Can You Guarantee Only Good Book Reviews?

“Can you Guarantee Only Good Book Reviews?”

Can you guarantee good book reviews?

We get this question a lot.


When we explain that we cannot and do not guarantee good reviews, we frequently get a thanks but no thanks about working with us. We’re ok with that.


We even get suggestions from authors and publishers on how we should require reviewers to allow us to review, edit and approve any book review prior to the review being listed on Amazon, online or in a publication. As a marketing firm, we’re told, our job should be to guarantee that the author/publisher can sign off on any review.


Nope. We don’t do that either.


In fact, when an author hires any marketing and/or publicity firm, they aren’t actually hiring them for good reviews. At least that’s not how we look at it. Our clients hire us for our ability to pitch their book, our relationships and our job is to get their book in the hands of reviewers that have expressed an interest in their category or in the hands of bloggers who have a following we believe will be interested in their topic. That’s it.


Any subsequent review that an author receives is the reviewer’s honest opinion of their work. That frequently means that a review campaign will have a few reviewers who aren’t in love with a book. Some reviewers will choose not to review a book rather than post a negative review. Other reviewers will post their review whether it’s negative or positive.


In fact, isn’t that what we are asking them to do? Legitimate book reviewers aren’t compensated for their reviews. They are asked for an honest assessment of a book and to share their opinion with readers. That’s it.


Why are authors so afraid of bad book reviews?


That is the real question.


When an author is so afraid of getting a bad review, it leaves us wondering why they think, or thought, they were ready for publication to begin with. Why is an author publishing a book they aren’t proud of?


Authors and publishers spend countless of hours and lots of money bringing a book to market. Making sure that your book is market ready  is the first step in the process.


Some bad book reviews are a matter of taste. There’s no way around that. As targeted as your marketing campaign may be to people with an interest in your category, you are always going to get someone who just doesn’t like the book. That’s it.  These reviews are pretty easy to identify and if it’s a quality bad book review (yes, there is such a thing) the reviewer will be very clear about why the book isn’t to their taste. The same reason they don’t like a book might be there very reason another reader would love the book. These reviews happen and there’s not much anyone can do about it. The best thing to do is be professional about it and move on.


A lot of bad book reviews come down to quality and content. These tend to be the reviews that authors are so afraid of. These are also the reviews that are easiest to avoid. If you have put the time, the money, the effort (and often the stress and tears!) in to bringing your “baby” to market, it’s time to let it go.


Don’t go out with a fear of bad reviews because you know that you’ve put together a quality project. Know that bad reviews happen. And if it’s a matter of taste or style, that’s ok.  It doesn’t feel good but it won’t kill your book. If you are afraid that your book isn’t ready – don’t publish it. Go back and make the changes necessary to be confident.


You shouldn’t be asking for “guaranteed good reviews”. You should be asking for “honest reviews”. This honest feedback is what readers want, and count on, to make their purchasing decisions. You want to be recommended for the quality of your finished product. Be proud of what you publish and get it out there!


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