A book review is a precious thing. You don’t realize how precious until you’ve put your first book out there. Before the publication of mine, I had NO idea just how important reviews were. I’d never really thought too hard about posting a review on Goodreads or Amazon. So I get how book reviews can be alien for most readers.
What does a book review achieve?
— A book review is social proof–in an age when most book shopping is online, a book with reviews will stand a better chance of attracting a sale than one without.
— The Amazon algorithm tries to show visitors books they’re most likely to buy, so a book with more (and more positive) book reviews will float to the top. There are other factors, of course, but the number of book reviews is a huge part of it.
— Many platforms (Bookbub, for instance) won’t accept any advertisements unless there are a certain number or quality of book reviews.
— In a trad-pubbed book’s life cycle, the first few weeks are crucial–so if you’re reading an Advance Review Copy, that review you write can be very important. Good reviews in great numbers start off a positive buzz, and lead to more organic reach, and more marketing dollars from the publisher. A majority of books die off at this stage, due to minimal help from the publisher.
— For a self-pubbed book, reviews can grow over time, and be equally important. They show potential readers that the book is worth taking a risk on.
So what should an Amazon or Goodreads book review look like?
First off, a review on a platform like Amazon or Goodreads doesn’t have to be an essay. It can be a line or two, merely stating that you liked (or disliked) the book, and why. You can go into detail, of course, and the more detailed the review, the more helpful it is for other readers to know if they’d like it. That said, it’s not necessary.
A 2-line review is infinitely better than none at all.
Many authors don’t want a review below 4 stars, but I’d say write what you honestly feel–genuine reviews trump fake reviews, reviews are for readers, and not all books are for everyone. (Yes, if you one-star my books, it will hurt a little, but after five minutes, I’d be fine–because tastes are subjective.)
If you’re posting a review of an ARC, it’s fine to mention that on Goodreads, but Amazon is a commercial site and all mentions of ARCs and Netgalley are best avoided.
While posting a book review, the usual structure is:
–why the book interested you,
–what you liked about it,
–what you found difficult,
–comparison with any other author/ book,
–and ending on a high note (if you liked the book.)
The only thing to keep in mind while posting a review is avoid personal comments against the author. I see a ton of those, and they serve no purpose other than unkindness.
If you can’t bring yourself to write a book review, leave a rating. Every bit counts. If you can’t post Amazon, you can post a review on Goodreads, Barnes & Noble or Waterstones, Bookbub, or simply give the book a shout-out on social media.
So many of my fellow bloggers have been kind enough to leave reviews for The Blue Monsoon. Please find below links to their excellent blogs (which you must follow), and the excerpts from their reviews:
Killers lurked in blazing sunlight in Blue Bar but in Blue Monsoon death rules the shadows, dark halls, and dank factory floors.
One of the things I love about Biswas’ work is how she communicates a depth of culture and structure within the flow of the story, not as a lecture or “info-dump”. Another thing I love is how she gets me into the heads of all her characters, and never shies away from having her protagonists and her antagonists represented as people with flaws and virtues, who have to navigate between good against better and bad against worse.
Atmospheric and thrilling, the reader is immediately drawn into the lives, the highs and lows of the finely drawn characters. It is the best kind of thriller.
A grand adventure in Mumbai where the lines between friends and foes are blurry at the best of times – a monsoon and technical difficulties just adds another layer of drama to this well-paced thriller.
If you enjoy intricately plotted stories, with complex characters, that take you to faraway lands and expose you to the uniqueness of other cultures, then you’ll definitely enjoy The Blue Monsoon.
In many ways, The Blue Monsoon is a critique on the lingering caste system in India; but more than that, it attempts to show how privilege blinds one to injustices, how affirmative action policies don’t quite solve anything (and sometimes makes them worse), and how gender (or rather, being female) exacerbates everything. It’s not an easy read by any means, but then again, none of Biswas’s books are.
Blue Monsoon is the much-anticipated sequel to the Blue Bar, and I wasn’t disappointed. This book is a rich soup of Indian culture, a story of contrasts. It carried me to the sultry heat of Mumbai in the monsoon season, revealing a grisly murder at a temple. It reveals the complex caste system, the darker side of life, and it shows the nuances of strained relationships. I really felt immersed.
It was wonderful seeing returning characters from the previous book, the multiple story threads, and the different point of views. If you loved the first book, you’ll love this one too.
After I got into the writing life, I realized just how crucial book reviews are, and have started writing them for books I read, whenever I have a few minutes.
It is by no means an obligation–a reader has already invested a lot of time and money on the book and an author doesn’t expect more–but there’s always hope. Genuine book reviews often determine an author’s fate, especially during the weeks after publication.
What about you? Do you write reviews of the books you read? Do book reviews ever influence your book buying or reading decisions?
My literary crime novel, The Blue Bar is on Kindle Unlimited now. Add it to Goodreads or snag a copy to make my day. The sequel, The Blue Monsoon is up for pre-orders! You can add it on Goodreads or enter the GOODREADS GIVEAWAY! And if you’d like to read a book outside the series, you can check out You Beneath Your Skin. Find all info about my books on my Amazon page or Linktree.
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