Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog)
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Can negative book reviews help sales?

March 24, 2011

Tags: publicity, book sales


The effect of negative reviews on books by well-known authors is a 15% decrease in sales, writes Nathan Ihara Is All Publicity Good Publicity? (MobyLives 3-16-11), reporting on a new study by the journal Marketing Science (PDF). “For books by relatively unknown (new) authors, however, negative publicity has the opposite effect, increasing sales by 45%.” Delays after reading negative reviews help unknown books more than well-known books. "In short, if you’re a nobody, it’s better to have your book attacked than ignored. Over time readers will forget the mean stuff said about you, and will only remember your book’s name." Thanks to Sue Russell and Bill Morris of The Millions for this lead.