It’s a funny thing once your book is published. People you don’t know are reading it and reviewing it. Some reviews will be good. Some will be conflicting. Some may be bad. As part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, Here’s my take on what you can do as authors in response to bad reviews and also how to find best fit reviewers.
But first, you can also check out my free cheat sheet on 4 proven steps to connect with those best-fit readers even before your first book comes out! For advice on reviews read on…
You may wonder how two people can find such differences in your book. Easy. It’s all subjective and your readers will vary. Just as your book is unique, so is everyone’s opinion of it based on their collective life experiences.
In the same week, a reviewer for my book noted “absolutely no grammar errors were noticed which proves that good editing is out there!” and another noted “Good plot, but a lot of typos.” Recommendation? Laugh over them and then ignore them.
Unfortunately, you may receive them. Are bad reviews all bad? Not necessarily. If people are talking about your book passionately, it’s more likely to reach some readers who’ll like it but would never have found it otherwise.
A bad mention can be better than no mention at all, particularly for those readers who are skeptical of too many glowing reviews. It can lend more credibility to the book.
The more reviews you get the more exposure your book gets on Amazon – good or bad reviews. As you get more reviews, Amazon ranks you higher in their search engine for keywords related to your book so more potential readers can find your book. As you can see, even bad reviews can then help boost your book’s discoverability. It also helps your book to be more balanced for reviewers.
A few rotten reviews are expected with every book, as a book is so subjective to each reader, and it gives your book more credibility. A book with all 5-stars seems a bit good to be true. Readers will weed through the reviews and can surmise the value of your book and if it will appeal to them.
Best reviews are the ones that are a mix of critical comments and positive as it means the reader was affected by your book enough that they took the time to leave a thoughtful review on many points.
What not to do about a bad review? Respond. All authors receive them. Even the New York Times bestselling authors. Why a bad review? The reader might not normally read your genre, or was misled by the cover. The writing style might not be one they normally connect with. Have you read a book and wondered how people could praise it? A bad review can even lead to self-awareness of your writing and improvement. And remember, they are reviewing the book – not the writer.
Finding Best Fit Reviewers
Can you increase your chances of finding positive reviewers? Yes! Research book review bloggers in your genre and age-range that you write in. Review their website and see what kind of books they have reviewed in the past. Check out their review request policies. See if your book falls within the guidelines of what they want to read and request a review.
Places to find book reviewers? Use Google Alerts. Type in key words like “romance stories” or “action novels” and then in what medium you want them to appear (as they appear in blogs, the news, etc.). Google will then send you a list every day of all the hits according to your search specifications. Click on the links recommended. If they include bloggers that do book reviews, send them a request for review. Also, search for “book blog” plus your genre to find reviewers. Try searching Facebook book groups. They can have corresponding blogs that offer book reviews.
Have Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)? Use them to do a Goodreads giveaway. This can generate positive reviews as readers who enjoy your kind of book will enter to win a copy of your book. Always send a handwritten thank you note with the book and politely ask that they write an honest review.
Have an ARC in e-book format only? Many book bloggers accept them for review as well.
Final tip on finding best fit reviewers. Search for comparable and successful authors with keywords of “author name” plus “review”. You will find book bloggers that reviewed that author’s book. These are good blogs to familiarize yourself with and not only request a review, but ask to do a guest post and/or giveaway.
Best of luck with your reviews!
P.S. Don’t forget to grab my free cheat sheet on how to connect with those best-fit readers even before your first book comes out!
With winter still hanging around, I love to keep cozy with quilts. And I have many!
After my mom passed away, I found five old steamer trunks filled with quilts. I now have 10 quilts from when my mom grew up.
Unfortunately, I got none of my mom’s love for sewing. But I did get a love for quilts. I finger them, knowing they are threaded with stories made from scraps of clothes that my family wore. They are history and love wrapped up in warmth. Quilts stay with us long after we say goodbye to the people connected to them.
My mom grew up in the Depression Era of the 1930s. She never wanted for anything though, she said. She was raised on a farm in Kentucky by her Pappy and Aunt Fanny. They grew and raised all they ever needed to live on. And sewed whatever they needed to wear. Aunt Fanny didn’t just use cloth for clothes. She would often fashion dresses and shirts from the burlap bags the grain came in.
When the clothes became worn Aunt Fanny made them into quilts. The very quilts my mother would dive under on cold winter nights after running upstairs to her room on the unheated second floor. The same quilts I have now on my beds.
I love knowing they were made by my great-Aunt who raised my mother. I love knowing I sleep under the clothes that my mother wore as a young girl growing up on a farm. Calico, denim, paisley, and stripes.
When my mother passed away I gave away many of her clothes, but the special ones I kept. The ones I remembered her wearing with flair. She wore vibrant and fun clothes, just like her personality.
And I took them all and had quilts made.
In the center of one is a lovely patch of flowers from a spring outfit with the words, “Welcome each new day.” My mom did just that. I try to live up to her motto.
All of these quilts – from decades ago and today – now cover my bed and couches. Three generation of quilts warm my house from room to room. And that warms my heart.
Do you have quilts with special memories?
Happy New Year all!
2016 has come and gone. Here is a snapshot of my favorite things from 2016!
I had a crazy travel year in 2016. It was the road more traveled for me with ten road trips between May and September that involved teaching at conferences, vacations, retreats, and book signings all over including Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., North Carolina, New Hampshire, Maryland, Kentucky (Mammoth Caves!), and New York.
My favorite place remains New Hampshire. Its majestic landscape calls me to it again and again. If you recall, I took a solo book research there in the fall of 2015 back to the campground my parents owned and operated in the 1970s. I took my husband there this past summer and he fell in love too. The lakes, the mountains, the geological wonders.
These are some of my favorite people, from agents to editors to authors, who bring me great joy! Check these talented folks out, their books and their blogs.
Other dear friends and supporters!
Home: A Memoir of my Early Years by Julie Andrews. I adored this book! What a fascinating look behind the life of Julie Andrews from a very young girl to the birth of her daughter. Her childhood was fantastical, dramatic, sad, and wonderful all at once and threw me back to my magical youth of growing up in England.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. If you are ready to simplify your home with a touchy-feely bent, this is for you! (and me).
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Lovely, light-hearted, and profound reading for all creative types.
Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong by John O’Donohue. All about the divine restlessness of the human heart, our eternal echo of longing that lives deep within us and never lets us settle for what we have or where we are. It’s constantly drawing us toward new possibilities of self-discovery, friendship, and creativity.
The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island by Linda Greenlaw. This fun read captures small town island premier-pharmacy.com/ life with color and humor while giving us a window into a very traditional and slowly retreating lobster-fishing lifestyle.
As you can tell from my reading this year, I was seeking inspiration and insight into how others view life and their place in it – and how they created their own joyful path.
This has funneled into gearing up with new projects this year and re-inventing myself to find the joy that keeps me going (isn’t that the fun part about life?).
I’ve challenged myself to write picture books and feeling a bit nostalgic returning to my childhood to access life from a child’s view. I’m also creating an online course for writers (top secret stuff!) that will launch this year. More on that to come!
These re-inventions also include a purging of sorts with cleaning out my home and body. My husband and I just started the Whole30 (a cleaner way of eating) and are also in the process of de-cluttering our home and lightening the load of things that bog us down.
The basic idea behind both is “going simple”. Life is crazy and hectic and much is out of our control. Simplifying what we put in our bodies and what we surround ourselves with in our home can have a calming effect that helps us stay in control. One word that encompasses this theme is “joy”.
Dreaming of new ways to find joy is exhilarating and terrifying all at once. But then this …
And then this … (mourns Carrie Fisher)
What makes our bodies feel joy? What makes our soul feel joy? Which people bring us joy?
For me it’s that high from flying down a back road on my bike, the sun splashing upon me, the leaves waving me on.
It’s the book that inspires me to ask new questions and seek new meaning.
It’s the story on the page that makes my fingers fly faster on the keyboard.
It’s the friends who boost me up and keep me laughing when I stumble.
It’s the love at home that surrounds me in comfort and belonging.
Life should be joyful. And it’s never too late to seek it out. If something doesn’t bring us joy, let it go. This is my goal in 2017. Find the joy in every day.
What brings you joy? What joy are you seeking this year?
It’s hard to believe 9/11 was 15 years ago.
I got married the same month. Now I am reliving it with my son through footage. As the second plane crashed. As the first tower fell. Then the second. The Pentagon. The plane in a Pennsylvania field. The heroes. The dead. The shock rushing back into me as I sat home all day glued to the t.v. thinking the world had gone mad.
My son wanted to know how we felt watching it unfold. I could not find the words to explain how I felt. Sometimes you just can’t.
I love New York. All of it. I grew up on a mountain above Albany. “Upstate” as New Yorkers would say. It was when I got my first job out of college and moved to Nutley, New Jersey, across the river from the Big Apple that I overcame my fear of big cities. And I fell in love with New York City. This giant, pounding alive thing. It surged with lights, noise, smells, and people.
Here I was, a country girl living just across from the big city. All alone. I forced myself to drive into its grandness. The Lincoln Tunnel sucked me up into its curved darkness. I was afraid of being swallowed up. But I wasn’t. In all that organized madness, I was free. It made me feel so alive. To walk anywhere. To see it all. And no one knowing who I was. No one knowing buy tramadol where I was. Free. And safe. New York City made me feel safe.
This doesn’t sound so extraordinary. But it was for me. I fought panic attacks for years. Panic of the new, of being out in open spaces, of people, of crowds. I would grocery shop at midnight when no one was there. Always parking in the same spot. It was safe.
It took me years to finish college at a large university. Each process of getting to campus was an agonizing step. First, park. Then measure the distance of walking to my class building. Avoid people. But they’re everywhere! Wear sunshades to feel invisible. Find a seat in class alongside the wall to feel safe. Try to get through class without sweating profusely or spastic coughing. It was not a safe place. Safe was home, alone between comforting walls. Safe.
Then along came a career and a big city to conquer. Only while conquering the big city, it conquered my phobias. From Times Square to the Lexington Deli to the Guggenheim to Broadway and home across the river. In a world of flowing people I felt safe. Alone and free and safe.
So thank you New York for embracing me and showing me your chaotic beauty and grandeur.
Thank you for making me feel safe when I could not before.
Thank you for helping me overcome my anxieties and find freedom in your vast and colorful landscape.
We still feel that same way about you.
You haven’t let us down yet. The heroes of 9/11 never did.
We won’t let you down.
And we will never forget.