Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'll Take a Bad Review, Please

Book reviews - I've been fortunate in that I've had some very complimentary reviews written on Amazon, on Helen Ginger's blog, and in Riverbabble for My Zoo World.

However, an interesting article (Dallas Morning News 3/4/12) caught my eye. Jonah Berger, Harvard Business Review, conducted research and found that "even terrible publicity can bolster the bottom line."

His group studied sales patterns for 250 hardcover fiction books reviewed in the New York Times. They used fancy algorithm classifications and came to this conclusion: Good reviews increased sales 32 to 52% across the board. For books by established authors, negative reviews caused a drop of about 15%. But for books by relatively unknown authors, bad reviews caused sales to rise by an average of 45%. Whoa!

The reason - analysis showed that by making consumers aware of a book they would otherwise not know about, even the harshest review can be a boon.

I can understand the rationale and it's especially true with movies. It's easy to dismiss critics - What do they know? They just want some artsy foreign film. How bad can this flick or book really be? I've had friends even give a half-hearted review on a book and then say, "But you might like it." Then indeed it's on my radar.

So, I've been working the positive promotion angle. Is it time for a mud-slinging nasty campaign? Nah - my feelings would get hurt.

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