A few days ago, I got an email from my publisher. He was asking all of his authors for feedback on getting reviews, which he says is the #1 way to increase sales. I thought sending out free copies would be the best way to get reviews--but having requested he send out those copies, for which I have yet to see a review, maybe not.
I think the power of the reviews to generate sales depends on the reviewer. If the review reads like the reviewer didn't finish fourth grade, their glowing review isn't going to count for much. If it sounds like it's from your mom or your sister, again, it's not going to be taken seriously.
Other authors can be a good source of reviews. When I was with Berkley, I got reviews from bestselling authors Sandra Brown, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Judith Gould. Blurbs from those reviews were featured prominently on my covers. I gave reviews to other authors , too. (To my surprise, one of my reviews was quoted in a book on the popularity of vampire fiction. I'm hardly an expert on the genre.)
These days, getting reviews from fellow authors is a bit different. Instead of my agent or editor requesting reviews from the authors, or getting a request for a review, authors offer a trade: "I'll review yours if you review mine." I'm at a disadvantage there. My eyesight is so poor, I only "read" audiobooks. Almost everything I do online is by text-to-speech and I write by dictating.
How much weight do reviews have in your choice to read a book? And how do you shop for books? Traditional bookstores? Online? I've already stated in previous posts that I find Buy My Book posts in social media annoying--but do you find them helpful? I get several e-newsletters that I rely on: Audible, of course, since I'm limited to audiobooks, as well as Kindle Books Daily, Bookreporter, Book Bub, BookScream and a couple of others. My publisher has also been working with Buck Books. I don't use it because it only provides links with very brief, vague descriptions. I don't have the patience to check links without knowing what I'll be getting, but I hear they do post a lot of good deals.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.