Do’s & Don’ts for Authors from guest reviewer Colette of A Buckeye Girl Reads (+ giveaway!)

Congratulations, Sibelle Stone. You won Colette’s author promo package from ABG Reads Book Tours. Colette will be in touch!

Please join me in welcoming Colette from A Buckeye Girl Reads to talk to all of us writers and authors about engaging (or not engaging) book reviewers. I met Colette several years ago after a Google Alert popped up in my Inbox with a link to her review of WITCHES ANONYMOUS:

“I found this cute novella completely by chance at Amazon when I bought Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator by Janni Nell. This was one of the books at the bottom of the screen in the area that said books you might like. I clicked on it and thought this would be a cute Halloween read. I was not disappointed!”

In this review, she mentioned WA was the second book to help her out of a reading funk. I was over the moon! Immediately I wanted to contact her and thank her for reading the book and giving it such a nice review but the doubt demons surfaced. That rule about never contacting a reviewer no matter what she said or how she rated your book hung around in the back of my head, keeping me from pressing Send.

But as you all know, I was born to break rules, so I stopped listening to the doubt demons and left a thank you on her blog. She responded kindly and since then, we’ve shared many nice emails and twitter conversations and she’s gone on to review my other WA books. She recently sponsored a blog tour for SOUL PROTECTOR through her company, ABC Reads Book Tours and I can’t thank her enough for all the hard work she did on my behalf. I was delighted when she agreed to stop by Magical Musings and share some advice on handling reviews in a professional manner. Take it away, Colette!

I love to read just about anything I can get my hands on, but I have a weakness for romances of any kind. I started blogging 3 years ago at A Buckeye Girl Reads to help keep track of what I read and have loved every minute of it. I also just started a book promotion site, http://abgreadsbooktours.blogspot.com   to help authors promote their books to readers.

Here are some tips for authors when it comes to dealing with reviews and reviewers:

Don’t be afraid to leave a comment on a review you like. I love getting comments from authors who liked my review. It makes me feel like I am making a difference somehow. If you are uncomfortable leaving a comment you can always send the reviewer a dm on twitter or an email. I’ve had authors do this and it makes my day when I get one. I once had a senior publicist from a major publisher email me and thank me for the review I wrote of a book from one of her authors. (I sat there stunned a little bit after that email.)

Do think twice about correcting what a reviewer wrote in the comments, do it privately in an email instead.  Correcting something publicly never works out well for anyone involved. Book reviewers gossip. A LOT.  An example of this is that in a review of a book I liked I said the only problem I had was I didn’t find the car choice of the hero believable. The author left three comments defending the said car choice. I was then asked not to review for that publisher again. It’s awkward now when I get emails from their authors who I know now to review their books, and I have to say no because of one person’s hurt feelings.

Do engage with your readers on social networking sites. Don’t let those sites be all about promotion of your books. I unfollow authors if all I see are “buy my book” tweets. I have also made a mental list of books not to buy from authors who only spam me with a “look at this review of my book on this site.” However, with authors who do a little bit of promotion, and talk about other things as well as their books  I feel like I want to buy their book because of my conversations with them. (A few of my auto buy authors have come from this type of interaction.)

Don’t ask reviewers to review your books on twitter or fb unless it’s privately done through messaging. Personally, I don’t mind this, but for a lot of my fellow reviewers it’s an automatic unfollow.

Do read the rules that the reviewer has for reviewing books on their site. Nothing annoys me more than getting a request for a book in a genre I don’t read or when I’m not accepting review copies from new authors when it’s clearly stated in my review policy.

Don’t be afraid to personalize your emails when asking for reviews. Nothing says delete to me more than getting an email that starts out: “Dear Buckeye Girl” when my name is all over my blog. I once had an author say how much they liked my rating system and layout design. While I didn’t have time to read their book, I offered to do a guest post or an interview with them instead.

Do remember not to take reviews personally. Reviewers just see the final product and if they liked it or not. Reviews aren’t a criticism against you personally even though it may seem like it.

Authors…Colette has generously offered to give away a special Magical Musings package today: ABG Reads Book Tours is a book tour promotion company that specializes in all kinds of Romance, Urban Fantasy, Chick Lit and Young Adult. Colette is offering a FREE 7 day excerpt tour of your book  and  one twitter chat hosted by @abgreadsbktours  to talk about your book with readers. Chats can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 or however long there is active participation & you want to keep chatting. Leave a comment with your email addy and you’ll be entered to win!

About Misty Evans

USA Today Bestselling Author Misty Evans writes the award-winning Super Agent series, as well as urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy theories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When her muse lets her on the internet to play, she’s on Facebook and Twitter.
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38 Responses to Do’s & Don’ts for Authors from guest reviewer Colette of A Buckeye Girl Reads (+ giveaway!)

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Colette, thank you for being Misty’s guest – and with such great information! And for such a great giveaway package.

    The first year I was published, I did thank the reviewers in the comments. But then I heard the same thing as Misty, that I shouldn’t say anything. I recently had a terrific review for my new novella, Must Worship Cats, in which the reviewer and her cat chimed in about the book. I had to reply (to talk about my and my sister’s cats, as well as to thank her) but I hesitated for long moments. I ended up sending her my latest book, so that turned out well.

    It’s good to know that I can go back to thanking reviewers. Honestly, it felt rude not to thank them.

  2. Thanks for being a guest! I never thought about responding to reviews. I would think that do requests for reviews off of FB or Twitter would be the best way to get reviewers.

    Jesse

  3. Guy Ogan says:

    Thanks for your advice, I’m so new to Paranorma (aka: Vampire) Romance writing that I didn’t even know what a blog was (and from looking at the my attempt at doing my blogspot may not still). Anyway, last week I participated in my first “author interview” and got to respond to some very nice folks about my book. I’ve had only one person (from England) be negative, and that pertained to the part of the book that mentioned my late father’s “tryst” with a young lady in Europe (but it is what kicked off the book and is a critical part of the book – which he hadn’t read). Trying to get my first book “noticed” while finishing the second in the series is the biggest hardship for me.
    Guy Ogan`s last blog was …"IMMORTAL RELATIONS – LOVE & WAR" is almost finished.

  4. Hi Colette – Thanks very much for offering excellent advice here. Your perspective as a reviewer is valuable to us writers and the prize you are offering is most generous!

  5. Here is my email for the drawing that belongs in my previous comment. sophiaknightly@gmail.com

  6. JB Lynn says:

    A big thank you to Misty and Colette for this informative post.

    I’m always curious about how much in advance reviewers schedule their reading/reviews. Do you choose what you’re going to read on a weekly/monthly basis, or do you just pick up whatever grabs you at the moment?

    Love the layout of your blog!

  7. Colette,
    Thank you for giving the perspective of a reviewer. I always want to say thank you for a nice review, but was warned long, long (long) ago never to do so because it made reviewers feel awkward.

    My personal opinion, as an author, is that reviewers are speaking to readers. My personal opinion as a reader is that I enjoy reading other people’s takes on books (and movies, and games). I don’t want to squelch anyone who is being very honest about their gut reaction to a book. That’s what readers are looking for.

    I take issue with a publisher who would ask you not to review their books any longer. That’s not good business sense! After all, there are some readers who know when a particular reviewer doesn’t like a book, it means the readers themselves will love it (like when I say the Thai food isn’t spicy enough, my husband knows that means it is perfect for his tastebuds :-)
    Kelly McClymer`s last blog was …June Wedding Blitz: Regina Duke Explains How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

  8. Guy Ogan says:

    Saw a post saying eMail address needed to be in my post above, thought filling it out to “Leave a Reply” was it, guess not. Here is my eMail address: gog6692@msn.com Thanks again for your insights!
    Guy Ogan`s last blog was …"IMMORTAL RELATIONS – LOVE & WAR" is almost finished.

  9. Great advice. I usually go “like” my reviews on Goodreads but I rarely make a comment. One of the reviews on Goodreads pointed out a error in my book. She was right. I had gotten a fact wrong. When I got the edits for the print version of my book, I changed that detail. The detail didn’t change the storyline but I should have caught it. I’ve wondered if I should thank her for pointing that out to me…I haven’t.

    I haven’t had many 1 or 2 star reviews or a DNF review and for that I am thrilled. But the ones I’ve had I’ve read and tried to see if there was something in there that would help me with my book. What I do hate is getting a 1 or 2 star Goodreads rating with no explanation.

    Thanks for the great advice

  10. Jerri says:

    These are all great tips, Misty and Colette. As an author, you just never know what is and is not acceptable when it comes to commenting on a review. Thanks for giving your take on this.

  11. Lucy Francis says:

    Great post! This has been one of the most interesting things to navigate about being a published author: knowing how to properly interact with readers and reviewers. Especially since all readers are potential reviewers on sales sites and Goodreads.

    My policy has also been “hands off” with reviews. People are entitled to their opinions, and while I love some and not so much others, I keep my own reactions to myself.

    The exception has been this week when a reviewer made a reference to editing mistakes in my second book. I checked further into the live version of the book, and sure enough, I’d uploaded the not-quite-perfect proof instead of the final version. That will teach me to load a book at 4 a.m. The right version went live very quickly, and I emailed the reviewer to thank her for mentioning the problem and that I was able to fix it. I resisted the urge to ask her to edit her review now that the mistakes are gone, and that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

    Thanks, Colette, for being willing to review books, especially when some authors can be so difficult.

  12. Great things to consider. I was a reviewer a couple of years ago and have just been asked to review for another site so will be getting back into it. It’s something I really enjoy and I second your comment about not being afraid to send a thank you.

    cloverautrey@gmail.com
    Clover Autrey`s last blog was …High-Heels and Slippers

  13. I loved this post. Thank you for the great advice, Colette!

  14. Thank you so much for the great review etiquette advice Colette. I’ve been on the fence about acknowledging a good review. This week, I discovered I’d received a couple of glowing reviews. They arrived at an especially good time as my self-confidence was waning. My first instinct was to thank the reviewer, but I held off because of advice I had received. I will now thank her.

    I would love to win your generous giveaway. My email address is author@booksbymaureen.com
    Maureen Fisher`s last blog was …Reviews for FUR BALL FEVER

  15. Great advice, and some I had not considered. Thank you,
    Barbara

  16. Mary Hughes says:

    Loved this post. Thanks, Colette and Misty! Colette, is there a different etiquette for review site reviewers and reader site (like Goodreads and Shelfari) reviewers?

  17. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Collette!

    So nice to see you here. Like Edie and Misty I was told to keep my mouth shut and smile about ALL reviews and to never comment. So…that’s what I did. I’ve responded to reviewers who have emailed me but never on the review itself.

    Nice to see these tips here!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Update on my books in progress!

  18. Mona Risk says:

    Colette, thank you for the excellent advice. A long time reviewer has told me she never reviewed friends’ books, so I have often wondered if I should or not thank a reviewer for her review. Here is my email: mona@monarisk.com

  19. Great post.

    I always thank a professional (meaning not a review from a reader posted on Amazon or B&N) reviewer. She took her time to read and write about the book and deserves a thank you. I don’t acknowledge my reader reviews, but I often wish I could! The only times I did, was when a reader pointed out a mistake, and I immediately corrected it and the posted that I did so. drdebra@earthlink.net

  20. Liz Kreger says:

    Wonderful blog, Collette. Thank you for all the helpful information. Personally, I’ve tried to thank reviewers who have taken the time to read my books. Yes, I’d heard that you shouldn’t, but as an author I love hearing from readers and figured that a reviewer would appreciate a thank you from an author.

    I’ve had one negative review on the short story I submitted to the ENTANGLED anthology … and I still thanked the reviewer for her comments. I’m well aware that not everyone is gonna like what I write and I’m perfectly okay with that. As a reader, I’ve read lots of books and wondered why I bothered. It’s all subjective.

    On a side note, it appears that we’re doing a lot of blogging about reviews here at MM lately. I did one last week, Edie did one yesterday and today we have yours. :cool:

    Thanx for joining us here at MM.

  21. blodeuedd says:

    Great advice for authors :=)
    I do not get those emails where I am dear editor, blogger or to my horror, a totally wrong name
    blodeuedd`s last blog was …The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine – Jayne Fresina

  22. Cynthia Eden says:

    This is such a great list!! Thank you!
    Cynthia Eden`s last blog was …ANGEL OF DARKNESS–On Sale

  23. Terrific blog Collette. I definitely agree about authors who blitz you with emails and notices about their books. Like you, I will run right out and buy a book if I’ve had a great conversation with an author. And I guess no one ever told me at I shouldn’t contact a reviewer. If there’s an address, I send a thank you. Reviewing books takes a lot of time, and I, for one, appreciate it. I’d be lying if I said I liked the bad reviews as well as the good ones, but I understand I’m not for everyone. I’m just grateful someone has taken the time to read the book and then talk about it.

    liz@lizlipperman.com

  24. Thank you for these reminders that at all times we should treat reviewers as professionals. I appreciate the time that a reviewer takes to read and comment on my book. Time is a precious commodity in today’s world. Great advice!

  25. bn100 says:

    Good advice. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Great tips, Colette! I was glad to hear that reviewers like getting positive feedback from authors about their reviews. I’ve had so many really thoughtful reviews and have been unsure about whether to respond–I don’t want reviewers to feel I’m “sucking up”.

    Thanks for the promotional contest! My e-mail address is: stephaniequeen@rocketmail.com.

  27. Thanks for being our guest at MM, Colette. I have also always been told never to respond to any reviews of any kind, although I’ll mention a good review on my website, and pingback to the review site, and I’ll always mention a good review or RT a good review on twitter and/or FB. If a reviewer contacts me directly to tell me how much they loved my work, I obviously respond with a big thank you (and nothing thrills me more!). I really appreciate everything reviewers do, and hearing what you’ve said today, will definitely send a private thank you in future.

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