Have Book Reviews Lost Their Power? by Lois W. Stern
I used to jump for joy each time I received another five star review. (Don’t we all love a congratulatory pat on the back?) And then one day, I got my comeuppance when a dear friend posted a four star review on my newest book. True, she included some complimentary commentary, but why only four stars? Where did I fall short?” Next time we spoke I swallowed my pride and asked, “What do you think I should have done differently for that book to have merited five stars?” Her answer really got me thinking.
You know, when I wrote my first full length novel, in a matter of months twenty-seven people had posted five star Amazon reviews. I was elated. That was while I was in my first blush as a new author. But later I realized that all those stars were part of a popularity contest. Friends and colleagues were pulling for me to succeed and it embarrassed me. There are so many really fine books published these days by both Indie and traditionally published authors, but five stars? I give out very few five star review these days. The book has to be near perfection for me to do that. But I try to convey through the context of my review how I feel about the book. Your book is terrific. I mean that sincerely, and I said so in my review. But five stars? I save those five star reviews for books like James Joyce’s Ulysses or D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers.
With that conversation stored in my memory bank, I began to rethink the whole idea of book reviews. Perhaps my friend was right and we should start rating books more realistically. And if we all agreed to do that, would book reviews lose their power? I think not, but only if we all began to approach them with a different mindset. Maybe the time is ripe for us to stop commenting on the number of stars we receive and instead start quoting an excerpt from the review itself. Some reviewers are tougher than others, so star counts are not the definitive answer. But positive comments are and they spur us on, encouraging us to keep working on our craft, while honest, thoughtful critiques help us grow as authors.
Reviews have a more important function than stroking our egos. A decent number of reviews shows readers that our book is stirring interest, with the context of those reviews serving as a valuable resource for our potential buyers. And bottom line, we want our books to sell.
That said, how do we go about acquiring reviews? We’ve already dropped subtle hints to our circle of family and friends. Now what? Here are several reliable resources that have worked for me:
Dan Poynter issues a wonderful Marketplace Newsletter. You can contact him at:
to add your name to his list. Once you are a member, send him a brief description of your book, its genre, number of pages, a JPEG of its cover, and your e-mail address. He will post it in the Reviews Wanted section of his newsletter. When you receive his next newsletter, you might even look for other books posted in that section that interest you. Contact those authors independently to suggest writing reviews for one another.
Norm Goldman of has a no nonsense team of reviewers. You can fill out a request form and he will match you up with a reviewer. Check it out here:
offers writers an opportunity to upload their manuscript, blurb and cover art pertaining to their their book as a means to request a review. Check out: https://readersfavorite.com/book-reviews.htm
Like it or not, Amazon.com is still king of the book industry, so you might as well use what they have to offer. Amazon keeps lists of their .Click on .to find their top reviewers. You will discover a daunting list before you which takes time to sort through. Click on any name, and you will be taken to a page listing all their reviews - not just of books, but also products. You can find each reviewer’s e-mail address in the lower left corner of that screen. Take your time and be selective. Approach the reviewers you think might be interested in your genre. with a personal e-mail request. Yes, it’s a time consuming task, but often pays dividends.
You can also use Amazon.com to locate reviewers by searching for books with similar key words. For example, I would look under “Motivational stories” and “inspiring stories” for my Tales2Inspire books and “Anit-aging”, “Cosmetic Surgery” and “Beauty ‘ for my books on those particular topics. Once you discover people who have reviewed books of your specific genre, follow that reviewer's link to their Amazon profile page, look for an email address, and send them a soft sell request.
I have just scratched the surface in our common quest for book reviews. In the spirit of “Authors Helping Authors” won’t you take a moment to add your best review sources to this list? Oh, and by the way, would anyone like to review my latest book, Tales2Inspire ~ The Sapphire Collection? I promise I won’t freak out if you give it four stars, but you had better give me some thoughtful commentary!
After completing my first two books on aesthetics (Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery & Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour), I began writing what I call my "Inner Beauty" stories - inspiring stories to touch the heart and soul. Tales2Inspire ~ The Emerald Collection (Beyond Coincidence stories) is the first in a four book series. Tales2Inspire ~ The Topaz Collection (Stories of Awakenings & Aha Moments) is the second and Tales2Inspire ~ The Sapphire Collection (Echoes in the Mind) is available now as it is a recent release. The Ruby Collection is in the works.
My innate curiosity about potentially fascinating human beings was the spark that propelled me to initiate my Tales2Inspire™ "Authors Helping Authors" project/contest. I wanted to give writers from across the globe that opportunity to share their most inspiring stories. One of my goals is to help these talented authors build solid platforms and get some recognition for their skills. I also wanted to create an alternate path for those of us seeking ways to strengthen our opportunities for discovery.
You can learn all the details at www.tales2inspire.com and even read many of the stories on my blog at www.tales2inspire/inspiring stories.
Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/tales2inspire
Wordpress beauty blog: http://fabulousbeautyblog.wordpress.com
Inspiring stories blog: http://tales2inspire.com/inspiringstories/
Amazon Author Central page: http://www.amazon.com/Lois-W.-Stern/e/B005HOO640/