Probably for quite a few readers, the answer to this question is...by word of mouth. And that is what most authors would want. They sell, or in a lot of cases, give a book to a friend or family member. And if they are like me, one of the lasts things that they say to this person is, and I quote, "Make sure you tell all your friends about my book!" And this is good!.
But for a large majority of avid readers, especially in this high tech era, they peruse the online bookstores in search of that next great read. Now for some, the real hard core readers, they may have a few authors that they especially like and they will read anything and everything written by these trusted authors, good or bad. Others, well, they just kinda play the field.
There is, however, one factor that they all use in their search for that next cozy-up-on-the-couch book. They all look to the stars. No, I don't mean that they run outside and peer into the night sky at the constellations where they might see the title of their next purchase outlined by the stars.
I'm referring to that system of stars, one to five, that all booksellers use to promote their wares. The more colored the stars are, filled in usually by red or black, the better, or more popular the book is.
OR IS IT???
Know how these stars get their bright red or black coloring? REVIEWS! REVIEWS! REVIEWS!
Readers, like my wife, for instance, will look throught the endless rows of books on a website. And as they cruise by all the titles, they look for the ones that have the most stars. (Filled in, that is) If they see a book with all five stars colored in, then they automatically think, "This has to be a good book." And that may be true...to some degree.
What they are forgetting to look at is how many people reviewed that particular book. If only one person read and reviewed a certain book, and gave the review a 5-star rating, then that's what you see. A book with all five stars filled in. Let's say a book has four and a half colored stars. That could be one reader's review rating or twenty readers' review ratings that average out to four and a half stars.
My point here is that nobody will give a second look at a book that has no stars colored. (Unless they happen to be looking for a particular title) This doesn't neccessarily mean that the book hasn't sold, say, 20,000 copies. It means that nobody has come back to write a review of the book and give it a star rating. One of the worst feelings for an author, such as myself, (and I can attest to this) is to check online at any of the booksellers' sites and see their book with five naked stars after it and the words..."Be the first to write a review".
So, I hope now you can see how important it is, both for the author and the bookseller, to have readers come back to the site of their purchase and write a review for the book that they bought. Even if you didn't think the book was THAT great, leave a review and rating anyways. (I guess a bad review might be better than no review) If everyone wrote a review and rated a certain number of stars, it is all averaged out. Your one star review could still end up with the book getting an overall rating of four or four and a half stars.
READ AND REVIEW