After the recent discussion with Karen Schechner, representative of the illustrious Kirkus Reviews, I decided to see if I could find out what the real facts are about them, since they claim to be used as some sort of standard by the publishing industry. Continue reading
To refresh everyone’s memory, in Part I, I spoke briefly about Paul Drakar’s idea that top ranked Amazon reviewers were the new Gatekeepers of publishing, and his strategy for enlisting their help to promote our books. In Part II, I investigated whether these top ranked reviewers really did influence sales – apparently they do. Now it’s time to look at Drakar’s strategy in detail.
In a nutshell, the strategy is a six-step process that involves a great deal of research, and more than a smidgeon of chutzpah. I’ve provided a bare-bones summary of the steps below, however I recommend reading Drakar’s entire article as it contains a great deal of useful information. Continue reading
Not that long ago, K.P. Ambroziak wrote a guest post for Indies Unlimited entitled, ‘A New Gatekeeper Rising’. That post triggered an interesting discussion about reviews and gatekeepers, however it was the author’s comments about review numbers that really caught my attention. Apparently, BookBub will not accept books for [paid] promotion unless they have a certain number of reviews – i.e. have a track record of popularity with readers.
As Indies, we all know the importance of getting a goodly number of reviews for our books; nothing looks so unloved, and unread, as a book with only a few reviews, or, -shock horror- no reviews at all. Like it or not, Amazon has conditioned us to see reviews as ad hoc indicators of popularity, and being herd animals, we associate popularity with quality.
Whether popularity really does work that way is a moot question, and not one I’m brave enough to tackle here. Nonetheless, I think we can all accept that, as a marketing strategy, popularity begets sales. After all, Amazon doesn’t publish all those best-seller lists for nothing. Each list is a bright, shiny life-raft for customers drowning in the sheer volume of ‘things’ on offer at Amazon.
For us Indies, getting onto one of those life-rafts is tantamount to being given the keys to marketing heaven.
The question then is, how do we squirm our way out of the sea, and onto a life-raft? Is BookBub right? Are reviews the answer? Continue reading
Until a few months ago, I’d never even heard of NetGalley. But when one of my author friends mentioned it, I soon figured out it was huge.
Basically NetGalley is a place where readers, librarians, book buyers and reviewers can go to download free copies of e-books. The way it works is, authors and publishers pay a fee to list their books. Members of NetGalley then look at the site and request the titles that interest them. These requests are either approved or denied by the authors/publishers. If the request is approved, the requester gets a free, digital copy (either epub or mobi file from what I understand) of the book in exchange for an honest review. If you want a better explanation, you can check out How It Works on NetGalley.
Sounds like a fantastic system that’s advantageous for all parties, right?
My answer to that would be yes and no. Continue reading
You’ve probably seen studies that show female readers outnumber male readers by a fairly wide margin. I don’t know what the margin is – you think I sit around reading studies all day?
Of course men do read. I don’t know what the scope or methodologies of the studies were, or whether they encompassed such reading materials as appliance instruction manuals and periodicals (ahem). Even so, that doesn’t mean men couldn’t make a better showing.
It seems obvious that part of the problem is the current rating system. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked closely at the current and most widely-used rating system for books, but it breaks down something like this: Continue reading