Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Getting Reviews?

I’m told that getting reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads is important for marketing’s sake, but I haven’t figured out how yet, either by offering review copies or by any other method. Right now I’m trying an experiment in a mass giveaway and seeing what develops, but so far the result is one review: a one-star anonymous line saying literally just, “This book is @@@#$%#$%”. So, that’s not quite the kind of detailed feedback (or at least basic English) I was hoping for. Advice?

I’ve been struggling to get reviews as well. The outbreak of fake reviews and authors paying companies to leave reviews of their work on amazon is well-documented, so I’m not sure people put much stock in them anymore, or if they’re important for sales. I think they’re a sign that people have read your work, and it left enough of an impression on them to want to review it, so there’s very little you can do to control that. Review copies are about the only way I know to encourage people to post. (People are more likely to post a review if they see they’re not the only one who knows the book exists.) but even if it sells, people often won’t bother. I think it’s largely out of the author’s control, but if I’m wrong, someone let me know.

I have posted reviews on Amazon also of the three latest books you’ve sent me for review on Dogpatch Press.

The short answer is, I don’t know, and if you figure it out, tell me.

For one thing, what sucks about mass giveaways is that people will eagerly accept free books of genres and types they’d never pay for (meaning, genres they don’t normally read), so then even if you get reviews, you run the risk of getting bias and negative reviews just because people aren’t part of your target audience and don’t like what you’re writing. 9_9

And don’t bother paying for Goodreads giveaways. I did my last one when they were free, gave away two copies, and neither winner ever wrote a review. I’d had good luck with them before, but I’d also heard from other writers that they often didn’t work.

Essentially it’s a numbers game. Only a percentage of readers who buy a book (or receive a free copy) will read it, and again, only a small percentage of those who read a book will leave a review. I’ve come to the conclusion that to get a lot of reviews, you mostly have to be selling a lot of books… which then makes for a fun catch-22.

If you have a mailing list, be sure to ask there, as those are supposedly your most dedicated readers who would be most willing to help. It’s worth a try, anyway.

I’m tempted to go full curmudgeon and just say “furries don’t write reviews,” but obviously that’s a massive generalization and unfair to the handful of folks who do actually write reviews. Again, though, it’s a numbers game, and with such a relatively small audience to start with, there naturally aren’t that many left by the time you shake out the people who don’t read at all, aren’t interested in your book for whatever reason, bought it but haven’t read it yet, started reading it but never finished, read it but didn’t like it (and don’t want to hurt your feelings/your career with a bad review), read it and liked it but keep putting off writing the review for one reason or another… and so on.

For myself, I’ve stopped asking, at least for everything that’s already been published. Feeling like I was constantly begging for reviews and not getting anything in reply was just adding to my general depression about writing/publishing. :confused:

That’s… probably not all that helpful to you :slight_smile: but yeah, just more confirmation that you’re not alone in struggling with it.

I’ve heard getting reviews on websites like Amazon give your book a better chance of being recommended through algorithms or something.
As for how to get more people to leave reviews… yeah, I don’t know. You can ask, but its ultimately up to the reader whether they want to or not. I try to leave reviews on all the books I read on Amazon and Goodreads and the like, but I can understand why a lot of people might not want to. And reviews themselves can vary in such quality, so while they might help gauge whether or not a reader liked your work, it might not give you any kind of detailed feedback.

Speaking personally, i know there are so many fake reviews, so I ignore all the positive reviews that are one paragraph or less. I’m far more likely to look at the critical reviews (3 stars or less) that are longer than a paragraph because those are guaranteed to be real people who read the book and have a genuine reaction. Those, and the high-star reviews that are longer than a few sentences, are the most valuable. Other that, I don’t bother looking at reviews, and I don’t think readers put much stock in them these days either.

I’ve heard getting lots of reviews allegedly puts you in recommendation algorithms, too, but for all we know that’s an urban legend. It could go by sales, not reviews. If Amazon were smart, it would be based on sales.