Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tips for writers. On the road for reviews: the Sisyphus myth.

If you’re a writer, you’ve been there.
If you’re a reader, you’re lucky you haven’t.
Because the road to reviews is a struggle.
Remember the Sisyphus myth? This bad boy was king of my homeland, Corinth, according to mythology. He was punished by Zeus with pushing that massive rock up the hill only to watch it roll back down in a never- ending torture knowing that the risk of being crashed underneath was always a possibility. Still, he kept on. Because that was what he was supposed to do.
Hence the similarity: you’ve finished that book, had it edited, proofread, self- published and that new part of your life starts: promotion. Then you realize what’s missing from your product page : reviews! 
And the struggle begins. 
As you push that rock you’ll probably get luckier than Sisyphus because, let’s face it, there’s no Zeus making your life hard; the only enemy in this process is only yourself. And this is also your best ally. The risk of being crashed –emotionally and  professionally- under the harsh words of a negative review is always there. 
But you just can’t stop.

A friend confessed to me that when she self-published her first book she had absolutely no idea of what she was supposed to do in order to attract attention on it. When someone got in touch telling her that they read her book she would always ask them to submit a review. Some did. But is that how it works?
A few weeks ago I published Beguiled. As I am not an expert on promotion and my budget is rather low – you know about the economy crisis in Greece I guess - I try to do most of this stuff on my own. As frustrating it is, it is also exciting. Because you know, I’m one of those who like to learn new things.
So here’s what I’ve come up with after a did some research:
Although I have nothing against the way my friend got some of her reviews (did that myself too), waiting for people to discover and review your book can take a loooong time. That’s why you should get them to do it. How? By contacting that group of people called   Amazon' top reviewers. Of course this means you have to look for the book reviewers, explore their interests, see if their contact information is available and send them a query letter. A polite one. I strongly suggest you read this article first by Joanna Penn and also take the time to read the comments as well.
An easier way to locate your genre reviewers is suggested in this article by Mike Michalowicz. His instructions are simple and timesaving as you are directed to the right people through other reviews on your competitors’ books.You'll probably think "How come I never thought about this?"
Now there’s an even easier way but it will cost you some money. Because people on will locate the right reviewers for you and get them to contact you.
Also, on you have the people on bookrooster have your book reviewed by various reviewers.
I have also found some people who are willing to review your book for a small fee.You will find some on . I should warn you though: paying for a review can make that massive rock (see Sisyphus above) roll straight at you. Readers are cautious with authors who pay for a review and you don't want to be stuck under such heavy weight, right?
Above all, do not underestimate the power of facebook, twitter and blogging. There are many bloggers out there (me included) who can help you promote your book for free with interviews, reviews and author spotlight. It's hard work, I know. It takes time but your book is worth the effort.
Of course none of the above can guarantee that you will get positive reviews. Besides, if you read the articles above you will realize that negative reviews are important for many reasons: they make the critic on your book more reliable and of course they pinpoint the things you need to improve.
By the way, I have to say that what I appreciate the most is the fact that some reviewers  take the time to tell you what you need to improve and urge you to submit to them again instead of writing a negative review on your book.
Do you want to know where this research took me?
Well, I started with steps 1 and 2 above. I have contacted six amazon reviewers so far. Two have got back. One has accepted to submit a review. I have my queries ready for about two dozens more of them. Who knows? I may get luckier with them.
Also, I have organized a book tour with the amazing Jaidis Shaw on Juniper Grove Book Solutions. Blog tours usually include reviews if bloggers are not crammed with submissions. You may also decide to have a Book Review Tour and this is all about you getting reviews.
Last but not least, I have decided to offer other authors the help I know they need. So, after  a couple of years of working on my books, my blog is open now for reviews again. So, read my review policy and contact me if you want me to review your book.
Plus, I became a tour host for Juniper Grove Book Solutions.

If you are a reader and potential reviewer of my book please let me know.
Take the time to leave a comment if you think I’m missing something or of you want to share your ideas  on how to process the review issue.
In the meantime,

Keep being distracted by reading,


No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to be distracted by your comments! So feel free to post your thoughts here.