I’m a writer and I’m a reader. When I finish reading a book, I write a review.

Why do I take the time? To help the author and other readers.

Independent epublishing has generated a flooded marketplace of book choices. That ocean of available works makes knowing which book to select difficult. With book-buying budgets limited, book reviews can help readers make decisions.

So when I read an enjoyable book, I share the news by writing a review.

As an author, I also recognize that reviews posted on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks are critical for sales whether you’re a new or established author.

Yes, I know some authors defraud the online review systems, and some reviewers use their power to target and destroy. Thank goodness, those types are in the minority and quickly dealt with.

I’m not saying don’t post a critical review if you don’t like a book. Most authors welcome an honest evaluation of their work if it’s in the form of constructive criticism, not trashing.

Finding reviewers is a major conundrum for authors. The validity of a review by family and friends can be questionable. You’ll find most retailers don’t allow family and friend review postings, if the bots catch the link between reviewer and author.

Reviewers who are paid to write book or movie reviews can be extremely expensive. Small publishing houses and indie authors can’t afford to use those services, instead, they rely on readers spreading the news.

Why is coaxing a reader to write a review so hard? Maybe because it brings back painful memories of those dreaded book reports we had to do when we were in school.

Whatever the reason readers don’t write reviews, I wish more readers understood how helpful reviews are for an author.

The process of posting a review is easy. Many Kindle books offer a link to review at the end. Reviews don’t have to be lengthy or formal. You can also leave star reviews.

Next time you finish a book, why not leave a review or stars?