Welcome to Lynda Stacey who writes her thoughts on book reviews.
Even though I’d written ‘privately’ for years, as a debut author I was both excited and full of dread at the thought of getting reviews. Every thought went through my mind, including: It’s real, people areactually going to read my book. They’re going to judge it. What’s more, they’re going to publically say whether they liked it or not. But, what if it’s rubbish? What if no-one likes it? What if I make a fool of myself?
Apparently, all of these thoughts are normal. Are they?
I can honestly say that on 19th July 2016, my launch day, I held my breath. I knew the book had been read by reviewers through Netgalley and I waited, clicked the amazon link a hundred times and gasped as the first reviews dropped in.
Then I read the words:
I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I shouted - all out loud - which, to me, is the sign of a brilliant book. When I become so immersed that I lose the real world completely. And that is what this book did. Anne's Book Corner.
I have to admit, every emotion went through my mind and eventually, I sat and I cried. The excitement of finally becoming a ‘real’ author began and I could begin to enjoy the experience. Every review gave me a further boost. Every kind word gave me the encouragement to carry on and I can honestly say that it’s the reviews that encourages me to write more great books.
With the good, comes the bad. I fully appreciate that not everyone will like what I write and one day I know I’ll get that dreaded 1-star review. But till then, I’m taking great pleasure in getting so many lovely 4 and 5-star reviews and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to leave them.
So…. Do reviews really matter?
YES…. they mean absolutely everything. They give much needed feedback, encouragement and they give the author the determination to carry on and to write their next book, the best they can.
The reviews also give the author the confidence to promote with confidence. There’s nothing like a good review to get an author to shout about their success.
How to get more reviews?
This is where you have to turn into a salesman.
Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews, you’re selling your book. What’s more, people expect you to ask. Just do it nicely, but don’t over-insist. If they don’t do it after the 2nd time you ask, don’t push them anymore.
Put both Facebook and Twitter messages out on a regular basis (once/twice a month saying that ‘reviews are really appreciated’ or ‘thank you to all the lovely people who have reviewed my novel this month’. People like to be appreciated, so this encourages those who didn’t review yet, to get on and do it.
Add a picture, there are loads on GOOGLE IMAGES that say… please review, or thank you for your review.
Also, thank people for retweeting your adverts on twitter. Again, do them often. It gains momentum and interest. I always say thank you and attach a picture of book with a buying link. Then, if they’ve retweeted, you’ve been polite. But also, you got another advert out and a reminder that if they haven’t yet… they should buy the book.
Theoretically, the more books you sell… the more reviews you should get.
Personally, I never have a problem asking for reviews. If I know that someone is reading the book, or if a reader sends me a private message, saying that they’ve read ‘House of Secrets’. I message them back and ask them to review. I tell the truth, that my novel is floating in and out of the top 100 of Romantic Suspense and that I’d love to keep it there… and that their review would help me..!!
It’s all about getting the readers to believe that THEY ARE HELPING YOU…!! And they are..!!
And once they have done you a review, go back and thank them for their time. Readers would remember this and when your next book comes out, they’re more likely to buy it than the book of an author who didn’t correspond.
But, it’s not just about what I think… here are the thoughts of two other authors.
Rachel Louise Dove, winner of the Mills and Boon Prima award:
Reviews for any author are important. In today’s age, we all look at reviews as an indication to whether to buy a product, and books are no different.
Being a debut author, reviews to my book were crucial, much appreciated and both feared and gratefully received! If you enjoy a book, taking two minutes to say so in a review helps an author make a living, improve future books and gives them a nice boost too!
Lizzie Lamb, Indie author:
As an indie author, reviews are really important because they help build my readership and draw readers to my Amazon Author Page where all of my books are displayed. New readers often comment that they read the reviews BEFORE downloading the book.
About Lynda Stacey:
Lynda, is a wife, step-mother and grandmother, she grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire. Her own life story, along with varied career choices helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.
Lynda joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition.
She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her husband, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.
A woman on the run, a broken man and a house with a shocking secret …
Madeleine Frost has to get away. Her partner Liam has become increasingly controlling to the point that Maddie fears for her safety, and that of her young daughter Poppy.
Desperation leads Maddie to the hotel owned by her estranged father – the extraordinarily beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. There, she meets Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine and the gamekeeper of the hall, whose brusque manner conceals a painful past.
After discovering a diary belonging to a previous owner, Maddie and Bandit find themselves immersed in the history of the old house, uncovering its secrets, scandals, tragedies – and, all the while, becoming closer.
But Liam still won’t let go, he wants Maddie back, and when Liam wants something he gets it, no matter who he hurts …
Winner of Choc Lit 2015 Search for a Star competition.
Thank you for your useful article, Lynda.
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