Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reviewing the Review system.

Good day readers. I regret to inform you that I am going to be away for week, so you'll have to be without the enjoyment of my words for at least that long, well unless I can find a moment it write, but I don't want that kind of pressure. Hopefully my co-conspirator Vance will pick up the slack in the mean time.

I got a little frustrated again this week. When you are a new author, it very hard to get traction. To get into any of the good book promotional circles, you need reviews, to get reviews, you need people who will read your book, to get readers, you need promotion, and reviews so they know it's worth their time. It is a viscous angry circle.

The most obvious thing to do then, is to pick one thing and try to break the cycle at that one point. Or rather, not break the cycle, but start a positive cycle where a negative one once read. The point that is usually chosen as the entry point is reviews. I'm no different in the this regard, I see that as the point to pick too.

The problem, however, is the whole 'getting a review' thing. The really prestigious ones usually charge money, and when you're a starving artist, with emphasis on starving, it's really hard to justify any kind of expense. The free review sites are usually so swamped by the hordes of other authors who just desperately want a chance to prove themselves. It's hard to have your submission seen when it's lost in a mountain of other books. There's only so many hours in a day, and the free sites, by virtue of being free, can't really afford to pay a reviewer.

Now the best kind of review, in my mind, is from readers themselves. The problem with that, is readers don't want to have their time or money wasted. If you leave a negative impression on them, it'll linger. To make matters worse, the level of quality between those hordes of authors and their works varies wildly. Some have the potential to be the next new york times best seller, whereas others, if writing were like American idol, would be sent home crying by Simon Cowell.

The thing they all share in common though is that no one knows about them. No one knows they exist. Their books languish with a ranking on amazon with entirely too many digits behind it. Not many people intentionally browse the lower levels of the book rankings looking for books, and this is in part because no one wants to waste time or money.

If a book has no reviews, it's essentially a gamble as to what you'll get, and if you have to spend money, then it's a gamble most people don't want to take. This is particularly true because there are plenty of books written by known authors that are quite a lot of fun to read. Why take a risk on a no body, when the somebody does what you want, and you know they do what you want?

The method I've decided to use to try and break the cycle is simple, and has been done before. The first thing I'm doing is offering a free promotion for my e-book. From september 4 to the 8 my e-book will be free on amazon. My hope for this is that as it will eliminate the money concerns when it comes to reader risk. Hopefully some people will be willing to take the time risk, and garner me some reviews. Once I have those under my belt, it'll be that much easier to promote, and should translate into more readers for my next book. We shall see if it works!

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