I read an interesting statistic last week. It stated that 79% of consumers trust online reviews and testimonials just as much as personal recommendations from their peers. This essentially means that four out of five people will believe an online review pretty much without question. That’s a high amount.
Yet it probably shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. If I’m thinking of booking a hotel or a table at a restaurant (which isn’t often!) I will look at online reviews before I take the plunge. And while some reviews are quite obviously written by people with axes to grind – or who generally have a hard time being happy – the majority of reviewers seem to be stating things as they see them. Sometimes those observations make me change my mind, both for better and for worse.
As for giving reviews, I’m a Level 6 contributor on Trip Advisor (which essentially means I take the time to review pretty much any place I go, stay or eat at), a process I enjoy not only because you know your comments could help someone else, but also – mostly – to give praise where praise is due.
I generally don’t review products and I definitely don’t review books. This might sound strange coming from someone with at least a few clues about what it takes to write a novel, but reviewing other authors’ works just doesn’t seem quite right to me. After all, I’d never review the work of a colleague (not formally, anyhow!) or comment on the outpourings of a friend (unless they asked me to) and reviewing books by other authors seems much the same to me.
But there’s no doubt that we authors want reviews and, given the above statistic, need reviews. Obviously, the more favourable a review the better, but nevertheless, whether good or bad, reviews matter.
So, if you want to help an author out, making a review is a great way to go about it. Not only does it contribute to the weight of social proof, it could very well make an author’s day.
Happy reading…and reviewing!
Coming soon. . .