Book Reviews Are Social Proof

“I hate asking people for reviews”.

This statement was made to me by an independent children’s book author at a recent conference I attended. Most of us can relate to this statement. Asking is hard.

Quote by Sarah Bolme

Yet reviews are extremely important in marketing and selling books. In fact, Cassie M. Drumm, a book publicist says:

“Getting Reviews is one of the most important elements to selling books.”

Humans are social creatures. When we see lots of other people engaging in something, our brain’s perception of risk associated with that idea or activity is reduced.

Given the choice of two restaurants to eat at—one crowded and one empty—people will gravitate to the one that is crowded. Our brains tell us that the crowded restaurant must be the better option since other people have chosen it. This is social proof.

Social proof is the construct that the actions and attitudes of people around us influence our behavior. This is why 97 percent of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. The online reviews provide social proof that what we are about to buy is worth our money.

Book reviews are social proof. They tell readers that your book is worth their money and time. Studies indicate that 85 percent of Amazon Kindle readers look at the reviews of a given book before making a purchasing decision.

If you want to sell more books, you need reviews. In fact, the more reviews you have the greater the social proof that your book is worthy to be purchased.

So, go ahead and ask people for reviews. I know it’s hard, but the results may well be worth it.

Review for BookCrashAs an author, you should be willing to give as well as get. This means that you should be writing reviews of books. Be generous. Write reviews of other books in your genre. When authors in your author groups request reviews, step up and write a review if the book is in the same genre as your book.

You can also help out other independent authors by signing up to be a BookCrash reviewer. You can pick and choose which books you want to review. BookCrash reviewers are required to post their review on one social site (blog, Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and on one retail site (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook, Walmart, etc.). You can sign up to become a BookCrash reviewer at www.bookcrash.com.

Related Posts:
Social Proof Can Help You Sell More Books
Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews
Thoughts on Book Reviews

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Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

A Book Review Surprise

Five years! After five years of not requesting a book to review from BookCrash, a BookCrash blogger just requested a book to review. The previous book this blogger reviewed for BookCrash was in 2013.

For five years, this reviewer received a weekly email from BookCrash announcing a new book available for review. For 260 weeks she passed up each opportunity. Then, one book caught her attention, and she requested a review copy.

After five years, most people would assume that this blogger was no longer interested in reviewing books. Yet, this was not the case.

I don’t think I can say it enough. A glut of books is available, while a dearth of readers exists. Let me show you in numbers.

In the past six years, the number of books published independently has grown 218%—that’s more than doubled. Meaning that in 2011, 247,210 books were published and in 2016, 768,935 books were published.

Yet, the number of books that people are reading each year has remained steady since 2012. Pew Research has found that 73% of adult Americans say they have read a book in the past year. On average, Americans read 12 books per year (the typical American reads four books in a year, voracious readers skew the average).

So, since 2013, the number of books that this particular BookCrash reviewer could choose to read and review has doubled. Not only has the number of books available doubled, but now, almost every book published is offered free in exchange for a review. This means that this BookCrash reviewer doesn’t just have the choices available via BookCrash, she can also choose Christian books to review from all the following services (and more):

  • NetGalley
  • Book Review Buzz
  • BookPlex
  • Goodreads
  • BookLook Bloggers
  • Tyndale Blog Review Network
  • Moody Blog Review Network
  • Kregel Blog Review Network
  • Bethany House Blog Review Network
  • Litfuse Publicity Blog Review Network

With all these options, bloggers that review books can be extremely finicky about which books they decide to read. Of course, these reviewers are only going to choose those books that pique their interest the most. Hence, it has been five years since a book made available for review through BookCrash caught this particular blogger’s attention enough to request to read it.

I am not trying to discourage you. Really, I’m not. I just want you to have the knowledge you need to understand that promoting and marketing books is tough. It takes hard work and perseverance. Don’t give up. It can take years for a book to pick up steam and get noticed.

Related Posts:
Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews
Three Book Truths
Thoughts on Book Reviews

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Are You Grammatically Correct?

Knowing what keeps readers engaged and what turns them off is important when producing written materials.

Surprisingly, the most often cited complaint in book reviews by BookCrash reviewers (Christian Small Publishers Association’s Books for Bloggers program) is grammar and spelling errors. Reviewers will state things like:

  • “I would have given the book a higher rating if it had been edited better.”
  • “The grammar and spelling errors kept me from enjoying the book.”

Turning readers off through grammar and spelling errors is not just true for books. It is true for your marketing materials as well.

grammar

Boomerang, an email management tool, ran a study on this idea. The company used an automated grammar-checking software to spot errors in email subject lines. The company found that grammatical mistakes in email subject lines correlates with fewer responses to the email. Here are the particulars:

  • Mistake-free email subject lines received a 34% response rate, while those with errors only had a 29% response rate.
  • The more errors in the subject line, the less likely email recipients responded.
  • Response rates fell 14% when subject lines had two or more mistakes when compared with those that were mistake free.
  • The mistake most punished by non-response was not capitalizing the first letter in a subject line sentence.

In addition, a previous study by Boomerang found that email subject lines that were extremely short or long also had reduced response rates. Surprisingly, Boomerang’s study also found that emails sent on Monday were more likely to contain grammatical errors than those sent Tuesday through Friday.

So, if you use emails as part of your marketing efforts to promote your books, you can take a few lessons from this study.

  1. Don’t write your emails on Monday. If you are going to send out an email on Monday, write it the week before and save it for Monday.
  2. Don’t make your email subject lines too long or two short. The six-word rule for headlines is a good one to follow for email subject lines.
  3. Check your emails for grammatical errors before sending. You can use a free online tool like Grammark to do this quickly and efficiently.

Email is still one of the strongest marketing tools that independent authors and small publishers have at their disposal. When used correctly, email marketing can bring good results. Make sure that poor grammar does not get in the way of people responding to your messages.

Related Posts:
The Most Common Error
How’s Your Grammar?
Grab More Attention with Your Titles

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Photo courtesy of NordWood Themes

A Golden Review

Best Book I Ever Read”…

So begins a recent review by a BookCrash book reviewer for The Proof, a book by a Christian Small Publishers Association (CPSA) member publisher. These are words every author and publisher would love to hear about one of their books.

The-Proof

These types of words and glowing reviews are wonderful to receive. Nuggets from such reviews can be used over and over again in marketing materials when promoting a book.

Of course, not all reviews given by BookCrash reviewers are glowing. Sometimes the reviews are negative. Often, when a negative review is given, the author or publisher is not happy. Many feel that a negative review will turn readers off to their book.

However, unless an author is receiving multiple negative reviews—a signal that the book may need more work—negative reviews do not necessarily ruin a book’s marketing campaign. In fact, marketing studies show that when consumers find negative reviews sprinkled among the reviews that are gushing about a product, they’re more confident that the good reviews are trustworthy.

Don’t let a negative review derail your marketing efforts. If the majority of reviews you are receiving for a book are positive, proceed with your book promotion efforts as though the negative review does not exist. After all, you probably don’t like every book you ever read.

This particular BookCrash reviewer went on to state in her review, “Well, let me tell you, don’t underestimate small publishers. This is possibly my favorite book out of all the books that I have ever read.

That line is music to my ears. It is what Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) believes. We exist to share the same message: Don’t underestimate small publishers. Small publishers produce quality books.

BookCrash is a program of CSPA and was created to help spread the word that small publishers and independently published authors books are worth reading.

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