Once upon a time, most books were sold by word of mouth. Susie told Betty that she really loved a book, so Betty read it. Betty didn’t like it as much, but she still told Johnny, and he loved it so much he handed out copies for Christmas gifts.
It still works that way, but thanks to the internet, your web of influence has expanded. It is no longer necessary for Susie, Betty, and Johnny to actually know each other before influencing purchasing decisions.
Even if you do not read reviews, your buying habits are influenced by them. Titles that show up as suggestions, or come in e-mails, or are offered as a bundle with a book you are buying are not randomly generated. They are chosen via algorithms that consider the number of reviews, among other things.
There are some ad sites that will not even accept a title unless it has a minimum number of reviews. That’s right, in order to place an ad to increase sales and reviews, you first have to have reviews.
At this time, the two major influencers are Amazon and Goodreads. Once a title clicks over the right number of reviews, sales begin to climb immediately. Suddenly, a title that was banished to die in the dark corners of the web is alive and thriving in the sunlight of review numbers.
Please take a minute to review every book you read on one (or both) of the major players. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t even have to be positive, it just has to be a review. It is a major misconception that books must be purchased via those sites to leave a review. Anyone can leave a review for any title listed.
The difference between a fantastic book and a best-seller is discoverability.