Everyone knows that a good review is great for your book. But it will not, on its own, increase sales for your book. You have to use that thing!
1. Use a portion of the review on your book
Front Cover If the review is good, and I mean really, really good, and it is from a very noteworthy source, and you are ready for a new print run, you might want to put a snippet from the review on the cover or back of the book. This only works well when the reviewer is likely to draw attention. This is not the place for a review from an Amazon customer.
Inside Flap or Back Cover These are also good places to put reviews. These work when you have too many quotes to put on the front or the review isn’t from someone high-profile enough for the front cover.
Inside the Book If your review is from a B-list actor or an author in your genre that maybe isn’t very well-known, or just, in general, does not meet front-of-the-book status, you can put the review on a page inside the front of the book. This is a great place to put multiple reviews, and to put a little more of the review text.
2. Run some advertising that uses the review
Make sure to use snippets of reviews in all of your marketing going forward. It is one thing for you to promote your book, but it gives the promotion legs whenever you pair it with favorable words from an outside source.
3. Link your social media to the review
Lots of reviews today are done online or have an online component. Run the link on your Facebook page, Twitter, or whatever other social media you are using. You can run the link more than once. First, you might thank the reviewer for their kind words. A week or so later, you could reflect on the review. A little later you could tag it with “see what others are saying about my book.” You can get a lot of mileage out of the review this way. If you have a website, that is also an excellent place to post the full review.
4. Alert the marketing team about your review so they can let sales reps, book sellers, and online retailers know. We have a marketing update form for a reason. We often hear about reviews in other ways, but we don’t want to miss an important one that we can use as a sales handle. Also, lots of well-established reviewers will automatically post your review with online retailers like Amazon, but not all do, so we can facilitate that for you.
5. Encourage friends and readers to give online reviews
Though you don’t want a review from an Amazon customer on the front of a book, these are still a great way to promote the book. As online sales continue to grow and bookstores continue to shrink shelf space, a big issue is discoverability. A good review on these outlets can push a customer to buy. Goodreads is another excellent site for customer reviews.
6. Update promotional tools displayed in all tradeshows and book signing events to include the review
Any time you are promoting your book, you want to use your reviews. Reviews lend credibility to your book at these types of events. At trade shows, attendees see a lot of material all at once, so you need to use whatever you have to make your book stand out in their memories. A good review is a great way to do this. At a signing you are face to face with your customers, and again, a good review gives you credit.
A while ago I saw a bit about reviews for The Funny Man by John Warner in Jane Friedman’s blog, Jane Friedman: Being Human at Electric Speed. For this book, he has solid reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The Daily Beast named the novel one of the best debuts of the fall season and it was recommended by Picky Girl. He also has several blurbs. This guy seemed to have it all.
He says in the interview that he is “eternally grateful for all of these things…but by themselves, these are not even close to ‘enough’ to sell the book to anything other than relatively paltry, ‘friends and family,’ numbers. That said, I’m hopeful that all these little sparks have the potential to catch fire.”
I think this is key; to remember that a good review is a piece of a puzzle that helps to sell a book, but it takes a lot more as well. It certainly doesn’t hurt, though! Again, congratulations, and here’s to using that review to its potential!