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Why readers aren’t reviewing your books

When my first book was published in the dark ages – the 1990s – I didn’t have to think about online reader reviews.

Amazon was only starting to sell books when WHY CAN’T A MAN BE MORE LIKE A WOMAN? was released in the spring of 1995; Barnes and Noble was still a strictly bricks and mortar business.

That meant that reader reviews came in the form of good, old-fashioned, word-of-mouth  recommendations among friends. If you liked a book, you told someone: “You will love this book.”

It was a pretty simple process.

Reader reviews have power

In today’s publishing environment where the Internet lets us recommend books to anyone, online reader reviews have become powerful and influential. In fact, most readers rely on them to make purchasing decisions.

Whether they should or shouldn’t doesn’t matter. The fact is that they do.

This can be frustrating. Unless you’re at the same level as authors who are household names — think John Grisham, Jodi Piccoult, Carl Bernstein — you probably struggle to get reviews.

No matter what you do, and no matter how popular your book seems to be, getting reviews from fans can be a real challenge.

Is that your fault?

Are you doing something wrong?


But maybe not.

2 main reasons readers don’t write reviews

There can be so many reasons why people don’t review the books they read.

I wanted to know what they are, especially because even award-winning authors struggle to get readers to write reviews. So I did a little digging.

I asked readers why they don’t review books.

Here’s what they said:

  1. The process is intimidating. They don’t know how or where to start, or what they should even share in a review.
  2. They think writing a review will take too much time.

reader reviews

Can you blame them?

The “missing link” for reader reviews

It’s up to you as an author to help them get over those two significant obstacles to reviewing your book.

And now you can.

The “missing link” for reader reviews is a resource that helps them write something meaningful in just minutes — something that removes those barriers.

I’ve created that resource — well, make that two resources — one for fiction, another for nonfiction. Both use a simple process for writing a short, meaningful, and honest book review in just minutes. 

I’ve reader-tested them, and readers love them! They told me that they will review more books now because they know how to do it quickly and easily.

Get more reader reviews

Now I’m bringing my solution to you.

My unique new Reader Book Review Form for Fiction and Reader Book Review Form for Nonfiction, available for the first time this week, have the potential to significantly increase the number of reader reviews you receive.

Each is a fill-in-the-blanks PDF form that asks readers key questions about the book they just read (the questions for fiction and nonfiction differ so there’s a form for each category). The forms follow the steps used by Amazon, starting with the rating and ending with the review title.

The questions help readers focus on precisely what other book lovers want to know about the book they’re reviewing. 

Whether readers type their answers into the form or print it and hand write their thoughts and opinions, the result is a short, pithy review they can post on any site that accepts reader reviews. And it all happens in just minutes.

Help readers discover great books

reader book review form packageHelp yourself and help readers. You owe it to yourself to purchase one of these forms.

And, as you might expect if you’ve been hanging out here with me for awhile, I’m giving you more than a form with your low purchase price of just $29. You also get:

  • A list of ways to use and distribute your groundbreaking form
  • A social media image that encourages readers to write reviews plus suggested text to post when you share the image on Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks
  • A sample blog post outline that educates readers on how their reviews help other book lovers

I hope you’ll join me in giving this form to readers. Buy it once for just $29 — share it as many times as you want!

It could be the one thing that finally gets you the online reviews your book deserves. 

CLICK HERE to buy now! 

Once you purchase your form, come back here and tell us how you’re using it! 

Tip of the Month

book reviewsI like to share a “Tip of the Month,” a free resource or tool for authors, on the last Wednesday of the month.

In keeping with today’s post topic, reviews, this month’s tip is the Book Reviewers Yellow Pages.

Use the search box under the big blue image on the website to search 2,411 book bloggers by genre and category.

It definitely skews toward fiction — with the exception of memoir and biography — which makes sense. Nonfiction authors should be looking for bloggers that write about their topic.

As always, be sure to visit each site before requesting a review. You want to know as much as you can about the blogger you’re contacting.

Like what you’re reading? Get it delivered to your inbox every week by subscribing to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter. You’ll also get my free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” cheat sheet immediately!


  1. Hello Sandra. If I buy your Reader Book Review Forms, will I be legally entitled to include it at the back of copies of my ebooks and print editions?
    Barry Knister

    1. Thanks for asking first, Barry. I appreciate that. Yes, you may do that with two conditions:

      1. You reproduce it as is. Sharing it as an image is the best way to do that.

      2. You include the following text with the form:

      Reprinted with permission of its creator, Sandra Beckwith of BuildBookBuzz.com. Get a free gift with a Build Book Buzz newsletter subscription at https://buildbookbuzz.com/gift.


      1. I would like to embed the form into my newsletter but change out the sample reviews you provide with actual reviews from my books. May I do that if I include the reprint with permission text above?

        1. Thank you for asking, Karen. “You reproduce it as is” means exactly that. You may not make any changes to the form. You can get around that by including your reviews in separate text that either introduces or follows the form.


  2. I purchased your Reader Book Review kit and will let you know how it works for me. It seems that book reviews are getting harder and harder to get these days. I even have friends and family members who say (on social media anyway) that they love my books, but I can’t get them to write a review for some reason. Great idea!

    1. Thanks, Florence. These forms will help. Note, though, that Amazon prohibits reviews from family and is good at sniffing out, and removing, reviews from friends, so don’t put your effort there. It’s frustrating, I know, but Amazon’s focus is on honest reviews that readers can trust to be unbiased, and I know you can understand that as a “consumer,” rather than as an author.

      I think that ANYTHING we can do to make it easier for readers has to help!


  3. Sandy,

    Here is a third reason why people who buy books don’t review them: They haven’t gotten around to reading them yet!

    I’m not sure what the numbers are on the ratio between books purchased and books actually read, but there is a huge discrepancy.

    That’s why you can’t look at your sales numbers to know the number of people who read your book who didn’t post a review. I would guess less than half of this year’s buyers didn’t actually read your book yet.

    So perhaps encouraging buyers to start reading what they bought from you would help as well.

    1. So true, Marcia! As noted, there can be many reasons why readers don’t review books. I’ve focused on the two where we have a little control.

      I know that as a reader, anything the author can do that will make it easier for me to write a review can push me over the edge to actually do it. To be honest, even though I write for a living, I have spent WAY too much time figuring out what to say and how to say it in a review, so this tool is as much for me as it is for others! Ha!


  4. And another reason people don’t write a review is that you haven’t asked! So, Sandra, you’ve given us a really great way to ask and make it easy. I just bought mine and look forward to using it!

    1. That’s such a good point, Lisa. It applies to so much in life: Just ask. Thank you!

      I hope the form helps you feel a bit more empowered when you DO ask!


  5. From the database I got NO response for searching, individually, for the terms ‘mainstream,’ ‘literary,’ and ‘contemporary.’

    It is my usual problem: people don’t expect indies to aim for those categories. So getting reviews is like implanting teeth in chickens, and then searching for the few that take – and asking them to peck out a review for you. Rather slow.

    1. Alicia, I just searched the database for “literary fiction” and got A LOT of names. You might want to give it another try.

      Also, your publishing model is irrelevant when using this database. A traditionally published science fiction author searching for “science fiction” will get the same results as a self-published author searching for that phrase.

      Enjoy your chickens.


      1. Thanks for checking – I’ll try that. ‘literary’ by itself didn’t get any hits. I obviously gave up to soon.

        The publishing model is not irrelevant. Reviewers are not always open to indies. Some of them are quite… brusque about stating it on their sites. I don’t know about THIS database, but I’ve run into the problem often enough that I go into the search expecting to be told not to bother.

        I understand the problem – indies have yet to completely overcome the perception of lesser quality, and reviewers’ time is valuable, so a blanket prohibition makes sense to them. I don’t usually try to persuade them otherwise.

        1. When I commented about indie vs traditionally published, I was addressing the database search results. I got the impression from your comment that you believed you didn’t get the results you expected from your searches because of a bias against indie authors.

          I wasn’t commenting on whether self-published authors have success when contacting the bloggers who show up in the search results.


          1. Sorry I was ambiguous! I meant that literary and mainstream and contemporary have fewer reviewers in general. Long day.

            I didn’t use ‘indie’ or ‘traditional’ or self-published’ in the search. That part you find out by going to the individual sites and reading their submission guidelines. Which is where I often find barriers. Assuming the search term turns something up. It never occurred to me (did I mistype? – always possible) that ‘literary’ wouldn’t turn up ‘literary fiction’ in a search.

            I will check again. Thanks.

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