Want to hear a writer cry, scream, wail, and sometimes even beg? Tell them that they need to get book reviews…
Now, I’m not one who likes to cause authors pain. Far from it. In fact, I would like to tell every writer out there that their book has sold 10,000 copies in a week and that Hollywood has called. However…
There are steps that must be taken in order for this dream to even approach reality. One of the first steps in the marathon of making a book a success is getting reviews.
Why are reviews important?
There are many reasons to get great reviews. The top four reasons to get reviews are: to let readers know that you are a professional author, for most legitimate advertising sites you must have over a 4 Star review average and at least 10-50 reviews (that’s right… fifty), if you want publishers to pay attention to you (they read your reviews) you need to show that you are passionate about your book… your passion shows, and most importantly in the case of retailers, the more reviews a book has, the more clout it is given in the search ranking.
What does search ranking clout mean?
It means that if your book is titled close to/the same as another and your book has two reviews and the other has two hundred your book will be the last that potential readers will see. Readers and buyers are less likely to scroll down the list to see the other books… and are far less likely to buy a book with only two reviews versus a book with two hundred—regardless of which book is better written/more enjoyable. Basically, unless you have hand sold/pocket sold a book, without reviews you are taking your book off the shelf for potential readers.
How do we get book reviews?
There are many ways to get reviews.
1. One of the most effective is to approach your readers is through your email/mailing list (which should be set up on your website/blog). This list should be your core group of readers—those devoted fans who will check out every one of your new releases and backlist stories.
*For many new authors, your mailing list/Street Team lists may be minimal or non-existent. If that is the case, you need to first make said list and then take the next step in soliciting reviews.
2. Get in touch with other authors. Most authors are in the same conundrum about the need for reviews. Offer to swap reviews.
*Please note that if you are a publisher/editor or someone involved with publishing in any way, you are ineligible to swap/write reviews.
3. Use a company to find reviewers.
There are some fabulous blog tour companies out there whose main job is to find you reviewers/promotional events. This is a great way not only to market your book but to find those necessary reviews. This does cost money, but this is an investment in your book. If you are not willing to invest time/money in your book then why should a publisher?
There are also large review companies. These are expensive, but they offer a platform where all professional book readers can come and check out your book. That means all major book reviewers (think New York Times) as well as all libraries come together to look over new releases
Now that you know the importance of book reviews, I wish you the best in getting them. May they all be five stars!