Monday 1 September 2014

Somebody Read Your Book and Hasn’t Reviewed it Yet

Signs of a problem: an individual mentions having read your book; ‘refresh’ key is wearing out.

The symptoms: frustration; impatience; concern.

When your former teacher’s sister reads your book, you couldn’t be more delighted.

“She loved it!” says Mr Squib.

Later that day, you rush to your computer and excitedly open your product page. Your heart sinks. There are no new reviews.

How could this have happened? You specifically told Mr Squib that your life – ok, career – depends on reviews and yet here is somebody who could write a review but hasn’t.

Do not track down the reader and stare at her in an intimidating fashion. Do not call Mr Squib and mention that the review does not yet exist. For all you know, the reader may be planning on leaving a review and your impatience could put her off.

Instead, engineer a chance encounter with Mr Squib. Work out where he does his shopping (easily done by following him home from work and surveying his house). Then, hang around in the foyer of his preferred supermarket until you see him enter. Then, casually stroll over and pretend that bumping into him is a total surprise.

Do not mention your book straight away. Ask about the weather. Enquire about his sister’s piles. Then mention how much your book needs reviews in order to reach its full potential.

If, after 48 hours, still no review appears, repeat the process with the reader herself: Mr Squib’s sister.

If, after a further 48 hours, no review appears, try to be adult about it and quietly move on to securing the next review. Do not post jars of bees through letter boxes, do not let down any car tyres and do not turn up at their places of work dressed as a giant, inflatable arse.

Remember, Mr Squib is a teacher – there’s nothing like terrifying a few hundred children to really dent an author’s reputation.

Additional Blog-Exclusive Advice

Chris Bailey

The truth is, for a self-published author, your work is never really over. And unless your readers are other authors, they may never understand how important reviews are to you.

Reviewers will forget, they will take longer than expected to read your book and you do need to keep at it. The best way is to keep that friendly exterior going, no matter how much you want to scream. Yes, they will make you wait whilst they upload pictures of their tea or their children on the potty.

You will also worry that a review from a friend of a friend is biased and it will eat away at the corners of your brain. But have faith. I recently reviewed a book by someone I know and have a great respect for. Was my review biased you ask? Was it buggery! It was a damn good book! If you enjoy someone’s work, show your support and they might just do the same for you.

You have to start somewhere. Your book is entering a bookstore filled with millions of books, the reviews will come but you have to wait, as much as it kills you.

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