There’s absolutely nothing better than reading an awesome review of your book. The very best are reviews that compare your writing/book to a favorite author. Whenever anyone compares one of my cozy murder mysteries to Janet Evanovich, I nearly pee my pants in glee. Naturally, you want to share that happiness with the entire freaking world! And then you think: “This is great opportunity to sell some books!” Yes, book sales! That’s what we like! That’s what we want!
Wait! Hold up! Before you start to spread quotes from that review all over social media, let’s talk a minute. First and foremost, do you have permission to share the review? Sorry, recovering lawyer here. Most bloggers and reviewers are happy for you to spread the word but a few aren’t. Professional review services such as Kirkus most definitely have strict rules about using their reviews. Just quickly check before you start shouting from the rooftops.
Now’s a good time to brag to all your friends and family. Get that out. Share the excitement. All done? Good. Let’s talk strategy now that you’re not too excited to sit down. Because you should have a strategy. Full disclosure: I’m as guilty as the next writer of screaming down the rooftops (aka Twitter and Facebook) when I’ve received a good review. I like to think I’ve since grown as a writer and marketer. (Shhhh… let me just revel in my disillusion a little longer.)
Where can you share a review blurb?
- On a book cover,
- In the book blurb (on a retailer site such as Amazon),
- On the first pages of the novel,
- On social media,
- In editorial reviews.
I’m sure there are tons more places to share a review blurb, but let’s stick to the above for now. I discussed sharing a review blurb on a book cover last week (see here). To sum it up – I’m not a believer. Moving on.
On book retailer websites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., you can write your own book blurbs. Too often (in my humble but honest opinion), authors include review excerpts at the start of the book blurb. When I’m searching Amazon on my phone, I often can’t even see the book blurb as the review excerpts take up all the space! I’m sure there are readers out there who are more likely to read a book because JK Rowling recommended it. But the vast majority of these review blurbs are written by writers or reviewers that no one knows! Do you want potential readers to have to scroll past review blurbs before they even know what your book is about? *Moves on to next book*
There are also writers who add pages and pages of reviews to the first pages of the novel. This really irritates me. First of all, I downloaded your book so obviously I want to read it or at least give it a try. Stop pushing me already! Secondly, if this book is part of the kindle unlimited, then the author just got paid for me ‘reading’ those pages. At this point, there’s a good chance I won’t enjoy your novel no matter how good it is.
There is a perfectly acceptable way to add reviews to Amazon without angering readers – an editorial review. These reviews are placed under the book blurb and above customer reviews – a prominent position, in other words. This is a great way to share reviews from reviewers who don’t put their review on Amazon. It’s also a means to add extra emphasis to those exemplary reviews.
Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty. If you’ve been doing your homework as an author, you’ve read a gazillion articles with advice on how to use social media to promote your ‘author brand’. Undoubtedly, one piece of advice you’ve read is to not overwhelm your followers with sales pitches. But is the sharing of a review a sales pitch? Well (warning: lawyerly response), sometimes.
Yes, I’m annoying. I know it, and I won’t apologize. The problem in deducing whether sharing a review blurb is a sales pitch too far is in how it’s done. I follow some authors (or I used to!) who are continuously talking about their books. When they share a review, my response is ‘oh great, another post about their books!’. *Clicks Unfollow Button* But when I follow a writer who mostly uses their twitter feed (or whatever social media platform) to share interesting content as well as information about their books, I’m totally okay with a review blurb here or there. How much? Well, that’s the tight rope we’ve got to walk as writers, isn’t it? Because everyone’s different and that includes social media followers. Use your discretion. Try to look at your social media feed as an uninterested third party – would you follow yourself?
Total honesty – I probably would have unfollowed myself two years ago. *Ouch*