We all know what a review is. . . and how you would get one but my question is:
- How do you get those initial reviews so people spread the word fast to those who like you, and how can you insure someone will leave you and inspiring review?
- What value does a review truely have to it apart from a good recomendation?
I think the others have answered the "how do you get them" part of the question as well as I ever could... so I'm popping in to address the "what is their value" part.
Last week the Digital Book World Conference was held for two days in NYC. One of the topics that was discussed over and over in conjunction with the rise of online book purchasing, was the fact that book bloggers and book reviews in general were becoming more and more valuable as a book discovery tool. Although online sales account for more than half of the books (both print and digital) bought in 2012, very few people actually discover new books via online stores. Instead, more than 80% of people discover new books through referrals from other people...
The traditional bookstore salesperson used to act as that trusted point of contact, with the knowledge and respect to refer new books to customers... but now that most people buy books online, we have to depend on quality book bloggers and those avid readers who take the time to post reviews online to act as agents of discovery... they have much stronger influence than anything that any of the online stores (whether Amazon, B&N.com, or other) are doing.
Finally, if you sell your book on Amazon, having a good number of reviews (more than 20), can make the difference of whether your book becomes part of their internal marketing machine or not. You know those books that show up on a book information page, listed under the "books other people have bought like this one"? You don't have a chance of showing up there if you don't have a good number of reviews... the only other thing as important in that environment is meta data...
This was echoed over and over again during the conference, by experts throughout the industry, both traditional, indie, small press, authors, and agents.
Oh... and one last thing, especially if you're an indie author... a good and undervalued way of getting reviews is to ASK for them. The last page of every digital book ought to include a direct link to writing a review... very few authors/publishing houses take the time to include this, which is a pity, cause any direct sales expert will tell you that including a "call to action" increases response significantly as compared to not including a direct call to action.
Hope this helps some! :)