It’s that time again. With slightly less than two months left before the release of Silenced, I’m gathering up a list of people who are willing to read and review.
It’s always been a bit difficult to find people who will commit to jumping into the current book of a series when it’s already well on its way to completion. Though the last two books that were released were technically able to be read as stand alones, it’s always been my opinion that the best experience comes from reading the series in order, from start to finish. With this release, I’m requiring that those that receive an ARC do just that.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that the first book was released with a whimper. No build up, no marketing whatsoever until it had already gone live. And the promotion that I got once it was already for sale was minimal at best, though I did pay for advertising. Books two through four were handled by another promotional company, and the results were slightly better. But after a harrowing roll out for Changed which cost me hundreds of dollars and left me in tears, seriously considering deleting a manuscript that most of my readers ended up loving, I knew I could do better.
My answer? Like it is with most everything on this crazy self-publishing journey, I’m doing it all my own damn self. I’m not paying a tour company this time. I have done some advertising, shelling out a minimal amount to promote the special preorder price for Silenced during a group Facebook event. I’ve done my own giveaway. I’ve guest hosted a few takeover slots. And yes, I have directly contacted bloggers – some old standbys who it was really a formality to ask them – as well as some new faces that I’m excited about teaming up with. Once I have the paperback version ready, I’ll also do a Goodreads giveaway too.
The fact of the matter is that by driving my own train, I’m in total control. And as such, I’ve seen marked improvement over the results that I got when I let someone else take the wheel. Right now, I’m sitting on over twice as many Amazon preorders of Silenced (with nearly two months to go before release) than I had of Changed total. And the numbers at the other retailers are just as strong.
No, I’m nowhere near the point of ever reaching a bestseller list, but it’s convincing enough data to wonder why I didn’t decide to do this my own way ages ago.
Which leads to this. I want you – yes, you – to read and review Silenced. Haven’t started the series yet? No problem. There’s plenty of time to catch up and read the new book before February. I’ll even send them direct to your Kindle email address one at a time. All you have to do is promise to read the first four books in order from beginning to end, answer one trivia question per novel to confirm that you did, and you’re golden. All ready to get your ARC and post an honest review to Amazon and Goodreads.
Ready to sign up? Click the link below for more details and to get started.
I started writing reviews on Goodreads. Gasp. I know, right?
As I stated before, I don’t find myself to be the review type. Prior to this change of heart, I’d never written an online review for anything – books, cars, movies, etc. Sure, I had my opinions but I largely kept them to myself. When I did share with others, it was by word of mouth only. Though I still believe that word of mouth – especially from someone you trust – is way more effective than reading an online review from some random person you’ll never meet, I realize that in this silly world of algorithms that us authors live in, the written review does count.
And let’s face it, I could use a little review karma. You know, give and you shall receive?
So I started adding books to my Goodreads shelf. This was a major step for me. Although I read lots of books, I’ve up until now been very loathe to share my preferences with others. It’s one thing to admit you’ve read the popular book of the moment (think Twilight, Fifty Shades or Gone Girl – yes, I’ve read them all) but quite another to tell the world that you read mostly romance books or crime dramas. My inner snob wants people to think that I sit around and read Shakespeare all day long. Guess the cat’s out of the bag now. In total, I added almost 90 books that I’ve read within the past year or so. Most of them I remember at least in part; some of them not fondly.
Once I had that done, it was time to decide which one would get the honors of being the first one I reviewed. I went for the easy choice and picked the very last one that I’d read. Then I had to control my inner snark because it just comes out even when it isn’t appropriate. I’ve found that I review books just like I write here; I’m honest and straightforward and usually try to throw in a little humor. But I’m never mean or hurtful toward the author, even if I don’t agree with something storyline related.
My problem with writing reviews is that I have a hard time giving value to something in a numeric fashion. How many stars should it get? Most of the time, it’s a crapshoot for me. The guidelines help, but many times I find myself in between two ratings. I really wish you could give half stars. Instead I have to determine whether to round up or down. I’ve got four reviews under my belt now. I’ll get the hang of it eventually.
The one book that I read that I feel very strongly about will probably never get a review from me on Goodreads. This is because I would unequivocally rate it a two star. No doubt about it. I know that a lot of people won’t post a review unless it is three star or above and I don’t want to be the sourpuss author that trashes someone else’s work. And this book has lots of reviews in the four star range, though plenty of people have pointed out the grammatical and editing issues that I have with it. Maybe the four star reviews came from people who read a later edition with these errors fixed. The plot had the potential to be good if there wasn’t just so much wrong with the mechanics of the thing. So I’ll just bite my tongue on that.
Right now, I’m just dabbling in the art of reviewing. It’s never going to be my main focus, but I’m finding it to be a fun side project. If it ends up bringing me good tidings for my own work, so be it.