Most people who visit Amazon.com and browse through the infinite layers of books and eBooks probably believe (if indeed they actually think about it) that the best favor they can do for an author is to buy their book. But that would be wrong. The best thing they could do for the author is review and rate her book.
My crash course in on-line eBook marketing has exposed me to the vagaries of the virtual book market. Many authors (and I include myself) begin writing with the belief that all that is necessary to sell a book is to write a good book, the naive trust that quality must rise to the surface.
But I have since learned that there are many good books; no, there are very many good books that the average reader browsing the Amazon shelves will never see. That is because these books are buried under layers and layers of other books, many of them inferior, and will never see the light of day. And that is because a book must be read to be appreciated, but to be read it must be found, and to be found among so many books it must be hi-lighted. Reviews are the roadmaps to a book; the more reviews, the more visible the book becomes. And the more visible the book becomes the better the book sells, particularly if it is a good book.
Amazon applies other factors to its formula, of course, but it is safe to say that the book with 50 reviews will sell well while the book with just one or two, no matter its quality, will not.
Must you have read the book to review it on Amazon? No. But you must be registered on Amazon to review a book. Amazon does track whether you bought the book from their shelves before reviewing it but the review counts none-the-less (although a book that you did buy there will likely get an upward nudge).
And it’s not just Amazon; all the eBook sellers from Apple to Diesel apply similar formulas.
So help a struggling author – review a book!