Saturday, January 30, 2016

You Need "Honest" Book Reviews

Do you have book reviews for your book? Are they “honest” reviews or something you have orchestrated from friends and family?

It is hard work to write a good book and get it into the market. Whether you work with a traditional publisher or self-publish, I hope you have produced an excellent product. At some point in the process, you are ready to release this book into the market. What will others say about your writing? The natural tendency is to expect everyone to glow about your book and send you accolades.

Yet that expectation is not reality.  Not every review will be five star. These reviews are important social proof from readers and feedback to you as the author. Several years ago, I met a novelist who claimed to have sold thousands of books on Amazon. Yes, this author touted amazing numbers for her book sales. Yet when I looked on Amazon, there was one review—and the author had written that review. If you don't think this result is unusual, take a few minutes and look at any bestselling novel on Amazon. If the book has been selling well, then people enjoy it and write reviews—often hundreds of reviews.

I look at other books (even self-published) which have less than five reviews—even if they have been out on the market for several years. Again this absence is social proof of the quality and feedback from readers. Your book should have reviews and as the author, you need to take responsibility to get these reviews.

As the author, you can create a launch team. Recently I've been involved in the launch of several books. I've filled out applications to be a part of the launch team. These applications ask why I should be included. The launch director creates a private Facebook area with encouragement to read the book and post reviews. Recently I got added to a launch team that said they were only going to let 500 people to be on their launch team. What a huge team but see the social proof these authors are gathering for the launch of their book?

Your team may be smaller than 500. Can you launch your book with 25 reviews on Amazon? To launch with 25 reviews, you will need to gather at least 50 people who agree to review your book and will post a review during the week your book is launched. Why so many more than the 25 you need? Even though you do your work and the person has committed, not everyone carries through with their commitment. Maybe the book doesn't reach them in the mail. Maybe they get ill. Maybe they have some family emergency. Life happens for every person and they don't carry through with their promised review. As the author, you need to recognize this fact and move beyond it with even more people to write the review.

This process takes work and effort from the author. Bestselling author Tim Grahl has written about this process and guided numerous bestselling authors. He has a valuable article here. Be sure and scroll to the bottom of the page and get his Amazon Review Package.  You give up your email address but get an excel spread sheet, sample emails and much more. This package can be a valuable resource for you to gather your reviews—if you use it. Also I encourage you to get this free teleseminar that I created with Dana Lynn Smith about reviews.

In your request to the reviewer, you are asking for an “honest” review. Not every review will be a Five Star Amazon review or glowing. One of my Morgan James authors called me almost in tears a while back asking what she should do with a one star review. My advice: do nothing. Don't comment back. Don't complain to Amazon. Do nothing. The fact that you've received a variety of reviews is good for your book.

Over ten years ago as a frustrated acquisitions editor, I wrote Book Proposals That Sell. The book has hundreds of Five Star Amazon reviews and it has helped many people. I have offered my publisher a revision or update but he has not taken my offer. The inside of this book has not been revised. It continues to be reviewed. About four months ago, I received a detailed One Star review. Did I read the review? Yes. Did I take any action or reach out to this reviewer? No. This book continues to help people. If you want the revision, then get the Ebook version, which has been updated. Or take my Write A Book Proposal course. You need to fix what you can, then let the rest go—and continue working on getting reviews.

Has your book been out several years? Are you still working on getting reviews? I hope so. These new reviews will help you continue to sell more books.

How do you get honest reviews? Read these insights: (Click to Tweet)

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