They like me! They really like me!
Discovering that someone has enjoyed your book enough to make it public knowledge is an author’s dream come true. Using that praise to your best advantage is a promotion dream come true. Word of mouth has always been an author’s bestselling tool, and making those words heard by others their biggest challenge.
To pull a quote from a review, you first have to get them from one of three main sources: Requested reviews, unsolicited reviews and direct quotes. Requested reviews come from industry publications like Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Romantic Times or, more often, blog reviewers. You request them through direct contact, by sending your book in advance, and fingers crossed, you receive a review which may or may not be favorable. Unsolicited reviews crop up after your book goes public in places like Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and again, on blog review sites. You can track them down by Googling your book title. They can be good, bad or painfully ugly. Direct quotes are ones you request from fellow authors who have an opinion others value. This can be from someone you know or someone who shares the same publisher or agent, and is a delicate matter of asking if they have the time to praise your work. If it’s a big name, you might want to ask your publisher or agent to approach them. You can request a quote regarding a particular book or, if they’re familiar with your work, regarding your talent as an author, which has more longevity, or ask for both.
So you’ve got that rave (or not so rave!) review. How to use it to your best advantage.
- It’s a numbers game. What rating did you receive? 5-Star? 10-out-of-10? Four Hearts? A ‘highly recommended’ or ‘Must Read!’? When I found out I’d gotten a starred review from Publishers Weekly, I was disheartened but thought, hey, one star is better than none. My editor laughed and explained reviews were either starred or not starred, so starred was a good Raise that rating high! And if the rating isn’t so hot . . . you don’t have to share it!
- Impact words. Scan the review for those powerful descriptors that stand out. “Page-turning tension,” “vivid writing,” “complex,” “well-crafted prose,” “magical,” “engaging,” “delicious,” “sizzling,” “unforgettable,” “dark and compelling,” “masterful,” “endearing characters,” etc. If you have one word in an otherwise bland review that stands out and speaks loudly, that’s your quote. “Doesn’t suck” probably isn’t one you’d choose. But if they say “mildly entertaining,” grab that “Entertaining” and slap that in front of the reviewer’s byline. A review will almost always have one or two words that will put your book into a good light. Even with a glowing review, you’ll want to pull out those few strongest, most unique words to use in a short quote. “Hopelessly addicted!” – Darynda Jones, New York Times bestselling author. That’s that quote on the cover of my new release.
- Tell it like it is. Look for that sentence in the review that reveals the most about your book. It’s like a news article lead-in that whets the interest for more. “Bound by Moonlight has everything I want in a romance: Sizzling passion, a sexy hero, and a paranormal love to last the ages.” – Gena Showalter, New York Times bestselling author. That quote works it by telling what type of book, what heat level, what character stands out and what genre so the reader knows just what they’re getting.
- Toot your own horn. Use a quote that says something about you as an author. “Stunning debut!” “RITA nominee,” “Award-winning,” “Bestselling,” “Prolific author,” “Newcomer to watch.” Being compared to any well-known author or as a standout in a genre, as someone who has earn recognition, immediately ups the chance that you’ll be read. As does being a debut author. Readers like to give the new kid a chance.
- Qualify the credentials of your review. If the reader associates the giver of your quote with success, their words have more weight. My sisters love my writing. So do my critique partners and co-workers, but having someone with the words “NY Times Bestseller” or “Award-winning author” after their name gives gravitas to their words. Always look as far up the genre food chain as possible so you’re identified with the popularity of their name and product. Look for blog sites that are highly trafficked and well-respected.
Okay, you’ve got the review. What do you do with it?
Run it up like a flag on a post and wave it where everyone can see it! Use it on your cover (or on the cover of your next book!) or on the back of your book. Put it at the bottom of your teaser page. Use it as a tag line following your signature on Social Media outlets or e-mails. Put it on your web page and blog, your bookmarks and business cards. Post it on FB, Twitter, Google+. Use it attached to your bio or blurb. It’s a professional credit on your career resume! Flaunt it in your media package that goes to bloggers, booksellers, etc. Put it on your Christmas cards!
But the biggest bang for your buck comes when you’re selling your next book to an editor, an agent, or a publisher. Letting them know that you can pull in positive media attention automatically puts that magic “M” after your name – Marketable.
As you collect more and more reviews and quotes, put them in a portfolio file so they’re handy when referring to a particular title, genre or to you as an author. That generic quote praising you as the next greatest thing in literature as no expiration date. Once it’s said, it’s as true years from now as it is today.
Use your quotes in creative ways. To build anticipation for my new release, REMEMBERED BY MOONLIGHT, I pulled out the best quotes from the previous eight books in the series, one from a publication or reviewer, and one from a more unique and personal source – from a character or passage within the book! Nothing speaks stronger to a reader than words from your character’s mouth, i.e. “Before you, my idea of foreplay was turning out the light.” – Nica Fraser, Hunter of Shadows. Or quote a passage from the book that tells a powerful, emotional message: “She smiled up at him, and he saw his whole world in her eyes.”-Masked by Moonlight. Use a character or passage quote in your blog posts or with your blurb or e-mail signature to catch reader attention.
Then I stumbled on a fun post at http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2014/01/rj-adams/ called “11 Ways to Quote and Promote Your Book Using Images.” Words AND pictures! What could be better?! It lists several quote image making sites that you can use to place your quote onto a graphic image to use as a sort of meme. Awesome! I spent HOURS playing on the QuotesCover site matching my words to images, font styles, colors, fades, effects (okay, it was OCD nirvana!). I could even use my cover image as a background. So, for each of the eight days leading up to my release day, I posted twice on Face Book and Twitter using a review and a character/passage quote from books one through eight, and then made graphics using quotes from the new book to include with my blog posts for added interest.
If they like you, they REALLY like you, let the reading world know about in ways that will promote you in your best and most enticing light – through your achievements, through what you offer to the reader, through the opinions of others, through the power of your own words and phrases. Feel free to quote me!!
Nancy Gideon is the award winning author of over 55 romances ranging from historical, regency and series contemporary suspense to paranormal, with a couple of horror screenplays tossed into the mix. She works full time as a legal assistant in Southwestern Michigan, and when not at the keyboard, feeds a Netflix addiction along with all things fur, fin and fowl. She’s also written under the pen names Dana Ransom, Rosalyn West and Lauren Giddings. Her latest release is REMEMBERED BY MOONLIGHT, the ninth installment in her “By Moonlight” dark paranormal shape-shifter series.
Because the road to Happily-Ever-After . . .
Clever, cool and preternaturally lethal, Max Savoie is leader of a secretive shape-shifter clan, heir to amobster’s legacy, and the love of New Orleans’ top cop . . .but he can’t remember any of them. The only way to recover his memories, and his rightful place with the woman who risked all to save him, is to surrender to a mysterious visitor who holds the key to his tortuous past.
. . . Is Never Smooth.
After rescuing her mate for his ruthless captors in the North, hard-hitting Detective Charlotte Caissie is now painfully vulnerable—a stranger in his eyes—and in his bed. But the cost of saving their treasured future may mean sacrificing his past, while exposing the secret Cee Cee carries. Because the enemy they pursue . . . might be Max, himself!