Key Lessons of Writing a Nonfiction Book: Lesson #8
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
In the last update in this series, I shared lessons #5, 6 & 7, which was all about cutting back what isn't important to your reader and the importance of editing. Today’s post is about the importance of reviews and pre-order sales.
I enjoy reading and have read more books than I can remember. Bookstores are in fact a dangerous place for me to be; well at least to my wallet. I can pop into any bookstore and find something immediately of interest, or just browse an entire afternoon away.
Once, I went into a local bookstore located on a UK High Street which also had a few charity bookshops. A book called The Marsh Arabs, by Wilfred Thesiger caught my eye. I opened it up and saw the price appeared to be £100 British pounds, which given it written in pencil and not so clear, used, old, and the fact that most of the books in the nearby charity shops were under £5 British pounds, I thought or saw it was £1.00.
Imagine my surprise went I went to the register and was told the price was £100 (the equivalent to 150 US$ at the time) not £1.00! The owner saw my shock and clearly wanted to make a sale, so he suggested another book in the back by the same author, which was about half the price.
Things went from bad to worse! It turned out to be a great day for the bookshop and not such a great day for my wallet. I liked both books so much, I purchased them both!
Of course there are times if I know exactly what I want and don’t have the time to spend in a bookstore, I will inevitably buy online, and it seems we can't get away without searching for that needed book on the big 'A' - Amazon.
I'll be the first to admit that I was guilty of not posting book reviews, until NOW!
It wasn't until I went through the process of writing my first book, researching and understanding more about publishing and marketing that I began to understand the importance of reviews, especially for indie authors who self-publish, authors who are not yet established or are not yet bestsellers.
Here are some interesting statistics (statistica.com):
More than 650 million print books were sold in the US alone (2018)
There were over 45,000 writers in the US in 2018
Over 1 million print & eBooks are now published annually
How does one choose a book that's right for them, especially with so many being published daily? Of course, many factors go into the decision buying process of readers, and no doubt reviews are one of them, so…
Lesson #8: Reviews ARE Important!
Book reviews help other readers determine whether a book is good for them. Personally, I look at both the positive and negative reviews because an element of a book that isn't right for you, may in fact be right for me or other readers.
A well written review provides valuable feedback to the author for their next edition or next book.
Particularly on Amazon:
There is a snowball effect with positive reviews (using bookseller algorithms). First, one review will lead to another. More reviews generate conversation around reviews. The more positive review a book receives, the better it ranks, the better it ranks, the more people see it. The more they see it, the more likely they are to buy it. After a specific number of reviews, the book will be eligible to be included in the 'also bought' liking and 'you might like' recommendations. After a further amount of unspecified positive reviews, a book can be included in the 'recommended for you' emails sent to Amazon readers.
More reviews help authors get exposure to other book review sites.
'Liking' a review also helps boost that review up the list of reviews.
Did you know that anything less than 4-stars is considered not recommended? When I write reviews, for any product, it is 4-stars and above. Only if a product is so terrible that I would recommend staying away from it, will I write a 1- or 2- star rating; this is rare.
Once I place a review on Amazon, I will then copy and paste that review into GoodReads.com for even more exposure for readers and authors. You can do the same if you have a favorite online book retailer or book review site.
There are many more reasons that reviews are important, but the two most important in my view are to:
Help other readers get a better feel for a book so they can better decide if a book's for them or not
Help the authors know what's working and not working for future books
Pre-order sales are important to let your favorite retailer know what to stock.
A separate but related topic is pre-orders on Amazon. During a pre-order period, Amazon has algorithms running based on the number of views and the number of pre-orders that are placed.
They use this to determine what quantity of inventory to stock. If a book receives no orders or few views during the pre-order period, they will more than likely not hold inventory and when the book is released, it will reflect as 'unavailable', 'not in stock' or temporarily out of stock'.
In this day, it's safe to assume that all online book retailers have algorithms for the pre-sales period.
If you want to support your community of readers and authors or soon to be released books (including mine :-):
Make sure you pre-order or at least view the book in the pre-order period.
At a minimum, provide a rating for a book you've enjoyed.
Leave reviews on Amazon and your favorite online retailers or book review sites. You can leave reviews on Goodreads even before the full Amazon release. You also do not need to have purchased your book on Amazon to leave a review.
Keep an eye out on Amazon for the paperback version of Natural Healing Techniques, Get Well & Stay Well with Asian Bio-Energetic Therapy, which will be on pre-sale any day now!
In support of the book, I will be posting videos related to Asian Bio-Energetic Therapy on a new Health & Wellness app, called Natural Living App. You'll find many videos and articles from many renowned doctors and healing practitioners. I will share more in the next couple of weeks.