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Why Book Reviews Matter

Why Book Reviews Matter

We all know that book reviews play a vital role in the success of our books, but have you ever wondered why? I sat down with a few readers, reviewers, and fellow authors to find out what makes book reviews so vital to them:

The Cliff Notes:

Why do book reviews matter?
  • Ratings don't matter, but text reviews give us an idea of what's in the story and whether we'll enjoy it.
What's more important: the review, or the "Look Inside"?
  • For many, the reviews (good or bad) mean nothing if that first bit of the book doesn't draw us in or pass muster.
What do you look for in a good review?
  • Honesty. We want to know what's wrong/right with it. Our goal is to make it better, so we need reviews to help us figure it out.
How do you read reviews? Skip to the 1- or 2-star ones, or read the 5-star ones?
  • The 1-to-2 Star reviews provide value to us as a reader and authors.
What makes you think a review is fake?
  • A couple of lines, no real understanding of the book, etc.

The Panelists:

Heidi Angell: Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac and wordsmith. She is the author of The Hunters Series, The Clear Angel Chronicles, and The Hell School Series. She also created Royal Prince Vince, and Creative Exercises to Inspire. When she is not reading and writing, she can be found spending quality time with her lovely family camping, hiking, swimming, or watching movies. Learn more about her at RevKess: RevKess is an author, reviewer, publisher and avid reader. RevKess struggled to read as a youngster, but once his parents got him glasses he was seldom without a book. He began writing stories and poetry at an early age and hasn't stopped since. Most of his published works consist of short essays and articles for Pagan sites and magazines. His poetry, essays, and other short non-fiction works have been compiled into a soon to be released book called The Written Activist. When not reading or writing he can be found curled up in front of the TV with his cats. Watching TV and movies is research, after all. His reviews can be found at He publishes for Saturn Returns Publishing which can be found on Facebook (and soon on the web). He also podcasts for Pagan-Musings Podcast Channel on BTR ( His Facebook page for writing is The Written Activist ( Ani Manjikian: Born and raised in Southern California, the diagnosis of hydrocephalus at birth should have killed Ani, or worse, left her blank to the world. Her strength of spirit, parents' love, and a miracle all combined to overcome that prognosiswithin nine months. From this almost impossible beginning, she has developed into all-around person with the technical knowledge and analytical mind of a programmer, creative and detailed orientation of a writer, and aesthetic instincts of a photographer. Ani's writing career started when a friend in Cyprus made her promise to stop throwing away her writings because she thought they weren't good enough. After returning to the States, Ani set out to finish a single horse story and tried to get it published. However, the book, like the writer, needed time to mature. While perfecting her craft, Ani graduated from San Francisco State with a BA in Industrial Arts and worked several jobs from retail sales to human resources project management. Her innate ability to learn new computer programs with minimal instruction combined with her need to be creative led to her current long-term stint as a web designer and developer. The book, meanwhile, spawned several siblings. Not knowing what to call this conglomerate of creativity, Ani turned to another friend who suggested a word play on the books main themes of horses, space, family, and heroes. Spirit of the Lone Horse, the first book in the Stars of Heros series, was published in March 2015 by Unsolicited Press. Others are on their way. Website – Right the Writer: an author to author blog – Stars of Heros Facebook page – Twitter – Jez Ibelle: Jez Ibelle has been a Blogger / Reviewer / Reporter / Editor of for three (3) years; paneling at San Diego International Comic-con in 2015 and 2016 on how to attract Media coverage for independently published works. And--a host of Geek-a-PediaLIVE: What Geeks you at Reading is a pleasure--writing about the experience is a passion. As a sentence structure snob, she recently started a Youtube segment JEZ'(RE)ADs: where she--well--reads. Discussing what she likes or doesn't like grammatically and suggests how to improve.