However, today I ran across a conversation on the subject of honest reviews in one of the author groups to which I subscribe on yahoo. Tiring of the topic, I was prepared to just delete it out of my mailbox and move on to the next email. But, something caught my eye and I found myself reading it. And learning from it. And being completely impressed. Because the party posting IS a reviewer, registered as such with a very credible review site, and she had some amazing things to say. I knew immediately I needed to spread this information to my community.
So, here are the things I learned:
- Reviewers read and review books because they love to read. And they love the authors. Of course, I knew this, or at least suspected it, but it was cool to read it from a certified source. Remember, this for the next thing I learned.
- Reviewers would love to have your book. And anything else you might offer. I used to be embarrassed about asking for reviews, but I have changed my opinion on that now. I'll ask anyone, but I always offer a copy of my book in exchange for an honest review.
- If I am requesting a review on a book I have in print, I offer that book, signed, as well. And I try to send reviewers signed book marks for their time. Because they spend a truckload of time on reviews. And while I do NOT believe it is ethical to pay for a review, I feel offering my book is the gift I give them for the gift of their review.
- Reviewers want you to know that it KILLS them to not review your book favorably. If they are reviewing for themselves, most will contact you and explain why they are not posting a review. You should be grateful for that.
- If they are writing for a site, they have to post a review. If it is not the glowing 5-star you expect, DO NOT RESPOND NEGATIVELY TO THE REVIEW. Swallow your pride and your disgust and use it as learning tool.
- Most reviewers tend to be stingy with the 5-stars. Expect that. I, personally, am happy with a 3-star and thrilled with a 4-star. My head is not too big to realize there is a thing or two I have yet to learn, and each new book helps me learn it. Think of one hit song wonders, like "My Sharona". That was their 5-star review. And where was their follow-up? Non-existent. My point exactly.
- Reviewers don't want you to be afraid to ask for a review. Most are elated that their opinion is important to you. Most also would like to know where you want reviews posted. Some authors are no longer requesting reviews be posted to Amazon, afraid of any measure of retribution. But, contrary to popular opinion, they are NOT the only game in town. Authors can have reviews posted on Barnes and Noble, Good reads, Pinterest, publisher's sites, as well as the reviewer and author's own pages.
- Lastly, if you read and review as well, offer to return the favor. Many reviewers are authors too, and your opinion of their work may be just as important to them as theirs to yours. Give them the opportunity. I am NOT a reviewer, so instead, I offer to host them on my personal bloggy, this actual bloggy, in fact. I've never been turned down. :-)