Do you review?
With the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (#SPFBO) coming to a close, round 1 anyway, and the winners being announced, thoughts turn to other things Self-Published.
For instance, Marc Aplin’s article on Fantasy-Faction explained his views on why some authors should not choose to Self-Publish their first book. It created a little controversy and there was a lot of discussion on Twitter, Facebook and the Forums. Some authors weighed in with their views, both the SP (Self-Published) and TP (Traditionally Published), on both sides of the argument.
All seem to agree that there are some good Self-Published books to be found, it is finding them that is the issue. 'Word of Mouth' remains the most effective marketing / advertising tool out there… but how do you generate it?
Well, don’t look to me for answers because I have yet to crack that puzzle!
Do you make your first book free and hope, over time, lots of people pick it up and read it? Or do those books end up in the “cloud”, never downloaded and read? I suppose that’s a percentage game. If enough pick it up, a percentage will read it and a smaller percentage will review and recommend.
Do you engage with the reading community? Of course you, but you don’t plug your book at every opportunity. If your aim is to do that… you’ve lost a lot of potential readers who get fed up with your spamming. Probably most have been guilty of that at some point. I use interact on social media (facebook and Twitter). I use the Fantasy-Faction Forum. I've dipped my toe into the world of Reddit/r/fanatasy and done a 'Writer of the Day', and I comment on threads that interest me. I really have to get my head around Goodreads – I use it, I interact on it, but I think I am missing out on something that could be really great.
Do you give books away? Of course you do, but only through some personal contact / competition. I don’t think you can randomly throw your books at people and hope they read it. Some will, some will not, but you might have missed out on some goodwill (and that can count for a lot) and remember, you’re looking for word of mouth marketing.
Do you approach blogs? Yes, you do. How much success will you have? That is anyone’s guess. The more professionally you do it, the better your chances. Remember though, bloggers are readers. They probably have a pile of books sent to them by publishers, authors and everyone inbetween. Hopefully, you’ll have some luck and get some good reviews.
And what are you after?
You want word of mouth. You want folks to be talking about your book and telling others about it. And, you want reviews and ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. You hope they’ll be complimentary and they’re permanent 'Word of Mouth'.
Does everyone read reviews?
Probably not. They might look at ratings; the stars, the number of them. They might read a few reviews; the top and the bottom ones. However, they notice them. The person browsing picks up on the basic flavour of opinion and forms their own from that.
Will everyone like your book? No.
Will someone like your book? You hope so.
You just hope the latter outweighs the former.
So to you, as a reader, reading this and, at some point hopefully picking up one of my books (all reasonably priced and damn good reads, if I say so myself) and reading it… leave a review and/or rating. It helps me out and more importantly, it makes me feel good, appreciated and want to write more (I won’t stop anyway, but some days are harder than others).
Support and author - Read it. Review it.
Some preprepared reviews for you, just in case:
"Matthews takes us on a roller-coaster ride of politics, intrigue, grief and revenge. I loved every miniute of it. The alternative world, far eastern setting was a refreshing change after all those vikings and medieval worlds."
"Gosh darn it all to heck! That Matthews fellow can write a rip-roaring story. It is fast paced, fast action and with more twists and turns that a taxi driver bumping up his fare! Read this book, you'll love it!"
"<Insert book name here> is a bloody brilliant. The plot, the characters, the setting, they all combine to create a book that you want to put down. You won't want to sleep, to talk to your family, or even tweet until you finish it! Then you'll be telling everyone to read it... so read it!"