If you haven’t set New Year’s Resolutions yet, here’s a suggestion for one: write more Amazon reviews.
As an author, I can tell you that Amazon reviews are worth gold to authors. Literally, they make a huge difference to how a book sells.
It probably doesn’t matter if we’re talking about something like Game of Thrones, which currently has 3609 reviews on the UK Amazon. But the amazing On the Edge of Gone (probably the best book I read in 2016) only has 9.
7 of those 9 reviews are 5 stars, the other 2 are 4 stars, but here’s the thing: Amazon doesn’t start including books in their “recommended” lists until it has more than 10 positive reviews (positive meaning 4 or 5 stars). So this fantastic book isn’t being suggested to new readers because it doesn’t have enough reviews.
Another book with an autistic protagonist, Viral Nation, has 8 reviews on the UK Amazon.
One of my own books, Omega Rising, has 5 reviews. They’re all 5 stars, but that’s not enough to tip it over Amazon’s threshold.
Well-written reviews can help people decide whether or not to buy a book, but any review at all can count towards the total reviews and determine whether the book shows up in the “also purchased” lists and “recommended for you” sections. It’s also worth noting that reviews are counted separately on the different regional sites – so On the Edge of Gone mentioned above actually has 28 reviews on the US version of Amazon, but those don’t count towards its UK total.
So if you’ve enjoyed a book, especially a book by a new or independent author, leave a review. If you buy a book and notice that it has less than 10 reviews, make a note to come back when you’ve finished reading and give your opinion. You don’t have to write a lengthy essay. A detailed review is fantastic, but for some things, it’s quantity rather than quality that matters, so ticking 4 stars and writing “good book” is still going to be a massive help to an author. It will help get the book in front of new potential readers and mean that the authors can spend more time writing and less time wondering how they’re going to pay the rent next month.
In 2017, when you go to browse Amazon for new books, take a minute to go through your old purchases and leave a few, short reviews. Your favourite authors will love you for it.