Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Getting Reviews-Wish I Knew how!

     Believe me, if I knew how to get reviews, I would tell you.  When I was first published in 2010 with Goals for a Sinner, Wild Rose Press sent my book to ten reviewers.  Only one posted a review, a very good one that I still quote today.  I don't think I've had anyone on that list review one of my titles since.  I am not railing at them.  Among my librarian friends is a reviewer for one of the library journals. Every quarter, she is inundated with ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) from the four remaining big New York publishers. She can only choose a few and passes along the others. It is very hard for the e-published to compete with that when the author must provide and pay for the copies sent out. I'm not sure if sending e-books works. It certainly hasn't for me.  Knowing my friend has her hands full, I did not ask her to read mine, but she did give me a name of another reviewer who might take on one of my books.  I did send one along. No response yet.
     At Romantic Times, people are encouraged to make contacts. I found one who again gave me another name to try for a review. Still waiting without much hope.  Another lovely young lady who reviews books on her blog once did one of mine, but she opened the flood gates when she put her name on a list of persons willing to review and found herself drowning in e-books, most of which she found to be too bad to review. Being a kind person, she did not post anything about them. Another blogger I met at RT said she no longer reviews because a person who pushed a book on her and got a bad review continued to hound and argue with her to the point of being abusive.  Reviewing can be a perilous life.
      Free weeks on Amazon will get you reviews. Usually the haters post first ruining your sales. Good ones come later and balance things out but the damage has been done. People don't seem to appreciate what they get for free. I can tell you I am done with that means of getting reviews. Lately, I've been giving out review copies liberally to people I think might be interested. No results on that yet either. I know they fear a book will be bad, and they'll have to face you later and strain to think of something nice to say. Actually, I've been on that end of it, too, reading a book I didn't care for and trying to find some neutral words to describe it.
     Of course we all rely on family and friends though I've gone beyond that point and find most of the people who give me a brief review on GoodReads or just some stars are strangers. Amazon will no longer post reviews, either good or bad, by other authors for reasons I entirely understand.  But, as most of my friends are authors, this cuts out a huge source of reviews. I think my relatives are beginning to dread when I have a new release because I always ask them to post an opinion. When I requested a good friend, an English teacher, to review one of my books, she handed me with a two page book report, very detailed. I had to explain I couldn't post it myself but really appreciated her effort. All I needed was a brief paragraph posted on Barnes and Noble or Amazon-which she did once she figured out how to do it. So simple, but people rarely take the time to hit the Post a Review button.
     I can only conclude that "we are too many" now that e-publishing has busted things wide open.Reviews are harder to get than ever. Without reviews, sales come hard. Believe me, if you enjoy a book the nicest thing you can do for an author is hit that Post a Review button and simply say why your liked the story in a few brief sentences. Only takes a few minutes. Am I begging? Maybe.