#PubSmartCon Pieces: Buying Reviews

During PubSmart, there was lots of talk about discoverability — how readers discover our books and how we can help them discover our books. While there was pretty much a consensus that word-of-mouth is still king when it comes to discoverability, there are a variety of ways to get our books into readers’ hands.

One way is by buying pre-publication reviews. Personally, I’m still on the fence about paying for reviews. I’m not so sure a (paid for) Kirkus Review holds more weight than a (free) Goodreads or an Amazon review for the majority of thriller readers, but I do know several authors who utilize reviews as a marketing tool and have had good experiences.

How much do reviews for self-published books cost? Here are three examples that were mentioned during a panel discussion:

Cost of review from Kirkus: $425

Cost of review from BlueInk Reviews: $395

Cost of review from Publishers Weekly’s PW Select: $149

Also, during the conference’s luncheon, I sat next to a woman named Kiffer Brown, president of a company called Chanticleer Book Reviews & Media, which also offers review opportunities. As with crowdfunding, which I discussed yesterday, I don’t know if I’m ready to shell out the cash yet for this service, but it’s nice to know it’s out there if we authors need it.

Have you paid for any reviews for your book? Which ones? What has your experience been?

 

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10 Ways Authors Respond to Bad Reviews (Which One Are You?)

It’s bound to happen — the dreaded bad review. Authors get them all the time. Find your most beloved book on Amazon, and you’re bound to come across someone who has called it “a colossal waste of time.” Hey, it happens. When it happens to me, I try to adopt a “grin and bear it” attitude, although, truth be told, even after twenty years as a freelance writer, rejection — as much as my rational mind knows it’s a part of the business — still stings. Over the years, though, I’ve seen writers respond to bad reviews in all kinds of ways. Here are 10 of the most common:

  1. The Egotist: “Obviously, this person has no concept of good writing or storytelling. I can’t fathom why Amazon even would allow this uninformed and uneducated opinion to be shared.”
  2. The Conspiracy Theorist: “Obviously, this person has not read the book and is totally out to get me. I read The New York Times. I know what’s going on with all those bogus reviews. I have a good mind to flag this review and report this reader to the authorities.”
  3. The Wimp: “Oh my god, it’s true. I have no talent. What was I thinking? I should have never left plumbing school.”
  4. The Teacher: “It is impossible for me to take seriously a review that is so chock-full of grammatical errors and/or illogical conclusions.”
  5. The Overreactor: “I should have had more women under thirty represented in my book? Well, I’ll show you! My next book will feature fifteen women who are under thirty, all with variations of the same name!”
  6. The Overthinker: “What exactly does it mean that my book ‘stretches credibility’? Does it mean that my plot isn’t believable, or that my characters are not? Or is it referring to both? Or does it mean that my plot and characters are totally fine, but the problem is in my interpretation? Or maybe…”
  7. The Explainer: “This reader just did not understand what I was going for, so I am going to plead my case to this reader in a comment under her review, and I will continue to plead, explain and cajole, in as many back-and-forth comments as it takes, until I have gotten her to change her mind!”
  8. The Wise-Ass: “Hmmm… so my characters seem inauthentic? And, like, I’m sure you’re qualified to make that judgment based on what? Your many years of creative writing teaching? As if.”
  9. The Martyr: “I spend YEARS and YEARS of my life trying to capture the human condition, and this is what I get?”
  10. The Ignorer: “Oh, sorry, I never read my reviews.” (Bullshit.)

How do YOU handle a bad review?