Don’t Make It Hard

As a general rule, I do not review Christian books. As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), providing reviews of Christian books would put me in an awkward position. If I reviewed a book by one member of the association, then I would need to be available to review books for all members, and there simply is not enough time in a day.

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The one exception I make to this rule is for books on book marketing and publishing. As the author of Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, providing reviews for other books in this genre is smart collaboration. This gives the author of the book a review, but also exposes my book to those reading testimonials and reviews of the marketing or publishing book.

The other day, a fellow forum member offered copies of his new book in exchange for a review on Amazon. Since the book was in the genre of my exception, and since the book interested me, I offered to review the book.

I received the book in the mail. As is my usual habit, I cut the envelope open, pulled the materials out, and threw the envelope away. It wasn’t until I really took a look at the book later that I realized that the author had not enclosed any contact information. He had simply sent me the book with a sticky note attached to the cover that read, “Thanks for taking a look!” and signed with his first name.

I turned the book over and read the author bio. There was no website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter handle, or email listed in the bio. In other words, this author had not enclosed a single way for me to contact him.

While this author only requested an Amazon review, the lack of contact information may still close doors for him. What if I wanted to interview him for a blog post? What if I wanted to find another way to collaborate together on a book promotion scheme? By failing to provide easily accessible contact information, he did not invite or make himself available for additional exposure. Of course, I could go back to the forum and search through the archives to try to find a way to contact him, but who wants to do that?

If you are sending books to reviewers, don’t make it hard for the reviewer to get in touch with you, even if for no other reason than letting you know they have posted a review. Don’t make the mistake this self-published author did. All you need to do is enclose a business card, letter, or brochure with your book when sending it out to reviewers. Doing so invites further contact and opens doors for additional exposure for you and your book.

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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.

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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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