THE ELUSIVE REVIEW – VOLUNTARY REVIEWS
In my article last September called Soliciting Reviews, I talked about trying to obtain pre-release reviews. I also talked about getting “professional” reviews once the book is released. You know, developing buzz.
Let’s just say, that’s not as easy as it sounds and can end up costing much more than you may ever generate in sales, especially with what you’ll end get in royalties if you don’t have a best-seller.
As hard as I tried, I ran across so many issues that I pretty much gave up, at least aggressive-wise with trying to elicit professional reviews. Why?
First off, don’t believe when they tell you “free reviews.” They almost never are. Once you delve into them, there’s always some fee either to pay the reviewer or to become a member of their site or their group “or something” so you can elicit their “unguaranteed” review. Yeah, right.
Second, there are free reviewers out there. However, what I found is that either they’re overloaded, they don’t take your genre, or their daughter is going through a divorce and they have to stop all work while they straighten everything out for their baby bla bla bla. You know the story.
Third. There are free reviewers who would love your book except they give no guarantee they’ll review it. Sure, send it in. In fact, send in two copies. However, to get their “premium service with a priority and a guaranteed review,” it costs $200. That tells me that the only ones that actually get read are… Not only that, but I’ve never even heard of this place and neither has anyone else I’ve ever talked to.
Fourth. In a fit of inspiration, I wrote every newspaper in every town I’ve ever lived in. I tried using the personal connection angle. That’s a fair amount of towns. I got back one response telling me they’d pass it on to the correct editor (in that case they had no proper editor listed on their site). I never heard a word from any of the others.
Fifth. There are some high profile publications out there that do book reviews all the time. Entertainment Weekly is a good example. However, ahem…the books they choose to review are what I call the snooty literary ones that I would never read. I don’t want to insult or demean anyone, that’s not the issue here. The issue is that every book they review is highbrow and they would never stoop to the level of reviewing a genre book, especially from some schlub unknown author. There are a few other periodicals I also read and it’s pretty much the same thing. All literary and no genre fiction. The chances of any of us genre writers getting widespread coverage in one of those is almost non-existent unless we can fork out maybe twenty to thirty grand for an ad page, which I’ve seen a few genre fiction authors do. Sorry, folks. I don’t have that kind of cash lying around.
So, I have to depend on individuals who have actually read the book. Independent people, who aren’t necessarily friends and relatives. The public who I don’t have control over.
Since Treasure Of The Umbrunna went live on November 30, 2015, I’ve done the dance like every other new published author, whether they want to admit it or not. I’ve watched my numbers on Amazon jump up and take the ever-depressing nosedive.
Folks, the book does sell. It may not be setting the world on fire yet, but the day is young.
I’ve also encouraged people that I met and have sold copies to and autographed to please do a review on Amazon.
Oh…kay. Getting people to do a review is like getting blood out of a turnip, cliché intended. Very few people, whether using Amazon or not do reviews. Even if they do, some might be blocked because I found out a nasty little surprise. If you happen to link your social media pages to Amazon and they find out you know the author, Amazon will block you from every doing reviews of anyone you know! I don’t know if that’s the case with me not getting reviews, but if so, I wish I could tell every person to de-link their social media from Amazon!
I’ve never linked them together and never will. I never saw a need to do that in the first place.
There’s a thing about Amazon. If you get, I think it’s twenty-five reviews, they put your book in a certain advertising level on their site. Your book will pop up in certain search areas. If you get fifty reviews, it goes to another level and shows up more.
Folks, as much as I’d love to get professional reviews, which would help me get in the library system, for one, I’d probably sell more books if people on Amazon could see that book cover pop up when they access the site! A lot more people access Amazon than read obscure book reviews!
So far, I can’t really complain. As of this writing, I have five reviews and all of them are five-star. Not bad at all! One of them is a top five-hundred reviewer too.
The thing is that I’ve sold way more than five books. If everyone I sold a book to reviewed it, I’d be in at least that next Amazon category.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
All of this I’m going through is food for thought for you, either for your future or what you’re going through right now. Maybe you’ve had better luck. Maybe not. More reviews usually mean more book sales, even if not all of them are stellar. It at least puts you in a different advertising category.