Today's challenge is to review a book on Amazon.
Wait a minute: Reviewing someone else's book is a marketing tool??
Sure it is. A book review is helpful to the book's author, but it also makes good content for you. I write reviews on Goodreads because it's a good thing to do for other authors - and since my FB page and twitter is linked to my Goodreads page, my reviews are automatically posted on my FB and Twitter. I've been surprised how often my reviews are "liked" and commented on, my tweets retweeted or favorited. That helps my SEO rating.
Book reviews are great content for your blog post, too. And who reads book reviews? READERS. Just the people you want to attract to your website, where they can see your books. (Because your blog is on your website, right? Read my pre-challenge post here.)
Reviews are a more effective way to attract people to your website than shout-outs that say, "Come see (news) about my book!" Remember, we're using the YOU approach. Do strangers really care that you've published a book? No, that's what you care about; a Buy-My-Book campaign screams "this is all about me".
But if you're meeting their needs to find good new authors to read by offering interesting, honest reviews, and they like the books you recommend, they might check out your books. And if they like the first one, they may buy all your books, because they trust you now. You have their interests at heart, not just your own. All this from reviewing someone else's book.
Review books in your genre, books that are in direct competition with you. What? Throw your potential readers to someone else? Yup. Don't worry. People read faster than authors can write. Ever heard of a reader who just reads one author? Review books in your genre to attract readers in your genre - to get known in that genre. And that author just might review your books. Pay it forward. Not as a trade, and never as you-owe-me, just as a gift. Make friends, build relationships. You'll be rewarded in ways you never expected.
What do I say about the book? Many people think they have to sound brilliant or witty or erudite in a book review. Remember the "You" approach. What does the author need? An honest, fair review that will help readers decide to buy his/her book. What do readers need? An honest, fair review that will tell them whether this book is worth their time and money. Trying to sound brilliant is about you, not them. Just be sincere; say what you liked or didn't like about the book, and why.
Negative reviews. That's up to you, but what is the point of them? Never give a good review if it hasn't been earned - readers will stop trusting your reviews if they buy something on your recommendation and it's terrible. But why slam another author? It hurts them and doesn't make you look particularly good, either. If I can't give a book 3 stars honestly, I don't review it at all. And never review a book you didn't finish. That's not fair to the author or your readers.
Time Issues: Make every review work overtime for you. Copy and paste your Goodreads review onto Amazon and vice versa. FB & tweet them. All reviews don't have to be long. Two sentences will do it. If a book really grabs you and you want to write a more in-depth review, post those on your blog or submit them to a site that accepts reviews. You're getting your name around, and you can link back to your website.
Think of your book reviews as little good-will ambassadors you send out into the world.
Post a book review on Amazon. You can write a new review, or copy and paste the one you wrote on Goodreads.