Are Reviews Really Important?

As the director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), I get all sorts of interesting requests. What many of CSPA’s member publishers don’t realize is that we are at work behind the scenes promoting our members and their books in all sorts of ways.

For example, I recently received a call from the director of a funeral home. This gentleman was looking for books on grief and loss that he could use with clients who were burying loved ones. He wanted to purchase said books in bulk and then give them to the people using the funeral home’s services.

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I, of course, immediately let him know of a couple books by our current and past members on grief and loss and coping with this issue. I also told our member publishers about the opportunity and invited them to send this gentleman review copies of any books they would like considered.

One of the books I was going to recommend to this funeral director was a book by a small publisher who is no longer a member of CSPA. I thought the book fit well with the request and was willing to help out both our previous member publishers and this gentleman in this fashion.

However, when I went to this publisher’s website, I found that the link for the book went directly to Amazon. To my dismay, this book did not have one single review posted on Amazon. Interestingly, the author had put endorsements on the back cover of the book, but somehow had never taken the time to make sure these endorsements got onto Amazon. I have to admit, I was reluctant to recommend the book when there was not one single review on Amazon.

You see, as a book person, I don’t buy books that do not have any reviews. A lack of reviews on Amazon signals that either the book is not good or that no one is reading it. Either way, the message about the book is negative.

To be honest, I think this independently published author just did not take the time to market her book. Obviously, she did not encourage people to post their thoughts about the book on Amazon. Nor did she use one of CSPA’s services such as BookCrash (our books-for-bloggers review program) to make sure that her book had reviews on Amazon.

If you are a publisher of an author, please listen: Make sure you get some reviews for your book on Amazon. It is an important marketing tool that you should not miss using.

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