Monday, March 16, 2015

The two paths to reviews.

So, bit of a strange week for me here. Guardian of Isolation has been out for a little while now, and I've been trying to get ready to do something special for it. My thoughts had been focusing on Wayward Guardian and in doing another free promo for it in an effort to hook people and drive interest toward Guardian of Isolation.

Now I've done a free promo before. I learned a lot from my run, and then I had the chance to do another promo for my friend Vance Smith for his book series, Jack Lantern. This second promo I did for Vance went a heck of a lot better than my first one for Wayward did. Whereas I got 180 downloads for mine, he got 1800. I chalk it up to lessons learned of course. But you've heard this story before.

Back to the Guardian series. One of the hurdles with being both and independent author, and with doing a free promo, is at any given time, a large number of other small authors are trying to do the same thing you can. You need some way to stand out. The accepted wisdom on that is to get reviews on your book. That's a bit of a viscous cycle, because if you don't have reviews, no one wants to read your book, and if no one reads your book, no one reviews it.

Bit of a problem isn't it?

So how do you over come that? Over time you'll accumulate a certain quantity of reviews based just on sheer numbers, but you can't get those numbers if people don't want to take a risk on your book. Those first five reviews are the hardest, and arguably the most important.

The reason for that importance is that most book websites won't run your promo if you don't have 5 for more positive reviews on your book. But of course, if you can't run the promo, how can you get the reviews?

Two methods are open. Book bloggers, and paid reviews.

Book bloggers are fickle bunch, and get massive waves of review requests from all the authors that find themselves in a situation such as I do. They can't, and won't, read everything, and unless you are really compelling or (surprise surprise) have a few reviews already saying it's not a massive waste of time, they just won't. Or you'll have to wait forever. But book bloggers do have an advantage. They're unbiased. Well most of the time anyway. A review from a book blogger that says you're book was good, feels good, because you know they actually enjoyed it. It means more.

However, paid reviews have their own advantage, you're guaranteed a review, and usually within a time frame. But I've run into the uncomfortable fact that you can't be guaranteed an honest review, just a quick one. I had the pleasure of working with one nice reviewer, and I could tell by what she wrote on her reviews that she was an honest reviewer, but unfortunately, she stopped taking reviews. It really was a shame. I've found it difficult finding a paid reviewer that feels impartial and honest. I'm hopeful that I may find some, because the quick turn around time is very useful when you're trying to plan a marketing blitz.

I've decided that I might well start doing my own reviews on this blog, as I kind of feel it's a do as I do situation. We'll see. I'll start small, after all, I'd rather write my own stories than reviews.

Till next time, Wizard out.