I got an email today from an author who wanted to convince me that her POD novel was terrific and that I should read it. She wrote:
My book XYZ won a Reviewers Choice in Affaire de
Coeur, five wonderful reviews on Amazon and I’ve
developed a smallish but loyal following who want my next books as soon
as it comes out.
I cringed when I read that. It’s bad enough when an aspiring writer makes the mistake of going to a POD vanity press or having their book published by an amateur POD pseudo-press run by a barely literate, self-published author. But when you promote your book by touting your “five wonderful reviews on Amazon” you only make yourself look like a fool. Those reviews are meaningless.
Don’t get me wrong, they are nice to have, flattering to you personally, and might sway a browsing customer to buy your book. I am grateful for every positive review that I get from readers on Amazon and other online bookselling sites.
But never, ever, EVER use those reader reviews as a selling point to an agent, editor, or reviewer or they will run screaming away from you and write you off forever as a wanna-be.
Nobody in the publishing business cares about five positive reviews on Amazon. Nobody. Getting a 150 positive reviews might attract some attention but even then what really counts are actual sales.
And what, exactly, is a “smallish but loyal following?” Ten people? Fifty? A hundred? Your Mom and her friends around the pool at the retirement home? Again, it’s sales that count, and moving a few dozen books still isn’t going to attract much attention. Nor will a couple of hundred. But a thousand sales will get you noticed. That’s something you can tout…if you can back up the claim.
UPDATE 7-29-08: The author of the email is published by Light Sword Publishing, which is co-owned by the advertising director of Affaire De Coeur. So if all this author has to tout her book is a review from the magazine and “five wonderful reviews” on Amazon (one of which was from *another* Light Sword author), she’d be better off letting her book speak for itself.