Being an indie author has its perks and challenges. Perks include writing, releasing, editing, and taking your story to wherever you want on your own terms. It’s liberating, challenging, sometimes scary, and often lonely. You see, getting read is hard enough, which obviously means that getting reviewed is about ten times as challenging. It’s understandable of course, people take a risk when they read an indie author, because truth be told, not all fish in the indie sea are fresh or nourishing, with some pretty bad catches in those waters. But there’s true gems to be found as well. That's why although I always make sure to review everything I read, I make doubly sure to review indie authors.
I know how hard it can be to get a review so I don’t mess with that. I read and review and if I love I share and tell people about it. Some people ask why all the effort and the reasons are many. For starters, if you go to a book store, you won’t find most indie books. Secondly, since we often work on a print on demand basis, costs for our books are unfortunately higher than a major publisher so anything that can convince someone to give us a chance is definitely welcome. Thirdly, it helps me remember what the hell I read. And Fourthly, without those reviews, people won’t give a good book a chance.
You see, a lot of people adore being on the hype train. It’s fun, it’s trendy, you’re in the know, and gosh darn it, belonging to a fandom isn’t a bad thing. But it’s surprising that when people read an indie author, they don’t feel that urge to review and share even if they LOVE the book. Sometimes they leave a rating and that’s it, which helps, but comes short of the impact you COULD have.
For other readers a rating doesn’t say much but a review explains what is great and what doesn’t work in a book. You don’t have to do a full analysis, you don’t have to go off the charts in depth, just offer an opinion. (And hey, if it has typos, we’re OK with that. it's our typos that drive us bonkers.) A rating is a blind opinion that only gives kind of an idea of how the book is, which is why a review will forever be a better option. It boils down to basic communication. A lonely number doesn’t say much without the words to show why something is 3, 4, or 5 stars.
For a writer, it goes even deeper. Many a time I’ve read reviews as motivation and to get valuable insight into what people like, what they don’t like, and even inspiration for plot points/twists. In addition, when it comes to sales, there are SO many number games and one of them is most certainly amount of reviews. Imagine this, you see a book, you read the synopsis and the book has a 3.75 rating, but 60 reviews, and a lot of them actually praise the work. Then you see another book with 0 reviews, but 300 ratings and an average score of 4.35. When I see that situation, it sounds like one book is a scam while the other could actually be a worthy read.
But still, a rating is better than nothing, though it shall never be better than a review. Reviews inspire, inform, and can influence others to give a book a shot. Think about that. Something you love can be read by one or several people just for taking one moment and stringing a few words to show the love. As a writer, I’m aware of how powerful words can be… and your words are just as powerful.