Guest Blog by Author Theresa Braun
So, your book is posted on Amazon, but your page is a ghost town when it comes to reviews. How do you get people to read and review?
Derek Haines wrote an eye opening blog post called “How to Get Amazon Book Reviews.” He spells out many stark realities—like waiting for paying readers to post reviews can literally take years.
Good things come to those who wait, but most of us want to get results a bit quicker. I mean, if it’s taken us a year or more to write the book in the first place, we want the word to get out there yesterday.
And, if you are like me, you want to get on with writing your next book instead of spending hours and days on end soliciting reviews.
Haines suggests that relying on friends or family members to write reviews is a great place to start. If you think that is “cheating,” Haines says that it isn’t much different than a publishing company paying employees to review it. Obviously that employee will put a positive spin on the book, since the publishing company wants to sell
it. The same thing your friends and family will want for you. If you can, get people you know to read and review. I know this might seem obvious, but I suggest not having them advertise that they are friends or relatives in their review.
You don’t want it to scream, “I’m reviewing this because I know the author.” I hope you have more luck with this than I’ve had. Not one of my friends or family members has reviewed my book yet. And, it’s not because they haven’t read the book. They just haven’t gotten around to it. That’s okay. They have lives and I’m grateful they at least took the time to read it. It just might not work for you either.
What about hooking up with other authors and trading reviews?
This can be beneficial to both parties. There are places to post such as www.worldliterarycafe.com, which has a page where you can seek reviews and put up a link to your book. I got one excellent response from an author who was willing to trade—and we legitimately enjoyed each other’s book. You can also ask some of the other authors on Twitter if they are open to trading reviews. The worst thing that could happen is that they say no. I think you have to sometimes be open to doing a trade, but this can be a problem if you work full-time like I do and don’t necessarily have the time to read and review other books.
There are some pitfalls with exchanging reviews.
A writer friend of mine calls them “incestuous” reviews. He’s actually refused to review my book based on how strongly he feels about review trading. One of the biggest problems with trading reviews is that the other person may not be expecting a “real” review, but a flat out five star rating. And this person is reading your book! You don’t want them to give you two stars just out of spite. You can’t take down reviews from Amazon, so you are stuck with it posted on your book page.
Blogs as other avenues for reviews?
Haines says he finds book bloggers useful, but “a bit hit and miss and often too genre specific.” Most bloggers are willing to not only post a review of your book on their blog, but also will post it on Amazon and Goodreads. You really need to look at their sites and where they will post. Some will even do author interviews which can be tweeted or linked to your own blog or website.
Paying for reviews is another option.
They can range from $5 to $100, depending on what comes with the review. Joey Pinkney will read and review and make a trailer for you, for example. The World Literary Café discourages paying for reviews and I suppose there are pros and cons. The pro is that you get a review done and the con is that some readers might find out you paid for the review. Is this really worse than relying on friends and family to review? That’s up you to decide.
Read Part 2 in tomorrows blog… and get lots of useful links for reviewers.
Guest Blogger Theresa Braun always been intrigued by authors and writing, which led her to an almost obsessive study of literature. Spontaneous poems, story ideas, and observational rants were always scrawled in her notebooks. She started a few novels; but it wasn’t until her Greek wedding that her passion and focus
produced her first finished novel, Groom and Doom: A Greek Love Story, based on a true story and self-published on Amazon in 2012. Now she’s squirreling time away to pen her second novel set in Renaissance England, the first in a series. Twitter: