Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reasons your book isn't selling: Review Requests

Hello, fantastic readers! I am so excited to launch a new series of posts today. Woohoo! This new series will focus on the common mistakes I see authors make that hurt their book sales. Check in every Wednesday for tips and tricks to take your books out of the lost land of book sales.

Today's reason your book isn't selling: Review Requests

It's no secret that reviews sell books. I've already given my two cents on the importance of reviews. Readers use them to vet new authors and retailers use them to fire up their algorithms. But getting those crucial reviews can be easier said than done if you are making these two crucial mistakes.

Mistake #1: Disrespecting the reviewer

I see this A LOT and it gets my blood boiling every time. Too many authors think that book bloggers are there only to be a conduit for writer's to sell books. And they are wrong. Book bloggers serve the important role of helping other readers find books they will love. It is not their job to sell your book for you. They are unpaid, unsung heroes of the book world and they deserve to be treated with respect from authors.

This means taking the time to find their names, read their submission guidelines, and check out the kind of reviews they write. Sadly, too many authors fire of an email to any warm body they can find. And this is a waste of everyone's time. The romance blogger is not going to review your WWII adventure novel. The paranormal blogger has no interest in your MG mystery. Sending them requests is more than an act of futility. It can also hurt your chances to get other reviews. Bloggers talk to each other. They have a fantastic community that supports each other. The last thing you want is to end up being the talk of the town because no one wants to work with you.

Not sure if you're doing it right? Check out this blog post from a blogger on the exact type of request that will get you in trouble. For tips on what to put in your review request, check out this article.

Mistake #2: Stopping too early

I was able to get a huge number of bloggers to review Rite of Rejection, but that's not only because of a strong request letter. It's mostly due to the fact that I asked a ton of bloggers to review it. I started with a list of over 300 bloggers. From there I culled it down to 140 who were open and good match for my book. That earned me 51 accepting bloggers.

If those numbers seem big to you, it's because they are. You can't expect to send out 10 review requests and be good to go. I had a 34% acceptance rate and that is considered very high. 20% is probably more on par with normal. So if you only send out 10 requests, you'll be lucky to get 2 or 3 reviews. Plain and simple, that's not enough.

You need to send out a lot of requests. A LOT. But you still have to do your due diligence and investigate each one. That probably sounds like a ton of work and that's because it is. Marketing your book is not an easy feat. It can be fun and energizing, but it is also a commitment. It's you saying "Hey, I worked my butt off to create this amazing book, but if I don't put in the time to market it, no one will ever even know it exists."

If you send out a bunch of requests and don't have a great response, research some more blogs and send out more requests. There is no expiration date on when you can request reviews. While most bloggers like to post reviews on books when they are new, plenty of bloggers are open to reviewing projects that are a bit older. It's never too late to ask and you can never have too many reviews.

Come back next week for more "Reasons your book isn't selling" where I'll be talking about paid reviews.

3 comments:

  1. I approached about 120 horror reviewer/bloggers before my book's release (with zero help from my publisher or agent). About 25% accepted, giving me about 30 reviews when the book came out. It didn't help sales. I see books with 2-3 reviews outselling mine by a lot. Go figure.

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  2. Thanks for this, Sarah. A great eye-opening help.

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