Hello Lifers! Today, we're going to delve into the world of book reviews. Yes, those little stars and paragraphs that readers leave behind after they've journeyed through your book, and which either make you feel like you're the king of the world (good), or like you've just heard the song from Titanic for the billionth time (bad).
Reviews are more than just feedback. They're treasures that can boost your sales and visibility in the empty vastness of cyberspace (and beyond).
Let's start with the basics. Why do book reviews matter? Well, Lifers, book reviews are like the secret sauce to your book's success. They provide social proof, increase visibility, and can even influence the algorithms on platforms like Amazon.
Imagine you're a reader browsing through a sea of books. What makes you pick one over the other? The cover? The blurb? Yes, but there's something else - the reviews. Reviews are the voice of your readers. They provide credibility and assurance to potential readers that your book is worth their time and money.
Additionally, on platforms like Amazon, the number of reviews you have can affect how often your book shows up in searches and recommendations. More reviews mean more visibility, which in turn means more potential readers. While the specifics change over time, the fact is that reviews definitely influence the mysterious algorithms of book platforms. While we don't know the exact workings of these algorithms (because that sounds like science and math, and we authors fear such things!), we do know that they favor books with more reviews. So, the more reviews you have, the more likely your book is to be recommended to readers.
But how do we get 'em?
The simplest way to get reviews is to ask your readers. Include a note at the end of your book asking your readers to leave a review. Make it easy for them by providing a link to the review page (I show how to do those in my Bestseller Life courses, in near-excruciating detail). Remember, Lifers, don't be shy about asking for reviews.
If you have an email list, use it. Send out an email to your subscribers asking them to review your book. For me, that's part of the sequence of automatic emails that every single subscriber to my newsletter gets.
Again, make sure to provide them with a link to make it easy for them. Easy is key. Just like me when I was dating.
Okay, that's a joke. I'm a writer...what would I know about dating?
One of the most effective ways to get reviews is by distributing Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of your book. These are copies that are sent out to readers before the official release of the book. The readers who receive these copies are expected to leave a review once they've finished reading--you can ask without shame, it's expected!
You can distribute ARCs through platforms like BookFunnel or StoryOrigin, or directly to your email list.
There are numerous blogs and websites dedicated to book reviews. Some of these blogs have a massive following of avid readers. You can reach out to these blogs and offer a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to research each blog to ensure they review books in your genre. Again, I go into this in detail in the Bestseller Life courses.
Ah, paid reviews. It's a topic that stirs up quite a bit of controversy in the self-publishing world. On the surface, it might seem like a quick and easy way to get reviews for your book. But let's take a closer look, Lifers.
First off, it's important to distinguish between legitimate paid review services and paying for individual, fake reviews. Services like Kirkus Indie or BookLife are professional organizations that charge a fee to provide an honest, unbiased review. These are generally accepted in the industry and can add credibility to your book.
On the other hand, paying for individual, fake reviews is a big no-no. Here's why:
Paying for fake reviews is essentially deceiving your potential readers. It's not an honest representation of your work and can lead to mistrust if discovered. Plus, it's just a jerk move. Seriously.
Most online retailers, including Amazon, have strict policies against paid, fake reviews. If discovered, your book could be removed from the platform, and you could be banned from publishing on the platform in the future. It's a risk that's not worth taking.
Your reputation as an author is crucial. If readers discover that you've paid for fake reviews, it can damage your reputation, not just for your current book, but for future books as well. That kind of stink follows you around like skunk juice superglued to your butt. Which, like that simile, is not a good thing.
Genuine reviews provide value. They give you feedback on your work and can help you improve as a writer. Fake reviews don't provide this value. They're often generic and don't give you any real insight into what readers thought of your book. And other people can spot them more often than not. Like my children when asked to do the dishes, fake reviews just don't work!
Remember, while getting reviews is important, it's equally important to ensure that these reviews are honest and ethical. Never pay for fake reviews or engage in any practices that might be seen as manipulative. Genuine reviews not only provide value to potential readers, but they also contribute to your reputation as an author.
I'm Michaelbrent Collings, an international bestseller and produced screenwriter, as well as a multiple Bram Stoker Award and Dragon Award finalist, and maker of a fair-to-middling chocolate chip waffle.
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