Why I Give Thanks for Reviews
By Ritter Ames
I’m sure many authors remember their very first review. I know I do. It came from a Canadian reader who not only gave me a five-star review on Amazon US, but added one on Amazon Canada too. When you’re a new author and trying to build a fan base from scratch, those first reviews offer an emotional high that is probably only topped by the actual release of the book. You simply cannot believe your luck that someone you’ve never met not only likes your book, but is happy to tell the world about it.
That’s not to say that the reviews that follow are any less dear to me. As a brand-spanking-new author with a brand-spanking-new mystery series, I was told again and again by my publisher to try to get as many reviews as I could. There are all kinds of marketing reasons why. Most would just make your head spin—
at least they did mine. But primarily, reviews were the best way to get readers to take a chance on a new author and a new series.
Seriously, there’s like a tsunami of books that hit the release racks each day—print and ebook—and it’s too easy for new authors and releases to get drowned in the next wave. Reviews are kind of like the driftwood a book can latch onto in the deep water. If several come by, a raft can be made to help the book float to the top of the wave, so readers have a better chance to see it and add the title to their shopping carts.
Before my first book was published, I knew how important reviews were simply because I love to read, do it as much as I can. Reviews helped me decide which authors and books to try now, and which to save for later. I read the glowing reviews, sure, but I also read the negative ones, because I found that often the very reason(s) another reader didn’t like a particular book was exactly the reason I knew I would.
Even today, with two mystery series, five novels published, four more novels in the editing stage, and two anthologies I’ve contributed to, I still wait for that first review. And the fifth. And hopefully the fiftieth. Because it really does take about fifty before booksellers like Amazon start paying attention to new titles unless the sales have gone through the roof—and often the sales go through the roof when the book has a lot of reviews right away.
And that first review by that first reviewer? Well, I’m happy to say she’s still one of my fans, was even a charter member of my street team when the group formed and is still a valued member. I’ve received hundreds of reviews since the very first one, but I’ll tell you, I still smile every time I go back and read the first one again.
USA Today bestselling author Ritter Ames writes the Bodies of Art Mysteries, her way of coaxing her husband into more European travel for “research.” She also writes the Organized Mysteries, a cozy series featuring a Vermont organization expert. Her Bodies of Art series feature her bantering globe-trotting characters, Laurel & Jack, and the third book in the series, Abstract Aliases, was released in October 2016. She also has a brand new Organized Mystery in the fall-themed anthology Midnight Mysteries: Nine Cozy Tales by Nine Bestselling Mystery Authors. Visit her at www.ritterames.com, like her FB Author Page https://www.facebook.com/RitterAmesBooks or follow her on Twitter @RitterAmes
USA TODAY Bestselling Author of the mysteries series--
Bodies of Art Mysteries -- Counterfeit Conspiracies, Marked Masters. Abstract Aliases is Available Now!
Organized Mysteries -- Organized for Murder and Organized for Homicide
Short Story Anthology -- Midnight Mysteries: Nine Cozy Tales from Nine Bestselling Mystery Authors