This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
by Anna Bell
In this digital age of social media, authors are often inextricably linked to book bloggers. Publishers send out scores of free books and book bloggers take time out of their busy lives to read and review them. Whilst I don’t doubt reviews help with eBook sales, I can’t help but wonder, does it drive physical book sales?
From my experience as a self-published author, I would say that reviews helped to generate eBook sales of my book. There’s something really easy about reading a review and then if it’s eBook only, following the link and downloading to Kindle. In fact, when I self-published, I did no formal advertising and relied solely on publicity based on reviews. Yet, I don’t know how it works with copies of a paperback. Do people order online, or are they more likely to wait until they are out and buy a copy if they see one?
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I reviewed books for about three years. Whilst I started off reviewing my own copies of books, it wasn’t long before I was on most of the UK publishers lists and I received two to four unsolicited books a week. I went from buying two or three books a month to buying zero. It was great being sent all those free books, but at the same time, it did start to feel like a job. When one of those padded envelopes came through the letterbox, excitement was coupled with dread. Another book to squeeze into my schedule. I’m not disappointed now when a blogger doesn’t review one of my books for months as I remember that feeling of an overwhelming to-be-read pile with multiple books to be read for the same day. I found it impossible to keep up on time, and now, I’m eternally grateful when anyone gets around to reviewing one of my books as I know the sacrifices in time they’ve had to make.
Being a book blogger also opened my eyes to the amount of wonderful authors that there are. Before I reviewed, I tended to play it safe, reading my staple favourite authors and following the bestseller lists. When I received review copies from all the different publishers, I got to read people that I’d never heard of and now I go and seek out those authors. I bought a Ciara Geraghty paperback last week, an author I never would have discovered without reviewing. I’ve also been tweeted by bloggers who have reviewed my latest novel, Don’t Tell the Brides-to-Be, to tell me that they’ve enjoyed it so much that they’ve bought the other two books in the series.
I guess when I’m wearing my author hat, I need to remember my days of being a book blogger. Whilst we may never be able to measure their impact on physical book sales, I’m convinced that they do help to drive them – one way or another. What do you think?