All I Want for Christmas Is...Reviews!

Tuesday, December 12, 2023
A friend sent a page from her 2022 Page-A-Day calendar since we’d been talking about my book and reviews. I laughed out loud, because this, I imagine, is what the typical reader thinks an author expects:

When in reality, most authors would be just as happy to have a review like this: 

Now, I do have a respectable number of reviews for my debut cozy mystery, Secrets Laid to Rest, and I appreciate each and every one of them! But compared to the number of books sold, well…that’s another story. 

So who are the people who leave reviews for an indie author like me? 

Regular reviewers, whether they consider themselves professional or hobbyists, can provide quite detailed and well-written reviews. If you’re looking for reviewers, research your genre. Many reviewers just love to read, and getting free books is payment enough for them. 

Or consider a promotional book tour like we have here at WOW!Women-on-Writing. It’s a great way to not only get reviews but also build followers and get a book noticed out into the wide web world. (And it pays to remember those followers when one needs a review for upcoming books. How do you recruit them? That’s what social media and newsletters are for, y’all.) 

Writer/author friends make great reviewers! These reviews often read like a blurb from the back of the book. I’ve certainly written my fair share of reviews for my author/writer friends and I try to think in terms of attracting a new reader. I tend to keep reviews pithy; a few sentences, a handful of stars, and if a book is on Goodreads, I’ll post there and on Amazon. So if you’re a writer, join your pro organizations, make friends. Support your buddies and they’ll often do the same for you. 

Lovely readers—perhaps your friends, your family, your co-workers who didn’t even know you were a writer—make up the rest of the folks who might leave a review. The above review, with the “so far, so good” remark came from family. Honestly, I love that he took the time to leave a note when he received that Amazon email asking what he thought of Secrets Laid to Rest. He’d only read a few pages of the book but he figured he should say something. (More importantly, he left stars. Yay!) 

Keep in mind that it’s intimidating for non-writers to leave a review. They may tell you all day long how much they love your book but writing anything puts them on the spot. (And maybe they’re not even sure how to go about it!) 

Bottom line is that regular reviewers—unless they’re compensated—may not get around to your book. Your author friends have great intentions but busy lives; they, too, may not have time to write a review. And all those lovely readers might buy a dozen books from you but please don’t ask them to write a review! So what’s an author to do when all she wants for Christmas is reviews of her book? 

Just keep asking, y'all. (And it wouldn’t hurt to ask Santa, too.)


Jodi Webb said...

Do you reach out to people and ask if they'll leave a review or just leave it and hope for the best? BTW this Santa's elf is hoping to get Secrets Laid to Rest and a review up by Dec. 25!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Thanks so much, Jodi! I post gentle reminders on FB and honestly, it's a little embarrassing how much I ask. I've done everything except send out a template with instructions! (Which may be coming in 2024! Hahaha!)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Review left by Santa:
I may have to shift Cathy Hall to my naughty list. Her book was so engrossing that I was late getting going on Christmas Eve.

But, in all seriousness, some really good ideas here on how to get reviews.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Santa Baby, all I really want is a review, from you. That's not asking a lot, Santa Baby, so hurry down my chimney tonight!😁 (Thanks, Sue!)

Yvonne Osborne said...

I agree, it is intimidating for non writers to write a review, but important to know and tell, a simple one-liner and stars is enough. Good post!

Renee Roberson said...

I'm happy I've been able to contribute to your reviews! And also, I see a blog post in your future with a template for what to include in reviews. Number one: PLEASE don't leave spoilers in the review! I've had so many books ruined for me that way. But seriously, even I still get intimidated when it's time to write a review because I know how important it is to the author.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Don't you think that part of what makes leaving a review so intimidating is the need not to give too much away?

Cathy C. Hall said...

I'm all for a one liner, Yvonne, and yes, spoilers! That does make me crazy, Renee, but readers who are regular reviewers will almost always give a spoiler alert.

Perhaps you're right, Sue, but I think what's most off-putting about writing a review is the writing part! :-)

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