Friday, 2 December 2011

New to reviews? Here’s all you need….and MORE!

Welcome! Welcome A J Nuest.

Yes! This is absolutely the information I’m looking for. If you’re new to the publishing world-just had your first book published-and still don’t know all those so… helpful marketing tips on how to keep track of reviews…then this is the place for YOU. READ ON for I asked AJ Nuest if she would very kindly give me some tips. Not only did I get tips, but her breathtakingly honest answer has REALLY has helped me, a lot, to know how someone else tackles the game of marketing yourself as a writer.

(some blogger hitches today so please excuse any odd letters appearing in odd places that I can't seem to remove!)

Here's AJ's take on the work she needed to do... to get those reviews.

We all know how important reviews are to the success of any book, and with Jezebel’s Wish I’ve been lucky enough to receive several kind reviews from various sources. Since the books’ release in April of this year, my totals are twenty-two reviews (on Amazon), twenty-four (on Goodreads), and once I reach twenty-five, I plan to have a party to celebrate this happy achievement.

Nancy asked me if I would share the secret as to how I’ve been able to gather so many, but in order to do so, I need to go back in time a little bit.

My first book was published in 2008. Forgetful Hearts is a contemporary romance that I literally fired off the keyboard, got contracted, and had published all within a matter of four months. Being “fresh off the boat” to the world of publishing, I went with the first publisher that offered me a contract. Although this particular company did everything they said they would do – cover design, printed and bound the book, and made it available for purchase (and most importantly, they didn’t charge me anything in return), they didn’t really offer me any editorial services. You can only imagine my great chagrin now that I am an editor. The story is fraught with technical issues I was previously unaware of, simply because I had no idea what the heck I was doing. (Sidebar: I am currently working to get the rights back, and hope to one day edit and republish the story error-free.)

I don’t talk about this experience too much because I’m not crazy about anyone reading that particular book, but I feel the need to share this story for two reasons. Reason #1: had my first foray into the world of publishing not happened so quickly, I don’t know if I would have had the motivation to keep going. At the time, I was thrilled to learn that getting published was so “easy”. (This is where you’re all shaking your head at my naiveté. Dumb, I know. I get it.) Reason #2: After the book was released, I ordered my copies and held several book signings, I realized something. I was holding onto that book so tightly, it wasn’t getting the attention I had previously hoped for. (i.e. I refused to give copies away because I was too concerned over making a “sale”. I clutched at every dime so that I could say I was earning money off my writing. Unfortunately, this meant that unless someone purchased a book— including my mother—they would never read my story.)

Fast forward three years to the release of Jezebel’s Wish. I promised myself once this book hit the cyber shelves I wouldn’t make the same mistake, and so far, I’ve been true to my word. In fact, I’ve given away way more copies than I’ve sold. Book bloggers, contest winners, review sites, heck, anyone who stands still long I can hand them a copy, gets a book. While this technique tends to put a dent in the ol’ royalty payments, I now know that in order to set up the success of my NEXT release (She’s Got Dibs is slated for release from The Wild Rose Press in 2012), I need to use Jezebel’s Wish to gather as many readers (and reviews) as possible—so I can spread the word about AJ Nuest, romance author.

But there’s another part. I’m a firm believer that a person reaps what they sow, that old law of the universe which states a person attracts those things they want most by visualizing the receipt of those very things. (Some use the terms “what comes around goes around”, karma, the Law of Attraction, etc.).

Jezebel’s Wish is the perfect example of this “law” in action. Every time I give a book away, I literally visualize that book reaching as many readers as possible. In the time I’ve been doing this, the reviews have come in, my blog has gained a following of 135, 98 like my author FaceBook page, and as of today, I have 898 Twitter friends. I know these numbers aren’t the epitome of super-stardom, but for the seven months I’ve been promoting JW, I have to say I’m pleased with my numbers. And the best part is, they keep growing.

Okay, now onto the good part. I’ve compiled a little list of the things I’ve done when it comes to getting reviews. If you’re struggling in this area, hopefully these tips will help.

F Friends, family, the checkout lady at your local grocery store, the postmaster, your librarian, anyone you come in contact with on a regular basis – GIVE THEM A BOOK. In exchange, simply smile and say, “If you wouldn’t mind writing me a review on Amazon that would be sooooo great.” Most of them will.

2. Your Blog – host Give-Aways as often as you can. In fact, come up with reasons to do so. Sixth month anniversary of your release, (or one, or two, or three), heck give one book away each month! Your birthday, anniversary, Christmas, Halloween, New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day – whatever floats your boat that you think will drive as many folks as possible to your blog. Have them comment and give them a copy of your book. In exchange, simply smile and say, “If you wouldn’t mind writing me a review on Amazon that would be sooooo great.” Most of them will.

3. Book Bloggers – this is a great resource for garnering reviews from “strangers”. And by strangers I mean anyone who doesn’t know you personally. (Book bloggers aren’t really “strange”, most of them are quite nice. These folks dedicate a ton of time reading and reviewing books. And more often than not, they do it for FREE.)

Here’s one link:

Here’s another:

Write a really tight, friendly, informative email about your book and keep it someplace you can access quickly on your computer. On average, I query about 3-5 book bloggers per week. Not all of them say yes, but some of them do.

4. Twitter – Do not underestimate the value of this marketing tool! I have found tons of reviewers through Twitter (most of them state as much in their profile). Send them the witty email you wrote and ask for a review. Again, not all of them will respond, but some of them do.

5. Last, and most importantly, don’t forget the “social” in Social Network. Be friendly, chat with folks and get to know them, and do it honestly. People can sense a fake, even through the internet. Find folks of like interests and get to know them. Trade emails or Tweets and ask them if they’d be interested in reading your book. Most of them will jump at the chance. In exchange, simply smile and say, “If you wouldn’t mind writing me a review on Amazon that would be sooooo great.” Most of them will.

. Read on for her contact details.

AJ Nuest lives in northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the Senior Editor for Still Moments Publishing, and the author of two contemporary romance novels.

Visit her on the web at:


Facebook: Tattered Pages

Jezebel’s Wish Buy Links:

The Wild Rose Press:


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Thank you so much for coming on today and giving me this help AJ ...and I hope it's been helpful to other people too. There's an ecopy of Monogamy Twist coming to one lucky person who leaves us a comment about what they have done to garner reviews for their book/s.





  1. Excellent, excellent advice, AJ. I'm saving this post. Thanks!

  2. Hi Grace/Lu. Thanks for popping in today. Yes iot is great advice!

    Morning AJ!

  3. Good Morning everyone! Nancy, I'm thrilled to be here today, and Grace/Lu, thank you so much for stopping by! I should be around most of the day if anyone has any questions. Cheers!!

  4. Hello there. Im around all day today too.

  5. Awesome information! Thanks AJ for sharing your tips to success. My first book comes out in March and this will be a big help since I've no clue to what I'm

    Much success to you and your books :)

  6. Thanks for visiting, Christine. Great tips, eh? Have a nice day!

  7. Hi Christine!! Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm glad I could help!

  8. Good advice. I have 3 books and only 12 reviews on Amazon. I gave less books away for the first one and have the most reviews. People say thanks, tell me they love my books and then don't write reviews. Maybe the don't have an Amazon account? lol! Or maybe they don't want to be honest. :-( Who knows? I won a free copy of Jezebel and wrote a review, not because the book was free but because it really is a good book!

  9. Hi Lilly, this review business is definitely a bit scary when it's only the first one out there. Like you say I believe people are not inclined to do reviews and I have to be honest in that I truly have read thousands of Harlequins and have only just recently started to do reviews on the ones I really do like!

  10. Hi AJ:

    Just read this post and LOVED it! Thank you very much for sharing your tips. Your generosity and willingness to 'pay it forward' will come back to you many times over.

    Okay, now I'm hopping back to your blog...


  11. Thanks, Mary. Much appreciated your visit. AJ really has been great about sharing!

  12. Great post, AJ. Thanks for sharing your tips. I'll definitely be using them both for my current novel and again when my novella comes out in 2012.

  13. You bring up a good point, Lily. JW has definitely garnered some so-so reviews, and thankfully, those bloggers have kept their comments off of Amazon. I also want to mention that I've been really very blessed that so many of my WRP writing pals have been kind enough to write me reviews. I know I would have 1/2 of those if it wasn't for you ladies!!

  14. Thanks Mary and Katherine! I'm so glad you had a moment to stop by! Big hugs!!

  15. Nancy and AJ,
    Thanks for the blog and for sharing such essential information. I've only been published a few months and haven't garnered many reviews. They've been mostly from the blogs. Now I'm going to ask a dumb newbie question--how important do you think Amazon reviews are?

    I'm going to use your advice to "get out there" in 2012 and have lots of giveaways!

  16. Hi Nona! In my opinion Amazon reviews are very important. Not only the rating, but the amount as well. I can't speak with authority, because I don't really know how the ranking systems works, but I believe that the more tags, likes, reviews, etc. you have the higher your ranking will be when someone does a search for your particular genre. Stay vigilent with that promo, it pays off!

  17. Hello all. I'm back after a lovely dinner! Good to have you on, Nona and Katherine. If you're like me it is REALLY helpful to not be so much 'in the dark' over marketing issues.

  18. Thanks for being with me on the blog today, AJ. That time difference thing is kicking in and at 12.22am (GMT) it's time for me to hit the land of ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ's. I'll catch up with things tomorrow! Bye!

  19. Thanks Nancy and AJ. I am amazed at how much there is to learn and how generously the WRP ladies are with their knowledge. Bookmarking this to revisit numerous times in the months before release. Yikes. Reviews! Even the thought scares the bejeezus out of me.

  20. I've just crawled out of my writing cave. What do I see in my emails? A helpful blog by AJ. And what a help it was. Thanks for sharing, hon. Great tips here.

  21. Oh Mac. The worst part is when you get the email and see the link. It's all I can do to click that bugger and wait for the page to load. I know soon after I'll either be jumping for joy or weeping into my wineglass. Just remember we're here for ya either way!

  22. Hi Vonnie! You mean there is a WAY out of the CAVE?? Why didn't you tell me?? Follow the light...following the light... I've been so remiss in visiting blogs lately, what with editing, writing, reading submissions. I just can't keep up! I'm so happy you stopped by because I miss you! Hope your latest project is flying off your fingertips without a typo in sight! Big Hugs!!

  23. Thank you Mac and Vonnie for stopping by. I've been blogging a lot and am now getting back into that writing cave for a bittie!

  24. My lucky winner today is Katherine! Congratulations to you and thanks for popping in!


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