It's Top10 Tuesday. Are you ready for another list?
The 10 Reasons to Love Reviewers are:
1. They lead you to your audience
You may think you know your audience, but maybe you overlooked a certain niche. For example, my target audience for When Chicks Hatch was 18-40. A recent reviewer above 40 pointed out that my book contains the topic of raising adult children. This tells me that a peripheral character spoke to her and helped her find herself in the story. It showed me that I have a wider audience that I hadn’t marketed to before.
2. They boost your exposure, promoting you to readers who might not have known about your book otherwise
A strong reviewer is generally active on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. She likely has a strong blog following as well. This means that her review of your book could quickly go viral. This puts your story in the faces of thousands of internet users who may have never heard about your book, but suddenly want to know more.
3. They give honest feedback that can offer valuable insight for you
I cover this subject on my blog HERE, so I won’t elaborate too much. Just know that those “bad reviews” will turn out not so bad after all providing you learn something from them.
4. They build your credibility on Amazon
The number of reviews you have and the average rating are a great testimonial of how your book is resonating with readers. The viral nature of a successful review will expand your platform by bringing new fans your way. Platform is a key element in cementing a great publisher. The larger your platform, the closer they’ll listen.
5. They are more likely to be built-in influencers for your next projects
The reviewers who brought your first book acclaim should be the first people you reach out to when your second book is complete. They can be your earliest influencers. Send them ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and let them loose to promote to their audience and build excitement.
6. They make you aware of editing and formatting issues that even your editors may have missed
I have a slew of grammar gurus on the CWA Review Crew. These ladies may not always include all of the editing/ formatting issues they find in their reviews, but they do send private messages to me to pass along to the author. This feedback is gold. It’s seriously crazy what an editor can miss sometimes.
7. The best reviews could be used in your author promotional materials
You’ll find my reviews listed HERE on my blog. Of course I think my book is great, but I want would-be-readers to hear the praise from other readers. Then, potential readers will understand that this is a book they’ll like too.
8. The more a reader feels they know you, the stronger their fan connection will be. If you interact with your reviewers, their audience will notice and you then break down the invisible wall between author and reader.
Interaction is so important. The more connection the readers feel towards you, the greater their influence will be. It just makes sense. I would promote my best friend (or even the random writer I met once at a writer’s meeting) before I’d promote a stranger. Relationship builds trust. When you fail to publicly thank a reviewer for reading your book, you miss an opportunity.
9. They can make you a household name
You can actually track a reviewer’s influence online, but what you may not recognize is that these are opinionated people who likely share their opinions outside of the blogosphere. They have influence at the gym, in their churches, at the school yard, in their work place, at mommy’s night out, at sport’s games and various other events. At some appropriate setting your book may be the basis of their conversation. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been to dinner with friends and something in the conversation will bring me back to “That reminds me of this book I just read . . .” Don’t underestimate that influence that you can’t see.
10. The reviewers who love your writing will become your greatest cheerleaders, urging you to keep writing.
This is my favorite part. Sure, I love the promotion. The high rating make me grin for days, but what truly touches my heart is when a reader sends me a private note. I recently received a private Facebook message that began “I just finished the book....tell me there will be a sequel”. This makes me over-the-moon happy. When I want to quit, when I feel insecure and my inner critic is tying me in knots, I can look at that message and remind myself that I have readers itching for my next book. I have to get this done. I owe them. It’s an outstanding motivator for me.
Now, you probably noticed that one BIG thing is not on my list, sales. Many authors see reviews as just a way to make sales. Unfortunately, there is no credible evidence that a review promotes a sale. The sale could occur because that reviewer made your book viral and people who saw it purchased. The sale could be a result of that table conversation over dinner that piqued someone’s interest and led them to buy a copy. It could be a result of the primary blog post or even your own marketing efforts that did the trick. You won’t know for sure. Hear my heart on this: A reviewer’s primary mission is not to sell your book, but to share their thoughts on it with their audience. This is enough. Knowledge is power and (more often than not) knowledge means sales.