Are You Following the Rules?

Authors hate negative reviews of their books. Criticism is hard to swallow, especially when we feel it is not deserved.

authors hate negative reviews

Since reviews are simply opinions, some authors choose to not read reviews. What they don’t read can’t hurt their feelings.

Other authors tend to get their undies in a bunch over negative reviews. They want reviewers to change their opinions. These authors tend to be concerned that a few negative reviews will ruin their sales.

In an effort to get their book to “look better” these authors will ask readers to make their review nicer. Whether the author does this in a polite or rude manner, reviewers can end up feeling threatened.

I recently stumbled across this tweet on Twitter:

tweet on book review

This reader was seriously concerned. In fact, she was so worried, that she ended up deleting her review.

Authors, do not forget that you are influential simply because you have penned a book. This influence is a sacred privilege. Don’t abuse it.

In fact, Goodreads recognizes that authors wield a tremendous amount of influence. The community’s Author Guidelines state:

 

  • Don’t engage with people who negatively rate or review your books.We cannot stress this enough. Goodreads is a community for all readers to express their honest opinions about the books they choose to read and shelve. Engaging with people who don’t like your book will not win you any new readers. Remember that Goodreads is a public space; other readers will see a reaction from the author and interpret it as hostile regardless of how carefully the response was crafted.
    • If you feel a review is in violation of our Review Guidelines, please flag it to our team’s attention rather than responding. To flag, click the gray flag icon next to the content in question and follow the prompts.
    • Remember that not every reader will love your book. It is unrealistic to expect that your book will only get four and five star reviews. Bestselling authors get one star reviews too.

Goodreads also posts the following note on their website:

Goodreads policy

If you are an author who gets upset over negative reviews, I suggest that you follow Goodreads guidelines for authors—not just for reviews on Goodreads—but also for reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online stores that sell your book.

Christian authors, I urge you to never forget who is in charge of your book reaching the people who need its message the most. If God has called you to write and publish your book, then He is responsible for helping those individuals who need your book’s message to buy it in spite of a few negative reviews mixed in with the positive ones.

Related Posts:
One Technique for Requesting Book Reviews
Book Reviews Are Social Proof
Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Sebastian Herrmann.

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

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Book Review Scare

Reviews drive sales of books. According to one analysis of online recommendation systems: “Review systems have casual and positive effects on sales; to nobody’s surprise, books with more and better reviews are shown to sell better.”

Readers do look for reviews written by other reader to help determine whether a book is worth buying. Therefore, good reviews drive more book sales.

book-review-thumbnail

Recently, Amazon put out an update on Customers Reviews on their website. In the update, Amazon stated, “Today, we updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program.”

Incentivized reviews refer to products given for free in exchange for a review.

Of course, this update scared a number of authors. Does this mean that authors can no longer give out free books in exchange for a review on Amazon?

Fortunately, at the end of their announcement, Amazon wrote, “The above changes will apply to product categories other than books. We will continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books.”

So, take a deep breath. Book reviews resulting from a complimentary copy of your book on Amazon are still safe.

As an author, you need multiple reviews to drive book sales. The more reviews your book has on Amazon, the bigger and better it looks to consumers. If you are struggling to secure reviews for your book or just want to learn some tips for getting more reviews, check out my new on-demand seminar Book Reviews: Tips for Getting More Reviews.

This one hour on-demand seminar covers the importance of book reviews, how to ask readers for reviews, how to find bloggers to review your books, how to secure more online book reviews, and how to respond to reviews. You can view this on-demand seminar for just $25 at http://www.marketingchristianbooksinc.com/university.

As always, members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) have free access to this on-demand seminar on CSPA’s website at http://www.christianpublishers.net/mcbuniversity.

Learn how to get more reviews for your books. More reviews can help you sell more books.

Related Posts:
Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews
Thoughts on Book Reviews
Are Reviews Really Important?

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Distinction

What makes a book stand out from the pack? The answer can be summed up in one word: Distinction.

Salt-Covenants-Cover-Final-Front-185x300

Recently, a BookCrash reviewer wrote the following about one of the books she had read:

You can almost always tell which books were published by little publishing companies because they look different. The covers have a different shine about them (and generally there is something vaguely odd about the cover art), the book is sized differently from your average book, the paper is a different color, and the font is always slightly different.

This is not the kind of distinction—being different, odd, or out-of-place—I am referring to.

Standing out from the pack in an odd way that looks out-of-place does not help book sales. Rather, the distinction that drives book sales is that of quality. In other words, a more excellent and grabbing cover design, an exceptionally beautiful interior layout, and, above all, attention-grabbing prose that presents a message in a new light.

Fortunately, the same BookCrash blogger went on to rave about the book she was reviewing:

The Salt Covenants was published by Heritage Books. It was a fantastic discovery. I can totally guarantee the quality of this book. It is AMAZING!

That is the type of distinction required for a book to stand out from the pack—marked superiority. For readers to exclaim “Amazing!” when they have finished the book should be the aim of everyone involved in the publishing process of a book.

Strive for the right type of distinction with your books. Make sure that the outward appearances of your book conform to industry standards, but then amaze your readers with distinction in your message or story.

Bookmark and Share