I read reviews before buying anything—from vitamins to vacation sites. I want to know what others think and their experience before I invest my time and money. If my best friend or someone I don’t know likes a product and states why, then I’ll make the plunge.
Since I’m a writer, I read the reviews of all suspense books by my favorite authors, often downloading the first chapter before handing over my credit card number. Most of my novel purchases are suspense, and I want to read the ones with outstanding reviews.
Book reviews are vital to every writer, although we lay our heart on the line when we ask for an opinion of story and characters. My favorite analogy is reading a review is like sending your child to kindergarten. We never know if our baby will behave or receive a note from the teacher. We writers cringe at the thought of someone not enjoying our stories.
Obtaining a stellar book review has two important criteria:
1. The reviewer is educated in how to present an unbiased book review. This blog post by Cynthia Ruchti gives a detailed report on what a book review is and isn’t.
2. The writer creates an outstanding story. The writer’s responsibility is is my focal point, what writers can do to ensure their books receive a positive review.
Create a Story with Passion
A writer’s initial job is to create a story with passion. In this instance, the writer’s passion for the project can mean the difference between a high concept story and one that a reader gives a discouraging review. We writers are often faced with the dilemma of writing the story of our heart or what the market, an agent, or an editor believes is a great idea. My thoughts? How can a writer do an excellent job if the story idea is not what she desires to write?
Never Stop Learning
Another tip to ensure a better review is to write the best book possible. A professional never stops learning. It’s not enough to have a fabulous idea that keeps the writer up at night. The writer needs the proper tools, which means developing the craft. I’ve said this often in my blogs, but we must continue to read and reread the how-to books; study the bloggers who know and understand the art of story; get involved in a writers’ group, and attend conferences.
Marketing is an Art
Smart marketing means knowing who, what, where, when, and why of getting a book into the hands of readers. Effective marketing is an art. Every day we are bombarded with the latest and greatest ways to promote our work. Some ideas are excellent; some are expensive, and some aren’t worth the time and energy.
Take time to study social media and establish which ones will work best for you. Read the blogs written by those who are experts. Develop a marketing and promotion spreadsheet that indicates what needs to be done according to how many months before publication. And enlist readers and bloggers who can give a fair review of your novel.
We can’t ask reviewers to give us a favorable report but to give an honest assessment of our work. Our job is always to write an outstanding novel.
DiAnn Mills is an award winning writer who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011.
DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.