Book reviews are coming. Exciting 😊 and scary ☹, I know.
You may feel anxious about how the world will react to your book and that’s totally understandable. I held my breath with each new review before I clicked to read.
It’s easier if you keep in mind that a book is a unique experience to every person, as each person brings their own unique life experience to reading it (that may not soften every bad review but I hope it helps).
And someday, you may even laugh at the awful reviews like me (I swear!). All authors get bad reviews, even Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. Bad reviews actually make your book more legitimate.
I mean, if you see a book that has only all 5-stars, aren’t you a little suspicious that maybe those reviews are just from friends and family and … ahem … a bit exaggerated on just how awesome this book is?
It’s a funny thing once your book is published. People you don’t know are reading it and reviewing it. Some reviews will be good. Some will be conflicting. Some may be bad. Here’s my take on what authors can do with reviews and how to find best fit reviewers.
You may wonder how two people can find such differences in your book. Easy. It’s all subjective and your readers will vary. Just as your book is unique, so is everyone’s opinion of it based on their collective life experiences.
In the same week, a reviewer for my book noted that “absolutely no grammar errors!” and another reviewer noted “Good plot, but a lot of typos.” Recommendation? Laugh over them and then ignore them.
Are bad reviews all bad? Not necessarily. If people are talking about your book passionately, it’s more likely to reach some readers who’ll like it but would never have found it otherwise.
A bad mention can be better than no mention at all, particularly for those readers who are skeptical of too many glowing reviews. The more reviews you get the more exposure your book gets on Amazon – good or bad reviews.
As you get more reviews, Amazon ranks you higher in their search engine for keywords related to your book so more potential readers can find your book. As you can see, even bad reviews can then help boost your book’s discoverability. It also helps your book to be more balanced for reviewers.
A few rotten reviews are expected with every book, as a book is so subjective to each reader, and it gives your book more credibility. A book with all 5-stars seems a bit too good to be true. Readers will weed through the reviews and can surmise the value of your book and decide if it will appeal to them.
Best reviews are the ones that are a mix of critical comments and positive as it means the reader was affected by your book enough that they took the time to leave a thoughtful review on many points.
What not to do about a bad review? Respond. All authors receive them. Even The New York Times bestselling authors. Why a bad review? The reader might not normally read your genre, or was misled by the cover. The writing style might not be one they normally connect with. Have you read a book you didn’t like and wondered how people could praise it? A bad review can even lead to self-awareness of your writing and improvement. And remember, they are reviewing the book – not the writer.
Can you increase your chances of finding positive reviewers? Yes! Research book review bloggers in your genre and age-range that you write in. Review their website and see what kind of books they have reviewed in the past. Check out their review request policies. See if your book falls within the guidelines of what they want to read then request a review.
Places to find book reviewers? Use Google Alerts. Type in key words like “romance stories” or “action novels” and then in what medium you want them to appear (as they appear in blogs, the news, etc.). Google will then send you a list every day of all the hits according to your search specifications. Click on the links recommended. If they include bloggers that do book reviews, send them a request for review.
Also, search for “book blog” plus “your genre” and “age-range” if applicable (like picture book, middle grade, young adult) to find reviewers.
Have Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)? Use them to do a Goodreads giveaway. This can generate positive reviews as readers who enjoy your kind of book will enter to win a copy of your book. Always send a handwritten thank you note with the book and politely ask that they write an honest review.
Good luck with your reviews!
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