By: Suzanne Kuhn, SuzyQ
The all important book review — as an author you understand the importance of them. Agents, publishers, critique groups, and author friends all discuss book reviews. There’s exhilaration in a great one, and disappointment in a bad one. We see requests for them on blogs, facebook, and twitter. But if an author is honest, there can never be enough.
Here are some suggestions that can assist in navigating this challenging topic:
1. Q: “How do I get more reviews?” A: “You have to ask for them.” That’s just the starting point. Authors must be intentional and directive in asking. When you hear from a reader giving your book praise, take the extra step to ask if they would be willing to post those remarks in a review. Note: “Would you be willing to post THOSE remarks in a review?” For those of us non-writers, the mere thought of writing can cause us to tremble. By affirming how well said what they’ve already said is, you are reaffirming their decision to read your book and have communicated to them how much you value their input. Make it simple to say yes to post a review. Ask them to post what they’ve already said. They don’t need to come up with anything else. When readers realize that they’ve already done the hard work, they are more likely to take the few necessary steps to post a review.
2. Ask them to post the review in only one place. This continues speaking to the importance of keeping the process simple for your reader. All your reader needs to know is that you value their review and where you would like them to post it. Provide a link, thinking about your reader when directing them to where you would like the review posted. Does the reader shop Amazon, check books out from their local library, or is this a reader who purchases books through their local Christian/church bookstore? Providing a single link is important, because we all know that the more steps in any process, the fewer the numbers are of those that will complete the task. Don’t lose a great review because you thought it would be a good idea to offer the reader options and had hopes they might post a review in multiple places. Simplifying the process for them will gain you the greatest success and greatest number of posted reviews.
3. Negative reviews are painful. But whether we agree or not, feel it’s justified or not, we need to understand that negative reviews are a time to be gracious and thank them for taking the time to voice their opinion. Also, remember rarely is there a negative review that isn’t counteracted or contradicted by a positive review.
Let your readers be heard. And let them know how much you value them taking the time to share their opinion. Even if they didn’t like your book, they might like YOU enough to recommend your book to someone else.
Suzanne Kuhn has more than 20 years of book retailing experience and event sales, including traveling as part of Karen Kingsbury’s team. In 2010 Suzanne launched SuzyQ, a full-service author promotion and retail development firm that works with authors, publishers and retailers, helping to coordinate events, train staff and authors in reader engagement, and develop promotions for increased sales and reader/customer loyalty. Suzanne’s experience and knowledge in the book retailing venue gives her an edge when consulting with retailers for niche and business plan development, facilitating book tours, and ensuring more successful and profitable events. Suzanne truly believes in the power of Christian literature to impact and change lives.