Look, as an avid reader, I want to read the reviews of people who actually purchased the book, reviews from readers inextricably drawn to the same book genres I enjoy. Their opinions matter to me and play a vital role in my decision to purchase or not purchase a book.
The fact that a few reviews may not be five-star ratings is less important than the very positive fact the book has gained some traction and people are reading it.
Kudos to you if you're an indie writer who planned ahead and developed a pre-order email list or already have a strong social media following. Acquiring those fifteen reviews prior to the hard launch of your book should be a considerably easier task for you. Because the truth is, reviews are hard to come by.
Really think about reviews for a moment. Isn't it pretty wonderful that someone who reads your book is moved or entertained enough to take time out of their day to draft a review? Maybe it's not quite like hearing a song you've written being played on the radio but it is still pretty AWESOME!
So, book reviews sell books. Think of it as 'word-of-mouth' advertising, only it's written word. Who knows how many copies one positive review will sell. And, that is one way you, as an new author, should look at reviews. They sell copies.
Reviews also provide you great marketing copy for your book. Taking excerpts from two separate reviews and posting them on social media or providing them to a radio or podcast host as a 'lead-in' for your guest appearance on their program.
There are professional book reviewers who focus on the work of indie authors. Their reviews are sometimes visible in targeted literary platforms possessing a large following of passionate readers. Beware of scams...lot of those out there.
Make a commitment to obtain those fifteen reviews from qualified purchasers before the hard launch of your book. And, don't expect them overnight. Be patient.
Scott Ragain is an author and the founder of EG Media Group.