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Word of mouth sells - Why all reviews matter, good or bad

The age old adage states ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ which in the case of selling books is true. Good or bad, reviews matter when it comes to selling your book, so you need to encourage readers to leave them. Here’s how.

Bad books sell, and even if they have a lot of bad reviews, telling everyone that they’re bad, they still sell and sell well. That’s because it’s getting reviews, people are talking about it.

It’s better to have a bad book that everyone talks about than a good book that no one knows about.

The reason is this, reviews mean engagement and engagement means exposure and exposure means sales. So you need to get people talking about your book so that more people can discover it.

Content is king

Reviews create content that’s associated with the book, and there’s nothing that search engines like more than quality content. Search engines will pick up on key words on your sales pages, be they Amazon, Smashwords, or even your own website, and will be more likely to display your link at a higher rank.

There’s also the psychology of the amount of reviews. People see that a lot of others are talking about your book and they want to see what the fuss is about.

You can see this with television shows. Bad shows still pull in the ratings because people are talking about it round the watercooler, which introduces the show to others, who in turn talk about it. The effect is exponential, whether people like the show or not.

So how would you go about getting more reviews?

Ask. Put links on your website, social networks, your email marketing, and even at the end of your book, encouraging people to leave reviews whilst it’s still fresh in their mind. Make it easy for your readers to leave reviews and they will.

You are essentially asking for the help of your readers, ‘please tell more people about my book so I can sell more books’. This is a bonus because those readers that enjoyed the story are more likely to want to help their favourite author and therefore leave more good reviews.

Bad reviews are good

Don’t worry if not all of your reviews are really good, as we mentioned, it’s the number of reviews you get rather than the quality. But there's also another reason, bad reviews make all the reviews seem more trustworthy.

What would you be more likely to buy, a book with two or three glowing five star reviews, or a book with twenty to thirty reviews that average out to four stars overall?

No one likes perfection, people don’t trust it. It’s why kitchen cleaners only ‘kill 99.9% of germs’ and ‘9 out of 10 dentists’ recommend certain brands of toothpaste. Perfection sounds like a lie. Everyone is not the same, so to find a scenario where people are unanimous is untrustworthy.

Having the odd bad review proves that they aren’t all reviews written by a PR firm, or your friends and family, and that they must be genuine.

Now get out there and encourage people to review your books!

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