Recently, I’ve started contacting professional book bloggers and reviewers who might be interested in reading my books. This is a fairly new tactic for me. There are people out there, who love reading books so much, they set up blogs and invite authors to send them books to read and review. And there are millions of these wonderful people!
Obviously, you need to find the ones who are open to reviews, and the ones who are into the books you write, but wow, what a result. I’ve managed to get a few reviews this way already, and it’s something I will now be actively pursuing.
Now, to the average reader, this might seem a bit strange. After all, these book bloggers receive the book for free in exchange for an honest review. Don’t I want people to pay for my books so I can make a living out of my writing?
Yes, obviously, that would be tremendous, but it’s not that easy convincing people to leave reviews, and reviews are hugely important to authors, particularly those written by bloggers with a following. Why are reviews so important to us, and what can authors do to get them? Well, let me explain…
- Amazon. Legend has it that if your book reaches 50 reviews on Amazon, Amazon will start to pay more attention to it. Amazon will start to promote it and presumably, you may then start to see more sales. No one really knows if this is true or not, but all my indie author friends allow their lives to be ruled by this enticing possibility! Every review means you are one step closer!
- Even bad reviews are good reviews. Yes, really. Bad reviews are better than no reviews, in that they push your number towards the longed-for 50 but also because readers are more likely to take your book seriously if it has mixed reviews. Tons of 5-star reviews look a bit suspicious, and readers tend to think it’s all your friends and family leaving glowing reviews. Plus, readers like to make their own mind up, and mixed reviews are exciting for this reason.
- It’s a response. Writing is a lonely business. Yes there are writing groups and yes you ought to have beta readers and editors etc, but by and large you are writing books alone, and it’s pretty impossible at times to tell if what you’ve put out there is any good or not. I mean, you might love it, but will anyone else? Reviews feed you this vital information.
- It’s a connection. Someone read your book. You connected with someone. Sales are lovely, but reviews are even better. It’s wonderful knowing you have sold a few books, but you then sit about wondering, who bought them? Why did they buy them? Are they finished yet? What did they think? Will they buy another? Reviews provide you with this essential connection, letting you know what happened next.
- They are fuel. They really are. Reviews feed authors. Obviously good reviews feed you more, they pat you on the back and inspire you to keep going, but all reviews give you the fuel you need to keep writing. Often I’ll find a new review on a really bad day, one of those slump periods when I wonder why I am bothering. It will lift me up and put a smile on my face. The good feeling will last for days. Weeks, even.
- Reviews encourage other readers to buy. The more reviews you have the more likely other readers are to buy your book. Are you going to take a chance on an unknown author with 2 reviews, or an unknown author with 60? I’ve had plenty of readers tell me they bought my book because they checked out my reviews and were convinced by them.
- They provide criticism where it’s needed. Your friends and family might not always be honest with you. Maybe your books are bit slow at times, or a bit wordy, or a bit too long. Good reviewers will talk about the good things and the things that could be improved. Of course, this is personal, but always worth listening to. Sometimes they will pick up things you had not thought about.
- They provide promotional material. You can tweet them and share them to your Facebook page and generally shout about them and this exposure will hopefully encourage more people to buy your work!
- Ask for them. This might sound obvious, but politely asking people to leave reviews can be helpful. A lot of readers have never left a review before, and do not realize how helpful it is.
- Share memes. There are lots of amusing memes out there which highlight the importance of the review. Post these to your social media sites, or try making your own. If authors keep focusing on reviews, more readers will start to realize how vital they are.
- Leave reminders in your books. You can leave a polite and friendly reminder at the end of the book asking the reader to consider posting a review. Mention how they help authors to move forward by providing more information to undecided readers.
- Contact book reviewers. You can do this by typing book reviewers into your search engine and then narrowing them down to reviewers in your genre, or you can look up books similar to yours on Amazon and contact the reviewers to ask if they would consider yours. You can do the same on Goodreads. Always be polite and don’t waste your time contacting people who do not read your genre.
- Contact book bloggers. Book bloggers are professional and passionate people who just adore books. Reading and reviewing books is their idea of heaven, and they are also rather good at promoting and sharing books. You can find these wonderful people online, and I would personally recommend the Book Connectors group on Facebook. Again, remember to be polite and friendly and only contact the ones who read your genre. Book bloggers tend to have a much larger following who read their reviews.
It is important to note that you should never pay for reviews or offer books in exchange for five star reviews. These practices could have serious consequences if Amazon found out about it.
Bio: Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to both reading and music, and is on a mission to become as self-sufficient as possible. She writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her books include The Mess Of Me, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, This Is Nowhere and This Is The Day. She has recently released Bird People and Other Stories, a short story collection related to her novels, and her next release will be a YA dystopian, The Tree Of Rebels. You can learn more on her Facebook page.