Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Help a Desperate Author: The Shameless Plea

Okay, I’ll admit it. I haven’t reviewed every book I’ve ever read. The thought of actually doing that makes me break into a cold sweat considering how many books I’ve read in my lifetime. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that book reviews were confined to actual reviewers, or a critic; at least that’s what I thought.

I’ve recently changed my opinion on the subject. Not only can the average book reader complete a review, but in the case of the independent author, I think it’s vital for readers to lend their support with those reviews. Of course, the fact that I’m now a writer desperately seeking reviews has definitely contributed to my change of heart.

There’s a common conception that book reviews help sales. If a writer gets a good review and it’s posted for other readers to see, it’s supposed to encourage people to buy the book. The theory is that it might be worth reading if others say so. The more good reviews a book gets, the more sales are supposed to increase. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not.  While all of the books I’ve published have at least one five star review on various websites, and some have even more, my sales aren’t skyrocketing.

Every writer wants their books to sell. Every writer would love to see their name on the New York Times or U.S.A. Today bestseller lists. I’m no exception. I’d love to be a best seller, even once, just so that I could say that I was. I see my peers using this as a means of promotion and think that I’d love to be able to have that luxury. Maybe one day I’ll get there. Maybe I won’t.

Increasing sales and being a best seller, admittedly these go hand in hand, but they aren’t my only motivation for soliciting reviews. The plain and simple truth is that I want to know what my readers think of my characters, storytelling, plot, etc. I want to hear if they loved or hated a character, if they think the story is believable or too over the top and whether or not they want more.

When they’re good, a reader’s opinion validates my work. It reminds me why I like to write and gives me that boost to keep going even though I’m not the best-selling author in the market. When they’re bad, a reader’s opinion can make me a better writer. One of my books once received a two star review on Amazon for being poorly edited. I was appalled but it turned out that review was a blessing. The editing wasn’t the issue with the book. It was the conversion from print to e-book that created an issue. Without that review, I never would have discovered the problem.

The reviews for my latest book, Next Time, have been slowly trickling in. I’ve seen four thus far, but I’d love to see more. In an effort to reach my goal of getting more reviews for Next Time, I am offering readers a free copy of Tough Times, the third book in the Time for Love series, in exchange for their review of the book. And no, I’m not making it a condition of the offer that the review be good. The way I see it, only those people that like this series are likely to take advantage of this offer. I also don’t want to skew my stats. I’d rather know what readers honestly think of my book.

Only time will tell whether or not I become a best seller. Only you can tell me what you think of my work and I’d sure appreciate if you’d help a desperate author. All you have to do is post a review online. It can be on Goodreads or iBooks or Barnes and Noble or any site from which you purchased the book. I’d sure appreciate it!

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