How can we encourage more readers to leave reviews for our books?

I am very keen to make reviews a prominent feature of the book promotions and encourage readers to review the books that they buy and enjoy, or not as the case may be.

Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool that anyone who is selling a product benefits from. Authors are no different, and our books tend to be judged by the number and quality that they have received.

Part of the problem is that those who are not writers of books or blogs are uncomfortable in offering reviews and feel that what they have to say is not important. Many who do review a book, leave just one line after their star rating, simply saying that the reader enjoyed or disliked a book, but they do not elaborate.

That is obviously very welcome. But whilst a potential reader does not want to read three pages filled with spoilers in a review, they do usually want a little more about what they are going to find before paying good money for a book.

In future any books that I publish are going to include a page immediately following the end.

And it is going to be a request for a review – good or bad, and I will lay out some basic questions that might help develop a review that is constructive.

Thank you for reading my book and it would mean a great deal to me if you could give me your opinion. Not only will this let me know what you feel about my writing in general, but potential readers will also value your feedback.

If you have bought this book from Amazon you will already have an account that will enable you to review books that you have bought, or have been given as a gift. If you have not bought the book yourself please mention that at the front end of the review so that it will be published. https://www.amazon.com

Goodreads is an excellent site for readers and you can sign in with facebook or sign up with an email address. This gives you access to thousands of books, enables you to connect with readers of the genres you enjoy and leave reviews on any books that you have read and feel you would like to offer constructive comments. https://www.goodreads.com/

Finally I would be delighted to hear from you by email sally.cronin@moyhill.com about the book.

What will really help me in my future writing is to know some of the following in your review.

  1. What did you like or dislike about the style of writing?
  2. What did you enjoy about the plots of the stories or of the novel?
  3. How did you feel about the main characters and were they believable?
  4. Was there a particular story in a collection or episode in the novel that you specifically enjoyed.
  5. What were your feelings when you finished the book? Were you satisfied, wanted more or unsatisfied?
  6. Is there anything else that you feel it is important to mention for the benefit of other readers
  7. Did you like the cover and how the book was laid out inside? Was it easy to read?
  8. Would you recommend the book to others?

N.B. I appreciate that you may not feel comfortable in leaving your own name on a review, especially if you need to offer constructive criticism. I suggest that if you read a lot of books that you create your own pen name for your reviews. It can be as simple as Avid Reader or a fictional name. That way your identity is private.

Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know your opinion. Best wishes Sally Cronin

I believe that all authors should put some version of the above at the end of their books. It gives the reader permission to offer their opinion and also shows them how to do so constructively.

I am sure that there will be some reviews that we have encouraged that may not be all positive, but I want to become a better writer and I can only do that if I have honest reviews.

I do hope that if a reader is very disappointed they will email me to let me know first but I also think that it might just encourage hesitant readers to come forward and help us sell more books.

In the meantime I am going to add a note to my author’s page on Amazon requesting reviews for my current books and adding a link to this post.. Who knows!

Your views of course are equally important and look forward to hearing them.  thanks Sally

 

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About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. My previous jobs are only relevant in as much as they have gifted me with a wonderful filing cabinet of memories and experiences which are very useful when putting pen to paper. I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. You can find the whole story here. Find out more at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

180 thoughts on “How can we encourage more readers to leave reviews for our books?

  1. Pingback: How can we encourage more readers to leave reviews for our books? | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. I like the idea of the page you intend to include. As a reader it can be quite intimidating to leave a review, especially when those preceding are often written by people who seem to know how to review a story and break down its component parts.

    I imagine that many people would never have thought about the items in your list, they’ll just know whether they liked the book or not. Giving a few prompts should give confidence to new reviewers, they will know what they liked or didn’t like.

    I think letting readers know that their opinion is as important as a Guardian reviewer’s is the key message to get across.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wonderful, Sally! Thank you so much! I’m printing out this post as a reminder when I next publish a book. How ingenious and helpful for the reader! Bravo! Did I mention that I like this post?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good ideas Sally. How many potential readers will participate by writing a review is anyone’s guess. Sadly reality dictates that the figures are traditionally not in our favour. My best seller to date sold over a quarter of a million copies. However the number of reviews was slightly over fifty…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Even as a writer I find your list of questions very helpful as a guide for leaving reviews. It’s a great idea to include the list after the last page of an ebook, especially if you include a link to Amazon so there are no extra steps involved in encouraging a reader to write a review. Thanks for another great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. that’s a great idea Sally. i do ask readers to leave a review at the end of my books, but not told them how to do it. Of course it doesn’t help when the Big A take down reviews – I’ve written over 300 in the last few years, and they refused one as I knew the person – they’ve actually been dead for over two decades!

    Liked by 2 people

    • They have gone overboard Lucinda which is why I am encouraging people to leave reviews on Goodreads. Not only because of the removal of reviews but because they will not transfer the reviews from one country to another. I have books with reviews in the US but not in the UK.. This means when I am promoting an author I will choose the Amazon link to give to readers with the most reviews. Thankfully Amazon does give the link to your country’s Amazon to buy. x

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent idea, Sally. I often hear “I don’t know how to write a review” and your new page solves that problem. Some readers are also intimidated by their favorite authors, and therefore, don’t feel they’re qualified to write reviews. By giving them permission, it tells them their opinion matters. Smart thinking, Sally. Good for you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Sue.. I know the feeling about intimidation.. I have been a lifelong fan of Wilbur Smith and have all his books in print including hardbacks such as his latest. I saw that he was on Facebook and sent him a note via messenger and was so thrilled when he came back with a note.. I will review his latest because even multi-million copies later, a review still means something. hugs x

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I have to admit that as a writer myself, I often hesitate about leaving an honest review. It’s easy if I loved the book, but if I didn’t, I know how hard that is for an author to hear criticism. On the other hand, I get annoyed to read glowing reviews of a book that turns out to be poorly written.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree Kelee but I think that I give me email address and hope that a reader will contact me directly if they are that unhappy with a book I have written. Also, I think if a reader looks at the list of elements that they might write about the book, they might just see some areas that are not actually that terrible and give a more balanced review. Of course if it is a stinker.. then hey that is not the readers fault and better to save othe people spending their money. Also there are other factors at play here and I have read reviews from lovers of horror who have hated a romance… whilst others who prefer that genre have loved it. thanks again.. Sally

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sally, ignore them. Personally your idea is brilliant. Think of how authors do book club questions and things. THIS is far better . And you are right re reviews, proper reviews, not just I loved, I hated, no explanation given reviews.

        Liked by 1 person

      • How can I ignore the Dudes.. I love them… We are leaving too much in the hands of Amazon.. and letting them dictate to us about which reviews they will accept or not. We need to educate people so that they know how to review and how to get them passed through the algorithms and if that means deploying The Dudes..so be it…♥♥♥

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Sally, how very very, true re Amazon. I don’t want to start here but I am going to, about reviews I know were never posted because these readers took the time to tell me they’d been refused because they knew me when they didn’t.(I am not doing this actually they did lying bit here. I regard that as an affront) and yet Amazon do nothing about troll reviews, about these glowing ones from folks who have managed to review nothing else ever and appear to have no real profile, about authors who pay for reviews, and authors who appear to have more 5 star reviews than books sold, or reviewed from NetGalley either.

        Moving on from books, last year they were blithely selling goods for a fortune that Poundland were selling for a quid. DON’T get me started re their stranglehold on the market and their free on kindle direct that authors see sod all of. (Heavy breathing here.) SO BTO, I think this is brilliant and just tell if there is anything else I can do. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Wind Eggs and commented:
    I always dedicate a page asking readers to review my book—good review or bad. Sally Cronin’s request page provides guidance to readers not used to reviewing. Authors can use this as a model for their books. Readers can use it as a model for books they’d like to review.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. What a good idea. I am published with a small press, so cannot, unfortunately, add anything to the book, although they do already mention how valuable reviews are, at the end of every book. I have shared this on Twitter, and put a note on my Amazon Author Page. I might also do a page on my blog, using yours as a guide, if that’s all right with you , giving you credit of coursel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Hywela and I am sure if you ask your publisher they might consider doing the page. We are self-publishers and we will be recommending to our authors to insert this page. Indie publishers and mainstream publishers alike should be promoting reviews far more. Thank you for sharing on social media and please feel free to share the template on your blog as it is intended for people to adapt to their own requirements and genres.. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Sally

      Like

  11. Fab post Sal. I always include something polite and nice about reminding for reviews if a reader has enjoyed my book, but nothing as elaborate as yours. Thanks for this great idea and I’ll be reblogging it next week. 🙂 xo

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a great idea. I do have a short sentence asking readers to review my book, but I don’t get specific like you do in this letter. I think it is very important to explain to the reader how their review helps you as a writer and helps other readers. Thanks for this awesome suggestion!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on cicampbellblog and commented:
    Oh, yes, please! It would be lovely to have more reviews for my novels, and this article by Sally Cronin is a great one for readers and writers alike. For readers, there is a great section with some questions you might care to answer in your review of a book. Very helpful if you’re unsure how to write a worthwhile review. For writers, the article gives some great suggestions as to what to put at the end of your story, on the very next page, in the hopes that those who enjoyed your novel will care to write a review.
    Excellent suggestions all round. Thank you, Sally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Christine and glad you found useful. I am finding more and more that authors are reticent about asking for feedback. But we should not be shy as it is good customer service to find our how our customers enjoy our product. And I do hope that the reticent readers too will have the confidence to speak their minds. thanks for sharing and hugsx

      Like

  14. A great list of questions, Sally. This certainly goes beyond simply asking the reader to leave a review when they get to the last page of the book they’ve just read. Your questions will certainly get readers thinking (and hopefully writing that review).

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Reblogged this on Second Wind Leisure Perspectives and commented:
    Let me ask you a question…are a you a reader, a writer, an author, a blogger? All of the above? Then this post is for you!

    As a prolific author, Sally Cronin recently shared some wonderful advice for encouraging readers of our books to leave honest reviews using Amazon and GoodReads.

    Like Sally, I am surprised that many readers feel intimidated to leave an honest review for a book they’ve read. It is not always easy to leave a review but if readers feel strongly about a book and can take just a few moments, that review is gold for the author. Feedback is everything to an author.

    I have made the commitment to review at least one book a month and share that review on my blog. For myself, I have discovered more books by reading other bloggers’ book reviews.

    Sally plans to add a page at the end of her books encouraging folks to leave reviews. If you are in the process of writing a book now, do consider this option.

    Here is an action item by Sally that any author can do NOW!
    “In the meantime I am going to add a note to my author’s page on Amazon requesting reviews for my current books and adding a link to this post.. Who knows!”

    As writers, let’s continue to support and share our fellow writers’ works.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks, Sally (and Terri) – As a reader, and a member of two book clubs, your ‘review page’ is an excellent idea. Not only does it help the individual reader to flesh out his/her review, but it also is a great discussion focus for book clubs!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I think this is a marvelous idea. I have decided that I must write more comments when I read something that speaks to me. It’s what I hope my readers will want to do. But in the meantime, I’m glad to give you feedback! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round up – Let’s walk a marathon, Shirley Bassey, Marc Bolan and magical writers | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  19. As many of the people leaving comments do, I also add a sentence asking people for reviews but I recently mentioned that to one of the authors whose book I was translating and he did not think it was appropriate. The questions will be useful to people inclined to review but worried. I suspect most people go by word of mouth rather than reviews for books they are not familiar with but it’s worth trying.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: How can we encourage more readers to leave reviews for our books? | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life | Just Olga

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

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