Most people don’t go to a car dealership and just point to a car saying, “I’ll just take that one!” No, you look around at different dealerships, ask someone you might trust what they think, look at different colors, check out the features, and probably test-drive it first. It’s the same with readers who are buying books. Some people randomly pick new books to read but most readers go with what looks interesting and entertaining. How do they decide if it might be interesting and entertaining? One way is by reading reviews!
Just like people may ask around about a new movie, they do the same with new books. They want to see what other readers are saying about your story before they purchase it. Avid readers will usually spend a little time reading the reviews and ratings of your book before purchasing it. Following are some things to remember about reviews:
- The more the better! You want to get as many people to review your book as possible. There is definitely strength in numbers. If a lot of people have read your book, it looks good for you.
- Honesty is brutal! Yes, the reviewers can be super blunt and honest, but that’s what you want. This helps you grow as an author. The good news is you can prepare for their brutal honesty by making sure your book is top notch! Don’t give reviewers any reason to rate you less than a five.
- Reputation is everything! When sending in your book and requesting reviews, make sure you’re asking the queen of the crop. Check their track record as a reviewer. Family and friends are great but you want to have people you don’t know, who do this on a regular basis, write a review for you. Good reviewers usually have a strong following and people respect their opinions. So if they like your book, this ultimately means more promo, more sales, and expanding your fan base.
- Don’t pay for good reviews! Most reviewers are satisfied with just a free copy of your book. Don’t pay for good reviews. It’s really pointless because once people read your book, and it doesn’t live up to the paid reviewers’ feedback, you will be exposed. Your reputation as an author will be tainted and you don’t want that. Honest and fair reviews are the best reviews.
- Book swapping... Some people frown on swapping reviews. Others have no problem with it. I say only swap reviews with your fellow author after a conversation has been had about integrity. You both should have a clear understanding that you are still going to write honest reviews. It should never be, “I’ll write a nice review for you if you write a nice one for me.”
- Location! Location! Location! Having a book reviewed on a personal blog site is great, but you want to make sure your reviews are landing where it counts. You want to reach, not just their fan base, but all of your potential readers as well. Make sure your reviewer posts to the main sites that sell books like Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, etc. A good review really doesn’t do you any good if no one ever sees it.