Why Book Reviews Are Crucial in Building Your Reputation

Author - Andrea ChurchillWhen you’re trying to promote your new release, one of the most important things you can do is ask readers to post a review of your book online. When I’m looking for a new book, I take into account how many reviews that particular book has on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the Kellan Publishing Bookstore.

When you’re getting published, what are some of the first things you do? You might prepare a press release, throw a new release party or giveaway, focus on getting the perfect artist to do your long awaited book cover, but what else can you do to promote your book? First you need to think about how readers choose books when they’re looking for something new to read. Research shows that a large percentage of readers choose books based on the genre, or they’re looking for something from a particular author, which shows that marketing to a very specific audience and building your author brand is super important. But there’s another factor that might have slipped your mind: book reviews.

Book - 3D The LerewoodIt’s difficult for a newly published  author to build a fan base or sell their book, especially if you’re not published with one of the top five publishing companies—Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. Whenever I’m looking for a new book, books from these top companies are always the first I see or hear about, because they have the money and resources to get their books in front of your face as much as possible. They are the competition a new author has to face once they’re published, whether they are self published or published with a smaller company such as Kellan Publishing. And I read books from these companies, but I don’t read them because they’re published with these companies. I read them because these companies get their books into readers’ hands, readers then read these books and rave about these books, post book reviews online, tell their friends about it, and before you know it there’s a television show or movie in the works. I choose books based on popularity, or if someone passionately tells me about something great they just read. So as an author, I have to work on gaining popularity for my novella, The Lerewood, only without that huge help.

My main marketing strategy is to get book reviews. When I’m online and I see a book only has a handful of reviews—whether they’re five stars or what—I’m probably not going to read it. But fifty? A hundred? TWO HUNDRED?? Whoa, let me stop what I’m doing and read this darn book already!

I don’t read or watch the news. If something is big and important enough, I’m going to hear about it by word of mouth. I kind of treat books the same way. Obviously there are several other factors you need to focus on when marketing and promoting your newly published book, but don’t forget to remind your readers to leave a review wherever they can. When you’re doing a giveaway, be sure to write a little note in the front of your book and ask the winners to post a review once they’re done if they enjoyed the read. Offer to give away free copies of your book (ebooks if that’s too expensive) in exchange for a review. Be consistent about it, and before you know it, people won’t stop talking about your book.

~Andrea Churchill

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