Monday, 18 July 2016

Reviews, And Why They're Important To Writers



Authors have many concerns beyond good characterisation, exciting plots, broken pencils, and avoiding being distracted by pictures of cats on the Internet. Reviews, for example. Reviews affect sales, and sales affect your visibility. You have to sell a lot of books to increase your Amazon ranking before Amazon starts including your book in "xxx also bought ..." messages. Some of the best marketing services that promote your book also require quite a lot of reviews as a prerequisite (and the reviews on one Amazon site don't count towards another: some services require a number of reviews on Amazon.com, so they ignore all the reviews on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads; you end up needing even more reviews!). All this means it is really hard to get a foot in the door. You can only use effective advertising and get recommendations after lots of sales and reviews; you only get lots of sales and reviews after effective advertising and recommendations. Catch-22.

For many authors, writing expenses are more than their writing income. The only way to equalise the two is to get more sales and reviews. Again, the loop.

My main task at the moment (apart from my blog tour, editing, and working on my next book) is to try and increase the number of reviews I have so that I can try a marketing service to get word out about my writing. And I'm asking for your help!

How You Can Help
  • If you have enjoyed any of my books in the past but not left a review, please consider doing so. It only needs to be a rating and a sentence or two - no need to break down the structure, plot, characterisation, imagery, style and so on (unless you're that kind of reader and want to write about those things!)
  • If you've left a review in one place - please consider copying and pasting it to another site as well (see "Where To Leave Reviews" below).
  • If you are reading my work now - please leave a review at the end! I'm not just asking for positive reviews, but for honest reviews. If you like it say so, but only if that's true. It's your review.
  • If you've not read my work - there are buy links here. If you can't afford a copy then no problem, just get in touch ("Contact & Follow" menu above). I’m happy to send you an e-book in any format.

Where To Leave Reviews
Goodreads is one option if you have an account; or seller sites, particularly Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Obviously if you are a bookblogger, your blog would be your primary location, but it needn't be the only one. Once written, you can copy and paste the review to more than one of those (which has the advantage that if the review ever disappears from one site, such as Amazon, it will still be visible online somewhere).

Note that you don't need to have purchased a book on Amazon to review it: only for it to be a genuine review. (If you did purchase the book there it gets an extra "Verified Purchase" label, but it isn't a requirement.)

"Karl, Are You Saying That Reviews Are Only Important For Those Reasons?"

Of course not. Reviews are important for many other reasons, such as:
  • A direct form of reader feedback that shows where the writing/story is doing well, and where it could be improved; 
  • Reviews help people find your work, but also help to deter people who wouldn't enjoy it (life's too short to read books that don't suit you); 
  • An extrinsic reward in the form of recognition for the years you have put in to enhancing your authorial skills and writing the novel. 
It's just that with my latest book on tour at the moment, and wanting it to be a success, this other aspect has been on my mind this week. After all, the end result I'm aiming for is so that people who would enjoy my work are more likely to find it.

Thanks! For buying, reading, or reviewing my work; or for sending me emails and Tweets and messages (or vegan chocolate, but that is a rarer occurrence). It keeps me going.

"Karl, Why Do You Often Give Your Books Away For Free If You Need The Money?"

For a writer, obscurity is worse than poverty; and poverty is only defeated by breaking out of obscurity.

"Karl, Why Do You Ask Yourself Questions As If There Is Another Voice In Your Head?"

What do you mean, "as if"?

Peace and love.

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4 comments:

Jessica Adams said...

great post!

Karl Drinkwater said...

Thanks Jessica!

Noelle Kelly said...

As soon as I get to They Move Down Below I'll be sure to review :)

Karl Drinkwater said...

Thanks Noelle, I'll look forward to that! :-)