The Importance of Reader Opinion

Mar 23, 2017Books, Education, Publishing, Reviews

As an independent author, where the online realm is my bread and butter, a reader’s opinion is crucial.

Reviews on online stores are extremely important.

They give other consumers a better impression of the books they are interested in. It’s called social proof.

The greater the number of reviews, more than the actual ratings, gives the impression that the book is not only selling, but has sparked interest in the reading public.

I only came to understand this concept in the past few weeks.

Negative Reviews

A while back I was confronted with a negative review and took it to heart.

After breaking it down I realised it wasn’t a bad thing. The reviewer liked the book enough to give it three stars but didn’t understand the concept behind it.

That is fine, you are not going to reach every reader.

I realised it was far more valuable to have another opinion.

Even more helpful was someone actually taking the time to write this opinion down. I should actually thank the reviewer for making the effort.

Complicated Blue on the shelves

I can harp on all I like in my book description about how fabulous the story is.

However, that is only the first step in a book buyers journey. Perhaps it’s not even the first step.

I know myself. I rarely read an entire description. I usually head straight to the review section. I will also read the negative reviews first. Some of them are more entertaining than the books themselves.

Interestingly, this is not just an online phenomenon.

Online and Offline

In many of the bookstores where I now have my novels, they employ a similar tactic. One of the employees will read a book and then insert a hand-written review between the pages.

As a book buyer this is extremely helpful.

Recently I was in a bookstore where the staff had run riot with their little slips of paper. I looked at a table of new releases and didn’t even bother to read the back of the books. I read the booksellers review.

Although they were only one person’s opinion, they were generally fairly neutral. In a few short sentences they told me the pro’s and con’s of the books.

I then had a basic overview of the book.

If it sounded interesting I would go and read the book description.

It brought home to me what I reader goes through in deciding whether a story is a worthwhile read.

Which book do you want to read? Your opinion..

The bottom line is every reader’s opinion is important. Honest reviews help us understand what the book is about.

As a writer you don’t have the luxury of the same position. You know what you are talking about, but the test is if your readers understand what you intend to convey. You hope and pray they will like it.

Even more importantly you hope they will be willing to share their opinion.

Every review is sacred.


Have you have read one of my novels?


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