I was riding high a few months back, enjoying lots of five star reader reviews on Amazon for Employee Relations. I didn't really think much about it, but I was totally jazzed that so many readers were enjoying the book. Then came an awful, one star review. The person said the story sucked, she despised the characters and I was a terrible person for writing it. (Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little, but it was pretty bad.)
I was dejected. Forget that the vast majority of those who'd bothered to write a review had given the book glowing recommendations, what stuck with me was that one person hated it.
But when I checked a few days later, another great review showed up. The reader said she was so glad she didn't listen to the previous reviewer because she absolutely loved the book. It was then I realized how much reader reviews influence purchases.
Another of my Kindle books had a single review at the time. The reader said that she didn't normally buy books without any reviews, but was glad she decided to take a chance. That got me thinking, too. Not only do good and bad reviews influence purchases, but so does the absence of reviews.
What do you think? Do reader reviews influence what books you buy? Do you leave reviews for books you purchased online? I'm starting to do more and more of them. Why? They matter.