The Holy Grail of the writer.
We seek them out, desperately hoping that if enough good ones pile up they will finally help us reach more readers.
But how do you get them?
The sad fact is, most people who read your book won’t leave a review. I know I don’t review every book I read. Most people unfortunately only review if something blows them away, either by how good it is or by how bad it is. And as much as we want reviews, we certainly don’t want the latter!
For most indie books building that review pile can seem impossible. We see the sales, but if feels like they’re disappearing into the ether, because there’s no feedback. Whilst part of me subscribes to the no news is good news idea, I also hunger, like any other author, for more reviews.
Now you can sit back and let them come in naturally, or you can try and generate some more yourself.
One option is book bloggers, blogs like this one that offer a free and honest review of your book in exchange for a free copy. There are plenty of sites, like World Literary Café, just as example, that have forums to connect authors with bloggers looking for books to review. The downside is, a lot of those bloggers have huge to read lists, and it can take a while for them to get to you. But if you can be patient you might be rewarded with a nice full blog post about your book.
Another option is Goodreads. There seems to be a growing trend for R4R discussion groups where you can find readers who are willing to write reviews in exchange for a copy of the book. Find groups that fit your genre and market and join up. Try and be a part of the community, and you may soon find you have a steady stream of people willing to review your book.
The one path I don’t recommend: paid reviews. It might seem like a tempting idea. Pay for a few reviews to boost your rankings and ratings, and hopefully generate some real sales. But what this means is that you’re lying to your reader, and that’s hardly the best way to start out a new ‘relationship’.
So what about you? Do you love reviews or hate them? What are your tips for bumping those reviews on Amazon and Goodreads?