Thursday, November 17, 2016

Book Reviews

 by Linda Thorne

Ah, reviews. Whether good, bad, or ugly, we yearn for them. Well, maybe not the one-star review or those certain two-starred ones that rant only the negative, but for the most part authors welcome them with open arms.

It's my understanding that Amazon will do things for you promotion-wise when you have twenty reviews, then even more when you have fifty plus. I'd like to get to each of these levels and find out what these benefits are, but for me getting reviews is not easy.

Some of my readers have volunteered to put up a review of my book, but never do. I'm sure they meant it at the time and I check regularly for that "one-more-added" review. Maybe if I showed my true emotions when they first mentioned itchanted cheers and did somersaultsthey may have followed through.

I'm shy about asking for reviews, but in the past six months I've gotten bolder. When someone tells me they are reading or have read my book. I flat out state, "I hope you'll consider a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads." I'm not comfortable doing this, but I'm beginning to think it is necessary. 

I asked my publisher to add a blurb at the back of my book asking for consideration of a review. I found out that other authors had requested the same thing and my publisher thought it was a great idea.

After I wrote this post, the January 2017 issue of Writer's Digest showed up in my mailbox with a timely article on this very subject. Barbara Solomon Josselsohn published, "The Review Rat Race" in WD's "5-Minute Memoir" section. In her article she says, "...many authors will attest, customer reviews have become the holy grail of novel publishing." She also confesses she'd feel better if she could just appreciate a compliment about her books without the thought of the sought-after book review jumping to the forefront.   

What about you? If you're a published author, do you have problems getting reviews? Do you have other resources that help you bring them in or are you relying solely on those folks who read your books?

Today, the 17th of the month, is also the 3rd Thursday, so I have a scheduled post over at Make Mine Mystery blogspot too. Hope you'll stop by.

Amazon – Hyperlink to Your Amazon


Anonymous said...

Great information, Linda. I have asked for reviews (even from family members) and like you they say they will, then don't. I would really like the support , if they only understood how much it matters. I like your idea of posting a request on the back of the book. I'm also trying to figure out how market my books. Everyone does the same thing, book signings, blog interviews, bit what really works?

Until I figure that out I'm going to follow my passion and write, take classes to improve my writing, and just enjoy the ride.

I liked your other article you posted, I did retire. I also have a horse named, Mo.

Kindest Regards

Karen McCullough said...

Yes, indeed. Reviews are good, even the not-so-good ones that break our hearts. Still when considering whether to buy a book, I read the reviews. Sometimes the things others don't like about a book will actually induce me to buy it. I tend to be more suspicious of books that have nothing but five-star reviews. That makes me wonder how many friends and family members the author rounded up to post. If I'm not familiar with the author, I also read the excerpt, to weed out the ones with bad writing and/or poor editing.

Susan Oleksiw said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with reviews. Getting reviews seems to be a never-ending challenge. I've done a number of giveaways on Goodreads and LibraryThing, as well as contests on FB. I send out ARCs (given by my publisher) to a number of less-well-known reviewers, and this sometimes works. It's a long, slow process. I sometimes give out ARCs at signings for another book, or when I'm in a booth at a library conference. It's hard to tell if any of this is worth the effort but I keep at it.

jrlindermuth said...

Getting people to follow through on the promise of a review is difficult. Reiterating the request (especially if done more than once)could backfire and have you branded as a pest. The best we can do is hope--and keep emphasizing the benefit of reviews to a writer.

Marja said...

Good post, and I don't know what the answer is. I hope people who read the reviews sometimes take them with a grain of salt. I recently had some woman leave a review that said a book was okay, but that she thought I'd "plagiarized" the story because she thought she remembered once reading something similar. NOT true. As much as I love receiving reviews, I'm truly disappointed when I see something like that.

Linda Thorne said...

Thank you for all the comments. I see the subject draws attention. I don't think my kids will ever review the book. I could only wish. Yes, I agree with the comment of the not-so-good reviews being important too. I would never pay attention to a reviewer who suggests an author copied someone else's story. The is a huge way to be immediately discredited. None of us would do that. There's too many ideas all around us, we'd have no reason to use another author's ideas. I think I'll look for someone online who might be reviewing ARCs. I've thought of a lot of these methods, but haven't tried any of them yet. Thanks again.

Maggie King said...

We all have this problem. I've thought of ghostwriting reviews for folks. They can just copy and paste. Win-win.

Linda Thorne said...

Yes, Maggie, most of us have busy lives and stopping to write a review is just one more thing. It's easy to say I'll post one, but easier to forget it. This is one reason I brought the subject up hoping to keep how important it is to us writers alive.

Liane Spicer said...

Linda, I don't pursue reviews because I'm just can't bring myself to nag people. I watched a close friend's efforts (he's not shy about asking) and it was a real struggle. People took review copies of his book and promised to review it on Amazon. One year later he's still chasing after them. I just can't do that.

So I let the reviews come or not come organically, as they say. Which means that I'm not doing enough. One title has 19, so I'm waiting to see if anything changes when it hits the magic number you mentioned.

Linda Thorne said...

Liane Spicer, you might be the wisest of all of us. I don't know enough to say one way or the other. Since I wrote this I've been given tons of information in my e-mail groups and my personal e-mail accounts on how to garner reviews from book bloggers. I looked at all of them and wonder why I didn't got submit. Maybe getting reviews the old-fashion way works best (people who read and want to review our book(s) and we shouldn't worry. I still kept the list of those bloggers who review, but not sure I'll ever go that route. Still "contemplating" what to do.

Sunny Frazier said...

I'm searching all over for the post I just read on new Amazon rules for book reviews (even googled it). I thought someone over at the Posse blogged on it. However, I read them and realized I'm out of it as far as reviews. Too many hoops to jump through. Plus, I'm not going to ask for book reviews from friends, although if there's a review page on their site, I will inquire. I wouldn't even read 50 reviews on a book, how useless is that. Not even reviews of my books. The paid reviews have degregaded their worth anymore.

Liane Spicer said...

Sunny, my feelings exactly!

Sunny Frazier said...

Oh, I remember one of the rules: you have to have purchased a book from Amazon within the last so many days. Seriously? I don't know if they won't let reviewers post them now--I was barred because I write the coming attractions column. And, not suppose to have relatives post. How do they spot all this? Big Brother is watching and his name is Amazon (I thought they were women?