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Author Resource Round Table > Creating promotions to encourage reviews

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message 1: by J.D. (last edited Nov 24, 2013 08:24AM) (new)

J.D. Kaplan | 140 comments So I've gone out and gotten some marketing trinkets with the intention of using them for a promotion to encourage people to review the book on Amazon and GoodReads. My fear is that this might be perceived as an attempt to bribe good reviews. Really I just want ANY reviews. Obviously I'd love them all to be good but that's not what I'm asking for...I want honest reviews.

The promotion would be "Write a review of the book at Amazon or GoodReads and I'll send you a trinket. The review only has to be honest--negative or positive reviews qualify."

Does this seem unethical? Inappropriate? Thoughts?

message 2: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 144 comments JD: simple answer: don't do it. No matter how you run it, it will hurt you much more than help.

It is traditional to give free book copies in exchange for reviews (R2R work this way). But if you expect the reviewer to buy the book in exchange for the trinket then you open up a whole nasty can of worms, especially if the site where the review is posted hears about it (assume they will).

The only way you can give a "trinket" is if you simply send it with the free copy of the book for R2R -- and DO NOT advertise that fact.

For example, when I did my GR book giveaways, I included a Peers of Beinan series book mark with each book. Technically that was a "trinket" but I did not advertise that; it was not part of the "deal" for R2R.

Anything other than a bookmark and I think you are in very shaky ground, even doing it that way.

Remember, a lot of sites require reviewers to reveal if they received the book or anything else in exchange for the review.

message 3: by Craig (new)

Craig Inglis | 21 comments Give the book in exchange for a review!!

message 4: by Cornelia (new)

Cornelia Ward (corneliaward) | 17 comments Yes, I agree with Craig!

message 5: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Kaplan | 140 comments Laurel: thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it. I won't pursue this idea any've definitely reinforced my concerns about the idea.

Just to clarify, I didn't mean to aim this at "professional reviewers". just people who have liked my Facebook page and may or may not have read it in a casual sense. that quoted message in the original post would just be a status update on my Facebook page or via Twitter.

For professional reviewers I'd definitely send a copy of the book in whatever format they want it in--in that case it would be insulting to send them the marketing swag.

That does also lead to another thing I've been struggling with...I've just not been getting any replies from the professional reviewers I've solicited so far.

message 6: by C.J. (new)

C.J. McKee (cjmckee) | 107 comments Thing is, if you give a book to someone and they will review it on Amazon what if they don't see that the reviewer has purchased the book through Amazon? Won't they be suspicious if they review on Amazon but didn't get the book through them?

message 7: by Raymond (new)

Raymond Esposito | 148 comments I think there is way too much author obsession over the legitimacy of any review. Testimonials are a critical aspect of any product promotions but they also always come with a raised eyebrow. The real value is social validation and that is necessary for book sales. I think it is naive to believe that you can buy a good review for $5, $500 or for the cost of a trinket or free book. Oh he gave away a tee shirt that's why the person said they loved the book. If I can buy such from u send me your address and ill mail you the 5 bucks. No reviews will hurt you much more than 50 paid for services. But bad editing and a boring story will not be saved by a few "ill be nice" reviews. That being said there are better ways to spend marketing dollars- there are some excellent cost effective services that will get your book into the hands of readers who will give an honest review of the book and some who will have the reader purchase it so its a verified amazon purchase. If you have the marketing money and want to improve visibility then don't be held back by false notions of morality in book marketing. Every professional author/publisher/product/service pays for marketing directly or indirectly.

message 8: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 491 comments @C.J. Reviewers from GR do it all the time. I do it too. I state in the review that I got the book free in exchange for an honest review and I have no problem.

message 9: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Kaplan | 140 comments /sigh

I wasn't asking about "buying" reviews. I am trying to find ways to encourage people who have purchased and read the book to rate it on Amazon, possibly put down a few words. I am not asking people to put favorable reviews up and in exchange I'll send them some swag. I'm just interested in hearing what people thought of it. It's valuable feedback for me, and helps possible readers decide if they're interested at all.

If I want formal reviews I write to the prospective reviewer and offer them a copy of the book in whatever format they want if they'll consider reviewing it.

At any rate I think I've decided not to do it. I'll just use the pen/keychain flashlights as giveaways at signings.

message 10: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Kaplan | 140 comments @C.J. I don't think it matters where they got the book. When I personally shop for something to read it never occurs to me to wonder where they got the book. The thing is that at the end of the day if you want someone to review your book you've got to somehow get it into their hands.

message 11: by Gregor (new)

Gregor Xane (gregorxane) | 274 comments J.D., I'm with Laurel on this one, sir.

message 12: by J.D. (last edited Nov 24, 2013 06:50PM) (new)

J.D. Kaplan | 140 comments I agree with Laurel as well but that wasn't my original intended question. I understand not to send or offer trinkets to reviewers--it never even crossed my mind. They pride themselves on being objective readers and if I try to give them anything beyond a reading copy of the book that threatens their reputation.

I was only trying to come up with a way to encourage normal everyday readers who have already purchased the book to give it SOME kind of rating.

As I mentioned above I was considering this as something I put in myfacebook status--meaning no one who reviews books "professionally" for pay or not for pay who likely ever see it.

message 13: by Cornelia (new)

Cornelia Ward (corneliaward) | 17 comments Here is a great blog that may have some answers. Lots of other good content too.

The author is a writing coach who covers these kinds of topics.

The link: http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot...

message 14: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Benshana | 35 comments I have, in my attempts to become better known, come across web sites that offer radio interview 'for a fee' and web pages that offer reviews 'in exchange for advertising.' When I point out that is not what I do I have been told they are offering a great service to writers.

As a reader if i see any review I know is there because someone paid for 'something' along the way I ignore the book entirely. The very worse review you could ever have is one you paid for in any way.

message 15: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Kaplan | 140 comments @Cornelia: Awesome resource, thanks! This is what I needed more than anything else. Much gratitude

message 16: by J.T. (new)

J.T. Buckley (jtbuckley) | 158 comments @daniel I feel you are being a bit too cynical and judgemental. With over 40,000 books printed each year, the odds of getting an unsolicited "professional" review is slim. If you sent them a book, you have "paid" for it since the book is something of value. Most readers will not post reviews because they don't think it matters. A "paid" review is not necessarily a paid for good review. Kirkus has a program that by paying a fee, you are guaranteeing to get your book reviewed not a guarantee of a good review.

message 17: by Jeru (last edited Nov 25, 2013 11:41AM) (new)

Jeru (auxbreak) | 22 comments i'm not to judge but as a writer, you probably treat your book/publishing as your very own small business. and in every business, there's a couple of money spent on investments. no matter where you put it, you've paid for something at some point in time. some reviewers accept payment not for money. it's not like someone can do a living getting paid a couple of hundred bucks to review a book that takes days to finish. you wanted to spread the word about your idea in a form of a book, nothing wrong with that IMHO.

some offer reviews in exchange for small fee so you'll be prioritized and in exchange for their time. time, more than anything is the most expensive.

message 18: by Cornelia (new)

Cornelia Ward (corneliaward) | 17 comments J.D. wrote: "@Cornelia: Awesome resource, thanks! This is what I needed more than anything else. Much gratitude"

J.D. wrote: "@Cornelia: Awesome resource, thanks! This is what I needed more than anything else. Much gratitude"

Yay! So glad!

message 19: by C.J. (new)

C.J. McKee (cjmckee) | 107 comments G.G. wrote: "@C.J. Reviewers from GR do it all the time. I do it too. I state in the review that I got the book free in exchange for an honest review and I have no problem."

Well if it's working out and people are able to review on Amazon even though they didn't buy it through them, then that's great! Guess I'll have to send out some copies to get reviewed then. Thanks!

message 20: by J.T. (new)

J.T. Buckley (jtbuckley) | 158 comments There is actually an exchange thread for reviews. You exchange gift kindle copies.

message 21: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2165 comments I think promotions oughta be sticking to the content of that which is your book and promote ones links and websites. Promoting reviews seems too much of a reach and asking too much, at least thats how I see it. Maybe its alright to ask for reviews when doing a giveaway then okay but just straight out promotion for them? ehh I'll sell that idea.

message 22: by Feliks (last edited Nov 25, 2013 09:32PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Meh. Sounds a bit unethical to me.

Baruch Spinoza
Baruch Spinoza

message 23: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2165 comments Feliks, your being a total buzzkill in some of these threads man...lighten up!

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