valuable because they are real, and give great feedback. I also found that having a giveaway on goodreads can get a lot of people to add your book to their to read list, but how many end up reading it... i do not know. I haven't noticed an increase in sales.
 

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Alba Arango said:
I'm just curious. I just published my first e-book last Saturday and I really have no idea how the whole review thing works. I keep seeing on various sites how I should be encouraging people who have bought the book to write reviews.

How do reviews affect sales?

Thanks! :)

Alba
Good reviews = sales
Bad reviews = few sales
 

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Alba Arango said:
I'm just curious. I just published my first e-book last Saturday and I really have no idea how the whole review thing works. I keep seeing on various sites how I should be encouraging people who have bought the book to write reviews.

How do reviews affect sales?

Thanks! :)

Alba
Many reviews (if mainly good, meh & average = 3.5 stars) = many sales
Few reviews (even if average = 4+ stars) = fewer sales
No reviews = even fewer sales
 
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