Book reviews are critical to an author's success but getting them can be a struggle. I posed the question as to why reviews matter to a group of people I'm associated with and based on their comments, this is what I was able to ascertain.
Reviews enable an author to sell books and make a living.
Reviews are vital to an author no matter how long or short, positive or negative. The most important thing about a review is what the reader liked or didn’t like about the book: was it memorable and worth the time and money spent; was it a thriller you couldn’t put down; did it have twists and turns; did you learn something new; was the information provided useful and easy to understand and follow – OR was it poorly written and not at all believable.
Reviews provide an idea of what your book is about and can act as a HOOK: what type of reader would most enjoy the book and why; what sets the book apart from others; what was it that drew YOU in; what captivated YOU; what are readers getting THEMSELVES into by committing to reading the book. Is it a waste of or an investment of time?
Reviews are “reading red flags” of a special guarantee: “BUY ME – YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” Series books particularly benefit from reviews that offer unstinting praise. If your first book in a series does not click, a reader might not read the second book.
Reviews should convey the content, scope and flavor of the book. Readers want to know YOUR book suits their reading interest, is well written, and the plot and characters are ones they will enjoy getting to know.
Reviews help push books to the top of the search engines and rankings, attracting the attention of readers.
Reviews provide keywords for search.
Reviews provide exposure to possible readers. Without them, readers may not know about your book.
Reviews help authors identify what readers like and don’t like. (Feedback is/can be critical to improvement.)
Reviews help authors to know that the knowledge and information provided through their writing was relevant and that you would recommend their work to others.
Promoters use reviews to judge worth/potential. Reviews indicate which books are worth promoting --or can be promoted since there is often a limit below which the media won’t touch the ad.
For publishers and retailers, reviews are a good indication of how memorable a book is and whether it is worth spending time and money to promote.
How best to Promote Reviews
Show off your best review on all applicable social media, Amazon and Goodreads.
Add links to your reviews on your blog and/or website. Make them the BAIT that lures readers into buying YOUR books.
Do a screen capture when someone compliments you on social media as it relates to your book.
Don’t worry if your reviews are not all five star. In book review speak, it’s quantity over quality. It’s the total number that matters!
How to get Reviews
Simply put – just ASK.
Unfortunately, we often forget or are too timid to ask, but it’s a must to the success of our books and to us as writers – even if it’s your one and only.
Ask the people on your mailing list, people you’ve worked with in the past that can vouch for your credibility and professionalism, people in your social media channels (such as LinkedIn, Alignable, FB, etc.).
As strange as it may seem, it is important to keep in mind that readers may not consider themselves to be ”writers” and just may find it difficult to honor your request. You as a writer, however, can provide much needed assistance by giving them guidance as to what you’re looking for (using key words and some of the points highlighted above). Remember, also to THANK them once you have the reviews in hand.
I hope you find this information helpful and that you will share any tips you have for who to ask and/or where to post those all-important reviews.
Mary Jo Wiseman, CMP | Author, “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide To Planning Successful Meetings.”