Y is for You

Y is for you. It’s a day late thanks to faulty internet at my steampunk con room but it’s still an important topic to me. This one is all about you the reader and what you can do for the authors you love and want to support. I mean, besides buying the book and/or reading it via a library (I know it shouldn’t have to be said to not download it from pirate sites, please. It’s killing us).

Review the books on Amazon, that’s what you can do to help support authors. Yes, please do put the reviews on Goodreads or wherever else you’d like but whether I like it or not (and in many ways it’s not), Amazon is where it matters.

You see reviews drive Amazon’s algorithms. The more reviews, the easier Amazon makes it for the author to get their book in front of an audience. Once a book gets fifty reviews, the book goes to the next level up and becomes more visible to the people who scan Amazon looking for their next read. And there are more levels, the more reviews you get, giving the author perks like being a recommended book you might like etc.

If you don’t review, the book remains in Amazon’s basement, nearly impossible to find unless you already know the name from some other promotion the author has done. You have so much control over an author’s future in that manner.

I hear so many readers complaining about authors asking for reviews and to be fair some authors are absolute asshole about it. I can’t imagine why because I’ve read some of those posts and I’d be moved to never give that author a review. There is something to that whole ‘you get more flies with sugar’ saying so hopefully I’m not coming across like I’m blaming you for my sad royalty check.

Because you might not have known that. Heck I didn’t realize that’s how Amazon did things until the last couple of years myself. I hear a lot of readers also saying ‘but I just don’t know what to say.’ I get that you might feel pressured. I also hear ‘I don’t have time for that.’ There’s a simple solution to both problems. You don’t have to write a lengthy review. No one is expecting you to give a book a review blog quality write up of every book you read (but if you want to, more power to you!). Amazon’s internal gremlins don’t look at length. All they care about is that a review has been recorded. Heck it doesn’t even have to be a good review. One star reviews count the same as a five star.

Even a simple ‘I loved this book. I thought character XYZ rocked it.’ four stars counts. It’s low pressure and takes like 60 seconds. There used to be a 25 word minimum (or at least I thought there was) but I can’t see if that’s been changed other than some authors complaining that they’re getting one word reviews that were basically swears). I guess what I’m saying it, you don’t have to write something lengthy or even that in depth. It’s not like the book reports from high school. I’m sure most of us can come up with 25 words of what we loved and/or hated about a story.

You’ll be helping your favorite author write their next book if you can find just a little time to review. The publishing death spiral is real and you have the power to stop it.

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