Building the Buzz: Day 17 Maximizing Reviews

Now that you've got the buzz going and people are starting to pay attention to your books, you're bound to start getting reviews. You may not want to read them, and that is fine, but you need to pay attention to the ones with lots of stars.

As a writer, 5-star reviews are a nice little stroke to the ego and a firm piece of duct tape on the mouth of your inner editor. As a marketer, 5-star reviews are mini billboards saying "I can help you sell more books." They key is all in location, location, location.

I've seen a recent trend on the social media front that I personally am against. I'm not saying it can't be effective, but so could a human sandwich board with your cover on it standing in the middle of Times Square. Just because it might draw in a rogue reader or two doesn't mean it's a good thing. Why? Because you would look ridiculous standing in Times Square with a sandwich board. Ridiculous and maybe a bit desperate. And that's how I see authors who tweet, post and otherwise parade around every 5 star review that comes their way.

By all means, celebrate the milestones. The first one, the one-hundredth 5-star review. Heck, slate a contest around it. Toot the horn a little. But we've all seen the authors who post every good review they get. And this makes me think "Are you so hard up for good reviews that each one needs to be announced?". Your time as an author and marketer would be better spent writing or asking for other reviews via book bloggers like we discussed yesterday.

So now that you aren't going to broadcast your outstanding reviews all over the internet, what are you going to do with them? You make them shine.

Your book page on your blog/website will have your cover, purchase/review links, and blurb. Another nice touch is reviewer comments. So go ahead and scan Amazon and Goodreads for the very best 5 star reviews out there. Not just the ones that sing your praises to the moon, but the ones with brilliant lines that make you sound like the literary genius you are.

Now, find those reviewers. Follow them back to their website/blog and reach out to them. In private (not in a comment to their actual review) thank them for their kind words. Let them know how glad you are that they enjoyed your book. Then ask them for a favor. Tell them that you loved the line "x and y and z" from their review and would like to post it on your website. Offer to include their name and a link back to their review and their website.

This is a win-win. Getting their site linked to from a permanent page on your blog helps their SEO which means more readers will find them. Every reviewer out there wants more readers. By quoting them, you are recognizing them as a good reviewer which will also draw more readers directly from your site.

You may run into the occasional reviewer who doesn't want to be quoted, but I don't think you'll find many who say no.

What does this get you? Well, first, readers like to know that other people out there like your book. When they are on your site, having quotes from real readers right there is a nice touch that says "someone other than this author's mom and aunt enjoyed this book". The value of that can't be overlooked.

Also, what would you do if a new author offered to quote you on their website? That's right, you're going to tell people about it. And what does that do? You guessed it. It'll will drive more readers right to where you want them.

For today's task, take a peek at your reviews or ask a trusted friend/family member to pick out a few of the excellent ones for you. Reach out to 3-5 of these fans (cause that's what they are) and ask to quote them on your site with all the appropriate links.