The Book Review Conundrum

ACFWAdvice, Book Reviews, Friends of ACFW, marketing Leave a Comment

By Nora St. Laurent

Authors want them because it helps sales and readers are not sure what to say in them so many don’t write them.

Where do you find readers that will write reviews? We’ve heard of some creative ways authors have found new readers. They’ve thought outside the box. One author told us that she sold more books at quilt and art shows then she ever did at conferences and book signings.

So, check out local festivals, where you can sell your book and/or have a small basket they can enter to win by giving you their name and email address. This helps you create a mailing list to add to your potential street team. Make your book free on the same days of the festival so that you can point people to your book, gain verified purchases and possible reviews.

The best reviews come from the author’s relationships with readers. A Street Team: A group of readers/ Fans with a shared goal, to inspire others to read their Author’s book. Grass roots/ word of mouth/ Ambassadors.

When you read a book that blows you away, you can’t stop thinking about it, and didn’t want it to end! This motivates you to tell anyone that will listen about what you just experienced. Telling your friends and family they just must read this book. People will listen to you because of your excitement and how you describe the story. Nothing does a better job of getting books into readers hands than word-of-mouth recommendations! Creating a buzz about the author and the book. Finding and establishing a relationship with readers, who become fans, is the essential, first step, to an effective, grassroots marketing plan.

Writing Reviews.

Reviews don’t have to be long. I found it very helpful when an author requested that I review their book and mentioned that even one or two lines would be a blessing. The author gave me a note with examples of one-line reviews I could write, as a reader: “I enjoyed this fast-paced action adventure novel. I couldn’t put it down.” Or “After reading this book I had to tell my friends. There was so much in this book I couldn’t stop thinking about.” Or “The characters in this book became my friends. I hated when the book ended. They felt so real to me.” Short and simple reviews can be effective, and it encourages the author to continue to produce more books!

Once the reader has read the book give them suggestions about where to post the book/rating such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, CBD, Book Bub, Books a Million, Indiebound, AppleIbooks etc.

If you self-publish and use KDP Select you can make your eBook free on Amazon for 5 days, once every 90 days, and this will increase your readership as your street team will tell family, and friends and other Social Network friends about the book being free. This is the most effective way to get a verified purchase. Even though the book is free it counts as a verified purchase and stays on the Amazon website. Non-verified purchase reviews disappear after a while. If you are published by a publisher, query them about releasing the book on Kindle, exclusively, for the first 90 days, to be able to do this? A verified purchase, review, is worth the extra work!

Once you have the review done on your blog you can put a link on Twitter, Instagram, etc. You can provide sharable posts/tweets/graphics to make it easy for your team to talk about the terrific book experience they just had. They can also use hashtags; # example hashtags for that specific book title, author, genre etc.

Good luck with your marketing plan, and always work to find more readers!

Marketing is a big part of being an author!

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Nora St. Laurent is the COO of The Book Club Network Inc.  You can read author interviews, reviews, learn about book signings and about TBCN giveaways on the blog she created called The Book Club Network blog, Nora also does author interviews and reviews for Book Fun Magazine Nora has also run book clubs face to face and online with more than 100 members. She enjoys working part-time for the Public Library as a CSA.

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