I read the reviews before I buy just about anything. Other than clothes, I guess.
Though, actually, I read restaurant reviews. But not grocery store reviews, and certainly not grocery reviews.
Except one time when I was trying to find really good Vanilla Syrup. (Fox’s U-Bet was the winner.)
The point (other than the fact that I’m incapable of making wide, sweeping statements without a series of increasingly specific qualifiers) is that reviews are an important part of the decision-making process these days. That’s how it is for me, and I assume that’s how if is for lots of other people, because otherwise the sheer preponderance of reviews and review aggregation sites on the Internet wouldn’t make any sense.
The point of reading reviews (or even just looking at the rating built from the averages of all the existing reviews) it to both A. to facilitate a positive experience and B. avoid a mistake by learning from other people’s experiences. The process just failed me pretty hard on purpose B a few months back (terrible experience with a service that had wonderful reviews), but looking back at it there were plenty of clues buried in the reviews that could have tipped me off that things weren’t going to work out if I’d looked hard enough.
But I’m off on a tangent again. Bad experiences aren’t what I want to talk about. I want to talk about good experiences and the propagation thereof through the magic of reviews. As an author, in theory I depend on reviews of my products (you know, those books I keep linking) to improve product visibility and to, essentially, get my foot in the door. Because any random person, unless they’re super into naval history, has never heard of Sam Willis, let alone Sam T Willis, who has nothing to do with naval history. But if that random person is searching on Amazon for some intrigue, suspense and murder, the cover and those shiny gold stars next to my title are pretty much all I’ve got to grab their attention.
I’d like to think that my books provide the readers with positive experiences. My opinion on the matter is just about the least important one in the world, though, as for obvious reasons I’m not going to go out and write myself glowing reviews. I’m also not going to reach out to people and demand that they write me glowing reviews, because I’m not in the business of dictating anyone’s opinion to them, and anyways honest feedback is always more interesting (and useful) than astroturfing. I’m just going to ask that, if you picked up any of my books and it made enough of an impression that you stuck through until the end, that you take a few minutes and post your thoughts (and however many of those little gold stars you think I’ve earned) on whatever review aggregation site you choose. I’d love to hear from you, just as the authors of the other books you’ve enjoyed (or hated) would love to know what you think of their work.
In the end, I’m doing this because I love the idea of my stories winding up in other people’s brains. The Internet has made it plenty easy for me to deliver the stories, but if they wind up in your brains the Internet isn’t going to send your thoughts back to be (yet…?). It’s up to you. Thanks for reading. And for thinking.