SFFMP 24: Why Reviews Are So Important, Getting Them Early On, and Dealing with Bad Reviews

Today Lindsay had some laggy internet going on, so naturally we did a show with just the three of us, where we all needed to talk a lot! With a few more pauses than usual, we discussed all aspects of book reviews: why you need them, how to get them, and how to deal with those pesky 1-stars. Here are a few more specifics of what we covered:

  • Why it’s so important to get reviews (social proof, proof for advertisers, and also possibly getting a bump from the Amazon algorithms for lots of reviews right after a release)
  • Things we did to get reviews of our early books and whether give aways and blog tours are worth it
  • What we’re doing now, as more established authors, to get reviews, especially for new series and new genres we may be exploring
  • Looking beyond Amazon to Goodreads and getting reviews in the other stores
  • How we deal with bad reviews
  • Whether we think you should ever respond to reviews
  • Ways to possibly make a bad review work in your favor


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  • Your podcast was full of good advice. Just knowing about using “automatic” instead of “black” in the document was worth its weight in gold. There have been times when my son would read the draft, highlight text he had questions about in red, and then I would go back and fix it. I probably selected black instead of auto when I changed the color back.

    I’m a new author and I did a Goodreads Giveaway for my first book last August. I gave away ten books and got two or three 5 star reviews. Some Amazon readers, on the other hand, are happy to give out 1 & 2 stars. Oh well, like you said, you can’t please everyone.

  • I recently started reading my kindle books on my android phone, which uses a black background with white text to save power. I see plenty of ‘invisible text’ until I switch to black text on white backgrounds for a while. Some authors also use weird colors and fonts on purpose, instead of the default, and they look pretty bad.

    • SFFpodcast

      I use the “sepia” background on the iPad Kindle app, and that turns the font a dark brown, instead of black, so I’ve seen some quirky stuff too. 😀

  • I think a lot of those reviews where they say ‘I haven’t read this book’ are because of the STUPID emails that Amazon sends where they ask buyers (but not necessarily readers) ‘how would you rate ________?”

    They ask over and over again on the same title, too, so eventually the buyer probably reviews it to get them to stop! It’s a shame, but I think that’s a downside to promoting free vs .99. You really increase the odds of a moron having your book on their ereader.

    • SFFpodcast

      Yes, I’ve definitely seen some of those angry reviews, where it’s clear Amazon has been pestering the reader. Oops.

  • I enjoy the podcast immensely. One thing I learned (that maybe I should have known) is that the Amazon U.S. site won’t show you reviews from the foreign Amazon sites. I recently learned that I had a couple of nice reviews over at Amazon.co.uk that had been posted back in January. So it might be worth periodically checking those sites out if you have any sales in other countries.