As a debut indie author, I depend heavily on reader reviews. The more reviews I receive, the more likely a reader is to take a chance on me, especially if the reviews are positive.
A favorable review is a helpful tool for prospective readers. It gives peace of mind and lets them know ahead of time what kind of reading experience they can expect to have. When I buy a book on Amazon, I pay attention to not only the number of stars given, but more importantly, what the reviews say about the book. I want to know if the book is well written, with fully developed characters and a plot that is fast-paced and engaging.
But sometimes I need more from a review. I have an ever-shrinking amount of time to read these days, so if I’m on the fence about choosing a book, I read the reviews carefully, looking for not only the positive attributes of the story, but also answers to any questions I might have. The question is usually, “I’m not sure if I’ll like this book due to _______.” Sometimes it’s because the genre may not be one I usually read, and I’m looking for a review to sell me on it. Maybe it’s because I’m not sure if I’ll like the subject matter or premise. Sometimes it’s because I’m skeptical of the recommendation become I’ve been burned by the source too many times (I’m looking at you People Magazine). Reading a book’s reviews to see if any of these questions are answered will usually make or break my decision to buy it. A favorable review is a wonderful tool, but I’ve come to realize just how important informative reviews are. This type of review goes beyond whether the reader liked the story, and examines in more detail why they decided to read the book.
I’ve received several informative reviews for On the Island. One of them was from Raven. She wrote:
“I was hesitant to buy this book but after reading all the reviews I decided to read it. I started reading it last night & read until my eyes wouldn’t stay open. I stopped because I didn’t want to miss a word of this book. During the night I woke up several times thinking about the book…couldn’t get it off my mind. I just finished the book and I can honestly say I haven’t read a book this good in so long. What they endured on the island was so real. I loved TJ & Anna. I can’t wait for the author’s next book although I don’t know how she can top this one. If you haven’t read this book, read it, you won’t be disappointed.”
The reason I like this review so much is twofold: for one, it’s a wonderful review that brought tears to my eyes when I read it. I didn’t know who Raven was, but I greatly appreciated the fact that she read On the Island and then took the time to leave a review. What I also liked was that she was honest. She didn’t know whether or not she wanted to read the book (unanswered question: Will I like this book?). She used favorable reviews to help her decide, and she wasn’t disappointed. But the other thing I like about this review is the fact that she admitted she wasn’t sure if she wanted to read it. She was hesitant. And yet not only did she take a leap of faith and read it anyway, she liked it. A lot.
I know that potential readers who read the product description for On the Island might have some questions. The premise is very easy to have pre-conceived notions about; it’s a desert island book with a teacher and her much younger student. They’re probably thinking, where in the world is the author going with this? Will I want to go there with her?
I understand this hesitation, and I’m happy to report that those who have read the book know that I didn’t take the storyline anywhere they didn’t want it to go. They were surprised at how invested they became in the characters. Some of them have reached out to me to ask about a sequel because they want more T.J. and Anna.
I also received this review from heath1005.
“i was very reluctant to read this story, didnt know if i was going to like the premise of the old trapped on a deserted island relationship, especially with the age difference between the characters. i am soooo very glad took the chance though because this story was so much more. i never once thought about the age difference, just the characters. i believed this to happened due to the great amount of detail that went into this book. i found myself feeling as though i was right there with t.j. and anna and felt every triumph defeat and love that they went through during their ordeal on the island. i really loved that it was not all romanticized and perfect especially during the 2nd half of the story. i would highly recommend this story to anyone looking for a great love conquers all story!”
The reason I appreciate these reviews so much (disclaimer: I appreciate ALL my reviews, and I’m grateful to anyone who takes the time to leave one) is because they are answering questions potential readers probably have, too. And they’re answering them in a positive way. It’s like they addressed the elephant in the room and said, “Yes, the elephant is there but you won’t care and you should totally read this book.”
Last weekend, Raven reached out to me via e-mail. In her message, she elaborated a bit more on her decision to purchase On the Island. She told me it took her about 3 weeks to finally decide to download it, and she reiterated again how glad she was that she did. She said she wasn’t sure if she wanted to read a book about a teacher and a student (which I totally understand, because at one point I thought I was TOTALLY CRAZY for writing one). She said she adored Anna and T.J., and if I hadn’t already guessed, she loved the book. Frankly, her e-mail made my entire day.
Raven and heath1005 have done something for On the Island that I couldn’t do myself: they’ve provided a positive and, more importantly, an informative review that will greatly assist other readers in deciding whether or not they want to read On the Island.
As a debut indie author, you can’t ask for more than that.
P.S. I’m waiting patiently for the paperback version of On the Island to go live on Amazon. I thought it would be out there by now, but it’s not. I’ll let you know as soon as it shows up 🙂