Thursday, February 20, 2020

Reviews

This week we will continue talking about publicity and marketing, this time focusing on reviews and how to get them. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may have seen some of this before because some of the content here comes from a blog post I wrote in response to an O'Abby question late last year.  I've added to it though, because like everyone else, I'm always learning...

Reviews are incredibly important to getting your book seen and building the audience for it. Readers are inundated with content and reviews help them decide if your book is more worth reading than the other ones vying for their attention. Good reviews validate your book and you can use them to help spread positive word-of-mouth that will help boost sales. 

But how do you get them?

There are services that offer to help find reviewers for you, but be careful of these and do your due diligence before dropping any cash. It is against Amazon’s rules for you to pay for reviews and some of these services are pay-to-play and you may end up spending a lot of money for reviews that Amazon will remove right after they’re posted. This includes offering any kind of gift or incentive in exchange for reviews, even offering a review to another author in return.

Personally, I have used two different review-finding services, one of which was excellent value for money, the other, less expensive, but also less effective. Predictably, the next time I wanted to use the excellent service, they were booked up over a year in advance, so were not available at the time my book was being released.  If you have control over your own release date, or know it well in advance, you will be in a better position to book ahead of time and get a slot with an in-demand service.

There are also a number of free sites where you can offer your book for reviewers. I have had zero success with any of these, but they’re free, so even if they don’t generate any reviews, at least it’s not costing me anything other than the time to fill in the online form.  Some genres are easier than others to get reviews for.  I have found that getting reviews for YA books is much more difficult than getting reviews for Adult Romance, for example.

I have read that targeting the top Amazon reviewers who review similar books to your own is an effective way to generate reviews, but have not tried this myself. I had a look, but so few of the top reviewers had contact information available, it felt like something that would be more time consuming that it was worth. If anyone has tried this, I would be interested to know if it paid off…

Another thing I’ve heard about is adding a page at the end of your book urging readers to leave a review if they enjoyed the book. I’m not self-pubbed, so can’t do this, but if you are, this could be something that helps remind readers to leave a review.

You should also remind your fans to do so. If you have a mailing list (and you should), you will send out regular newsletters to people who have signed up because they already like your work. These people are your strongest allies and it’s important you use them effectively. Offering free review copies to these people is not effective because as your fans, they are likely to buy your new book anyway. But they are the people who will talk about your book and raise awareness of it. Use them to create advance buzz and be your street team in letting people know your book is coming, and that you’re looking for reviews.

Keep track of who reviews your latest book so you can reach out to them again for your next one. Some reviewers state in their guidelines they are not open to reviewing unless they’ve worked with an author previously, so these relationships are important. So are the relationships you build with other writers. You can ask your beta readers and critique partners to review your book when it is finally published. You can ask your editor and copy editor. You can ask your cover designer.

Long story short, getting reviews is hard. It’s time consuming and there are really no short cuts. You just have to do the work, reach out to as many people as possible, and nurture the relationships you build this way.

1 comment:

  1. In my years of writing reviews at Goodreads.com, I've found that the top reviews are usually...terrible. They like terrible stuff. They hate great stuff. I just don't get it.

    ReplyDelete

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