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  • Shaun Baines

Why Reviews Matter

First blog in a while, but it's been hectic here on the Mothership. Publication, promotions and harvesting my vegetable patch! And there's been something on my mind.

With the release of Woodcutter, I've become slightly obsessed with reviews. Not just mine, but the reviews of all authors and how they affect the success of their books. I wanted to let readers know how much we need them and how their interactions make all the difference.

Hands Across the Nation

Writing can be a lonely occupation. Feedback lets us know we're not operating in a vacuum. We love your questions. We're not just writers. We're fiction fans, too and if someone is chatting about a book, we want in.

On a deeper, more constructive level, your feedback informs how we grow as writers. My book is about gangsters. As such, there will be blood, but I've always been concerned about over-stepping the mark. Thanks to readers leaving their comments, I'll know when I've gone too far.

In Plain Sight

Publicity is one of the key factors in a book's success. That's how bad books make the bestseller list and your favourite indie author struggles to make their rent. It's only half about money, though. I'm not talking about turning me into a millionaire, but if you do, I'll dance at your wedding. Naked, if requested. Writers don't need a lot of money to do what they love, but nothing is more heart-breaking than seeing a book sink for lack of publicity.

If you help elevate your favourite author, they'll repay you by being around long enough to write another book.

The A-Word

Love them or loathe them, Amazon are here to stay. Self-published and traditionally published authors rely on it to shift copies. One way of doing this is to garner as many Amazon reviews as possible.

It goes beyond stroking an author's ego. Like Amazon's ranking system, there is a dark art to their reviews. It is a path to promotion where an author's work is ping-ponged around Amazon and advertised on every available square inch of screen. No-one knows exactly how many reviews are needed to trigger a promotion, but one thing is clear. You want to make an author's day? Spend five minutes saying something nice about their book on Amazon and watch their pale, little face light up.

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