Because nobody buys the book, of course.
Sure, there are some awful efforts posted online, but some good reads only sell a few copies before they are forgotten. It’s frustrating to craft a project that goes nowhere, and most of us would rather be writing the next book before spending hours divining the power of keywords or solving the mysteries of promotions for a finished work.
So here it is: Whether it’s a toaster or a novel, online sales are driven by customer reviews.
After all, if someone commits to reading Stephen King, James Patterson or Nora Roberts, they pretty much know what to expect. But who the hell is D. S. Cooper? That is why writers want to leave the reader with a jolt of emotion and the burning desire to tell someone about this book I just read! You want them to write a review as soon as they put the book down. And if I ever figure out how to do that, I’ll become a successful Kindle author!
It is very nice and productive to get feedback from readers on my website, especially when it develops into a continuing correspondence, but those e-mails do little to entice other readers, since only Amazon reviews push future sales on Kindle. So I’ll go ahead and belabor the point: If you want people to read your book you’ve got to have some stars on the Amazon sales page.
On the other hand, no one likes to get snarked, or to get panned by a reader channeling a NY Times reviewer with broad criticisms such as, “needs more character development,” or “the author needs to set the scene better.” That sort of stuffing always leaves me wondering if the reviewer even read the book.
But for all I know, the worst reviews are probably right on. After all, I’m just some guy with a notebook computer and an irrepressible urge to spin a yarn.