Tag Archives: word of mouth

Consider Reviews Wisely

Picking a good book to read or settling on a resort for vacation can be daunting tasks.  Some readers rely solely on reviews to guide their decisions.  Likewise, vacationers use word of mouth to guide them in spending their hard-earned cash.

Our resort had a run of scathing reviews. My favorite came from a gal who had never been to our resort, yet bashed it ruthlessly on several sites.  Kind of reminds me of those peeps screaming loudly from the top of the book bashing bandwagon even though they’ve never seen a copy of the book, let alone read the first page of it.

Other reviews obviously came from the pampered and pretentious with nothing better to do than bitch about how their air conditioner was down for four hours, or how the entertainment department failed to fill their every waking moments.  I guess these people didn’t realize they’d come to a resort renowned for its beach (ranked in National Geographic’s top ten).  Sun screen and swimsuit, anyone?

Sounds eerily similar to the reviews a writer of steamy romance gets.  “OMG, there’s sex in this book!  How horrible.”  What did they expect after seeing the sultry woman on the cover?  A child’s bedtime story?

Another joyous handful complained about how lousy the natives were at speaking English.  Really?  Why travel to foreign countries where everyone is homogenized into your own native culture?  And how well would the complainers speak the language of visiting citizens from the other 190 some countries of the world?

Uhm, some things are bigger than you.  Just sayin’.  And just because a book doesn’t speak to one person, doesn’t mean it’s bad.  It simply means it wasn’t the right book for them.  You, on the other hand, might find a treasured favorite between the covers.

So, I have one piece of advice regarding reviews: consider the source wisely.

Readers are as varied as vacationers.  Likes and dislikes can meld or clash with our own.  Taking a review at face value without considering the person behind it can be a bit like trusting the school bully when he tells you to drink from his milk carton.

And for the record, our vacation was marvelous.  The natives were charming and helpful despite our lousy grasp of their language, while the relaxing beaches fulfilled our entertainment needs.  Sometimes it’s good to experience for yourself before you let others decide for you.

Have you ever loved a book others hated?  Or disliked one that your friends gush about?  How do you handle reviewing books for others, whether on your blog, in a forum or via word of mouth?  How do you keep your reviews balanced and sane?  How do you keep yourself sane after reading a seemingly unjust review of your work?

Curious minds want to know.

Where do you hear about the books you buy? Unofficial Study

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of marketing, researched some and still haven’t come to a conclusion about it all.  A post by Sophie Perinot today stirred up some more questions about marketing dollars and social networking time as effective means of selling books.

Words and phrases have tumbled around in my mind as potential posts, but I guess what I really want to know–what every writer really wants to know–is how do you hear about the books you pick for your reading list?

I’ll tell you all about my buying habits and ask that you–whether a reader or a writer–share a bit about how/where you find your newest reads. 

  • Twitter: I’ve never purchased a tweeted about book.  Ever.  Especially when I feel like the purpose of Twitter is to sell books, not engage in meaningful communications with fellow readers and writers.  Call me a snob…
  • Book Trailer: nope.  I don’t You tube, so see very few of them to begin with.  Those I do see are because I’m already on an author’s blog or website.
  • Blog Mention: YES, yes and Yes!  I love hearing what my cyber friends are reading and why.  I also love supporting my fellow writers by purchasing their books–made easier by e-pubbing as I’m far away from even a big chain book store, let alone an indie brick and mortar. 
  • The Author’s Blog: A word of caution.  I don’t like when authors sell their books in their blog posts by mentioning it every single day.  I do like when they have a quiet link on the side and mention only the most intriguing aspects of their writing journeys in their posts.  If blogs become thinly veiled advertisements, I am out of there.
  • Publisher’s Web Page: Nope.  I don’t visit publisher sites unless I’m already specifically looking for an author or a book.  I never browse them to see upcoming books for my reading list–title comps, yes, but not my personal reading list.
  • Brick and Mortars: I do, however, browse physical bookshelves.  I love nothing more than finding a new author and a new title among the spines.
  • Amazon: Absolutely.  I purchase e-books from my Kindle on a regular basis.  But…I already know exactly what I’m looking for before I do.  I’m not an Amazon browser.  Not even when I get the “based on your purchases you might like” suggestions.  I’m a very focused e-book buyer and never browse for my e-books.
  • Word of Mouth: Definitely.  I will almost always (Please don’t spam me with book titles over this admission!) buy books that are recommended by trusted family and friends. 
  • Conferences: Certainly.  Put an author on the podium who wants to help me succeed as a writer and I’m right there with my checkbook.  Conferences are dangerous places for my bank account.
  • Book Clubs: I’ve been a member of several and love them.  I also adore my kids’ book club flyers from school and almost always purchase a book or ten from them.
  • Author Events: School visits or library talks are intriguing to me and I like to support those authors brave enough to show up in public and put themselves out there.  I like when they bring the books so I don’t have to pay then and have them shipped.  Ugh.  Can you say instant gratification?
  • Libraries: Indirectly.  I’m not a big library user (blame my instant gratification issues and addiction to books) even though I’m on the library board and support them financially.  However, I do browse titles, listen to trends from the librarians and then buy books I think I’ll like based on the process.
  • Author Web Sites: Occasionally.  I do check up on my favorite authors now and again and feel like this IS the place to sell your wares.  It isn’t offensive for me to have authors plug their books on their sites.  That’s why I’m there.
  • School Reading Lists: Yes.  I like to read what my kids are reading.  Even academically.  If I like a book or an author, I’ll buy a copy for home.
  • Movies made from books: Sometimes.  If the movie sounds intriguing, I’ll pick up the book and read it first.  I rarely read a book AFTER seeing the movie, however, as I like to be surprised and delighted in my own head, not by a director’s interpretation of a novel.
  • Writing Groups: Without a doubt.  If I’m in your circle of writing buds, I will 100% support your endeavor: morally and financially.  (No, you can’t have a loan.)  I know, I expect a rush of new subscribers over that one and welcome it.  But I’m serious.  If I make a solid connection with you, I’m your friend for life.
  • Grocery Stores: Laugh about it, but yes.  When I’m on vacation and have to run to the store for a few last-minute ingredients, I will usually pick up a beach/fireplace read for those down times.
  • Radio Mention: Yep.  Especially if the author is interviewed and sounds passionate about his writing and particular project.
  • Newspaper/Magazine Ad: Sometimes, though rarely.
  • Television: Nope.  I picked up one Oprah book club book once and hated it so much I figure we have nothing in common as far as literary taste is concerned.  Snobbish and narrow-minded, but I’m me and I get to have some quirks.
  • Random Out and About: Yep.  I’m a snooper.  If I see you sitting on an airplane or a park bench and you are ENGROSSED in a book, you can bet your last penny that I will remember the title and buy it next.  Kind of like word of mouth, but from strangers and with no talking.
  • Goodreads and other booky places: Yes.  I consider this word of mouth, though I’m a bit leery of who I follow because I only want genuine recommendations.
  • Facebook: No.  I don’t really know writers ONLY through Facebook.  Nor do my friends drop titles as readily as they discuss their evenings out on the town. 

The Catch: I refuse, on principle, to buy a book from an author whose only form of communication is to pitch her writing.  I hate being the target of someone’s campaign.  Rather, I get warm fuzzies when I care about the people who wrote the book and don’t need you to sell me your product.  In fact, the minute you morph from cool writer into crazy marketer, I’m gone.

How about you?  What awakens the desire for you to drop your hard-earned cash on someone else’s words?  How do you initially hear about the books you someday read?  Do you pass along great authors and titles to the peeps in your life?  If so, how?

Readers and writers alike, share this post, comment on your buying trends and help us unofficially get a handle on how we can become better marketers of our work.

Curious minds want to know!