Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Be Very Afraid
Our guest blogger today is author JA Konrath, who writes a mystery series about a Chicago cop named Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels. He's currently on a blog tour for the month of March to promote AFRAID, a horror novel he penned under the name Jack Kilborn, which will be released on the 31st. More at his great blog: A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.
Now, here's Joe.
Let's talk about reviews.
I've had my share of good reviews, and a few bad reviews, and I know different people have different tastes so I take it all in stride.
But today's blog isn't about professional reviews. Because, frankly, newspapers and magazines are going under faster than we can count them.
Today I want to talk about a type of reviews that are gaining popularity. The ones people are actually listening to.
It's no secret that word-of-mouth is the strongest form of book promotion. When was the last time you bought a book because you saw an ad for it? Compare that to a friend who says, "Oh my god, you have to read this!"
Chances are, the friend is more persuasive than the ad.
Which brings us to this wonderful form of communicaiton known as the Internet.
For the first time, in the history of reviewing, anyone with a computer and a modem can share their opinions with the entire world. And people are doing just that, in record numbers, on dozens of different websites and thousands of different blogs, newsgroups, listservs, and message boards.
And I'll be 100% honest here: your words do count.
We've all been on Amazon.com, wondering if we should or shouldn't buy a certain book. What sways us one way or the other?
The reviews do. An average of three or more stars usually means I'll take a chance and buy the book. Less then two stars means I'll get my copy from the library, if at all.
In the past, high-profile critics told us what we should and shouldn't like. But now, majority rules, and the masses are a pretty good judge of if a book is good or not.
Which brings me to a question I'd like to ask: Do you post reviews?
I have a vested interest in reviews and being reviewed, because I'm a writer.
But I'm also a reader. A reader who enjoys sharing his opinion. A reader who thinks it's important to play cheerleader for my peers. A reader who recognizes how important a few sentences can be to someone considering buying a book.
So I've posted my fair share of Amazon.com reviews, and I've posted a few on some other sites as well.
Could I do more? Sure.
Now how about you?
If you believe reader reviews are helpful, if you love books as much as I do, if you want to help authors that you enjoy, why aren't you posting more reviews?
You really don't have any excuses. If you're a writer, it's a
no-brainer: you're helping to propagate the species, and what goes around comes around. If you're a reader, it's a no-brainer: your review will help a writer sell more books, and we all know what happens to writers who don't sell enough.
So where should you post reviews?
Amazon.com is an obvious choice. But very few people also post those same reviews on its sister sites, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca.
Other bookstore sites that allow for reviews are www.BN.com, Borders.com and BooksaMillion.com.
You could write a five sentence review, then post it on all of these sites in less than ten minutes.
You can also post your reviews, and meet like-minded fellow readers and writers, at Shelfari.com,LibraryThing.com, and Goodreads.com.
If you're a mystery fan, you can post reviews on Booksnbytes.com, or join the Listserv DorothyL.com, or visit the newsgroup news:rec.arts.mystery on Usenet.
Other places to post include ibookdb.net/reviews, BestSellersWorld.com,Horror-mall.com,Crimespace.ning.com, and Redroom.com.
And don't forget your social networking sites, www.MySpace.com,Facebook.com, and www.Twitter.com.
If you're really hardcore, and have an eye for detail, you can edit www.wikipedia.com and add your favorite authors, along with synopses of their best books.
Your opinion really does matter. And authors really do care.
In fact, I care so much, that I'm giving away free copies of my new horror novel, AFRAID, to people who post links to new reviews (reviews they've just posted today) about any book from any author on the Outfit blog.
Go to one of the sites I listed above, and write a review about a book by Sean Chercover, Barbara D'Amato, Michael Allen Dymmoch, Kevin Guilfoile, Libby Hellmann, Sara Paretsky, or Marcus Sakey.
You've read their stuff. Now post your thoughts online. If you've already reviewed them, you can cut and paste that review onto another webite.
Post your new links in the comments section. I'll randomly pick three people to get free books. And by "random" I mean that the more reviews you post, the better chance you have of winning.
Now go share your opinion with the world.