REVIEW MANIA II
It never stops…
Good afternoon. I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. It has been a short three years since I stepped into our indie author universe. The single word that has resonated during these months is Review. Spend ten minutes surfing Facebook and lurking in forums and you will come across a plethora of posts by indie authors begging for book reviews. Many indie authors want those reviews as affirmation that he or she can write and tell a story. That is NOT the province of a review. Readers and bloggers share their opinions of books to alert the next reader if that reader might or might not enjoy the book.
Yes, in the recent past, a book needed a certain number of reviews in order to snag a top slot in some of the better promotion newsletters or websites. But today more and more promoters are open to promoting new releases sans a review. Promoters want our almighty promo $. Thus new release slots are available. I will say straight out…
Many indie authors don’t do their homework…or bother to learn our indie industry. In other words, they Eat Stupid for Breakfast. There are easier ways to gather reviews than hopping from Facebook page to Facebook page, or putting the onus on friends, family and colleagues to read and post reviews. Here are a few things that work for me and the authors in eNovel:
Right after THE END in our books we write:
Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].
Next we plan a small FREE or 99¢ campaign for the new release book to pull those organic reviews.
Or, we hire a Tour director to take the book on a virtual Book Review Tour. A book review tour must be planned weeks in advance. Bloggers need time to read and review. This is a very inexpensive way to gather those first critical organic reviews. Three Tour Directors that we like are: Book Partners in Crime Promotions, NjKinny’s World of Books & Stuff and Goddess Fish Promotions.
Run a Rafflecopter on your blog for your book. Don’t know how? Hire BPiC to set it up. Now you have a Giveaway to interest those on Facebook/Google+ and Twitter.
Most of us submit our first two or three books to Big Al Kunz, the premier indie book reviewer. A review from Big Al’s Books and Pals is golden. Big Al posts a list of more than 200 active reviewers on the Indie View HERE.
Book reviews are NOT instant. One must wait for the reader to read the dang book. Patience is required. All reviewers have a TBR stack ahead of you. There is a protocol for approaching reviewers. In your email: Greet the reviewer by name. State your name and the name of your book and offer a one line tag. DO NOT send your book cold turkey. ASK FIRST. Or follow the instruction on the blog to submit your book for review. For the best ehow on approaching a reviewer read THIS article by a TOP 1000 Amazon, Goodreads and NetGalley reviewer, Julie Whiteley.
How effective are the above approaches for gathering reviews? Excellent! With the gentle review plea in the back of our books being the leader. Footnote: It is acceptable to pay for a review, but that review may ONLY be posted inside your book’s page in Editorial. If you use a review service such as Net Galley or Choosy Bookworm’s Read and Review Progam, the reviewer must state he/she received the book free in exchange for an honest review. That is clearly stated in Amazon’s Terms of Service. Savvy indie authors read those Terms of Service. UPDATE: THIS IS NOW AGAINST AMAZON’S TOS. No book may be offered free in exchange for a review. See below.
UPDATE: As of October 01, 2016 authors may not offer a free book in exchange for a review to be posted on Amazon. Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review. Policy change here.
UPDATE: Since late 2015 Amazon has been removing reviews by the 1000s. Read more on Kboards. Blogger/reviewers are seeing their reviews removed from Amazon in the hundreds. Authors are dismayed. Here is one reason why: Many blog owners/reviewers are linking their reviews with Amazon affiliate codes. That is a no-no. Wholly against Amazon’s Terms of Service…Reviewers are not allowed to earn money from reviews–in any fashion. NOT the done thing, says Amazon. If you have any questions about how you use your affiliate code, ASK AMAZON.
Indie authorship is W.O.R.K. It does not cost us five cents to publish our books on Amazon. Career indie authors do invest in editors, cover artists and formatters. If you don’t, do expect to see one and two star reviews outstripping the four and five star. Because they will.
Even if you are on a tight promotion budget, there are above 75 sites one can submit a title for no charge or for as little as $5 or $10. For an excellent up-to-date 2016 list of promoters visit Effrosyni Writes. Reminding you that books are inanimate objects until the stories they tell come alive in a reader’s mind.
All promoters mentioned in eNovel blogs have been vetted. We know them, we like them, they consistently produce results for the fees charged. If they don’t, we say so. We know every book will not get the same results. Our members write across a dozen or more genres. We get it. Timing, price, book cover, book descriptions–all affect downloads.
Two promotion sites that have made it onto eNovel’s list are booktastik and BettyBookFreaks. UPDATE: Betty is now Ebookbetty. Here is why: On a recently ten author/5 day tour. Dionne of booktastik promoted the tour on her site for free all five days. Dionne has also started streaming promotion results for transparency. That is the GOLD Standard. Betty of Ebookbetty grabbed our posts and was a Tweeting Wizard for our tour and promotion. They pay-it forward. We love ’em. BookBarbarian has just made it to our list for Sci-fi and Fantasy; $15 for promotion and BookBarbarian streams results. Transparency. So does BookScream – which sends the author an in depth activity on a book promotion. These all are smaller sites with fewer subscribers, but the owners are doing it right. eNovel Authors at Work supports R.I.G.H.T.
Finally, Reviews will not fall in your lap. There are no less than three million indie authored books on Amazon. A dozen or more indies release new books daily. Successful indie authors step up their game. The above suggestions can work for you. But only if YOU take action. Choose one you are comfortable with and go with it.
@JackieWeger 2016, eNovel Authors at Work.
Comments Welcome. We love for indie authors and readers to share their experiences with us. We learn from you. Welcome booktastik, Ebookbetty, BookScream and BookBarbarian to eNovel’s Preferred List. Already on our prefered list above the fold: Bookbub, fkb&t, Ereader News Today.