Although I’ve learned many new things about writing since Mariachi Murder and Island Casualty have come out, one of the most interesting is the power of reviews—all reviews. Last spring I had a chance to hear Sara Wendell speak about blogging. She runs the blog http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/. She reviews steamy romance books most of the time, but she also gives talks to help writers. When she spoke to the Romance Writers, she explained something that hadn’t occurred to me. She impressed upon us that ANY REVIEW is useful. Sure, we like positive reviews. We want people to say that our material is wonderful and that they loved every word we wrote. But a whole bunch of tremendously good reviews doesn’t help readers. They need the nitty-gritty. They want to know the controversy. They want to know what’s wrong.
|Sarah Wendell with books!|
Sara went on to explain that people rely on reviews all the time. Why? Our lives are too complex. Need a new computer? Get on Tiger Direct and read about the ten you thought you were the most interested in. It’s the same for all products. We don’t have time to check everything out for ourselves. We need help. We need shortcuts. Reviews provide that. But if the only people who are reviewing your book say how wonderful it is without saying why, you won’t attract much attention.
What really sells books, Sara impressed upon us, are funny, negative reviews. In other words, let’s say someone reviews your mystery and claims, “Good story, but too much sex.” That’s a great review--especially if the next reader gets on there and says, “Hey, great story, not enough sex!” Readers love to see controversy—both in your novel and on the review page. If someone hates your book, they’re as likely to think, “Well, I might like it” as they are to think “Oh, goodness, I will never buy this book.”
|Courtesy of Graur Codin Free Digital Photos . net|
Reviews are tools, but people like to measure their own reactions against those tools. They’re not content to sit back and rely on the reviews necessarily. They want to find the source of the differences. They want to have their own chance to react either positively or negatively.
Above all, Sara says, you must learn to celebrate. If someone says something about you on the Internet, that’s GOOD. Even if it’s bad. And so, take heart, fellow writers. If someone complained about your book in a review, so be it. Publicity is publicity. Now, just so you all know, Island Casualty definitely has tooooo much sex……..
|New novel has too much sex? You decide!|