No. No! I love them. I cuddle up to them at night in front of a roaring fire and murmur sweet nothings in their ears. Or I would if they had ears. I polish them. I show them off to the neighbors. I come darn close to exchanging body fluids with them. TMI? *Sigh* It’s true though.
The trouble is that they don’t sell my books. Or not enough to make me pump my fist and go, Yes!
Ah! I see you sit forward in your chair, eyes bright – if you’re a writer. A morsel of info has been coughed forth. Us writers are always looking for the dirty underbelly of the…ummm dirt so we can file it away and use it for our own selves.
But, can I prove it?!
No. And also yes. It’s iffy, like all such things.
Fact – I have a lot of wonderful reviews from book review sites for my latest book (Rough Surrender) – 10 perfect scores from every site (so far) that’s reviewed it, as well as many elusive awards like “Top Pick” and Recommended Read”. I can also admire my Goodreads awards – something like 27 five stars and 7 four stars out of 39 ratings. Pretty good. I know it’s a damn good erotic romance, maybe my best. But sales are average.
What can I learn here? Reviews may help you, but even great ones won’t do everything. And they won’t make a lot of readers click on the buy button unless your book ticks other boxes too.
However, I have seen readers recently say, after being told by someone that my book’s good – “I’ve heard this one has great reviews. I’ll give it a go.”
It’s obvious that book reviews aren’t everything. You have to do other promo. But they do help. Can you be successful without them? For sure. There are oodles of books on Amazon selling extremely well that have poor or no reviews.
Am I going to give up sending books out for review? No. Because I believe they help, and they are just another weapon in my arsenal…does that sound like I’m trying to shoot readers? Hmmm…okay, tool in my toolbox?
Anyway, if you plan to get reviews for your book, here are some pointers.
1. Offer the best book you can.
Shoddy writing, editing, or appearance of the cover, are off-putting. Reviewers may refuse to even look at your book if it seems bad from page one or two. Also, bear in mind, it’s not as easy to get reviewers to read your book if you’re self-published. Not impossible, obviously, but harder.
2. There’s little point in getting your book reviewed by a site that has very few subscribers/ hits/ readers. If the site is as busy as an iceberg in the middle of the ocean, find another site. Even if they simply gush over your book, do a rain dance on the cover, and kiss your tootsies, it means zipiddeedoodah if nobody ever reads it.
Okay, this second point needs qualifying -- I had another author point out that those smaller blogs can be wonderful. The contacts you make through them can be very worthwhile, the reviewers will give it their all compared to some over-worked reviewers, and they may be more likely to give a new author a try. They may have a million friends elsewhere. Word of mouth works wonders.
3. Find good reviewers. ie Reviewers who write well, rate the books consistently, and are interested in the sort of story you have written. A reviewer who thinks about the book and doesn’t give automatic high scores may have a better reputation. I say ‘may’ because people may love a reviewer and respect what they say because they blog well and have an exuberant personality. If they like your sort of book, those reviewers may still be a good choice.
4. If you’re going to bother getting reviews, and you know the book is going to get good ones, the more reviews the better. Because whatever promo method you use – twitter, facebook, goodreads, word of mouth – the more people who come in contact with your promo, the better. Whatever promo you use, you should do it to the best of your ability. Do it to the max.
So go forth and multiply those reviews, but don’t forget to do your other promo too. Reviews alone, won’t often sell books, but they might if there’s other tasty info about that book already floating around in the reader’s mind. It all adds up.