How many reviews do your books have?
The answer matters and here’s why.
Reviews of any sort used to be expert critiques. Siskel and Ebert became household names for their movie reviews. New York newspapers could make or break new Broadway shows with a single review.
In 2021 anyone can give a review.
Entire websites and apps are dedicated to allowing the masses to rate with stars and words. No longer are you getting a critique given by someone educated in storytelling. Reviews are all based on opinion rather than a critical look at a piece. However, these reviews are a critical tool in marketing your book. Many readers will not buy a book from an indie author with a low number of reviews.
Won’t negative book reviews hurt me?
In short, no.
If you have nothing but negative reviews or someone with a lot of clout in the reading world because they know about story craft or are simply popular can break your book.
Also, if your book is in the wrong genre, your story will get bad reviews simply because the book doesn’t meet genre trope expectations. For example, even if your book is a love story, do not label it Romance unless it has a HEA or HFN. (Romance Writers of America defined the genre as such because they’ve done the research of what readers expect.)
Where do I get book reviews?
Don’t expect friends and family to follow through with reading your book let alone writing a review. Even if you write award-winning prose, they simply might not be the type of people who like leaving reviews. Also, if your book is their only review ever, it will look suspicious. Readers who read reviews often can tell when some has had their friends review the book, too.
This is where your author/writer network comes in. However, don’t expect them to leave a review and don’t pressure anyone, especially if you only know them online. That will only cause ill will between you and you want allies in the publishing industry, not grudges.
Giveaways! Free book giveaways are a good way to drum up reviews. Do it through your website, newsletter, or on Tiktok’s booktok. As long as you don’t stipulate that you’re giving the book away in exchange for a review, you’re not violating Amazon’s TOS.
Pubby is a website where you review books, earn points, and then put your own books up for review with points earned. There is a membership fee, but the members either buy your book or read it on Kindle Unlimited (if you have your book available on KU). Since you’re not paying them to review the book and the review is a ‘verified purchase’ or a KU read it’s within Amazon’s TOS.
There are sites like Booksprout and Netgalley, but make sure they’re only leaving reviews on Goodreads. Too many reviews from those sites could possibly get you banned from Amazon.
*I am in no way endorsing or affiliated with above mentioned websites. They are options I’ve researched.