Every author faces the challenge of getting reviews on their books, preferably good ones ( 4 and above). They have a direct impact on sales. The more favorable, more sales and better exposure of the book on Amazon.
However, getting reviews can be a daunting task. Trust me, I know. I sent blind emails to bloggers and Amazon top reviewers. I filled out countless book review blog requests. I begged family and friends for their help (Which ended up being a waste of time, because Amazon blocks those reviews). I bartered with other authors (I review your book, if you review mine.). None of it worked. I got a few reviews that was it.
I finally resorted to using review services like Story Cartel and Netgalley, but several of the reviews I received weren’t that great. Like most writers I internalized and assumed my book sucked. But after I had time to think and put on my User researcher hat and re-read the reviews, I realized the bad reviews had nothing to do with my writing, rather the reviewer.
Majority of the reviewers who gave my book bad reviews weren’t my target audience. They liked to read paranormal romances not dark fantasy’s packed with action and mystery. No wonder why they hated the book. I would feel the same toward most literary fiction. I have no patience for slow paced, overly descriptive stories.
The rest of the bad reviews came from reviewers who like to bash books. You know them. The shock jocks who like to stir up others emotions to increase their blog readers, the pissed off reader who got irked about something in the book or in some cases, life, and take it out on the review. Lastly, there were the reviewers who just wanted to add another blog article and didn’t bother to read the book at all. (i.e. a reviewer of my book The Zeuorian Awakening talked about how my lead character, Lexi, threw herself on all the boys. If she read the story, she would’ve known Lexi avoided everyone to keep them from figuring out about her powers.)
So I realized in order to get better reviews, I needed to think like a marketer. I needed to request reviews from my target audience. Unfortunately the pay for review services don’t give you the choice to be picky about who reads your books.
But How, you maybe thinking?
First of all you need to know what is your book genre and who is your real audience, because I promise you it’s not everyone.
When I say know your audience, I mean a general profile:
- What is their age range
- Are they male or female, if a mix what is the percentage (i.e 25% male and 75% female)
- Do they have a blog, Twitter, Facebook and/or Goodreads accounts
- Do they actively socialize online, if so where, how many posts per week and on what days?
- What genre’s do they predominately read and give good reviews too. (Make sure your book Genre is on their list, specifically close to the top.)
- Have they reviewed several books? (A must, if you want them to review your book)
The best way to figure out who are your audience without guessing and filling in the blanks, is to do a little competitive research. See who is reading similar books as yours on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and Blogs. (at least 25, but I suggest doing more to get a clear picture). Then list their answers in a spreadsheet and average them out.
- Ages were 25, 36, 29, 45, so the age range is 25 to 45.
- There were 2 men and 18 women. So the audience makes up mostly women readers with a small percentage of men.
- 10 readers had blogs, 18 had Twitter accounts, 5 had Facebook accounts and 16 had Goodreads accounts. So the audience predominately has Twitter and Goodreads accounts.
- 5 readers tweeted 10 posts twice a week on Twitter, 12 tweeted 20 posts every other day of the week and 3 tweeted 1 post on Friday. So the audience is moderately active on Twitter, posting 10 to 20 tweets on M, W, F and Sun.
Next you need to find potential reviewers who match your audience using your research and solicit them. It doesn’t have to be a direct email. It could be:
- A blog article, a tweet, a Facebook posting targeting them by using meta and hashtags.
- An article written and posted on someone else’s blog that your audience views.
- Join a discussion group who discuss your genre, but don’t hound them to review your book. Instead mention it briefly in a related thread.
If you can think of any other way to connect to your audience please share by posting a comment.
About The Author
C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.