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How to Get More Book Reviews as an Author

This is a guest post by Felita Daniels.

Thanks Amber for having me at your wonderful blog.  I’ve been reading some of the other posts, there’s some great authors sharing about their passion.  Since I run Lilac Reviews, I thought I talk a bit about how to obtain more reviews.
Authors are sometimes puzzled by the amount of reviews their books receive.  They know how many of their books have sold.  At author signings and conferences their readers tell them they enjoyed their books.  So why do they have such a variance in the number of reviews versus sales? I believe there are a couple of reasons for this.  For this discussion, I’m focusing on those that are just reading for their own enjoyment, not blogging or as part of their education as a writer.
1. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
2. They don’t realize how important their review is, especially for a new author.
3. They don’t know how to go about it.

If you have a magic wand to solve #1, you will have a slew of new best friends. I’m first in line.  We can, however, influence the other situations.
Any industry has its mechanics that managers and entrepreneurs wrestle. Authors are learning about marketing themselves as a brand and their books as their products.  Our readers (or customers) are not responsible for learning the ins and outs of the publishing business.  They simply may not be aware how their one voice can make such a difference for us. So we need to gently educate them of this impact.
Some authors share with me that they feel awkward asking for a review.  That’s understandable.  Your work is personal.  I’m not suggesting you wrestle your readers to the floor.  If you are one of these shy types, start small.  Next time you are at a public venue, promise yourself to ask just one reader to leave a review. Conversationally, let them know it’s not scary like book reports from school days.  Tell them it’s what they would say to a friend in the lunchroom when asked, “How do you like that book?” It doesn’t have to be long, just from the heart.
As writers we have developed a discipline to write daily, or on some schedule to address that blank page. All they may need to get started is what we would call a writing prompt.  Our readers are wonderful people and they can keep up their part of the conversation.  All they need is a question to break the ice with potential readers! Did you like the small town setting?  Who did you love to hate? Did you laugh, cry? Did any of the scenes make you cringe? What did you think about the main character?
If you absolutely are still too nervous to ask them for a review, make up some bookmarks. On the back let them know how grateful you are for readers that leave a review.  You would like to hug every blessed one that shared their reading experience with others.  Those reviews are what keep you going when you are writing your next tough scene.
If they love reading your books, and you’ve conveyed how much you love them for it, they may just make the time. Love, well, isn’t that the magic wand we were looking for!

Felita Daniels runs Lilac Reviews. She is also a member of the East Tennessee Creative Writers Alliance.  Preparing a workshop for this organization on getting reviews was the impetus for her soon to be released book: Book Reviews- How to Get Them and What to Do With Them (August, 2015).

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