Book Reviews: Helpful or Not?

Do book reviews affect your buying decisions?

They do mine.

Because they do, I write and post reviews.

I like to reach as many potential readers as possible, so I post my reviews in six places.

As an author with a book coming out, I’m curious to know how effective books reviews are.

In order to find out what you think about book reviews, I’ve created three polls. If you have the time, I’d appreciate it if you’d take a minute to provide your answers. Thanks!


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curvesโ„ข and reading.
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19 Responses to Book Reviews: Helpful or Not?

  1. the writ and the wrote says:

    I took your poll! As a book reviewer, I definitely read reviews. It sparks ideas for my own review and jogs my memory about things I might have forgotten. I may have to steal your list of places to post reviews – I usually just post to my blog and goodreads, but it might be good to post other places, as well. If you don’t mind sharing your list, that is….

  2. bethkvogt says:

    Thanks for the quick and easy polls — and the chance to see others’ responses, Keli.

  3. Keli, I would not say I rely solely on book reviews, but I do enjoy reading them and getting an idea of what others think. I base my reading on a number of factors, word of mouth, our monthly book club sellections (even the ones that don’t make the cut), and interviews or author profiles in magazines or newspapers.

    I post reviews mostly on amazon and on my blog. For me to review a book on my blog, it has to be one of my favorite reads for that month. I also like to support authors with positive feedback, so if I didn’t enjoy a book I don’t post a review. One negative review can hurt someone and I don’t like to do that.

    Fun survey. I trust you will post the results on another day ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Finished voting ๐Ÿ™‚ I find reviews helpful. Amazon seems to be the most easily accessible for me. If I don’t like a book, I’ll also read reviews after the fact to see if other readers shared the same opinion.

  5. I look forward to seeing the final results! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I read book reviews to see how others felt about the book. I also am a bit critical of the “angry” reviews where people aren’t constructive and appear to be upset that they bought the wrong book.

  7. Loree Huebner says:

    I voted. Looking forward to the results.

  8. Keli,
    What an interesting survey! I look forward to the final results as well. Oh, btw, I think I saw on facebook that you lived in Germany at some point? My husband grew up there! Anyway, is that one of the reasons your write historical novels?


    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Thanks for visiting my blog and for participating in my poll, Melanie.

      My husband and I lived in Germany from 1989-1993. He’s a high school science teacher and taught the dependents of U.S. Army personnel stationed in the Nรผrnberg area at the American high school there. We were living in Germany when the country was reunified and when the Gulf War took place and U.S. soldiers from our military community were sent to fight. Watching history in the making was incredible.

      My historicals actually take place in the far western U.S. I’m a native Californian living in the heart of the Gold Country and enjoy learning about the history of the area. My debut novel is set in a Gold Rush-era town just five miles from where I live.

  9. I first look at the book cover and then if that pulls me in then I read the book blurb. If still uncertain, then I look to the reviews. Usually, the ones on Amazon are the most convenient for me. Hugs :O)

  10. Cindy R. Wilson says:

    Interesting questions. It’s good to see reviews DO help sell books sometimes.

  11. Sherrinda says:

    I took the polls! I don’t always rely on book reviews. I am always drawn by the cover first, then I look at the back cover copy. If the story looks like something I want to read, then I will get it. I do read some reviews on Amazon and Goodreads of books I keep hearing about to see if it looks like a book I might want to get.

  12. Good survey! I rarely post book reviews myself. I do read them now and then but usually buy if someone mentions one or I read the blurb about it myself.

  13. This is a great survey, Keli! I’m anxious to see the results! When a book strikes my fancy and I just have to have it, usually nothing can deter me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But when the back cover blurb doesn’t sell me and I’m still unsure, I find book reviews very helpful.

  14. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who has taken the survey and shared your thoughts in a comment.

    I will definitely post the results in an upcoming post.

  15. Excited to see what you do with this info, Keli!

  16. Julie Nilson says:

    The reviews in Entertainment Weekly are usually aligned with my tastes, so I often follow those. The reviews on Amazon and the other big sites are only useful to me when there seems to be consensus on whether a book is great or it stinks.

    The best reviews are the ones that come from friends, which is why I like Goodreads. I can look at reviews overall, but I can also see which of my friends liked which books.

    When I post reviews, I do on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or my own blog.

  17. i love polls, obviously. ๐Ÿ™‚ interested to see what you come up with.

  18. Jill Kemerer says:

    I used to rely on RTBookReviews, but I let my subscription lapse due to the expense. It’s been a year and I’ve decided the expense is worth it. Sometimes I rely on other bloggers or Goodreads, but their taste and mine don’t always mesh. For reliable reviews, I still like RT.

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