A few words of questionable wisdom from author Al W Moe - you can leave questions on each blog or go to my profile for direct email.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Living on Book Reviews

Living on book reviews will not feed you as an author. There is a popular misconception that a book with a lot of reviews is selling more books based on those reviews alone. Sure, book reviews can be very important, but they don't come first!

I really enjoy reading reviews at places like EK Ellis Literary Works or Goodreads, or even Amazon, because they help me find what I'm looking for. However, too many new writers see wildly successful books on Amazon with 1000 reviews and put 1 and 1 together to get 11. Sorry, doesn't work that way!

You have to have a quality product and great marketing first, to sell that many books and then to get that many reviews. If your book isn't selling you may be able assuage your feelings by blaming it on a lack of reviews, but the secret is, you don't need more than a few reviews to sell your book. Books sell based on author name recognition, genre, price, reviews, marketing, and well, those last two things, what were they, oh yeah, creativity and quality.

If you forget those in your manuscript you won't have many reviews and the ones you do have won't be that good. A bad book can get some reviews and sell some copies, but those sales won't last, while a quality read without many reviews can still sell plenty of copies.

Your Book's Best Friend

If you are a self-published author, you know how important it is to try most everything to sell your books, from blog tours and book signings to free copy giveaways, but your absolute best friend for life is good old word-of-mouth.

You only get good word-of-mouth if you have a great product and you manage to get some copies into the hands of people that will mention your book to their friends. So, you'll have to do some good marketing, but before you publish, have a few friends take a look at your work. Then, track down all those dangling participles, passive sentences, and of course all those adverbs you do not need (that's 98% of them). And then, go through your manuscript again and look at the story, your timing, your protagonist's motivation. Does your book still need work?

Yes, without reading your manuscript I can tell you that it does! Self-published authors aren't often hurt by a lack of enthusiasm and drive, but their stories can be killed by a lack of editing. Find a librarian, English Teacher, your best friend's mother's cousin's sister if you have to, but find someone who can help. You might even have to pay someone.

I've read hundreds of manuscripts from authors who thought they were ready to go-to-press, and I can tell you that only two of those were really ready. That's bad odds for you being ready. Fight the fight, edit till you can't stand it any more so you don't put your readers in the same boat - and then you have a great chance of selling your books, even if you don't have many reviews!

Other Marketing

You also might consider using a banner exchange to get additional readers to your site. A banner exchange is (usually) a free-membership type of website that allows you to install a banner on your website (for most, like this blogger site, you simply go to "layout" and click "add a gadget," then scroll down to "add html" where you insert the html you got from the banner exchange and your web page will now show a banner!

You, in turn, upload a banner with a link to your own site page to the banner exchange and they automatically give you x-number of free page views for the readers on your own pages. The exchange is usually 6 or 7 to 10 (your site gets 10 page views and your ad on their network of web sites will show your banner 7 times).

If you want to stay free, try ad designer. You can signup for free and make as many free banners as you want.

Thanks for reading - Al W Moe

1 comment:

  1. Banner exchange is really god to have visitors on your website.