Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Keep The Book Reviews Coming!

Inspired. I certainly am today after reading and bookmarking a fabulous post by author, Ripley Patton who has some great advice about getting those all important book reviews.

By kind permission you can read it for yourselves:

15 Quick Tips to Keep the Book Reviews Coming

By Ripley Patton
  1. START with friends, family and fans, but DON'T STOP THERE. To get your book off to a good start, be sure to ask those who already love and support your writing to give it a review. But don't stop there. You need to get your book out to the people who don't know about it yet, and this means sending it out to book blogs and review websites who have never heard of it.
  2. SEND your review requests EARLY. Most reviewers are heavily booked (and I do mean booked). Many of them have reading lists hundreds of books long. But the good news is they don't mind reading ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). It is okay to send review requests for your book before it is officially published. Just be sure to have a good, clean, edited copy for the reviewer to read. And some reviewers will schedule their review to go live during your launch to add to your promotion. But be sure to get those request in early as many reviewers have a lead time of 2 weeks to 6 months.
  3. JOIN GOODREADS and Utilize it. Goodreads is the biggest social network of readers and book fanatics on the internet. And the site has tons of tools for getting your book into the hands of reviewers. Be sure to do a Goodreads Giveaway (or two or three). Join Goodreads groups that read your book's genre. Most of them have Read to Review programs, where authors can offer a certain number of copies of their book free for review. The wonderful thing about this is the Goodreads Moderators monitor the program and make sure your get your reviews in a timely manner (usually within 2-3 weeks). **A couple of tips when doing a Read to Review. Only offer five copies of your book initially. The fewer copies you offer, the more valuable they seem, and you can always extend the number if the first five get snatched up. Also, don't give up if your first R2R gets very few takers. The first one I did only got two requests. But my most recent R2R saw all 20 copies (Yes, I started with offering only 5) get snatched up, with readers clamoring for more.
  4. SEEK REVIEWERS specific to your genre and publishing platform. Most reviewers have preferred genres, and you should pay close attention to the guidelines and preferences listed on their website or blog. Some reviewers do not take books from Indie or self-published authors, but many do, and some even specialize in Indie books.
  5. BE SURE to check a Reviewer's Credentials. Sadly, not everyone who reviews books (or says they review books) is honest. NEVER give your ARC to a reviewer you are unfamiliar with or who doesn't have a proven track record on their public blog or website. Some people pirate review copies of books. Some leak ARCs to the public. I have been approached by book pirates and fraudulent bloggers, both posing as book reviewers (both through Goodreads, so always do your homework). If it feels suspicious, it probably is.
  6. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME soliciting the Amazon top 1000 reviewers. I'm sad to say I wasted days soliciting Amazon top 1000 reviewers, because I saw it suggested by multiple authors. What I found was that most of them are closed to reviews, especially from indie authors. I have yet to receive one review from that effort. The one Amazon top 1000 review I did get came from a Goodreads R2R.
  7. ASK PEOPLE to post reviews in MULTIPLE LOCATIONS. (Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, their blog or website). And if someone gave you a positive review on Goodreads, ask them to recommend it to their Goodreads friends.
  8. NEVER ask for or insist on a positive review. Always ask for an HONEST REVIEW, not a positive review. It is not okay to ask a reviewer or blogger to ONLY post your review if it is positive. Yes, you gave them a free book, but this doesn't mean they owe you anything but an honest review.
  9. NEVER ask or expect a reviewer to pay for your book. Reviewers are doing you a service. Their review will sell and promote your book. And they have hundreds (sometimes thousands) of authors vying for that service. If you can't afford to send a paperback, offer them a free electronic copy, and be sure to have it available in various formats (epub, mobi and PDF).
  10. NEVER pay for a review or try to bribe a reviewer with money or stuff. Yes, there are paid review services like Kirkus out there but, in my opinion, they simply aren't ethical. Most reviewers list a disclaimer on their website that they receive NOTHING but the copy of the book in exchange for a review, and they will be insulted if you offer them anything else.
  11. ALWAYS thank a reviewer. Yes, even the less positive reviews. The truth is even if someone didn't love your book, they took the time to read and review it. For a negative review, I usually thank them for their honesty and say I'm always interested in what people liked AND didn't like about my books. You never know, you may snag a new fan just by being polite. You catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar.
  12. PROMOTE your reviews. Be sure to blast your GOOD reviews to all your social networks, friends, and family and include a link to the review website. Tweet it. Put is on your FB. Post an excerpt on your website. This is a service to the reviewer as well as yourself. Go to the review post comments and thank the reviewer there for the review, as well as answer any comments left by readers. This may seem obvious, but you shouldn't promote your BAD REVEIEWS. I say this because I have actually seen authors do this, going as far as to put bad reviews up as the editorial reviews on their Amazon book page. Not all PR is good PR. Shout out your successes, but let your failures whisper for themselves.
  13. DON'T SWEAT a few negative reviews. No matter how good your book is YOU WILL get negative reviews. No book is for everyone. I have a philosophy that no book is real until somebody hates it. If your book is getting many negative reviews, you may want to look into what readers are saying and fix it. If you have a lot of positive reviews, and only a few negative, chock it up to personal taste and go write your next great book. And remember, a negative review actually makes your book look more legitimate to potential readers. It is proof that not all your reviews were written by your granny who loves everything you do.
  14. NEVER respond to a negative review publically. As tempting as it is to respond to a negative review, especially when it seems baseless, DO NOT DO IT. You are not going to convince that person to like your book. You are only going to make yourself look like an insecure ass, and validate their claim. Yes, you are allowed to go whine to your best friend about it, and get all the encouragement you need. But don't respond publically or send the reviewer any personal message other than "Thank you for your honest review." This is called PROFESSIONALISM.
  15. DON’T STOP seeking reviews. Many authors I know do an initial push for reviews and then stop soliciting them within a few months of their book's launch. I don't know if they think their book has become too old to interest anyone, or if they just run out of steam but, in my opinion, an author should NEVER stop seeking reviews for their book. I make an effort to seek two or three new reviews every weekend. In this way, I am always getting current promotion and reviews for my book. You book doesn't get too old for reviews, because to someone who had never heard of your book it is brand new. And the magic of this is that REVIEWS GENERATE REVIEWS. It is one of those weird catch-22 things that the fewer reviews you have, the harder they are to get, and the more reviews you have, the easier they are to get. As you garner reviews, the momentum builds and it becomes less like pulling teeth and more like brushing up on them daily, so they don't have to be pulled at all. 
Now, go forth and get some great reviews.
Ripley Patton is the author of Ghost Hand. Purchase your copy by clicking here!
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  1. Wow, Ripley Patton offers some great advice. Thanks!

  2. Fran, thanks for the repost and the shout out for Ghost Hand.