One of the biggest questions I hear from other indie authors is how to get reviews on their novels. Amazon and Goodread reviews can be a huge selling point on their platform, as long as the ranking is high enough, but the vast majority of people who get books never leave a review. Because of that, some authors with have a book out for weeks, or even months, without ever seeing a review come in.
But I’ve figured out to get them. I’ve figured out to get them and I am going to share my secret.
You fear them.
Yup, fear. That’s the ticket right there. Ever since I got my first bad review, I stopped looking at the reviews on my book entirely. It seemed like the best way to go about it. No matter how tempted I was to go take a look, I didn’t. I didn’t because of the unabiding fear that my book would have 30 one star reviews calling me a hack and demanding their money back. I expected to go to my Amazon pages and see a large group of villagers with pitchforks and torches.
I live in such deep terror of reviews that I never go on my Amazon page and I actually have two Goodreads pages. One for my author name and one for my real name, so I never have to accidentally read a review. Well, this morning, I fucked up and signed into my author account on Goodreads. I was forced to confront my reviews head on.
To my surprise, they weren’t as bad as I expected. Most people who read my book loved it and most of them wrote some pretty good reviews. There was one on that made me laugh out loud. The reviewer really hated my male lead, Cole, to the point where she stated she wished Sal had lit him on fire and tossed him into a swamp in the Everglades.
I decided that review had two positives. One, I apparently made Cole real enough to inspire that much hatred, and two, she gave me an idea for the sequel. Truth be told, sometimes I hated Cole too.
With my curiosity fully inspired, I decided to go over to my Amazon page, expecting a corresponding number of reviews. Maybe two or three…
Murphy’s law right there. Because I was afraid of reviews, I got a ton of reviews. Meanwhile, people who want nothing more than a review or two find their pages empty month after month. To my surprise, nobody wants me dead. The bad review that originally made me go into hiding was still there, but there were a ton of good ones on top of it that actually made me feel good about what I wrote and told me I was on the right track.
Turns out, you can write a book about someone who takes advice from a Gary Busey hallucination and still get people to take you seriously as an author.
While I’m very glad I looked, because it was a definite confidence boost as I try to finish my sequel and a novella at the same time, I think I’m going to stand by my original decision to avoid my reviews and concentrate on my writing instead. As far as I’m concerned, reviews are for readers and there is no reason to torture myself by looking at them.
Plus, I don’t think my heart can take the stress. I’m kind of a wuss. So readers, review away.
I’ll be in my room, hiding under my bed if you need me.