Dear Indie ♥ Weekly Resource Post

Independent

I’m happy to announce that I’m officially back online full-time now! Yay, no more missing out on all the good stuff. 🙂

This week, I’d like to talk about REVIEWS, REViews, Reviews… They’re the bread and butter of an author’s career, the key to their success. How many times have you seen similar statements? How many of you have seen Review quotes on the front cover of author’s books? Those are two different kinds of reviews that I’m going to cover today, because the answer is: Yes. You can get reviews on your book before it’s even published.

Note* For those of you already aware, please feel free to skip ahead.

They’re called R2R’s or Read-to-Reviews (if anyone knows them by a different name, please share with us in the comments below, we can never have too much information!) R2R’s are specifically designed for pre-published marketing to hype up the launch of your book.

The best–and possibly only–place to find R2R reviewers is on Goodreads. Check your ‘genre-specific’ groups first, as they’re more likely to have a folder already designated for R2R’s. If you can’t find one or are unsure, I suggest private messaging one of the group Mods and simply asking them nicely. It could be that they’ve never thought of the idea before, but won’t mind adding the folder for the group. Afterward, check the Author and Indie support groups, as well. I posted Avarice for R2R’s back in May on several different sites and only got 2 pre-publication reviews out of it, so the more you post, the better your chances – but don’t be discouraged if no one bites, this is just an extra step that you can take to help promote your book, not a requirement.

Some important things to note if you do choose to use R2R’s:

  • No retail site (Amazon, B&N, etc.) will allow reviews to be posted on an unpublished book, so make sure you have your book listed as a “Coming Soon” on Goodreads so they have somewhere to post it.
  • Whether the folder is blatantly labeled as R2R or not, I suggest specifying that’s what you’re looking for in the post, with a time frame, AND make sure you reiterate it in your emails with anyone who responds, in case they missed that part. Again, be realistic. R2R’s aren’t going to happen if you wait until a week before your book goes live to start asking.
  • If you desire a copy of the review for marketing purposes, make sure you communicate that with your reviewer. Do not just assume they will send you one, because 99.98% of them never will.
  • Unless you got reviewed by a famous author, do not put the quotes on the cover of your book. If you’re going (POD) Print, you can add them to the back cover (unless you’ve already purchased the final cover). If you’re going strictly eBook, a great place to have them is in the front matter (between the copyright page and table of contents is a good spot) because most ‘sample’ and ‘Look Inside’ features only give readers up to 30% preview and having something like: “5 Stars! A must read for all lovers of [insert genre here] – Name of Reviewer” popping up in their face might make them feel more confident about purchasing your book.

Now that we’ve covered R2R’s, let’s talk a little about regular Reviews and what to expect. There are a lot of different opinions floating around out there on how to or if you should even respond to Reviews, good or bad. I think you have to consider what you want out of being a published author and make the choice that’s right for you.

I do not respond to bad reviews, period. But even if a review is only 3 stars and has mostly positive things to say, then I will ‘like’ it on Goodreads or Twitter. I also do not respond to reviews, good or bad, with words. I will like, love and Re-tweet them. If a review is just Amazeballs and deserves more than just a like, I will find a way to (PM/DM) Private or Direct Message the reviewer to thank them.

My main reasons are as follows:

  • I don’t want the bad reviewers to get the impression that their opinion doesn’t matter. These are Honest Opinions by people who have read my works, and the bad reviews can be just as informative and helpful in bettering my craft/style as a bad Beta Read feedback can be. Remember it’s all about flipping it around into something positive and constructive!
  • If When I become a bestselling author and have thousands of Reviews popping up on various websites, how in the world am I supposed to keep up with all of that and still find time to write more books? Yes – I am reaching for the Moon and the Stars and I want you to do the same! – Realistically, no famous author responds to (all of) their reviews. Go check if you don’t believe me. Because, although they may help sell your books, a review is NOT for you. It is intended to help customers make an informed purchasing decision.

The Disappearing Review: This is a mystical being on Goodreads. I’ve had reviews up and disappear on 2 of my books so far and I don’t want you to freak out if this happens. It might not be a deliberate slam against you – it could just be that the reviewer deleted their Goodreads account and therefore all of their information went bye-bye. A good way to know for sure, is to check your Amazon reviews – if they’re still up there at the same number or higher, then the slight is nothing personal against you.

What if the Review is posted as part of my Release Day Tour?
That is a good question and to me, a completely separate beastie in a way, because most promoters won’t allow their hosts to post a bad review. I always thank my tour hosts, whether they review or not – but I will thank them for the review, if they do. This is possibly the only time I actually ‘respond’ to a review.

The last, but not least option is: The Just Don’t rule. Many published, successful authors don’t just bypass responding to their reviews – they don’t even READ them – and advise against the practice. Once again, this is something that you might want to research beforehand, get a feel for other author’s POV’s, and then make the decision that you feel the most comfortable with.

My only advice when approaching Reviews is this: You’re a professional and whether you like it or not, you have an image to protect. Going off half-cocked on a bad review, or even just attempting to defend your work, or explain some issue the reader didn’t grasp correctly, can and WILL hurt your professional image. Just some food for thought – I can’t tell you what to do.

Next week we’re going to discuss the question: To Pre-Order or not to Pre-order?

Weekly Accomplishment: After not getting a straight answer from Amazon for almost a week on WHY they Blocked my book for Pre-Order, then fighting with them to get a straight answer on HOW I could fix the problem, I’m happy to say that Avarice is now available for Pre-Order on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and iBooks (not sure what the hold up is with B&N) but Whew! KDP really needs to work on their customer service skills! What are you celebrating this week? Please share with us in the comments below, so we have another (more valid) reason for that last glass of wine too many – or the next one. 😉

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4 thoughts on “Dear Indie ♥ Weekly Resource Post

  1. I am so ambivalent about reviews. I know, a treacherous thing to say for someone about to publish her debut novel, but I have to be honest. It’s either feast or famine. Either gazillions…or five.

    I regularly write reviews (and no, I do not review every book I read)…because authors want (need) them, but I stopped actively reading them long ago. Too often I’ve witnessed reviews stacked endlessly by the minions of an idolized author or some poor author buried in negative reviews because they crossed the wrong person. Meh. None of it has anything to do the BOOK, so for ME, they have very little value.

    That being said, as I enter the fray, I can’t see myself ever responding to a negative review. What would be the point? Whether I believe a reader ‘gets it’ or not, why would I argue with someone over their opinion? Nah. I’d rather waste time on Pinterest.

    A popular practice I could live without is reviews a book’s synopsis area. I know where the review area is on the site. I clicked on the book to find out about the STORY, not what nine bloggers and some guy from a newspaper in Boise thought of the book.

    Am I still on topic?

    Great post, as always, AC! You’re building an excellent resource for new and seasoned authors!

    Kudos! 👏👍🌹💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Felicia. I agree, I never read reviews on books I’m interested in buying, either, because I found I generally disagree with them at any rate. Everyone has their own taste. Being ambivalent to reviews as an author isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I think it’s far more constructive than being obsessed over them and letting them influence your creativity. I struggle with that pressure, wanting to make sure the next book is just as loved as the first, because I’m the sucker who reads her reviews LOL – probably should get out of that habit! 😀

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  2. Awesome post! 😀 ARC reviews is something I should have paid more attention to before launching my book. If I’d been smarter, I wouldn’t have to spend time looking for reviewers right now (which is what I’ve been doing on the side for the past two weeks…not that I mind, all the book business is fun, but I could be doing other things).
    I totally agree with what you said about negative reviews. Honest opinions are what we want, and not everyone is going to like everything. That’s just how it is. I personally read all my reviews (I don’t have that many of them, haha) and try to gather information from them. What did the reviewer like? What didn’t he/she like? Is there something I can do better in my next book or should I just keep doing what I do? I’ve already gotten some great pointers for future reference.

    I’m super excited that Avarice is available for preorder! 😀 My celebration of the week: I started writing a new story! I definitely didn’t need yet another WIP on my list, but I’m just having so much fun with this…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Anna! I read all of my reviews, too (also not that many lol) and I agree. I like those that point out parts they wish were more detailed or what they felt was lacking, it allows me to be more mindful with the next book. Realistically, we can’t please everyone, but it doesn’t hurt to always include better ideas or anything that betters our craft for ourselves and the enjoyment of the readers. What’s one more WIP? LOL You can never have too many and I can’t wait to read your next book, so keep that muse busy! 🙂

      Like

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