What Compels a Reader to Leave a Review?


Writers are always trying to figure out why readers don’t leave reviews. I know I am! So, I decided to ask some people, who read a variety of genres, about how often they leave book reviews and what compels them to leave a review one time and not another. This is how they responded:

  • “I’ve only written a review on one book and I have bought probably 10 books off of Amazon. I wrote that one review because reading the book was life changing and I don’t say that lightly.”
  • “I only (leave reviews) on books I think everyone should read and would benefit from, never fiction.”
  • “I suppose I might leave reviews if I knew the author and wanted to help them, as long as I could do it honestly.”
  • “I only (leave reviews) on books that are truly awful and should be avoided.”
  • “I buy tons of books on Amazon but do all my reviews on an app called Good Reads. It’s the best app!”
  • “Goodreads is the best- it’s a website too where a lot of new authors reach out to popular reviewers to get their book out there. The reviewers rate and review your book in detail and they have hundreds of followers who all get notified when the reviewer writes a new review. That’s how I avoid certain books and pick up others.”

These responses showed me what I suspected: most readers will only review a book if they think it was truly spectacular or truly awful. The general impression I got was that a lot of readers feel no obligation to review a book, even if they enjoyed it. Isn’t that funny? Reviews are do or die for writers. Readers place a ton of value on Reviews. BUT it seems like it takes a lot just to coax a reader into leaving a review.

So if people are downloading your work, but you aren’t getting reviews, don’t feel too bad. It doesn’t mean people aren’t reading it or enjoying it. At the most, it might just mean you need to have a drink with other writers who have been there, then start writing your next piece!


About lisamorrowbooks

Lisa Morrow is a life-long reader who treasures fantasy in all forms. Being a middle child in a large family gave her a unique perspective on the world, but few experiences compare to her time spent studying abroad in Cambridge, England and wandering throughout Europe. After her travels, Lisa settled down in Arizona to teach junior high English, and later, to spend time with her young children, husband, and cats. To some people, her life may seem quiet. But to her, every day is spent in a world colored by the imagination of children, and fantastical worlds created by her very own mind.
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