Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Reviews for sale!

I’ve touched on this subject many times but it warrants repeating. Never pay someone to read and review one of your books. Paid reviewers give glowing reports on the books they read even if the books are terrible. Why? Because they want your repeat business. Would you pay someone a second time if they gave your book a bad review the first time? Of course not!

Fake reviews are one of the main reasons why indie books have been getting a bad rap. For sometimes enormous fees an author can get several good reviews based solely on what the author paid for the review and not the content of the book. The reader buys the book because so many other “readers” said it’s great and then is horribly disappointed by the content inside.

If you want real reviews then ask someone you don’t know who read your book. How do you do this? Enclose this handy paragraph after the end of your novel and see if it works. It did for Jackie Weger, bestselling indie romance author:

Thank you for taking time to read “Title of book”. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated.

I truly believe a good, honest review is a large part of garnering initial interest in the book and making it successful. Real reviews have passion for the story that comes across in the way the review was written.

Most of my ten published novels have reviews from readers. These reviews come from all over the world, from real readers, real people, and without a price tag attached.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Writing withdrawal

I recently completed and published my tenth book. It took nearly fourteen months working at my computer from three to five hours a day. Seeing the book for sale worldwide is both exhilarating and relieving. I had planned to finish it while on my recent vacation but since I completed it a month ahead of schedule I found myself on vacation with nothing to write.

This has never happened before. I’ve always had a project that I could tweak while sitting on a dock or with my feet in the ocean. I told myself that I would not start a fresh new novel while on vacation because my first drafts tend to consume me for weeks and I wanted to spend time relaxing and enjoying the tropics.

Strange feelings started to happen. I suddenly found myself with an extraordinary amount of free time, like an alcoholic who quits consuming and realizes there are many more lucid hours to the day than ever imagined; time that I would have spent writing. I found myself feeling anxious and bored, as if my mind needed my imagination to stimulate it. It didn’t feel normal when I sat on the dock or dipped my feet in the ocean. There was something missing. I’d go to sleep feeling like I hadn’t really accomplished anything that day.

After spending decades writing feverishly I discovered that not writing was actually psychologically painful; withdrawal from a narcotic unreality. While I thought that not writing would have freed me up to enjoy more of the real world I found just the opposite. I enjoyed doing these things because I could write while doing them. Writing for me is not a burden, or a chore, it is a necessity of my life.

Though I spend many hours marketing and promoting my material (you can check out all my advice, experience, and tips on this subject on my blog) to sell books and get noticed, I realized on this recent vacation that none that recognition really means anything in the end. Whether people read my books or not, I cannot not write. It’s a part of me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

More marketing advice

I recently published my tenth ebook in the last three years. I didn’t write all of these books in that time frame, some are decades in the making, but all have been meticulously proofread and edited. In my quest to sell books I’ve made every mistake a new author can and spent thousands on promotions that didn’t work.

As my latest book begins the process of getting noticed and reviewed, there are still a few new surprises I’ve learned while marketing this one. I’ll begin with the obvious. Join a writer’s group. I’ve recently joined Enovel Authors at Work. Their promote each other philosophy has really increased my sales and exposure. Go ahead and check out the requirements for membership.

Another new marketing surprise I tried was with Facebook post boosts. If you don’t know what they are, here’s the lowdown. You target a specific group of people to see your post and pay Facebook for the amount of people you want to see it. I spent fifty bucks on two posts and reached a combined 45,000 Facebook users. I saw absolutely no change in sales and in less than a day it was all over but the dust of nothingness.

Save your money and use it for editing and a great cover and blurb. With the internet, millions of people can see your ad or post, but that is only one item out of the thousands they will see in an hour’s time. If the blurb and cover catch them, you’ve got yourself a new reader.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Getting sales

When it comes to marketing and promoting your book nothing beats grassroots marketing and word-of-mouth promotion. That said, I’ve joined an exciting new online writers group devoted to paying it forward through various methods of promotion, including tweets, Facebook, and word-of-mouth promotion.

Getting noticed above the massive flood of new books is hard, but the task becomes easier when authors help each other. That’s what this group is all about. Please take a moment to check out my personal page and the site in general. And if you’re a writer, check out the requirements to join.

Thanks everyone and have a great day.


And just a reminder that my latest sci-fi adventure is now available.