A Question To All Who Read or Write Or Review Books And To All Book Bloggers

Do you think/know if reviewing a novel and posting that review on social media such as a blog or Facebook or the publishers website  etc has any impact on how well a novel is received or how well it sells?  I am really keen to hear your views. Are you influenced by online reviews? Why do you blog?




28 thoughts on “A Question To All Who Read or Write Or Review Books And To All Book Bloggers

  1. I am influenced by reviews I read by book bloggers and other bloggers generally. I will go out and buy on the back of said review. However, how many Jo/Jane Readers are online readers of blogs? So I’m not sure the public at large is influenced by our activity but I have seen the combined effort of online friends boost a book up the Amazon rankings which in turn would bring it to the attention of your average reader who buys from that specific online retailer.

    Just my two pennies 🙂

  2. I am definitely influence by blogger reviews, that’s why I have 327 on my to read list on Goodreads! I tend to trust what actual readers think, not by publicity by the publisher, or how many awards a particular book has been nominated for or won, many prize winning novels may be beautifully written, but if they don’t have a good story that grabs me then forget it.

  3. Interesting question!! I don’t do reviews on my blog. I know though that online reviews do influence readers. Reviews from bloggers I trust certainly influence me when it comes to my own reading.

    • Hi Margot – recently I had a couple of conversations with – a) a social media strategist and b) a book marketing manager/pr person. The first said the point of social media is to connect people…the second stated that social media including blogging does help promote books, particularly books outside of the mainstream.

      Which got me thinking about influence, about my personal influence and about who reads blogs/reviews and does it make a difference – personally or commercially.

      • Carol – I definitely find I need to market through social media. And I’ve needed to look for ways to do that that aren’t obnoxious and off-putting. It’s a very tricky balance. For what it’s worth, I’ve found that it really helps to be familiar with several social media networks and find out what kind of readers are there – and then reach out to them.

  4. I think Amazon reviews definitely influence people to either buy or, as importantly, not buy, but only if they’re already hooked enough to be looking at the book anyway. I base this on years of feedback as a ‘top’ reviewer in both Amazon UK and US. But it only affects middling ranked books. Bestsellers will sell regardless of negative reviews and books with very few sales/a low profile won’t be boosted by a few good reviews.

    Blogging I don’t know about – it seems to me it’s a handful of us all talking to each other about the same few books on the whole. But publishers seem to be keen on getting blog publicity, so they must think it works – otherwise I very much doubt they’d give us free books. Certainly authors seem to like facebook and twitter – they often pick up blog reviews and tweet or facebook it, I find. It’s the only reason I tweet – to let an author/publisher know a review is out there. I never use facebook – life is too, too short. But I often wonder what’s the point of an author retweeting a review, since presumably their followers are all fans already and therefore likely to buy the book regardless…

    • Thanks Ff – I am trying to work it out myself – as I mentioned to Margot, in recent conversations…the social media person say F/book is the way ( I too dislike facebook other than for getting updates from publishers who no longer send out emails) F/book for me is too “Look at Me”, I dont tweet or instagram either, it is like saying the same think over and over and I cant see the point, I know social media analysts do the stas on these and calla campaign a success or not based on these numbers but really …for me more of the same.

      The blogging – I agree – really a small community interacting – maybe as a community we have influence but as an individual? I dont know. And agree publishers seem to think it makes a difference- maybe we help the book profile reach the top of the page of google searches the more we blog about a book? What do you think?

      I am also reflecting on the sites I leave reviews – I leave my reviews on The Reading Room and GoodReads…I know some leave on a multitude of places…I am considering the worthiness of this too…

  5. Well, it certainly works for a small band of committed readers and reviewers… Whenever I see at least one or two of my trusted book bloggers recommending a book, I will get it. Which is why I have far, far too many on my shelves and my Kindle. Even if I don’t always agree with their views, I know it will be a book worth debating. I’m very seldom influenced by the Amazon reviews, though.

  6. I get notifications from Amazon when someone buys a book and nominates my review as why so I know they contribute to sales, in a small way at least. I also get some affiliate fees based on sales Anecdotally I have been told people have made purchases based on my review of a book. The verifiable numbers are really quite small but you never can tell. One of those people might tell a friend who tells a friend etc etc

  7. I have no idea if my reviews influence people to read a book – I guess the hope that others might be interested in my experience of a book is one of the reasons I continue to blog because I know personally that I really enjoy and appreciate reading others book experiences. I also watch a lot of BookTube for reviews etc. I base my book choices ie my personal buying or borrowing almost solely on what other bloggers/ BookTubers or everyday reader reviews on Goodreads and The Reading Room that I read. The only offline reviews I am currently interested in or influenced by is the ABC BookClub discussions. I have a facebook group (book related) that has about 115 members however it is basically inactive even thought I try and encourage participation. In part I think this is due to the fact that with new changes on Facebook as I understand it not everyone ie: in that group – sees any given post. Only a certain number and if you want it to be seen more widely within the group you have to “Promote” which costs money. I think this also works the same for your Facebook page in general. I could be wrong on this but It would be worth checking out and keeping in mind as to how broad an audience you will get on Facebook without having to pay.

  8. Clearly blogging matters because the existence of NetGalley, bookbridgr and others are geared towards blogging. Good advance publicity. ( at least that is what they hope for) Advance praise can then generate potential buyers come release, and the publishers or authors may link or quote those blogs. i dont do social media at all, finding it tiresome. Everyone facetwitting, no one where they really are, or with the people they are really with, as they are all sitting wrapped in the tap tap of twitface! Though i can, kind of, reluctantly, see that twits may be useful marketing, and certainly there are some companies now only offering customer help through a twitface.

    As for why I blog – blame FictionFan. She discovered NetGalley and alerted me to the possibility of more books, plus the restrictions on Amazon Vine as a source of ARCS, coupled with their 100% review policy meant if you had asked, by mistake, for something blurbed as a diamond, which turned out to be a turkey, and a particularly scraggy one at that, you HAD to review it. And for me, that meant being forced to finish a book which by choice I might have abandoned by page 10.

    As for the influence of bloggers on my reading….total. Blogger reviews ( at least the bloggers I’m scurrying around after) tend to write interesting, thoughtful reviews which explain what and why they responded to the book. And, probably even more importantly, without any agenda other than their own response to the book.

    I no longer trust the professional reviewers in the broadsheets – the literary world is a little incestuous. The professional reviewers are also the writers. So they (it seems to me) big up each others books in order to avoid nasty tit for tat on their own!

    Amazon’s whole reviewing system is utterly shot. Shill reviews by an author’s friends, family and pet hamster abound, and I’ve been stung too often by a rash of 5 star reviews for dross. If you look, you find that the review is the only one a reviewer has ever written. And, even with experienced reviewers whose literary tastes are similar to my own, for similar reasons, with some of them, the whole rankings battle means they don’t star as they might really find, because it’s true that critical reviews garner more negative votes. And that drives you down the rankings.

    So, bloggers rule, in this house. Sorry for the interminable rant!

    • That FictionFan has a lot to answer for 🙂 She has been very quiet lately – Is it the tennis? I don’t generally post on Amazon – I think I have about 6 reviews there – it sounds like a very competitive and somewhat nasty community. I wish I could see what NG does the reviews. occasionally I see some of the Aust book publishers using bits of my reviews in promo material and Simon & Schuster Aust occasionally post on social media a “tile” that incorporates a quote from a review of mine but mostly they disappear into the internet ether. Which makes me ask – what is the point? Sometimes it feels like I am talking to myself 🙂 However I have made a few virtual friends blogging…I just wish more people would ‘engage’ in the blogosphere….f/b not my thing really either…

      • Yes, I think she is in for the long haul which started at the French, proceeded to Queen’s and will end after Wimbledon.

        I DO review extensively on Amazon, as I started book reviewing a long while ago on there, long before they brought in ‘rankings’ Rankings were of course a useful move, and can be both productive and unproductive, for the reviewer, but are probably always useful for Amazon. Certainly, when rankings happened and I discovered, to my surprise, that I had some reasonable ranking, it did of course spur me to review MORE, as I enjoyed the activity. And then I got invited to Vine, which was great, but almost immediately I found that reviews of Vine stuff were being negged to smithereens, and it was a ‘welcome to the world of competitive reviewing’ But things did seem to get much much worse over the past 2 or 3 years, as companies caught onto the value of the freebie review, and then began to manipulate reviews by bribes or intimidation.

        So it kind of means you have to choose between honesty and ranking. I ‘m certainly happy to accept free items I think I would like/want/use/enjoy/be able to assess well and, if the product is good, write positive reviews. But I have had organised negative voting from one company who bribes reviewers (and i reported them to Amazon, who don’t seem to have done anything to stop unethical practice) and a series of emails from another company demanding that I change my honest 2 star review to a 4 or 5 star one. Both companies got short shrift from me, but I have noticed that some other reviewers have found the same ‘fault’ in the text of their reviews, yet inexplicably offer a 4 star rating! – that second company was effectively saying ‘you can keep the text, but change your star rating’ – because they know that buyers may look at low rating, and read the reasons why – whereas they are not likely to read all the texts of 4 and 5 stars.

        It’s a funny old reviewing world, and because I dislike the corruption of the whole thing, it brings out my ‘rebel with a cause’ rather than makes me give up, and I almost view my falling ranking as a badge of honour!

      • I am so glad I don’t do Amazon – I wish though that I got other useful products to review 🙂 I seem to have retired from paid work to full time blogging/reviewing – which I do happen to enjoy – especially when there is some sort of feedback/conversation happening…I think Word of Mouth promoting is just taking off here. I read an article on blog tours the other day which you might find interesting. I’ll see if I can find the link.

  9. PS readingwritingreisling – apologies if I’ve already told you this before, – but if you are interested in promoting your blog, the best way is to include a picture in each post – the reason being, if I fellow blogger ‘likes’ your post – as I have done with two of your posts this morning, and if that fellow blogger uses the ‘posts I like widget’ (yes, I know that’s a lot of ifs!) and icon and link will appear the the ‘liker’s’ sidebar, or wherever that widget is displayed – a lot of traffic comes that way – it’s the major way I discover new bloggers and their blogs, because they appeared in someone else’s ‘post I liked’ widget.

    I only noticed, because (sob) you aren’t appearing in mine, as WordPress link this to being able to show a small graphic from the post itself

      • For me, a big part of the pleasure of blogging is the community aspect. I’m much more interested in finding POSTS which interest me than in following lots of blogs – simply because I can’t keep up with reading everything which appears in my reader, and the feelings of guilt if I ignore them, so short periods of intensive blog hopping, lighting, like a butterfly on sippets of nectar, suits me best, especially if my lighting then means I can promote the nectar without any extra work, simply by a ‘like’ Widgets rule, OK!

  10. PPS – thanks for that interesting link. I’ve only done one blog tour – an author I’m actively championing who deserves to be FAR more widely known than she is, Rebecca Mascull. It’s interesting she has a small fanbase of very loyal readers, I think. And she’s actually very good at appreciating her readers. She supports and appreciates US and my guess is it’s all a virtuous circle, as it makes us further appreciate her. And, if memory serves, it was intelligent blog reviews and/or intelligent Amazon reviews by reviewers I trust, of an ARC of her first book, which persuaded me to try it – the publisher’s blurb and the cover did not hook me to try, but passionate readers DID. Her books are not ones which are going to ‘provoke a major bidding war’ which, for unknown authors seems to mean that the book will be about a ‘trending’ topic (usually one associated with deep dark goings on, taboos and the like – cannibalism, incest, etc etc!!!) have lots of sex and violence, and probably a castlist which includes one or more of the following : serial killers, vampires, zombies, werewolves.

    Writers like Rebecca Mascull who produce thoughtful, beautifully written books which are about stuff, AND have authentic characters, credible plots, but are just sheer quality, but not in any way spinnable edgy, with attitude, shocking, etc, and with the author a perfectly personable human being who has not done time/been a sleb/published a horrific misery confessional/robbed a bank or been kidnapped etc etc, there’s nothing for the superficial world of marketing to get its teeth into! (if i sound cynical about marketing, yes!)

    I’m amazed at the quantity of truly badly written, derivative stuff which gets puffed up, and sold, SOLD SOLD, and the smaller amount of really good writing which somehow does not get this treatment – particularly, I suspect, if the author is outside the Metropolitan going-to-the-right-influential-parties mob.

    Ah well, perhaps warm and thoughtful appreciation from demanding book-aholics will make up for smaller sales.

    • The blog tour post – makes good sense – mostly in the blogging world we are preaching to the converted about our reads ( or this is how it feels to me- especially in Australia- the pond is very small that we swim in) I agree with Ethan Cross ( I wish I could reblog his page) there is more value in having a post that is not associated with a week long blitz that oversaturates the market
      (although I guess this does raise search type things to boost the listing of the book on social media) …but doesn’t really endear the book to anyone. A blog post/review is forever 🙂 And the value to future book sales must be very hard to measure, but I think it is valuable. People still look at reviews I have written for books published 2 or 3 years ago – I assume they are doing some research before buying… So a trusty band of supporters and bloggers might make a difference… eventually…

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