There are also reader reviews from Goodreads and customer reviews from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I can't thank every one of those people enough for their kind words, since reviews really do make or break self-published books. Only recently, I learned that if a product receives 50 reviews on Amazon, it will show up in the "You might also like" section of other products. That might not seem like much, but for self-published authors, the single biggest challenge in getting our books sold is getting them noticed, and the "You might also like" section is essentially free advertising, targeted at an audience who is already looking for books in our genre.
So here is my plea to you, on behalf of all self-published authors: if you have read Miscast Spells or any other self-published or small press book, please leave a review, especially on Amazon (though of course any and all reviews are appreciated; best case scenario is to leave one on every book site you visit. Word of mouth is also an excellent thing). You needn't even have purchased the book from Amazon; you just need to log-in to your Amazon account (and be sure it's only one review per IP address, or they will be deleted. That's right, if two people in your household each read the book, you are not allowed to each review it from your own home. Annoying, but true). Your review doesn't have to be lengthy, or well written. It just needs to exist (since it is a bit of a numbers game) and tell your honest opinion of the book. It doesn't even need to be 5 stars. If you thought my book was good, but not really your cup of tea, leave a four or three star review. An honest review is better than no review. And again, this doesn't just go for Miscast Spells, but for any indie, self-published, or small press book. You, our audience, are who we most rely on to get the word out. You are, as the kids say, the real MVPs.
Aside form the business part of reviews, there is the very personal aspect of just finding out what people thought about our work. When I talk to someone in person about my book, and who their favorite character is (I always ask everyone that question, and I am always pleased with the answer, because I love all my characters), and what they thought of the ending, it's the best feeling in the world. There really isn't anything to compare it to, but I suppose I can try: it's like showing someone your soul—that is, what makes you "you"—and having them say, "Five stars. I really like that soul you have there. It's a five-star soul". Only it's actually people saying that they like how crazy-yet-competent Delilah is, or that Millie is a refreshingly timid character, or that they can't wait for the next book. Talking to readers in person is great, but not everyone is close enough or knows me well enough to have a conversation. Though I certainly wouldn't mind fan art and fan emails (wink-wink. WINK!!!!), reviews are an easy way to let me, or any author, know that you have indeed read our books and have something to say about them. I love reading them, and whenever a new one pops up, I'm always curious to see what the person thought.
So for the success of our books and the happiness of our psyches, please leave a review on any and all websites that allow book reviews.