Welcome to another Sales Saturday. First, thanks for viewing my blog. Today, not only will you get to hear me talk about reviews (the hardcore truth of it), but hang in there and check out what’s at the end of the post. It’s what I was talking about as a part of the awesomeness to come in December. Yes, it’s December already–are you ready for the end of days? Yeah, eye roll is heavy here.
Reviews: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
That’s right, I said it, some reviews are just plain ugly.
Reviews are a natural part of being a writer, so why then does it feel so unnatural to read a review? There’s many reasons behind this for me.
There’s really no tips for handling good reviews. Do what you want with them–dance, smile, giggle, nod your head. Do what you want with it; I personally do all of those things! What you do want to do is utilize them as a marketing tool. When you get a good review utilize it when advertising your novel, now I am not saying SPAM every website you have ever posted on with every single wonderful, kiss your feet, review you get. If you do this you will ostracize yourself from readers and fellow authors. No one wants to read or listen to someone brag about every single review they have ever received that sings their praise. I’ve watched this happen to an author, and for some reason they still do it…maybe it’s working for their sales, but there are several threads tagged “obnoxious threads” that specifically talk about how the website should or shouldn’t deal with such SPAM. If you have a ton of great reviews, that’s awesome, claps to you, but people will read those on Amazon, BN, and Goodreads. There is no need to repeat the whole thing everywhere you have ever visited. This is a part of select marketing and knowing your market. I choose a few reviews that I really enjoyed the way they were written and what was said, and I post them here as featured reviews. I’ve never re-posted it on another website like say, Goodreads, it’s already on there on my book, there’s no reason to put it on another thread. I also choose select phrases from the review that stick out and use them on my book pages on my website and in my press kits. These are good insights for those looking for a draw in. Readers wrote the reviews to let others know they liked, loved, praised your book, so use it to your best advantage.
Bad reviews, deep breath, we all get them, and they come from different sources.
- I’ve had run-ins with 5 star Nazi’s. Now, some may not be familiar with this term, and I was familiar with it from explanations on LibraryThing and from other authors, but in my wildest dreams I didn’t think they existed, nor did I think they would wreak havoc on me when I had a measly 12 reviews on Amazon. For those not familiar with this term, it’s a term used by indie authors when their 5 star reviews are voted off of, or removed from Amazon due to a person working for a publisher, or due to those that do not like indie authors. It is also usually accompanied by a bad review from someone who reviews big published authors with stellar things to say and indies with bad things to say. I must clarify that not everyone who does this is a 5-star Nazi, they may have really gotten a bunch of duds in the indie category and a bunch of diamonds in major published, so it’s just coincidence. I also must say I am not a fan of calling anyone a Nazi. At any rate, these reviews are ones that you have to take a deep breath and bite it. That’s what I said, bite it. Often times these people didn’t even read your book, and they a)mess up character names b) miss very obvious parts of the novel c) it’s just generally clear that they fed off another not so great review that was genuine.
- They really didn’t like the book. Well, here’s the thing we have to also bite, not everyone is going to like the book. Hopefully, they wrote the review in a constructive way that explains why they didn’t like it. Most of mine have been based on the fact that my novel, In Between Seasons, doesn’t fit into the dystopian box that was created recently by best sellers like The Hunger Games, Divergent and Uglies. Now, here’s the other thing: your personal interpretation of a bad review might not be another person’s interpretation. Thus, the person writing it did enjoy it, but didn’t love it, and those reading the review will still be interested in the novel. For me, a 3 star review is mediocre, so so, eh. It usually means I didn’t like the writing, more than the story. The reason for this for me is that a story is unique in itself. The writing is really what draws my reviews. There is no standard format for writing a review. I’ve had 3 stars that the person said my writing was good and they want to read my next novels. So, although I cringe at the star rating, the review is actually good.
You know what though, BAD reviews can be just as good a marketing tool as good reviews. It mixes things up and peaks people’s interest in the oddest way. I guess it’s the concept of watching a bad horror movie (shout-out to Carley 😉 ) when you expect it to be bad, know it to be bad, but you still do. It still offers value to the watcher, or in our case the reader. The other part is the merit factor, which is usually a huge part of the ugly. If they read the other reviews that are good, then they will see it.
Yes, there is the Ugly. These are scathing, burning reviews, one’s that make your insides turn to acid because the words are just that acidic. The person swears, cusses, obliterates your book and very often insults readers who loved the book and personally attack you. The merit factor shines brightly here, if anyone can stand to read through the swears that is. The sources for these reviews. I don’t really know. I don’t really understand them.
- Sometimes they fall right into the 5-star Nazi range. They’re just particularly nasty ones.
- They really do hate it with a fiery passion, but often, they seem to have wanted to hate it. The review doesn’t even sound like they read the novel. They put in issues that were in earlier editions from the novel, but are not present in the current version because they read the other poor reviews and didn’t read the book.
I know this is hard to say, but use these are comedic value and to steel yourself against other reviews. Each bad and worse, ugly review can help you relax as an author.
Writing is an art, not everyone loves Picasso, or Monet, so not everyone is going to love you.
It’s one of the hardest things to accept. I can sit here and say here is my advice, but I can tell you personally, sometimes it feels like you get your own personal lynch mob after you, and people are poking you, prodding you, and dissecting everything you write.
It sucks. I won’t sugar coat it.
It does, but what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger, if we let it.
Onto the Sales Pitch I’ve been working on!
I’ve been working with Tiffany over at Tiffany Loves Books for my author spotlight for December. We talked about giveaways and what happened with my blog tour and Tiffany came up with the great idea (I should have thought of it as a marketing major, ah, well) to do buying incentives. My husband also helped in the idea, we needed cost effective buy ins. The first one was a significant price drop on the paperbacks. My Black Friday Sale prices will now continue until January 31st to accompany the FREEBIES. Yes, I said freebies.
In Between Seasons: MSRP: $9.99 SALE: $8.99
Walking in the Shadows:MSRP: $14.99 SALE: $9.99
NOW onto my marketing prowess (I hope!) Here’s the advertisement:
So, what do you think? Will you “buy in”???
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