You can do it. 🙂
Writing a book? That’s great. You’re very busy with your book, but now’s the time to start thinking about reviews, and preparing for them. Not only will your reviews lift sales, but if you go about getting them in the right way, you’ll also get readers. This is a good thing for the future.
Study Goodreads’ reviewers carefully
Once that’s done, look for books which are similar to yours, and which sell well. For example, if you write contemporary romances, find hot-selling books in that genre on Goodreads. Choose the books which are most similar to yours – in plot and voice. Read the reviews.
Ideally, you’ve read the top-selling books in your category already. You have an opinion on them. Find reviewers whose taste is similar to yours – they like the books you do, and dislike the books you dislike.
Make a list of the reviewers. Then approach them one by one (don’t send out boilerplate messages.) Comment on a couple of reviews of theirs which you enjoyed, and explain why you enjoyed them.
Now ask for a review. Explain that you’re self-publishing if that’s the case, or which company is publishing your book if you’re going with a publisher. Make it clear that you can live with a less-than-wonderful review, if that’s what the reviewer gives you. You’ve read their reviews, you respect them, and are interested in what they’ll say about your book – good or bad.
Reviewers are busy. Many authors want reviews, which means that there’s every chance you’ll need to wait months for yours. Assure the reviewers that you’re happy with what they give you, and you don’t mind how long it takes for their review.
(Your ebook will sell for years, so it hardly matters if the reviews take time to trickle in. You’ll get a sales boost with every review, so your patience will be rewarded.)
Approach book bloggers
Book bloggers with popular blogs have huge numbers of books to read. As with the Goodreads’ people, look for bloggers who share your taste in books.
Before you approach any book blogger, become a constant reader. Comment on reviews they’ve written. All bloggers appreciate comments. They’ll love the fact that you stop by, and you’ll be known to them before you ask for a review.
Follow the same routine as above. Be friendly and open, and make it clear that you’re interested in what they think of your book because you respect them. And tell them that you’re happy to wait. 🙂
Be emotionally prepared for negative reviews
Some authors don’t care about bad reviews. It’s water off the proverbial duck’s back. Other authors care deeply. If you’re overly sensitive, think about why that may be so. Not everyone will love what you’ve written. Some people will hate it, because it triggers something in them.
Be prepared for bad reviews because the reviewer just dislikes the book.
That said – do minimize bad reviews you can avoid. I wrote about proofreading to avoid one-star reviews.
Ensure that your book’s formatted well, and edited, before you go hunting for reviewers.
Getting ebook reviews is fun. Each review helps you to build your readership. Be grateful: reviewers take time to read and think about your work. With any luck at all, you’ll get some wonderful reviews. Good luck with writing your book.
Joe Konrath’s written an amusing post on maintaining perspective, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Get Over Yourselves:
“Pinheads have dumb opinions, and the Internet lets them shout their dumb opinions without any fear of repercussion. We’re all free to condemn whoever we want to condemn, and be outraged by whatever gets us off.
Right now I’m outraged at all the unwarranted outrage.”
I wrote a blog post on Silver Bullet Syndrome:
Here’s why magic-bullet-thinking is bad — it shows a lack of respect for your readers. (And clients, too, if you’re writing for clients.)
People do strange things when they’re afraid. The freak out at sock-puppet reviews. They’re outraged at one-star reviews. They join a discussion group to harvest emails and spam members.
Take the heat
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been chatting with Challenge members who are afraid, specifically of one-start reviews on Amazon. However, as Konrath says, Amazon allows one-star reviews.
Think about it. If you post your novel (or ANYTHING) online, how bad would it be if someone, or many someones, absolutely hated what you wrote? If they gave you a one-star review?
Would it destroy you?
It wouldn’t destroy you. It might enrage you and later, make you sad. It might even stop you writing for a few days.
Here’s my advice: breathe. Take three deep, slow, breaths. Then take three more. Keep breathing.
If you survived school, you know all about bullies, and you’re more than capable of dealing with one-star reviews. Think about how you’d react now. Be prepared for it, because it will happen.
People will hate what you write. They’ll hate what you write even if they’ve never read it.
You can’t control what people do, or don’t do.
Here’s what you can do. You can accept that you’ll get bad reviews. That’s life.
You can decide that you understand that, and are completely prepared for it.
Then you can decide that you’ll laugh at one-star reviews. If there’s anything in a bad review which can help your writing, you can decide that you’ll take the advice.
Then you’ll write the best you can, today and tomorrow.