View Full Version : Can I show agents my Goodreads reviews in my query letter?

08-19-2015, 10:21 AM
Though it isn't published yet, I made a Goodreads page for my novel and asked my beta readers to post reviews of my novel on it.

The reviews are all positive and rated 4 or 5.

I have a dozen reviews so far and I'm sure I'll get more when I ask my next batch to review. Whenever I post on Goodreads asking for reviews, I always get many people volunteering.

When I start querying agents, I would like to send them the URL of my novel's Goodreads page so they can see for themselves how readers reacted to my novel.

Is this a bad idea? I know common wisdom says you donít tell an agent "my friends loved my book" but in this case I asked on Goodreads and total strangers wanted to read my novel and posted reviews. Does that count for anything? I'd like to show agents that I have readers who will be willing to post reviews on Amazon and talk the book up.

Thanks for any advice.

08-19-2015, 10:31 AM
I don't think so. If the book isn't published they have no way of knowing whether any of those reviews were unbiased or not. The agent might also not be that happy that the book is already up on GoodReads being reviewed before it's contracted?

Also, I am confused by how they would post reviews to Amazon. My understanding was that an item had to be listed as for sale or pre-sale for reviews to go up? So, in order to do that, you'd effectively have had to self-publish already?

08-19-2015, 10:40 AM
If you send an agent a link to Goodreads, they're going to think you self-published the book. If the agent finds a Goodreads page after they've agreed to represent you, they're going to think you self-published the book. And that's not even counting all the drama of Goodreads reviews.

I'd say not to mention it in the query letter, but let the agent know if they offer to represent you so they don't think you lied to them. It's ridiculously hard to take down a Goodreads page for a book, even an unpublished one. You don't want people searching for the published version and finding the Goodreads page for the manuscript, even if the reviews are mostly positive.

08-19-2015, 11:42 AM
It's not a good idea. For starters, you don't know that you do have readers who are willing to post reviews on Amazon and talk the book up - you just have 12 readers who have already given 4 or 5 stars to an unpublished book on Goodreads (unless I've misread you.)

Are you planning to self-publish the book and then query agents? Because that's not the best idea, either.

Best idea is to write a stonkingly good book and then either self-pub or approach an agent for trade-pub using a brilliant query. There are very few shortcuts, and they tend to be of the Get Enormously Famous For Something variety.

Sorry if this disappoints :(

08-19-2015, 11:43 AM
I don't think a few reviews on goodreads from beta readers are going to impress an agent. I think they'll assume your beta readers liked the book, or gave you advice on how to improve it before you started querying it.

08-19-2015, 04:52 PM
I think the questions this approach would raise won't be the ones you want raised:

Did he already self-pub?
Did he in some other way largely saturate his market pre-emptively?
Did he either knowingly pad the goodreads site (suggesting you're dishonest) or simply not realize friendly betas are quite possibly biased (suggesting you're naÔve)

08-19-2015, 05:02 PM
Overall, I don't think agents want to be told how good your book is, either from you or from reviews. They want to find out for themselves if your book is good, and they do that by reading your sample pages. An agent is either going to respond well to your book or not--and I don't think a handful of Goodreads reviews will change that.

08-19-2015, 05:40 PM
I'm actually baffled. Why would you do this? Is this some kind of way to try to promote yourself as an author?

I'd...suggest taking the page down if you can. For the reasons sited by others.

08-19-2015, 05:47 PM
Yes. If anything, this will be a negative for most agents.

08-19-2015, 11:25 PM
Terrible idea. Don't. It's like telling the agent that Mommy liked it.


08-20-2015, 12:40 AM
I agree with the others. This is a really bad idea, and I would delete the page. Let's assume that this book is good enough and you get published. Now what? You have this version of a Goodreads page and now a new one for the published version which often has a different name and will be different from the version your beta readers read? It's not going to impress an agent that your friends like it and having a Goodreads page for it makes you look like you've already self-published which for many agents will be an auto-reject. Focus on a really good query letter!

08-20-2015, 12:56 AM
Yeah, I have to agree with everyone else here.

Plus the point of a beta reader is to get feedback on how to make your book better. It's not the version you want reviews on because it's very likely to change, especially if you have batches of different readers. It's probable that the version you send to the agent is going to be different than the version beta readers had, so their reviews could reflect that. They might refer to things in their reviews that you took out or changed, or refer to things they didn't like that you improved. So even if an agent wasn't put-off by the Goodreads page, they're looking at a different book, and none of the reviews will really apply anymore.

08-21-2015, 08:20 PM
Thanks, everyone. No, the book hasnít been published yet, in any form. Since I started getting all these positive reviews from my betas, I thought I might as well make a Goodreads page and ask them to post reviews. If they were friends of mine, I would have waited until the book was published to ask them but since they were strangers met through Goodreads, I thought I'd better ask while the book was fresh in their minds and they were so enthusiastic about it.

A couple of them said they loved my novel so much they wanted to tell everyone about it, so I assumed they would be willing to talk the book up.

Anyway, I won't mention the GR page to any agent until after I get representation, if I do.

Are we allowed to workshop our query letters to agents here? If not, is there any forum where we are allowed to do so? Thanks again.

08-21-2015, 08:26 PM
No one will care what your beta readers think about your novel. I've yet to see a novel that forty-eleven beta readers didn't rave about. Every crappy, semi-literate bottom of the slush pile manuscript seems to come with statements that every beta reader loved the novel. Sometimes they do include actual reviews. The manuscript still sucks dead dust bunnies.

No agent or editor is going to think, "Well, it must be good because his beta readers love it."

Scratch this if your beta readers are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J. K. Rowling, and God. Otherwise, you're just one of millions who have beta readers that love your novel.

Think about it. Slush piles are filled with horrible manuscripts, nearly all of which have been praised by beta readers, else they wouldn't have been submitted.

Point an agent or editor at your beta reviews, and all they'll think is, "Oh, God, not another one!!"

08-21-2015, 09:22 PM
in Share Your Work there is a sub-forum called Query Letter Hell

08-22-2015, 02:29 AM
Thank you! Will check out Query Letter Hell.