Why indie presses need your Amazon reviews
In the five years since starting this blog I’ve posted reviews on Goodreads and Library Thing but I never gave much thought to putting them on Amazon. It’s not that I’ve consciously ignored that site or decided to make a stand over the way they allegedly use strong arm tactics to squeeze discounts from publishers and authors. It just never occurred to me that there was any real need to post reviews or comments there.
But then I got an email from an indie publishing company late last year which has caused me to rethink my approach with books I get via NetGalley. Anne from Le French Book www.lefrenchbook.com provided a reality check on the economics of book publishing and why, for small publishing houses Amazon reviews really do matter. Apparently publishers have to pay to get their books listed on NetGalley – they give these copies away in order to promote their authors. The reviews we put on our blogs don’t bring them any income however though they are important in word of mouth promotion.
On average, there are about 260 people who click to read our titles on Netgalley. If they actually all bought the title, we could pay our Netgalley subscription, but they get it free. If we actually got 260 (or even 200, or 150, or 100) reviews online, it would have a real impact on our sales. Amazon’s algorithm would do the work.
Despite an aversion to Amazon that I’ve noticed among some bloggers, the reality is that this is the site where visibility matters. This is still the biggest market place for potential buyers, they go there in their hundreds of thousands and they use reviews to help them make decisions on which books to buy. A handful of reviews per book, simply isn’t enough for readers to start noticing – these publishing houses need well beyond 30 reviews for them to make the promotion efforts worthwhile and help them keep generating enough profit to bring out new books.
How we can help
The appeal from Le French Book is really simple. It’s just requires each of us to take these few steps:
- Visit the Amazon website page for the books we read on Netgalley.
- If you are able to buy it, the publisher would be extremely grateful
- Either way, leave an honest review of the book. Even just a few lines could make all the difference but of course a few paragraphs are even better one line or five.
- And a step that never occurred to me – if you are A UK, Canadian or Australian reader, don’t just put your review on the local version of Amazon. Cut and paste it to the US page, too (that’s the one the publisher refers to when they try to book advertising and promotions).
Not difficult is it? It doesn’t take much time but when publishers are feeling the pinch it seems only fair for us to show our appreciation of the free copies we receive.
One other thing I’ve learned from this publisher is to avoid getting over enthusiastic when requesting books from NetGalley. I have too many sitting unread on the e-reader and for every one of those, there is a cost impact on the publisher. So from now I am going to request only those books I am committed to reading. And to make sure I upload the review to Amazon.
|Now it’s over to you
Do you put reviews on Amazon? Will you consider doing so for books you get from indie publishers in the future?