So, I have a question I’d like to throw out there to the romance community.
What do you think of authors asking for reviews? I don’t mean asking for reviews in exchange for money or a prize. I don’t mean asking friends and family for reviews. But I have seen a handful of self-published books, where at the end of the book, there is a brief note that says something like this:
If you enjoyed this book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.com.
I have been arguing with myself about this practice for months now. First, I think that it is true that having reviews helps you sell books. My sales on Amazon.de jumped up a notch on the day I got my first review for my German edition of Unlocked. I think that having more reviews may get more people to click on a book, also leading to more sales–if people think that this is a book that people are “talking” about, and that it has buzz, that operates as an attractant. (There are some other, sneakier benefits that I won’t go into.)
People ask me questions about things like writing books and getting buzz and getting discovered, and the truth is, what little research I’ve done (I’ve seen it in three or four books, and those books have more reviews than you’d usually see in their position, and more uniformly positive) suggests that asking for reviews gets you more of them.
On the other hand, the fact that asking works makes me wary of the process. Is this not a form of biasing your reviews from their random sample? Is it okay to do this? I think authors–especially authors who value their reputation–need to be very careful of how they tread in this area, particularly in light of Linda Hilton’s post here, detailing books where it appears that the authors have dragooned friends, family members, and sock puppets into posting positive reviews without admitting to bias.
This is one of those things where I’ve realized it’s impossible for me to dissect how I feel about this all. Should I do it? I don’t know. Should I counsel other authors, who are just starting out to do it? I don’t know. If it’s wrong for me to do it, is it wrong for them? If it’s okay for them, is it okay for me? I argue with myself back and forth and forth and back, and what it’s really come down to is that I don’t know how this practice would be viewed by readers.
So, I’m asking for your thoughts. What would you think if you saw an author asking you to please consider leaving a review?
- I have no problem with it. As long as the author doesn’t offer compensation, it’s all good.
- It makes me a little uneasy, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that bad.
- It makes me a lot uneasy, and makes me wonder whether the reviews the author gets are skewed.
- It would completely turn me off, and I wouldn’t buy another book by that author.
Does your answer change if, instead of saying, “If you liked this book, please consider leaving a review,” the book simply says, “Please consider leaving a review”?
I definitely want to hear your thoughts on this.