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Why Your Review Really, Really Matters

Today, fellow author Cynthia Pratt helps us understand why reviews are not just important, but essential to an author's success.

In the days before the internet (B.I.), one of the two ways you discovered books or movies or really anything was through the mainstream media. A 'critic' would review a book, a film, or a restaurant and you would determine your level of interest in this new thing by viewing it through his lens. If you knew previously that you generally agreed with the critic, you'd buy into it.

The other way was through the words of trusted friends or relations. Cousin Susie saw the latest Clark Gable movie and raved about it at the beauty parlor. Uncle John tried a new oil called 'WD-40' and insisted on squirting it into everybody's carburetors. These people, the critic, Susie, John, are now called 'influencers' and you should become one too.

In these days of after-internet (A.I.), you don't need to read a newspaper or watch a morning show to find out what the critics think. You are a critic. And you are a uniquely influential one. 88% of buyers consider online reviews “very influential” when making a purchase decision • Nearly 70% of Moms say they are more likely to purchase a product if it receives high-star reviews • 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust ads

You have become the 'word of mouth' voice that advertisers have been talking about and trying to reach for years. Suddenly, what you think matters intensely and for no one do your thoughts and reviews matter more than for writers. Usually, writers don't have access to news shows or pieces in a magazine, especially writers who are not already widely known.

The average writer makes less than $5,000 a year. If you love a writer's work and want them to keep writing, the very best thing you can do (besides buying everything they publish) is tell other people how good your favorite author is.

The internet makes this so very easy. Click on the book's sale page – at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Goodreads – and leave a review. The more positive the reviews, the more people want to buy the books. The more books they buy, the more likely that the writer you love won't have to get a day-job, drying up or reducing the time he or she can spend on their creativity.

The review doesn't have to be elaborate. This isn't a book report – thank heavens! You don't need to put anything about the story; the writer has handled that with their blurb. Tell what you liked. Talk about the characters, the setting, the energy the author has brought to the work. Reassure other people that you haven't been paid for writing the review. That's it. You are now an 'influencer'. Keep it up and you could wind up a 'Top 100 Reviewer' on Amazon or other site.

With a few dozen keystrokes, you've given your favorite writer a priceless gift. For one thing, you've improved the heck out of their day. It's also very likely that you've improved their sales, giving them what they need to finish that next book for you.

C.B. Pratt is a long-time writer of genre fiction, most recently of the fantasy alt-history series Eno the Thracian. You can find her work at, including Hero for Hire. Eno the Thracian's first mission is trapping a harpy but a witch-queen wants him to be the general for her undead army.

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