View Full Version : Averaging 1 review per 500 sales

07-14-2014, 05:58 PM
Hello fellow AWers,
I was wondering if anyone has been having the same problem as I my sales have been very good for a couple of my eBook series (well into the tens of thousands), but when it comes to reviews...Im hardly getting any. Im averaging 1 review per 500 sales. Does any kind soul have some tips on how I can generate more reviews from my actual readers and not just bloggers who accept my review requests?
Thanks SO much! :)

07-14-2014, 06:15 PM
I cannot answer your specific question but surely 1 in 500 isn't too bad when equated with 'tens of thousands' and I would have thought a few good reviews was better than a whole stack of mixed ones.

07-14-2014, 06:52 PM
That's actually a pretty good ratio. Especially if they are largely positive. Are you self published or commercially published? Good commercial publishers do the bulk of ARCs and review requests, but self-published authors have to do it on their own.

I think I have around 1200+ sales for a book commercially published two years ago. I have 5 reviews on Amazon, 14 or so on Goodreads, and around ten others scattered over genre blogs. Some of those my publisher requested, some I politely begged for, and some just happened by word of mouth.

07-14-2014, 08:12 PM
One in 500 isn't bad at all for "random" reviewers. There isn't really anything you can do to influence readers to leave reviews. ARCs and solicited reviews are another story, but it sounds like that's not what you're after.

Liosse de Velishaf
07-14-2014, 08:51 PM
That seems like a decent number of reviews actually.

I think it would be pretty cool if someone could put together a data set for reviews per whatever number of copies for various genres and trade vs. self publishing, though. Then we'd all have more data to do comparisons with.

I'm sure there are some attempts at that buried on the kindle boards somewhere...

07-14-2014, 08:59 PM
Maybe I'm missing something but I struggle to see what benefit such data would provide.

07-14-2014, 09:11 PM
I don't know what service it would provide, either, or why any of this matters. There really isn't anything you can do about how many reviews you receive, or about what they say. It usually doesn't matter, anyway.

07-14-2014, 09:59 PM
Hello fellow AWer’s,
I was wondering if anyone has been having the same problem as I – my sales have been very good for a couple of my eBook series (well into the tens of thousands), but when it comes to reviews...I’m hardly getting any.

Are your books mostly self-published, Heather? And might you be including among that figure books downloaded during free promotions (for example, with "Kindle Select"?). I ask just because, if so, the number of sales and the number of times the books have been read may be strikingly different, and that can sometimes account for what seem to be fewer reviews than you'd otherwise expect.

07-14-2014, 11:20 PM
Honestly, it doesn't look like large numbers of reviews are terribly related to sales then. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Are the reviews that exist actually thoughtful and helpful to would-be readers? I'd say a few well-thought-out ones are better than a lot of "4 and 5 star reviews" with no text. As a prospective reader of a book, I usually look at a couple of representative reviews from each category, from good to bad. With typical books that get a range of good and bad reviews, I'm more interested in why readers liked and disliked a book than the exact star rating average.

Liosse de Velishaf
07-14-2014, 11:35 PM
I just thought it might be fun to look at. You never know if something interesting might pop up.

Siri Kirpal
07-14-2014, 11:54 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

My yoga book sells better than my Sikhism book, but the Sikhism book has more reviews. Part of that is that the publisher for the Sikhism book made sure review copies went out. The publisher for the yoga book and I made sure it got in the hands of yoga teachers.


Siri Kirpal

07-15-2014, 01:24 AM
Thanks for your replies! :)

I'm a hybrid author, so I've worked with traditional but small publishers and also self-published by registering my own companies. When I refer to sales, I mean actual sales where I get paid. I always offer a couple of books for free in my series, though, because that helps sales, but I don't consider those "sales" <- hope that made sense. :p

I'm glad the 1 in 500 ratio is normal - I was thinking it was just me.

07-15-2014, 02:09 AM
I don't know what service it would provide, either, or why any of this matters. There really isn't anything you can do about how many reviews you receive, or about what they say. It usually doesn't matter, anyway.

For the SP books, reviews matter. And it's not so much how they influence sales, it's how they impact promotional opportunities. BookBub, for example, isn't going to look at you if you have 2 or 3 reviews - even though that might represent 1500 sales, which isn't horrible.

07-15-2014, 07:31 AM
This one's hard to quantify, but do you have a platform (blog, Twitter, Tumblr, whatever) where you interact with fans?

I don't read my reviews for health reasons, but I've got 91 reviews on a self-pub book with around 2300 sales--most of them fans who have a talk-with-me-on-the-blog relationship. I suspect that you're more likely to get reviews if you've got an active fan base who is used to talking to you (and about you) and sees it as another way of leaving comments.

A traditionally published book of mine, meanwhile, averages one review per 3500 sales. But it's for kids (less likely to review) and who don't have the same relationship on the internet with me.

So I think that having fans who know you and don't feel like they're shouting into the void really does lead to more reviews.

(THAT said, if you don't blog/tweet/whatever because you dislike it, don't force yourself. Grudging social media is much worse than no social media and drains energy better spent writing books.)

07-15-2014, 09:56 PM
I had over 1000 when my series first came out, but I only have 10 reviews.

07-15-2014, 11:02 PM
I've seen popular new releases with low reviews, but they're still doing pretty good. I don't think it really matters how many reviews you get. As long as you have a few solid ones and they're not 14 five star reviews (which you don't have which is good!) Every time I see a book getting nothing but five star reviews, I think it's fixed. (I guess I'm just too cynical)

But you have great sales and for it only being out a month? (not even) I'm looking at "Frostbitten" here (lovely cover btw) it hasn't even been a full month now and you have 14 reviews! That's awesome.

Mine's been over a month and I only have 3 (on Amazon.) But I do have quite a few more on Goodreads. But not everyone from Goodreads posts on Amazon and vice-versa.

07-15-2014, 11:21 PM
I ran a free promotion last September for my nonfiction memoir through the Kindle Select program. With 8,000 downloads, I ended up with 22 new reviews. By my calculation, that's one review per every 363 downloads, FWIW.

07-16-2014, 07:41 PM
I noticed this at the end of your "Frostbitten" book summary.

This is a pre-publication special. I humbly ask that you leave an honest review on GoodReads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22456363-frostbitten) or wherever Frostbitten is listed. Thank you! :)

Maybe it's a genre thing, as most of my reading is not YA, but I've never seen another author do this. I'm not criticizing, either. Possibly you've received more reviews than you would have without it.

07-16-2014, 08:40 PM
Thanks for the stats, guys - it helps to put the numbers into perspective.

Besides GoodReads, I don't use social media. I've been told so many times that it's necessary, but it's just not for me.

Thanks for the compliment about the cover, Lisa! I'm not referring to the sales for Frostbitten; it's my middle grade scary story series and my new adult paranormal romance series. I see in your AV that your book is in a store - that's so amazing! Congrats! :)

I certainly hope so, Jari! :)