Today we're going to talk about how to give your favorite author a long, happy, and stress free life.
Okay, maybe not stress free, but it'll hopefully at least keep them writing more books.
I'll let you in on a little secret. Human beings are like sharks that smell chum. It's human nature to want to see what happened with that train wreck. Why do we have traffic jams? Because of rubber-neckers. We want to see what the fuss is all about.
Same thing with books. If a book has a ton of reviews, it's going to garner attention. It helps the author get noticed, hit lists, come up in search engines, etc. All of which are so very important for a new author to make their way in the vast book jungle.
Reviews not only give exposure and help with sales, but they also give that author support and encouragement to keep on writing. You may not realize it, but authors are human beings (Well most of us are, the jury's still out on Anne Rice, she may actually indeed be a vampire.) We have feelings, and often times you'll find us circling the drain of self-doubt. A review may just save an author from setting fire to his/her computer. A review may give them the encouragement needed to write that sequel. A review may even save their career.
Because, guess what? We get just as excited when we see a new review hit as you do fan-girling over the book!
That was pretty much me when I saw my very first review. It's a feeling unlike any other in this world when a perfect stranger picked your book out of the millions of books available and decided to take the time to write about it for the world to see. That means something huge. Reviews help bridge that gap between the reader and the author. Let me tell you, I can guarantee you even Anne Rice, or Jennifer Armentrout will never forget their first review. Or even their five-hundredth, if it made a fan squeal with delight those words left will stick with us.
If you think your words don't matter, think again. Every review matters. Every fan matters. Especially to us little guys out here just starting out in the world. We're like weebly toddlers, unsure as we take our first steps into the world. Even if it's one or two lines, it makes a difference to that author. It doesn't have to be a novel of gratitude and undying love (all of which are okay if you chose to do so). Just enough time to stop by and say, hey, I liked your words. Keep it up.
And now, in return...authors...I want to talk to you. Let's remember to keep ourselves in check.
1) You're going to get a craptastic 1 star review at one point in your career. Even the great authors out there have gotten 1 star reviews.
Watch this if you think I'm lying.
Go look up your favorite book on the planet. There was someone who gave it 1 star. It's a right of passage. Remember all those rejections from the query trenches so long ago before you had an actual book published? Yeah...channel that thick skin. Sometimes while riding the high of a 5 star review, you'll hit turbulence, and a 1 star will dive bomb you. Embrace it and move on. Do not be this person!
2) Also, try and not be this person as well.
It's really hard trying to get your name out there. It's really hard to do promo and drum up a readership when you're just starting out. But let your work speak for itself. Let friends, family, and your author network of support get the word out. And it's really hard not to try and remind folks to kindly leave a review when they're done reading. Because, let's face it...life gets busy, people get side-tracked like a dog seeing a squirrel. Book reviews often get forgotten about. But if you have to relentlessly hound your street team, family, friends, coworkers, FB friends, Twitter, etc to write a review, you're going to turn off your potential readership. I guarantee you.
I'm writing this blog post for you, on your behalf. Don't resort to groveling to try and get folks to do something. It will always have the opposite effect.
3) If someone does you a solid and actually gives you a review? THANK THEM, and leave it at that. Do not try and hunt them down and figure out why they didn't give you a 5 star review when they only gave you 4. Thank your lucky 4 stars they took the time to give you that.
ALL of publishing is subjective. If you haven't figured that out as an author, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate your career path. Not everyone's going to love your book baby as much as you do. Mainly because it doesn't play out in their mind like the movie did in your head when writing it. You can't please everyone all the time. So make sure you're writing the story for you. And if someone happens to interpret it the way you intended, celebrate!! If someone liked it, but doesn't want to marry your book boyfriend....do not try and change their mind or beg them to give you 5 stars instead of 4. It will only devalue yourself as an author if you have to beg, borrow or steal those 5 stars. If you don't want an honest review of your work, don't ask for reviews. Oh wait, you shouldn't be asking for them to begin with. Didn't we already cover that?
And, lastly.....Back to readers...Please don't be this person:
The power of the interwebs runs rampant. Some people feel the need to hide behind their screen names and make up for the time Santa refused to bring them that Cabbage Patch Doll when they were 7. Or disgruntled author can't handle success of fellow author. Or their cousin left them at the alter for the family goat. Whatever the reason people feel the need to lash out and tap into their inner douchecanoe....it happens. It happens a lot. People who didn't even read the book leave a 1 star review. People rate a book 1 star before it ever even comes out.
Just, please think about the author on the receiving end. That's all I ask. Because, as we've discussed....word of mouth is the most powerful tool you have as a reader. Use that power wisely.
So, in closing, here's a helpful check list to help out your favorite authors, or your soon to be favorite authors.