Sunday, October 20, 2013

Getting Book Reviews: The Methods Award-Winning Authors Use – The Study Detail

To read the Original Post, CLICK HERE: Getting Book Reviews: The Methods Award-Winning Authors Use.

The following is the research details for the post: Getting Book Reviews: The Methods Award-Winning Authors Use.

Part 1
The study started with an email to the 150+ authors that have been featured at the HBS Author’s Spotlight.

Part 2
Next, we reviewed the answers to questions about reviews in our individual Spotlight posts.

Part 3
We finished the study by reviewing answers to related writer topics in the Spotlight posts. The author responses follow in the three categories.

Make sure you visit the summary post:  Getting Book Reviews: The Methods Award-Winning Authors Use. That post presents a summary of the author’s methods plus their opinions about book reviews and what you may expect from the methods.

Part 1

Initial Question Asked the Author Spotlight Crew

HBS Author’s Spotlight STUDY - How to get Book Reviews?

This time I’m creating an article about How to get Book Reviews. I want to help authors start in the right direction in promoting their books. Like I have down several times, I’m contacting the HBS Author’s Spotlight crew to get their opinions and experiences on the topic.

Readers are relying more and more on Internet reviews and book rankings to make their buying decisions. Authors have to make the right moves up front to get reviews that help them sell their book. In many cases, the methods they use will determine whether they get good reviews, bad reviews or no reviews at all.

So here it goes.

What are your methods for getting reviews for you novels? Some of the options offered by Spotlight authors in previous articles were:

1.    Paid/Professional Reviewers/Amazon Reviews

2.    Giveaways/Book Tours/Contests

3.    Support Groups/Other Authors

4.    Social Media/Blogs

What were the results from your methods? (Lots of reviews, good, bad, ugly, etc.)

Thanks

Sparkle Abbey


Sparkle Abbey @sparkleabbey - Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter, Two Bestselling Mystery Authors writing under the name Sparkle Abbey http://bit.ly/1gI5zZn

1.    Paid/Professional Reviewers/Amazon Reviews

We've not used any paid reviews of any kind. Our publisher works with NetGalley to offer copies of our books for review and we've found that to be pretty successful. For our first book, ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) were produced and that still remains the book with the most reviews and the widest range of reviewers. However, they have now switched to the NetGalley approach. 

2.    Giveaways/Book Tours/Contests

We have also done giveaways via Goodreads, book tours, blog tours, and other contests. This approach seems to be the most successful as far as what we can do ourselves. We believe this is partially because it allows us to target readers that are actually interested in the types of books that we write. While getting a lot of review copies out there improves the odds of getting reviews, getting review copies in the hands of readers who like: cozy mysteries, mysteries featuring animals, and humorous mysteries, is much more beneficial as those readers are more likely to enjoy the types of books we write and provide a fair review.

3.    Support Groups/Other Authors

Other authors and writing groups we belong to have provides a tremendous amount of advice and support. However, we don't generally look to these groups for reviews. They will often share with their readership about new releases or special promotions and that's always helpful. We do the same in return.

4.    Social Media/Blogs

Much like giveaways, book tours, and contests social media provides the opportunity for a reach into the reader communities. But again, the goal is really to connect with readers who enjoy our sub-genre. A group of readers interested in dark thrillers may not enjoy the light traditional type of mysteries that we write. 

What were the results from your methods? (Lots of reviews, good, bad, ugly, etc.)

Overall results have been good though we still struggle with making that connection. We've been very lucky in that our readers are very loyal and love to help spread the word. As far as reviews go, you take the good with the bad. There are many different types of books out there and we realize our books may not be everyone's cup of tea. Because we're avid readers ourselves, we know readers will sort through the good and the bad and come up with their own opinions. Reviews are important but they're only one part of what influences a reader to choose a book. Or course, that said, good reviews are simply the best. We've been known to call each other and/or get a little teary when a reader has posted a great review that makes it clear they totally "got" the story we were trying to tell. When you write for publication, you put your heart out there. So it's beyond wonderful when someone takes the time to write a review and let you know they loved your work. 

Arleen Alleman

Award-Winning Arleen Alleman @aallemanwrites is the author of the Darcy Farthing Cruise Crime Adventure series. Arleen said this about no impact.


For my latest release, Alternate Currents, I paid a reasonable fee to a company (Bostick Communications) who sent out press releases to potential book reviewers in their database. I had a good response from this, and I sent out about a dozen paper books and ebooks for review in response to requests. These professional reviewers/bloggers are posting their reviews now and I'm pleased with the result. Also, several bloggers interviewed me instead of, or in addition to, reviewing the book. Bostick tracks and sends updates to me when reviews are posted or mentioned.

 This worked better for me than other methods and I don't like paying reviewers directly. I prefer to obtain honest unbiased reviews and I continue to use Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis to generate interest and try to get folks to post reviews.

Terry Ambrose


Terry Ambrose @suspense_writer is the author of the McKenna Mystery series and a member of Murder, We Wrote.

This is an interesting subject and certainly a hot topic amongst authors. Here are my experiences.

I've never paid to have a review done, but have paid to expedite/guarantee a review. I've done this with both San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review and the Portland Book Review. In both cases, I was pleased with the results. I've used giveaways, book tours, and contests, but, quite frankly, I think most are a waste of time in terms of getting reviews. We seem to be moving into a time when contests are viewed as nothing more than a tool to get free stuff and one more way for readers to never have to pay to buy a book.

I try not to rely on other authors for reviews unless those authors are also regular book reviewers. I do look for opportunities for blurbs from the well-known authors and have had success in getting reviews through social media and blogs. For my upcoming release of "Kauai Temptations," I've solicited those who receive my newsletter for interest in writing reviews. The response was good, but I won't know for sure how many people followed through until mid-October.

Chrissy Anderson


Chrissy Anderson @AskChrissy - She writes Chick Lit, Romance, Humor And Comedy novels. http://bit.ly/13sysSo

My method for getting reviews is simple- Every time a new person *LIKES* my facebook page, I post a message directly to them on my page thanking them for *LIKING* me and I ask for them to leave a review on amazon (I provide the link making it as easy as possible for them) and tell them I’ll look for the review the next day.  The acknowledgment and the call-to-action usually results in a speedy AND good review. 

Also, because of the true life love triangle storyline of The List Trilogy, I get a lot of personal emails from women asking me for advice.  I’m quick to reply and I always ask if they’ve left a review on amazon.  I constantly reiterating that I rely on reviews for sales and that I’m grateful for the time and effort it takes to leave one.

I’ve never paid for a review and the idea that anyone ever would is over my head.  I rely on fair on honest reviews for inspiration.  It’s the feedback of real fans that gets my creative juices flowing and makes me a better writer!

Melody Anne


Melody Anne @authmelodyanne - NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author Melody Anne. She is the author of many Romance and Young Adult novels. http://bit.ly/14gv8hx

1.    Paid/Professional Reviewers/Amazon Reviews

I did one professional review early in my career. It's great because they review so many books and it will really tell you what you need to work on. I thinik that is something for new authors, in my opinion. As for other reviews, I ask my fans on the social media sites to please give HONEST reviews of the books. Sometimes a fan will love one series and not another. Honesty is very important. 

2.    Giveaways/Book Tours/Contests

Well, where do I begin with this. I give a ton of books away. My fans support me well, and I want to give back to them, so I do that with contests and giveaways. I try to do a giveaway at least 1 time per week on facebook, and throw in surprise giveaways on twitter and other places. I give out signed books, kindles, iPads, nooks, and many gift cards. I love my fans and this is the way to say thank you!!

3.    Support Groups/Other Authors

I have great support groups with some fabulous authors like Ruth Cardello, Kathleen Brooks, Sandra Marton, Lynn Raye Harris, Terri Marie, Jennifer Probst, and so many more that I can't name them all. These authors are amazing and supportive and we are there for each other. It's so fun when conferences come and I get to finally see them in person after talking for 6 months online. :) 

4.    Social Media/Blogs

I haven't gotten into the blogs. I love when my fans blog about my books, but I don't have my own blog.

What were the results from your methods? (Lots of reviews, good, bad, ugly, etc.)

I think staying connected with our fans is huge. Then, they are far more likely to let us know when they find an error or they don't like something in the book instead of putting out a really negative review. We all get those, I expect them, but it's nice to get the good ones too. :)

Rachelle Ayala


Rachelle Ayala @AyalaRachelle - experienced Author Rachelle Ayala. She is an author, blogger http://bit.ly/12wcmkF

I never pay for reviews. That is a bad deal and unethical. The most successful way for me to get reviews is to give away books. I've given away over 70,000 copies of each of my books by running free promos on Amazon and Smashwords [which gets percolated to all of the other sites]. I also give away books to bloggers and at Goodreads. It's true that I gather a few negative reviews in the process, but I believe it presents a fair and equitable representation of my books to the general public.

Annamaria Bazzi


Annamaria Bazzi @AMBazzi is a Mystery & Fantasy Writer and is noted for her White Swans series.

I haven't had much luck with reviews. When I first queried websites that said they review books i got no responses from the website owners except for two DelSheree from The Edible Bookshelf and Judy Shafer from voracious reader responded. Also an author Karina Gioertz responded to my plea for reviews. Later Michael Drakich a friend from critique circle started to review my books.

I keep querying blogs that review books, but all I ever get is no responses or sorry I'm too swamped at the moment and am not taking any new requests. I've found out quickly that no reviews means no sales...

So now  I've changed my marketing strategies. Kendika, the mc of white swans now has her own Facebook page and website... she has more traffic than  my blog and she's been up and running for only one month :)

I've learned that people need to know your book is out there before you can even dream of getting reviews and sales.

Claude Bouchard


Best-Selling Author Claude Bouchard @ceebee308 writes Mystery & Thrillers novels in the Vigilante Series. Claude had this to say.

Always happy to throw in a word or two. :)

On the subject of reviews, I've never solicited them with one exception. I had happened upon Tiffany Harkleroad's book review blog and had sent her a copy of Vigilante. As it turned out, her review became, and still is, the most helpful one for Vigilante on Amazon. Past that, I've always let reviews come as they will.

I will point out the following: When I released Femme Fatale earlier this year, I had been invited to participate in a group book launch. FF was available for Kindle a few days before the official group launch date so I informed fifteen people I knew were impatiently waiting for it. All fifteen downloaded the book the same day and on the official launch date, a handful of reviews had already been posted, though unsolicited.

M. R. (Marsha) Cornelius


Best Selling Author M. R. Cornelius @marshacornelius writes post-apocalyptic thrillers. Marsha added this.

My best success with book reviews has been through book bloggers. Now days, most of them will accept e-books (as opposed to an actual copy), and they are receptive to author interviews, excerpts, and giveaways as well as reviewing books. I found most bloggers through Twitter. If you have Tweet Adder, you can search for 'book reviewer' in the bio. If you don't use Tweet Adder, you can find reviewers through other authors. i know I'm always posting my books' reviews, so click on the link, and see who's blogging. 

Leti Del Mar


Leti Del Mar @leti_delmar - Romance, Mystery & Thrillers, Young Adult http://bit.ly/14HWXPH

I've actually just written a book called, How to self-Publish: A DIY Approach and in I've written a chapter on getting reviews.  I've included an excerpt from this chapter bellow.  Feel free to use as much or as little of it as you like.  Here is the link to the book it is from:


Book reviews are important.  Sure it feels great to hear when other people like what you have written and honestly, a 5 star review will put me on cloud nine all day. Yet reviews mean so much more than a congratulatory pat on the back.

Book reviews will help increase your books popularity.  People will be more likely to read you book if they can see reviews and some book directories and services will only accept you if you have a certain amount of reviews for your book. Some online booksellers will list the books with higher reviews first on searches. So how do you get reviews? Here are a few suggestions.

1.          Ask Book Bloggers. Use the Book Blogger Directories in the Resource section of this book to find bloggers who specialize in your genre or target audience and follow their submissions guidelines. Pay special attention to their review policies to make sure you adhere to what they want.  A word of caution, only expect a small number of the reviewers actually to respond. That is just the nature of the beast. You might want to start with the smaller bloggers since they are more likely to respond. It helps if you are already a follower on their site and have made a presence for yourself by commenting regularly, like I already told you to. I have had good results with the smaller and newer bloggers. I asked, and they said yes! Sometimes, they have posted a review within the week!

2.          Ask Amazon Reviewers. Amazon keeps a list of their top reviewers. Ask them. Of course, it would be a good idea to make sure they read the genre you write, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Again, only expect about ten percent to respond back.

3.          Swap Reviews

.        Join online writer’s communities that swap reviews. You read and review a fellow author’s book, and they return the favor. I’ve had success finding reviewers on the message boards of She Writes, World Literary Café, Goodreads Groups, and Book Blogs. When you do this, it is a good idea to be friendly yet professional. Don’t expect five star reviews just because you are swapping and don’t be overly harsh when you review. It is always good form to allow the other author to preview your review so that if they have an issue with it, they can address the issue before it goes live.

4.          Ask Friends and Family. It is best if they have actually read your work. It is never a good idea to oversell a book in a review or it will sound fake. Make sure your family and friends have already reviewed other books or products on Amazon or Amazon will think it is a phony review and remove it.
5.          Ask Your Beta Readers.  Remember your beta readers from rewriting? Contact them and let them know the book is now for sale and ask them to post a quick review.
 
6.          Ask Participants of Your Blog Tour. When you set up your Blog Tour for your Book Launch, ask them to review your book instead of doing a guest post. That will mean less work for you and a review on Amazon!

7.          Use those message boards and forums. Look for groups that do read-for-reviews. These are places where readers promise to read a book in exchange for a free read. I have had tremendous success with this. It helps to include a blurb and cover image to entice potential reviewers.
8.          Ask other authors where they got their reviews. As you network and make connections, make friends with other authors who write in a similar genre and ask them where they have found success. One author friend of mine was generous enough to compile a massive list of review sites and posted that list on her blog.

You also might want to make your book available on Amazon before its official release date so that reviewers can post their reviews directly on Amazon (which is where you want them) and when you have your Book Launch, readers will see reviews with your book. Ask reviewers to post their reviews with every bookseller you sell with.  

Caroline Fardig


Caroline Fardig @carolinefardig - B&N Humor Bestseller Author Caroline Fardig. She writes Mystery, Romance and Chick Lit. http://bit.ly/1d5FSCc

For reviews, I try to use a variety of sources. My publicist and I have been seeking editorial reviews from print and online magazines and well-known book review blogs, all of which have been very positive thus far.  There are several Facebook and online groups whose purpose is to provide honest reviews—the only thing they ask in return is complementary books to read.  At public engagements, such as book clubs or meetings, I request that people take a moment to review my book after reading it.  I also urge my readers to leave reviews as well.  If someone mentions to me that they enjoyed my book, I ask them if they have a little time to post a short review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  Sales are also a good way to get reviews—when more people buy your book, the greater the chance that one of them will leave a review.  I have had great success with all of the methods I listed above.

Don’t be shy in urging your readers to review your work, but know that you might meet some resistance.  Writing a book review might seem daunting to a non-writer, so I try to explain how easy it is to leave an online review.  The readers’ review doesn’t have to be long and verbose to be useful to others.  A sentence or two will suffice, and there is no wrong way to leave a kind review.  “I enjoyed this book because…” is a great way to start.  If your readers are still on the fence, tell them this:  Reviews are just opinions, and there is no reason not to offer yours.

Dave Folsom


Dave Folsom @davefolsombooks is a Mystery & Thrillers author based in the Northwest.

1.    Paid/Professional Reviewers/Amazon Reviews:  I have not tried paid or professional reviewers, mostly because, right or wrong, I'm suspicious of the quality or authenticity of the review.  
2.    Giveaways/Book Tours/Contests:  I have received the most reviews through giveaways and contests, though I will say the numbers are not great for giveaways. 

3.    Support Groups/Other Authors:  I've had the best response by providing free reading copies to individuals.
4.    Social Media/Blogs:  As with # 3, while the results have been slow, and spotty, the reviews I've received are honest and helpful.

What were the results from your methods? (Lots of reviews, good, bad, ugly, etc.)  Not many in number, I believe they were honest and helpful.

Ashley Fontainne

Ashley Fontainne @ashleyfontainne - International Bestselling Author Ashley Fontainne. http://bit.ly/17K8f5w

In the past, all of my books were enrolled in the KDP program and the results of my "freebie" days and my opinion on the program can be found here:


I had great success with Book Bub (twice) with Accountable to None and Number Seventy-Five. BookGorilla--not so much.

With the upcoming release of my new novel, The Lie, I am going a different route. I have signed up for a few blog tours.

Joel Friedlander


There is a new comment on the post "Should Authors Pay for Book Reviews?".
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/08/should-authors-pay-for-book-reviews/

I do book reviews in my free time and it saddens me how well-researched non-fiction books like "Living Buddhas (the self-mummified monks of Yamagata, Japan)" have no Amazon reviews while others that I wouldn't read even if they were for free have lots of reviews.
This has nothing to do with free/paid reviews - it's just that commercial broad-interest books sell better!

See all comments on this post here:
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/08/should-authors-pay-for-book-reviews/#comments

Joel also found this one from his site: 

Ron Fritsch


Author Ron Fritsch @RonFritsch is a self-published Historical Fiction Writer.

Apart from a few reader reviews I didn't solicit, I've gotten the most thoughtful and favorable reviews for my three novels (I'll publish my fourth in October) by paying for honest professional reviews from reputable reviewing agencies. I've also entered my books in honest and reputable literary awards competitions and won a number of medals. Except for one favorable review of my first novel that included a major spoiler, I can't complain about any of the reviews my books have received.

Have those reviews and medals transformed my novels into best-sellers? No, and I never thought they would. Am I pleased with what I've accomplished so far with my writing? Absolutely!

Rayne Hall


Rayne Hall @RayneHall - award-winning Author Rayne Hall. She is a Fantasy and Horror Fiction author, editor http://bit.ly/VZWYZo

The best source of reviews are genuine readers who enjoyed the book. When fans tweet or email me to say how much they liked the book, I ask "Would you consider writing a review?" and most are happy to.

I also find reviewers among my Twitter followers. "Would anyone like to review my bestselling book Writing Fight Scenes? Free e-book for reviewers." or "I'm looking for reviewers for my novel Storm Dancer. Free ebook or paperback available." - or “I want to get 40 Amazon reviews for Thirty Scary Tales. So far I have 12. Can you help me?”

This always gets a good response, because I have over 40,000 followers on Twitter, and I genuinely interact with them, so they know me and are interested in my writing. For a writer with few followers, or for someone who uses Twitter for constant promos or automated tweets, this is unlikely to work.  

I use many other ways to find reviewers, too.  

One thing I won’t do is review swaps, because they can easily lead to dishonest reviews or hurt feelings when one author doesn’t like the other’s book.  

Review circles – where a group of people band together, each reviewing the others’ books - are also best avoided because they often lead to fake reviews. Authors who are involved in review circles often get reviews which praise the book in glowing genetic terms (“Unputdownable! Must read!!!”) which show that the reviewers haven’t even read the book. Experienced Amazon customers recognise those fakes and avoid the author. This can seriously damage an author’s reputation. Sometimes, naïve new authors who think review circles are a good idea invite me to participate in theirs. I always decline.

I welcome all genuine reviews, critical or positive, but I stay clear of fake reviews, even the well-intentioned ones.

Helen Hanson


Best-Selling Author Helen Hanson @HelenHanson writes Mystery & Thrillers and Suspense novels.

Here’s my two-cents on getting reviews.  I’m struggling through this now and am hoping to learn something from your study.  Thanks!

I sifted through many book blogs looking for thriller reviewers. When I hit a site with bare-chested men, white text on deep purple, or an excess of sparkles and pink, I knew, it was not to be. Eventually, I found bloggers who might be interested in my geeky thrillers, and I pitched queries their way. Lately, I’m branching out with giveaways, direct appeal via my newsletter, and, as time allows, standing on the corner wearing sandwich board. I don’t have lots of reviews, so I suspect, there are better methods out there.

Brent Hartinger


Brent Hartinger @brenthartinger is the author of  The Russel Middlebrook series. The movie version of his novel: Geography Club will be released later in 2013.

For self-published authors, the options are extremely limited. Unless you have a personal contact at a traditional or industry media outlet, you're pretty much out of luck. Having worked in media, I know the reason for this: if you review a self-published novel, you're immediately overwhelmed by more self-published novels, and most of them simply aren't very good.

So first, with everything you do, you need to come across as a total professional: the outreach, the pitch, the cover, and the book itself. Basically, don't give reviewers any chance to reject your book before they review it, because a lot of them will take it.

The single best thing I did when I self-published one novel was NetGalley. It's affordable ($400), and (assuming you give yourself a great cover and professional write-up), it will get you access to many, many blogs. When you pair a NetGalley listing with your own blog outreach (or with some of the marketing NetGalley will do for you, for a fee), you can get literally hundreds of blog reviews. I think this is the single best bargain in self-publishing out there, assuming you work it right.

Kirkus Discoveries, a paid but impartial review program, is about the same amount of money ($450), and it's much riskier, because it's really only helpful if they rave about your book (or star it). But if they do, it can definitely move copies. More importantly, it can legitimize you in the eyes of other media outlets. It worked for me. That said, there are real kinks in the system so far. Kirkus Discoveries made multiple mistakes in processing my book, some rather embarrassing on their part. In the end, they made it right through freebies, but you really need to keep an eye on them until they get the kinks out. I'm not ready to say their incompetent (because they seem like nice folks), but they may not yet be ready for prime time.

Finally, I think social media can be really effective. But it's not enough just to "be on Twitter." You need a gimmick -- preferably something  attention-getting and/or outrageous. The gimmick also needs to be closely related to your book, because otherwise it won't do you any good. Short of a really good gimmick, I think social media can only help reinforce loyalty in your existing fans, and perhaps slowly add new ones. But despite all the hype, it's not a game-changer, at least it hasn't been for me.

John A. Heldt


John A. Heldt @johnheldt - Author John Heldt. He writes Romance and Historical Fiction novels. http://bit.ly/1bGxisR

I've taken mostly one approach in getting reviews: I contact bloggers who are most likely to enjoy my works. I read their review policies and pay attention not only to the genres they prefer but also to their turnaround times, TBR lists, and how they've reviewed similar novels. When I learn that a blogger likes one of my books, I immediately invite him or her to read and review the others. The result has been hundreds of mostly positive reviews and even a few helpful critical reviews. I've found bloggers to be indispensable in introducing my works to new audiences. They're fabulous.

Dawn Greenfield Ireland


Dawn Greenfield Ireland @dawnireland - award winning independent publisher Author Dawn Greenfield Ireland http://bit.ly/TGqy2v

The first reviews I received on my novel Hot Chocolate were, of course, by friends, my critique group members, and family members. Then more reviews came in from the virtual book tour then regular readers.

Susanne Lakin


Susanne Lakin @CSLakin - Award-winning Author C. S. Lakin. She is the author of the seven-book fantasy series The Gates of Heaven. Also, Susanne is a freelance copyeditor and writing coach http://bit.ly/Z6wwAq

1.    Paid/Professional Reviewers/Amazon Reviews

I would NEVER pay anyone to review any of my novels. We have read how people like John Locke paid hundreds of people to write 5-star reviews for his books. Sure, it helped him sell millions of ebooks, but it’s highly unethical. On occasion I will send out a request for reviewers via social media, and will provide an e-copy or print copy for their review, but it’s clearly understood the reviewer is under no obligation to either give any review at all or a favorable review. Most reviewers print a disclaimer essentially stating that on their blog or website where the review is posted (or on Amazon, etc.).

2.    Giveaways/Book Tours/Contests 

I just don’t have time to do much of this. I’ve sent out ARCS, yes, but a giveaway is not done with the intention of garnering a review. Neither are contests. The traditional way to get reviews is to mail our advance reader copies to reviewers and request them to read and review. That’s the model that’s been in place for decades. When doing free days on Amazon KDP Select, which sometimes results in tens of thousands of free downloads, I will get a lot of reviews resulting from that. Often, and I’ve heard many other authors say the same, those who get free books will write lots of 1- and 2-star reviews. Mostly because they are reading books for free in genres they never read and would never buy, so they already don’t “like” the book before they start. If you hate romance, why download a romance novel, read the first three chapters and grimace, then write a scathing 1-star review? But that’s very common and the risk a writer takes when doing free days via Select.

3.    Support Groups/Other Authors 

I rarely ask other authors to post reviews. I will ask specific authors if they will read with the hope they’ll provide an endorsement for the book. Which is a little different.

4. Social Media/Blogs 

Yes, I do sometimes put the word out that I’m looking for reviewers for my novels via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I often get a nice group of reviewers by doing that.

David Lawlor


David Lawlor @LawlorDavid - Author David Lawlor. David is a Historical Fiction Writer. http://bit.ly/17LFXIo

I tend to use book bloggers and my writing support group as ways to get my reviews. Of course, I do get other people who are kind enough to buy the books and review them but the best method, for me, are those I just mentioned. It does a long wait before bloggers get back with their reviews - they are snowed under with requests -  but, foo the most part, they usually come through with one in the end.
I have made contact with several book lovers and writers though social media, who have also given me reviews, which is great. I would never consider paying for reviews. It doesn't sit right with me.

Katherine Logan


Katherine Logan @KathyLLogan - Award winning, best-selling author Katherine Logan. She is the author of the Celtic Brooch Time-Travel Series. http://bit.ly/VmaOaB

With my second book, I contacted Twitter followers who had tweeted that they loved THE RUBY BROOCH. I asked them if they would like to beta read the sequel THE LAST MACKLENNA. They all said they would love to read the story.  Not only did they catch typos, but they wrote reviews that were ready to be posted on Amazon as soon as the book went live.

Christine London


Christine London @ChristineLondon - Author Christine London. She is the author of Spicy Romance novels. http://bit.ly/176rWVd

I offer a free copy of one of my short stories to sample and review. Goodreads give aways are supposed to be quite effective. I plan on trying that with my first print self-pub.

Blog tours I have not found very effective. My small press has some folks that review and they are open to help colleagues. My Romance Writers Of America Colleagues tend to review fellow RWA member's works too.

Paul D. Marks


Paul D. Marks @PaulDMarks - awarding-winning Author Paul D. Marks. He is an Author of noir, mysteries, satire & mainstream fiction. http://bit.ly/13pBpd6

Here's my take on the book marketing/reviews.  If it's not what you need or if you want more just let me know:

***

I've tried various options, paid ads in various places, trying to get reviewed in everything from major book reviews like the NY Times (hahahaha) to boutique book review blogs, guest blogging, Amazon KDP.  The things that seemed to work best are social networking and word of mouth.  Sometimes if you lower your price and list the book on the e-book promotional sites that seems to work.  Paid advertising in most places didn't seem to do much, though there were a couple places that gave some good results.  Mostly it seems to be a trial and error thing and hitting markets that want your type of book.

My book just recently won the Shamus Award for Best Indie PI novel and I'm hoping that that will help get the word out, get attention and, of course, ultimately translate into sales.

Judith Marshall


Judith Marshall @whipsandjingles - Award-Winning Author Judith Marshall. She is the author of Women's Fiction novels. http://bit.ly/18Mih77

When I was looking for reviews for my novel, “Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever,” I searched for online reading groups that included my target audience (baby boomer women.) Among others, I found a Facebook group entitled “Book Junkies” and based on some of the posts, I posted a blurb about the book and requested reviews.  Within 48 hours, I had two offers.  Both readers posted 5-star reviews on Amazon.  It pays to research where your target market hangs out.

Debra L. Martin


Debra L. Martin @dlmartin6 - Best-Selling Author Debra L. Martin. She is a Science fiction and fantasy author. You can also find her writing Romance novels as Debra Elizabeth. http://bit.ly/Ve0vBW

If I knew the answers to your question, I'd have a lot more reviews on my books than I currently have. Sorry, but aside from contacting bloggers who review genre books, I've not come across any one way to get people to review my books. I spend hours and hours trying to find reviewers just like so many other authors. I think I'll have to bow out of this study/survey.

M.R. Mathias


Author M.R. Mathias @DahgMahn. He is an award-winning self-published Fantasy Writer. He is noted for his epic fantasy novels and his prolific social network marketing activity. http://bit.ly/SqcL4Z

When I first got into self-publishing, I went through Goodreads reviewers looking by similar genre books, for reviewers that had over a thousand followers.  I asked several of them if they would review The Sword and the Dragon, and The Royal Dragoneers. Many said yes, as many said no, and even more didn't respond. But by having reviewers with over 1,000 followers being my goal, those reviews I did get, had reach.

I am also a member of the Independent Author Network, Author's Den, and I have grown sizable twitter followings of writers and readers and movie fans. For a long time there was an author's review exchange at a few nook and kindle boards, and they shut it down because we all were a bit overly critical of each other, but it helped.

More recently I have garnered over a dozen reviews (that turned into series full reviews) just by handing out free books and book marks, on the tables, and in the fantasy section of my local library, and more importantly, at the University Library, where word of a good book can spread like wildfire.

Just like I say in my publishing help book, The First Ten Steps, If you are your own publisher then it is ALL up to you. It is a full time job I do besides maintaining four fantasy series, and the projects I am working on now.

Amy Metz


Author Amy Metz @authoramymetz. She is an Author of Mystery & Thrillers as well as a blogger and book editor. http://bit.ly/V0gJOg

The best way I've found to get reviews for my book is to contact bloggers. The rejection rate is high due to their long TBR piles, but I contacted over one hundred people and had a pretty good response. I've also been very lucky, in that a lot of readers have taken the time to leave reviews on Amazon. I would recommend authors look through the many online blog lists and make a list of blogs that review their particular genre, and then email a query. The query should briefly state who you are and what you are offering for review. Also, make a bullet list of the basic information about your book: title, genre, number of pages, publisher, a brief blurb, the release date, formats in which the book is available, links to a trailer (if available) and your website.

Tracy Hewitt Meyer


Tracy Hewitt Meyer @tracyhmeyer - Author Tracy H. Meyer. She writes gritty, edgy Young Adult/New Adult fiction and Adult Romance. http://bit.ly/17tXfXQ

In my experience, the most beneficial way to gather reviews is to send the book out to every single blog review site that reviews your genre. I put together an exhaustive list by researching blogs on twitter. Some reviewers will decline to review your book. Some will say they’ll review it and won’t. Some will review it. Then tap into other authors and friends. Other authors want reviews too. Offer an exchange-a sort-of “I’ll review yours if you review mine.” And then make sure you review their work. For my next release, I will pay for a blog/review tour. This is a guaranteed way to have a variety of reviews posted around the novel’s release. I regret not having done this for the release of A Life, Redefined. When A Life, Forward releases in early 2014, I hope to have a blog/review tour in place.

Christine Nolfi http://christinenolfi.com/


Feel free to quote me in your blog post. If you share the link, I'll retweet on Twitter.

Christine Nolfi @christinenolfi is the Author of Treasure Me, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge and Second Chance Grill. Christine has written on our study topic, Reviews. I recommend her book: Reviews Sell Books. Her advice: 

1.      Build a review list ready and willing to post reviews.

2.      Send ARC copies to trusted fans.

3.      Simply focus on getting ten reviews for your book…

Susan Oleksiw


Veteran Author Susan Oleksiw. She is a bestselling author of the Mellingham series and the Anita Ray mysteries. http://bit.ly/17oRuhF

First, I have one or two friends who are regular reviewers for weekly newspapers, and I always send them an ARC. 

Second, I know a number of writers in non-mystery fields, and I often ask them to review a book and post a review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Third, I use giveaways on Goodreads. I post a giveaway contest for 3 or 5 books, and let GR pick the winners. (For all giveaways on every site, I tell the winner that I hope they will write a review but it isn't a necessity. If they don't want to write a review, that's fine.)

Fourth, I offer a few giveaway books on DorothyL and other sites. I send out copies to the first people who request them. 

Fifth, I sometimes ask other writers whose books I've reviewed or whom I know personally to read and write a review, and post it somewhere, usually on Amazon.

There are other ways to get your name out there. I always donate one or two books to gift bags/baskets being used in contests. I regularly mail out a complimentary copy of a current or OUP book to a small library in another state. 

Getting reviews for self-published books is one of the biggest hurdles writers face. I don't always know if the person I'm asking knows how to write a decent review or even wants to, and some people don't know how to say no, so they may take the book and do nothing with it for months. It's all right to say no to a request for a review. As writers, we have to be thick-skinned enough to get over the reluctance to ask others for the favor of a good review.

Joanna Penn


Joanna Penn @thecreativepenn - Author Joanna Penn (J. F. Penn). She is an Action-Adventure Thriller Author creating the ARKANE thriller series. http://bit.ly/TFvE3n

I get early reviews by giving away review copies to my email list. These are readers who have specifically signed up for my fiction, but of course, the list takes time to grow. I also email readers who reviewed my previous books and offer them a review copy. For my new series, I will be pitching book bloggers directly before release and I'll be offering hard copies prior to launch as well, in an attempt to emulate traditional publishing ARCs and try to build some more buzz. Getting reviews is definitely labor intensive, but can pay off over time. 

Authors should also remember that Amazon now owns Goodreads, the social network for readers and that Goodreads reviews are now incorporated into the new Paperwhite, so it's worth building your author profile on that site too." 

Gary Ponzo


Gary Ponzo @AuthorPonzo - Award-Winning and Pushcart-Prize nominated author Gary Ponzo. He is the author of the Nick Bracco series of thrillers. http://bit.ly/12rXqDV

James, I’ve tried all of the methods mentioned, but honestly the best way to get a review is to sell more books, either with a free promo or some kind of ad.  The ratio of reviews to books sold is probably around 250—to 1.  For every 250 books you sell you’ll probably get a review.  And that number could be low.  Maybe it’s close to 500-1.  But the best advice I could give is: keep writing, keep promoting and don’t be too focused on the reviews.  They’ll come with time.  I sometimes think they’re overrated anyway.  Have you seen the reviews on some of the most popular books on the NY Times bestseller list?  It’s can be very ugly. Those are my two cents.

Mohana Rajakumar


Mohana Rajakumar @moha_doha - award-winning Author Mohana Rajakumar. She is an author based in Qatar. http://bit.ly/VSlppn

1.    Paid/Professional Reviewers/Amazon Reviews -- never pay for a review. Readers can't trust you after that and as indies we need every fan we can get. 

2.    Giveaways/Book Tours/Contests: This is the option I have found most useful in promoting my books. You pay a small administrative fee, relative to the size of the tour, for the organizer's time which is different from buying a review. What you are buying is a chance to audition for reviewers so they can see if they want to read your book. I would recommend review only tours. Blurbs or cover reveals don't have the same impact. People love contests as they love to win prizes or free books.

3.    Support Groups/Other Authors: Finding a group of authors who have an establish platform and audience can be key to reaching beyond your normal readership. Famous Five Plus, and Bestselling Reads are examples of groups I've been a part of in the past. The thinking is that the sum of our contact lists makes a bigger splash than the individuals.

4.    Social Media/Blogs: Engage people on social media and your blog; ask questions, encourage participation. They're out there reading but you won't know unless you ask them a question. Don't make it all about yourself and your books (or sales). We all know that person at the party who launches into a monologue without the thought for the other person. Don't be that guy/girl.

Otis G. Sanders


Author Otis G. Sanders @alwaysn4everlov. He is a non-Fiction author and a professional photographer specializing in personal stories. http://bit.ly/SUO7WV

My method(s) for getting book reviews is simply asking, although I may have to ask many times, I find it works pretty well. I've found that the people that purchase my book are the best to ask for a review.  Thus far I only have about 28 reviews in my Amazon book store, but those reviews are from people who were excited about the fact my book was in print because it filled a need for those who purchased it.  I've also given away copies of my book and asked for reviews.  As far as reviews are concerned it's a numbers game, everyone that reads or purchases my book is not going to write a review, I expect that but that doesn't keep me from asking each and every person that purchases my book to write a review. 
Most reviews I have come from readers that post to my Amazon store, but for people that don't have an Amazon account I have them e-mail me the reviews and I post them to my book website.  I also copy and paste the reviews from my Amazon store to my book website to have them in both places.  Thus far the most notable review I have, came from Dean Koontz because I sent him a letter and asked him to review the book.

The results from my methods have been sufficient, I would of course like lots more reviews, but at the same time I have more than 4 or 5 so that's progress. As long as I keep asking I'll get reviews, it's a numbers game. It's my opinion that getting reviews is like marketing, you have to do it continuously, it never ends!

Sharon Saracino


Sharon Saracino @SharonSaracino - Author Sharon Saracino. She writes lightly humorous paranormal romance. She is the author of DEATH BENEFITS. http://bit.ly/1dacTvb

I’m sorry but I don’t think I can be of much help with this particular topic. My book has been out for 4 months and I have not had much success with getting many reviews. Those I have are mostly from other authors. I look forward to your article...maybe I can get some pointers from others who have been more successful!

Lizzy Stevens


Lizzy Stevens @LizzyStevens123 - Amazon Best Selling Author Lizzy Stevens. She writes Paranormal, Romance and Woman's fiction. http://bit.ly/UQQZpO

Wow that is a hard one LOL. It is hard to get reviews. I'll do my best.

"It's hard to for authors to get reviews for their books. It seems that the more you sell or give away free on Amazon the more negative ones you will pick up. The readers who want to do nothing but rip books apart to make themselves feel better always rush right over to post their review LOL But the readers who actually like the book never seem to have the time to leave a good review. As authors that's one of our biggest hurdles.  The best way to battle it is to keep submitting your book to as many places as you can.

 www.manicreaders.com has a review depot. Set up a page with them and then submit your book to all of the review sites at once. Another way to hopefully pick up reviews is to do a free giveaway on Amazon. Market that your book is free and post things like 'if you like it please leave a positive review for it' some people will but you won't pick up a lot from it.

You can also do a blog tour and ask the host if they would mind reading and reviewing the book for you. Some will but some simply won't have the time. These are just a few suggestions that might help you pick up a few more reviews. There are no guarantees on any of them though."

I hope that works. If it's not usable no problem. If it's too long you can cut it.

Susan Vreeland


Susan Vreeland - Internationally known author of art-related historical fiction Susan Vreeland. She is a New York Times bestselling author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany and more. http://bit.ly/12AXDm9

With the publishing industry expecting authors to do more and more promotion on their own, the results of your article will provide useful information to many. Certainly it will be useful to me as I venture out next year into the world of social media and blogs. I'm not able to contribute to this article because my publisher, Random House, took care of promotion. Now, only three years later, the field has changed. I have no experiences as yet to contribute to you article, but I will certainly want to read it. When it's finished and posted, will you notify me so I don't miss it?

Cynthia Woolf


Cynthia Woolf @CynthiaWoolf - Author Cynthia Woolf. She writes in the Sci-fi Romance and Western Romance genres. http://bit.ly/TPuzZi

I use blog tours, amazon, and asking on FB for reviews.  I never pay for reviews. Never.  

P. C. Zick (Patricia)


P. C. Zick @PCZick - Patricia Zick. She is an award-winning writer for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction. http://bit.ly/12SkLyL

I have never paid for a review, and I never will. I have approached reviewers and offered a book in exchange for an honest review. The results have been mixed. Some took the book and never offered a review. Some gave me stellar reviews; others not so much. 
When I first began the journey of the Indie Author, I pursued reviews through friends, fellow authors, and lists of reviewers. I discovered that friends will either not review the book or they give a 5-star review without much substance. I've quit asking. Fellow authors are busy but many such as myself write blogs and offer guest spots and reviews. I've pursued that avenue again to mixed results. I find that hosting other writers and writing reviews on books I enjoy, brings me more attention, but perhaps not more reviews.

Hands down, the best (as in most honest) reviews come from the folks who have downloaded my books during the KDP free days. They trickle in, but my book Live from the Road was released May 2012 and I just did two days of KDP free days. I've since received five more reviews. 
Reviews sell books, no doubt. However, I've found that doing my blog and tweeting through Triberr about other folks' blogs, brings me the most attention, and when that happens, readers buy my books and the reviews come. No sense in pushing the river.

Part 2


Spotlight Q/A answers on: How to get Book Reviews?

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews or no you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

Leti Del Mar @leti_delmar http://bit.ly/14HWXPH

My amazing editor, Maudeen Wachsmith, takes sole credit for the quote on the cover by Deb Stover. Thank you, Maudeen. Other reviews are ones that I, with the help of my husband and daughter, have solicited. I read an article by an experienced author who advised newbies, like myself, to never, ever read the reviews. I try to take his advice.

I would love to hear from readers. I have an email address for just that purpose: Write2me@AnnetteDrake.com.

Ashley Fontainne @ashleyfontainne http://bit.ly/17K8f5w


All reviews are welcome! I have submitted my books to the bigger blog review sites and reviewers in the past. Some have answered back and reviewed, others have not. I don’t have a strict set of rules I follow, I just play it by ear.

I will say this—the KDP program has been a wonderful tool. The thousands of downloads of my books when they went “free” truly helped get my name out in front of a large amount of readers.

The majority of those who read/reviewed my books enjoyed them and each time a new book was released, those who enjoyed my previous work picked up the new release.

R.S. Guthrie @rsguthrie http://bit.ly/1b92Uaz


I rarely solicit review (never pay). Reviews are important but I think the Amazon system is VERY broken. Doesn’t matter.

The books need reviews; it’s one of the first thing anyone (including me) notices, right next to the book. Amazon also uses the number of reviews in their algorithms on whether they are going to “help” promote your books. 

I’m no authority (read above) on how to get them. Setting your book at free for a few days and buying a BookBub ad ($150-180, depending on genre), will get you at least tens of thousands of downloads from mostly real readers not what I can Kindle Hoarders (which the free-listing sites attract). They download EVERYTHING free and will likely never read your book. It’s been proven that about 1% of readers write reviews. That sounds about right to me.

That means if you get 50,000 downloads, that could equate to 500 new reviews (plan for half or less but still).

You get your book from 30 reviews, to, say, 200 reviews—BIG difference.

I’m told there are review blogs out there by the hundreds and they are a great way to get book reviews. Research them. Make sure they read your genre.

You’re unlikely to be accepted or get a great review from a Romance reader/reviewer if you write Action/Adventure.

Katie Jennings @dryadquartet http://bit.ly/18kIhEC


I seek professional reviews by sending out a few advanced review copies of my books, and after that I leave it up to my readers to review. Getting reviews is something that plagues so many of us authors, but we need to be patient.

Readers are not easily fooled; if they see a book with two hundred glowing reviews, they may get suspicious. Better to have only a few, verified, thoughtful reviews that truly reflect the book. Quality over quantity, as they always say.

Jinx Schwartz @jinxschwartz http://bit.ly/1cd2WOM


Free books garner reviews...not always good ones, but that's the risk you take. I review other author's books and they mine. I am all over the charts for garnering reviews and am not above begging.

L.J. Sellers @LJSellers http://bit.ly/18y6I6W


I do both. In the past, I’ve sent hundreds of emails to bloggers and reviewers asking if they’d like to consider my novels. With every new book, I send out print and ebook review copies to a core list of about 30 reviewers who have read and praised my work. On my blog and in the back of my ebooks, I encourage readers to post reviews…if they enjoy my stories. And more recently, my books have been posted on NetGalley to reach a wider reviewing audience.

Mike Wells @MikeWellsAuthor http://tinyurl.com/kvnygxd


At first I was sending free e-copies to book bloggers, but now I have enough readers where I can simply publish the book on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, etc., simultaneously, and get a steady flow of reviews from readers.

Part 3

Great answers about reviews in various topics

Anne Allen @AnneAllen21 http://bit.ly/OHi1kj 

Topic: next book


I think I’ll just have to keep trying to raise my profile through blog features, book reviews etc. in the US. Perhaps it will be easier once my second book is published!

Chrissy Anderson @AskChrissy  http://bit.ly/13sysSo 

Topic: Social media


Now I’m a gutsy girl, but it took A LOT of guts for me to unveil my work. Trust me, a lot of cocktails were involved the day I gave the green light on part I of the trilogy, The Life List.  But once it was out there, it got great reviews on Amazon.  I’m not just talking about the first ten five-star reviews I forced my friends to leave so I wouldn’t look like a fool.

I’m talking about the fifty or so from total strangers that came after those.  It was only then that I breathed a huge sigh of relief that I’d created something special. Those reviews were the validation I needed and then I sat back and waited for more reviews to flow in.

Chrissy Anderson @AskChrissy http://bit.ly/13sysSo 

Topic: Free Books


As a virtual unknown, giveaways are essential.  I’m primarily reliant on word of mouth to drive my sales and the most effective way to get my work into the hands of the most people is by giving it away for free. 

I think the only aspect of giveaways (at least the ones done via Amazon’s KDP select program) that I hate is that someone who obtained my work for free, someone who’s probably not even remotely interested in my style of writing…someone who just grabbed something for the simple fact that it was free, can review it. It feels very…take my soul at no cost and rip it to shreds. 

I’ll never know how many five-star reviews of my work were obtained from giveaways, it’d be interesting to know. But I do know the crappy reviews I get as a result of them. 

…gave it a one-star review because he thought it was supposed to be about bird watching.  It makes zero sense to me how his mistake is able to drag down my Amazon ranking. 

Sandy Appleyard @sandyappleyard http://bit.ly/15qKFxR Topic: support groups


Twitter is also helpful for getting you through tough times. I recently received a bad review and tweeted about it. A few of my ‘tweople’ chimed in and got the review bumped down so it was less visible. Its stuff like that that makes social media so worthwhile.

Diane Capri @DianeCapri http://bit.ly/18FAsJK Topic: 

Free Books


I've only had one significant experience with giving away free books on a mass scale. A few months ago, Wattpad featured my book Due Justice along with books from several other indie authors in a promotion called "Wattpad Loves A Mystery." Because Due Justice was free on Wattpad for that month, we also ran it free on KOBO, iTunes, and Amazon. The number of reader reviews on the book skyrocketed. Readers joined my mailing list and wrote to me and friended me on social media and read more of my books. The experience was astonishing.

Erik Christian @SimplyAfterDark http://bit.ly/TKEcGc 

Topic: His next book


I have not asked for reviews from anyone and “Dear Dad” has received 4 and 5 stars reviews based on merit itself. I believe that if a book is truly good it will speak for itself.
Stacy Eaton @StacySEaton http://bit.ly/SAZ92p 

Topic: Paid Ads

Back in April, I signed up to do BookBub for “Whether I’ll Live or Die” as a $0.99 feature. It was put into the Women’s Fiction category. The first day it was listed, I sold 518 copies.  Over the next few days I sold an additional 317 copies because it had thrown my ranking up into the number 1 spot in several categories. 

So, I signed up my newest novel, “Garda ~ Welcome to the Realm” and got turned down for a paid spot. They said it was to new. It has been out for about 3 months.  A month later, I requested a place for a free promotion for that same book and got turned down again. This time they told me I didn’t have enough reviews on the book.

I’m not sure what they “require” a book to have in way of reviews, or if they only do books above a certain star rating. I tried to search that information, but couldn’t find anything about it.
Donna Fasano @DonnaFaz http://bit.ly/WoZjND 

Topic: Indie publishing

In a perfect world, I think I would have done things differently. I would have taken the time to build my social network and introduce myself to book reviewers and bloggers before publishing my first Indie book. I'd have 'done it right' by stirring up a little anticipation before launching that first book.

Donna Fasano @DonnaFaz http://bit.ly/WoZjND 

Topic: Free Books


People love getting something for nothing. I currently have a book running for free on Amazon and iTunes. It's called Return of the Runaway Bride, and I've given away thousands of copies at both venues. I believe it gives readers a 'taste' of my work. I think it’s good business to offer samples, and I hope the readers who enjoy my work will be willing to come back and buy a second or third novel. I've given away paperback novels via Goodreads, and I've given away ebooks through book review blogs.

Christoph Fischer @CFFBooks http://bit.ly/174TlKj 

Topic: Free Books          


I have given my book only to reviewers and to some prize giveaways so far and I have found the recipients appreciative and pleasant. Many of them then recommended my books to their friends.

Other authors recommend giveaways but only in connection with the right marketing and publicity strategy. One friend told me her giveaways have connected her with the wrong type of audience and it has brought her some unnecessary poor reviews on Amazon by readers with wrong expectations and people that were not interested in the subject she wrote about. I am going to look into some giveaways on Amazon over the summer and will get back to you on the success.

Rayne Hall @RayneHall http://bit.ly/VZWYZo 

Topic: Marketing


Ebook publishing is international, and many readers who have previously been only exposed to their country's form of English are startled to see different words and spellings. Some American readers think that British English is wrong; they write reviews complaining that my books are “filled with errors” (referring to words like colour, travelling, enquiry, jewellery, and to grammatical differences such as which vs that), and some who are aware of the difference demand that I “should learn American before publishing a book.

John Hanley @jf_hanley http://bit.ly/16ehMAZ 

Topic: Free Books


The only books I gave away were to non-author friends on the understanding that they would write reviews in return. Most of them did oblige but few of them had any experience of or skill in reviewing though their 5 star ratings were helpful. My publisher persuaded me to use the Amazon Vine program which did produce some excellent well written reviews. They also distributed review copies through their database and to other sources I suggested. I do read about other authors' experience of giveaways but I'm not sure there is any real relationship between free copies and ultimate sales.

Matthew Iden @CrimeRighter http://bit.ly/11YfbKH 

Topic: Social Media


Funny you should ask--I just did a presentation on the importance of social media with fellow scribblers Karen Cantwell and Misha Crews.

To be blunt, once you're past issues of the writing craft, there's nothing more important to a writer's career than taking advantage of social media, and this applies to both traditionally published authors as well as independent authors such as myself. The landscape of the market has changed--if you want to make connections with your readers and reviewers, you must use social media to reach out to them.

Having said that, I think one mistake is attempting to try everything at once: setting up a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Pinterest board, a tubmblr page, etc. all on the same day. You'll spend too much time on technologies and not enough time connecting with people (and writing).

A second mistake is sticking with a social media channel that you don't enjoy using or don't understand. For instance, I was a professional web designer and IT manager for years, but I can't wrap my head around Twitter. It's not intuitive to me and I don't use it. It would be a mistake for me to make it my go-to social media channel. But I'm simpatico with Facebook and I love Goodreads, so I spend a lot of time on both and it pays dividends in the form of fantastic contacts, an increase in sales and reviews, and just generally spreading the word about my writing.

Regarding the book launch process: yes, I use social media to spread the word when a book has been released and also when it's free or a low price. It would be crazy not to.

Carol Davis Luce @CarolDavisLuce http://bit.ly/YKlLGr Topic: eBooks


With the advent of ebooks, relationships with readers have reached a more personal level. I am truly interested in what my readers have to say. I welcome honest and constructive reviews and email comments.

Negative reviews are still painful and probably always will be. Although we writers try to develop a thick skin, it can never be thick enough.

Alan Orloff @alanorloff http://bit.ly/164gHx1 

Topic: Free Books


People do like FREE. Over the course of five days in the first quarter of this year, I gave away about 47,000 downloads of FIRST TIME KILLER. After the promotions, I did get a modest bump in sales and a ton of reviews. On the other hand, I recently gave away about 4500 copies of THE TASTE and didn’t see much change in sales afterward. So, who knows?

Jinx Schwartz @jinxschwartz http://bit.ly/1cd2WOM 

Topic: Free Books


Free is good for me. Amazon gave away almost 50,000 Just Add Water ebooks over the weekend, and sales on the second in the series, Just Add Salt, is now in the top 100 paid in Humor. AND, 50,000 NEW readers have now heard of me, and hopefully will read the book they downloaded. That said, every time you have a freebie promo, you get reviews like, "not my cup of tea" but that's the way it goes.

L.J. Sellers @LJSellers http://bit.ly/18y6I6W 

Topic: eBooks


Ebooks changed everything! Until I put my books on Kindle, my readership was growing at a snail’s pace, and I spent more money promoting than I earned. Once readers could buy digital versions of my Jackson stories at a reasonable price, they were willing to try them. And they loved them. I started getting good reviews online and good word of mouth and quickly was able to earn a living. My life changed in a huge way for the better. What has changed with readers is that now I have them!

Follow me:

Or EMAIL at: jim@jamesmoushon.com
Or visit my blog: The eBook Author Corner
Take a look at my Author’s blog: HBS Author’s Spotlight
Or my Mystery blog: HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels:

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