Connecting with book reviewers is an important strategy in book publicity. Reviews generate awareness for your book title and help move it up in search engines. One of the ways to generate reviews is to get Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) into the hands of as many reviewers as possible, before the book can be purchased. I have an incredible PR team and the first thing they suggested was videotaping the unboxing of my ARCs and revealing that first copy of Salvation Station. It was a great success in getting the initial word out.
Next, the team started mailing ARCs to reviewers interested in crime novels. I was extremely excited to learn what readers thought of the Salvation Station, but also terrified. What if they thought it was terrible? Then what? If they were bad, I would have to face the reality that some words a nasty boss once said about my writing abilities was true. Even though I’d had short stories successfully published, it was as though all of my self-worth as an author was riding on this book. I tried to block getting reviews from my mind, keeping busy with other writing projects.
In mid-January, I got the first review. It was a fantastic 4.5 out of five stars. Then Midwest Book Reviews sent their review, which ended with this line: “The result is a tale steeped in intrigue and changes. Like a particularly challenging murder mystery, it will linger in the mind long after its conclusion.” I was thrilled. This was exactly what I had hoped for.
And then there’s Goodreads. The majority of what I’d read in author discussion groups (from well respected authors) said those reader reviews would be harsh. I held my breath. Initially there were seven reviews from Goodreads and the worst was three stars, with an explanation from the reviewer that as a Christian she had struggled with the religious fraud aspect of the story. What that told me was Salvation Station was making people think, exactly as I had intended.
As of this writing, Salvation Station has been reviewed by around 100 people and my overall rating is around 4 on both Goodreads and Amazon. I could not be happier. Not everyone is going to like or understand your book. There will be negative reviews, but don’t focus on those. Keep moving forward and celebrate the fact that you’re a published author.