- Write a review. Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, blogs – the more exposure, the better. Once a book has 50 reviews on Amazon, the search engine recommends the title to other readers. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the reviews are. Reviews don’t have to be long. Short and sweet is perfectly fine.
- “Like” and “tag” the book on Amazon. When you hit the little gray “Like” button under the title on Amazon, you help make the book more visible. There’s also a place at the bottom of the product page where you can see tags (words/phrases people associate with the book that help readers to find it when they conduct a search) others have left and add your own. I noticed this morning that INHALE has a “foul-mouthed hero” tag. That cracks me up! And it’s totally true, so I clicked it as “relevant.” :-)
- Recommend the book to your friends. The best way to help a novel sell is to talk about it. In addition to chatting directly with friends about the story, you can utilize the power of social networks to share the love (there’s a “Recommend it” button on Goodreads, and you can easily Tweet an Amazon or B&N link to a book).
It’s fine if you hate a book, but remember this: the author put countless hours into writing her story. Yes, you put in quite a few reading it, but this is the author’s baby, and many of us do read reviews. Venom hurts. Honesty sometimes does too, but if you frame it politely, you can soften the blow. Books with less than 100 ratings suffer a lot from a 1- or 2- (sometimes even a 3-) star rating. I’m not telling you not to give low ratings. Just be sure your opinion of the book really warrants the rating. A flippant 2-star that could’ve been a 3- if you’d really thought about it is incredibly damaging to ratings for lesser-known authors.
Also, leaving a 1- or 2-star rating with no commentary tells potential readers nothing, other than you didn’t like the book. Why didn’t you like it? If it’s because you don’t like people named Fred, and Fred’s the main character, you’re influencing others to doubt the book’s quality based on a personal preference that most readers probably won’t care about. If it’s because Fred was a poorly drawn character you couldn’t relate to, say it. The more information you can provide, the better. Not every book is for every reader. Help others figure out if a book is right for them by stating your opinion, backed up with facts from the story.
I understand that writing a review takes time, but it doesn’t have to be an essay. Just talk about the things you liked and didn’t like. Be honest and fair. That’s all we authors ask. I appreciate and try to learn something from every single review — even the bad ones. If I really screwed something up, I want to know about it so I can avoid making the same mistake in the future.
Thanks to everyone who’s read and reviewed INHALE.