Reviews and Literary Awards: Are they Relevant to Fiction Sales?

We all know that many readers check the reviews before deciding on a book, so no wonder that most authors rush out book review requests even before the launch of their new title. We also know, as it is evident, that non-fiction books such as Self Help, Health, and Spirituality have the author’s credibility and certification as their foundation and thus winning awards plays an important part of credentials confirmation as well as credibility to the title. When it comes to Fiction however, all bets are off, as creative work praise is such a subjective matter. So are reviews and awards really relevant to sales when it comes to Fiction? In my opinion, yes!

  • We all are very particular on what we like, but at the same time we always ask others about their experiences when it comes to food, hotels, movies, books, and anything or place that enriches our lives. When it comes to subjective things, who likes or dislike an item or place will give or take credibility. This is why designers give fashion to celebrities to wear, advertisers hire celebrities to feature products, and authors hope for good reviews and endorsements. This is also why The Oscar is important in the film industry, as is the Emmy in the music Industry and the Pulitzer in the literary world. Within this context I believe that reviews and awards can and will influence some buyers to purchase or not purchase a book. But I must be honest; I also believe that it is not the decisive factor. It does take the buyer’s opinion of the product that is in front of them when they are considering purchasing a book.
  • With the Indie’s boom, the pool of fiction books to choose from has grown to a humongous size in a very short time.  Not only that, but the Indie product quality although weak in the beginning, has been improving considerably thanks to new internet tools, as well as growing authors’ publishing knowledge and experience. Because of this all new books need to stick out of the crowd more than ever in order to make some sales. Famous authors and celebrities stick out just by their names due to their fan based platform. Authors published through the big publishers stick out by their publisher’s platform and distribution system, but the Indies have their work cut out for them. This is where reviews and awards can help. More and more readers are venturing into the Indie pool as it offers variety, which is the one thing the traditional system is not offering to the market. So, having reviews and awards seals to back up the title can make the difference when it is being considered by a reader.
  • Finally, reviews and awards are truly the one feedback from the audience that can note to the author what their target market thinks about the title. If the feedback is showing a problem with the product’s quality, the author could fix it and publish a revised copy, or simply improve the production on their next title. If the feedback reveals that the title is being targeted to the wrong market, then that feedback can help to point the marketing strategy to the right niche. There is really no negative feedback if it is utilized to finally make sales.


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