The Value of Book Reviews- Kindra M. Austin

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Book reviews are currency for the indie author, especially when reader feedback appears on Amazon and Goodreads. That makes sense, considering the weight of word of mouth marketing. I read an article on Impact recently that stated consumers are 4x more likely to buy goods and services when referred by a friend, and 63% of visitors are more likely to make purchases from websites with reviews/ratings.

Why then, does word of mouth seem to fail so many fantastic indie writers? Because the number of Amazon book purchasers who go back to leave a review, or even a star rating, are few and far between. Derek Haines at Just Publishing Advice says listing your Kindle book as free for a promotional period can help stimulate readers to leave a review; however, reviews of free books are even lower than for actual sales. This rings true for me. I ran a week-long promotion last year after releasing Magpie in August in paperback. I moved a few hundred free copies of my novel for Kindle, and I have earned fourteen greatly appreciated reviews.

An article published on Written Word Media in 2017 states that book reviews play an integral role within the Amazon algorithm. Research showed that the number of reviews is more valuable to the ranking system than the overall average rating, as long as the average rating is over 3.5 stars. I’ve read many articles pertaining to this magical algorithm that goes by the name A9. If I see the word ‘algorithm’ one more time, fuuhhh…


At the heart of it all, I write because there is a visceral need and roiling passion in the pit of me that commands me to create. That said, writing is how I make a living, and book reviews are pertinent to my success, as they are a part of my marketing plan. I am not alone in this—I have the pleasure of knowing and working with some of the most talented indie writers on the scene. Writers who deserve to make it.

In 2016, Amazon reported that only forty self-published authors sold a million or more Kindle copies within a five year space. Forty out of hundreds of thousands.

I have immeasurable respect for my readers, fellow indie authors, and for small presses; it’s an honor to support the writing community and publishing industry. I want to see small publishing houses and self-publishers thrive. I want to be a part of the revolution that’s birthing dynamic, divergent, emotionally eviscerating, punk rock works.

Please join me. Give your favorite authors gold stars, and hearts in the form of honest reviews.

Peace and good vibes,

Kindra M. Austin

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