When the subject of book reviews comes up, most of us think of traditional book review publications such as The New York Times or Publishers Weekly, or about online review sites that include ReviewtheBook.com.
We often forget, however, that we can get positive, powerful, and meaningful book reviews from just about anyone who loves books — including you and me. As the Association of Booksellers for Children reported in late 2010, more than half of the people it surveyed on book purchasing influences cited “books my friends and family recommended” as a major factor in their book buying decisions. The survey noted that just over one-third — 38 percent — of the respondents said they were influenced by book reviews in magazines and newspapers.
Goodreads.com is a powerhouse for authors
The largest source of those non-media reviewers — the people who love reading as much as we do — is Goodreads.com. With more that 7.3 million members, Goodreads.com gives book lovers a chance to create virtual bookshelves (with more than 260 million books!) that others can peruse. Those members not only share what they’re reading with their personal Goodreads networks, they also review and recommend those books, or create lists that announce what they want to read next.
The impact this site can have on your book’s success is astounding, so when I got an e-mail from “Publicity Hound” Joan Stewart telling me that she was going to host a webinar that explained how to use Goodreads and many other reader review sites effectively, I knew I had to be on it.
Because I’m one of Joan’s affiliates (I occasionally recommend products or programs of hers that I’ve used; I receive a small commission on resulting sales), Joan graciously gave me a complimentary pass to her program, “Where to Find Millions of Readers Online to Review, Recommend & Buy Your Books.” (This link and others to Joan’s program here use my affiliate link. It doesn’t cost you more to use it.)
I was blown away by the amount of helpful and very, very specific information Joan covered in 90 minutes. I took good notes so that I could share information here, but this report is no substitute for the webinar and Joan’s handouts, so you might want to consider purchasing the program and taking your own notes now that she has made the recording available.
The program covers ways to increase our exposure in four site categories:
- Book review sites, forums, and discussion groups
- Bloggers and social media
- Freelance writers and others
Here are some of my favorite revelations from the program, which covered a whopping 35 review sites:
- I see a lot of discussions in author forums about the wisdom (or necessity) of advertising on Goodreads.com. The good news is that you don’t need to spend money on advertising if you use the site appropriately for book promotion purposes. For example, did you know you can import your blog to your profile so that your posts show up on Goodreads, too, and that you can join local groups of book lovers on the site? Joan talked quite a bit about what you can do with Goodreads– too much for me to summarize here, unfortunately.
- You can purchase a review from Kirkus Reviews. If you don’t like it, the magazine won’t publish it. Self-published author Darcie Chan bought one, got a good review, and sold nearly a half million copies of her e-book.
- Never respond to negative reviews. Nothing good will come from it.
- If you write romance novels, you need to plug into RTBookReviews.com.
- Book review sites like books that are just about to be published, so look into early reviewer programs.
- If you write science fiction, you might be aware of Locus Magazine, but did you know that librarians are influenced by its reviews when considering science fiction purchases?
I learned about a lot of sites I had never heard of (but need to explore), but I also learned more about how to use those sites I was aware of already. I strongly recommend you consider this resource if you want to generate more online reviews for your book. You’ll get the webinar video file, an audio file, a PDF file of the PowerPoint slides you can refer back to regularly, and a PDF file listing very specific URLs for the 35 sites covered during the program (one thing I like about Joan is that she’s detail oriented, which means that you don’t get the generic home page URL for each of these sites — you get the exact URL you need to start making things happen for your book on these sites).
Have you had success generating reader or media reviews from online sites? Can you offer any tips?
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