Tag Archives: Reviews

What’s in a #review? What do readers actually expect from a book? (I don’t have an answer, it’s only a philosophical question).

Hi all:

As I know is the case with many of you, I’m a writer. Before I was a writer, I was a reader and I’ll remain a reader (hopefully I’ll remain a writer too, but perhaps I will stop publishing at some point. No matter). If you write reviews (I do), I imagine you might have all been surprised at times when checking other people’s reviews on books you’d read because they were the complete opposite to yours. Of course, personal taste and subjectivity come into it. I, for instance, am not a big lover of lengthy descriptions (although I can admire them if very well written, particularly if the genre calls for it), and I do not like a lot of background story (but sometimes it works). The best books for me, are those that can make me enjoy things that perhaps I wouldn’t choose, and also those that leave me wondering if I should call myself a writer at all because I’d never be able to write that way.

Sometimes expectations might play a big part in how we appreciate (or not) a book. I could not resist but share some one-star reviews of The Great Gatsby (I personally love it, but don’t worry if you don’t) to illustrate the point. First, I thought I’d share the ending, and the original cover, that is gorgeous.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. 

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. 

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning—— 

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Here two one-star reviews (I’ve removed the identity of the reviewers, although I don’t know them because it’s irrelevant).

on March 11, 2015
1.5 stars

The Great Gatsby – I don’t get it. That is basically my review. I don’t get why this is such a classic, why people seem to love it so much, really I just don’t get it. It is just a bunch of rich people in the 20’s having parties and their nonsensical conversations. Throw in the fact that everyone cheats on each other and you have The Great Gatsby. There is very little actual plot and it is just this random hodge podge of conversations. I found it very hard to pay attention to what I was reading. I kept having to go back and re-read as I found I just read a few pages and could not tell you what happened. Then I would re-read it and think oh, well nothing really happened so no worries. Then I also would also go back and re-read parts as I was always feeling like I was missing something. It was just a strange read for me. Little character development, little plot development, really little plot and yet it is a classic. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I do think it will be way better than the book. I mean it has to have a more developed storyline than the book does right? We shall see.

The book starts off with our narrator Nick moving in next door to Gatsby. He also has a married cousin, Daisy, who lives nearby. The first 3/4 of the book I feel like nothing really happened. I kept thinking why am I reading this? Why do people love this book so much? Then we get to the last bit and a few things happened, but I didn’t really care. I didn’t care about any of the characters as they were all so over the top ridiculous rich people that it was just hard to connect with. That and you didn’t really get to know them at all so they are just random people.

Before I read this I remember hearing it is this great love story. That to me is the most head scratching thing of all. I don’t see how this is a love story. The characters were just cheating on each other which even if they would have been developed more so I connected with them, even if there would have been more of a story here, that wouldn’t be a great love story for me. A very strange read and I just don’t understand what so many people see in this book that makes it such a classic. Oh well, I guess I don’t have to get it. It is just not for me.

 December 28, 2015
I leave this review fully aware that I’m going to catch flak for it. How dare I belittle a classic novel, after all, one beloved by generations of readers. Well, simply because a book is a “classic” doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to appeal to all tastes, nor that it’s a masterfully written novel. It simply means that it was popular or meaningful enough to endure, or that it’s worked its way into school curriculum. And while I never had to read “The Great Gatsby” for school, I did watch the film version and found it lacking. But I was still willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and give it a shot — the movie was obviously trying to ape “Moulin Rouge,” and perhaps the book would provide a better experience.

I don’t understand why this book is a classic. It is unpleasant, full of unsympathetic characters, and all-around overrated.

“The Great Gatsby” is narrated by Nick, a young man from the Midwest who moves to New York City during the Roaring Twenties and finds himself drawn to his mysterious, charismatic neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is fabulously wealthy, and constantly throws wild, lavish parties at his home. Nick becomes obsessed with Gatsby, trying to unravel his past (and finding countless contradictory stories about said past from various acquaintances), and soon becomes swept up in Gatsby’s mad quest to achieve his ultimate goal… to win the heart of the woman he fell in love with as a young soldier so many years ago. But in trying to capture his elusive prize, Gatsby will set off a chain of events that will destroy lives… the only question is whose, and who will escape in the aftermath.

I know, the above description makes the book sound intriguing. But in all actuality, the book is incredibly dull. Nothing of import happens until a third of the way through, and the book is larded with pointless conversations that ultimately go nowhere. I ended up skimming large parts simply because they consisted of nothing but characters aimlessly gasbagging about things that ended up having no influence on the plot. This book could easily be condensed into a novella or even a short story without losing anything plotworthy.

I can better tolerate pointless content in a book if said content is written well. But Gatsby’s prose is bland at best, awkward at worst, and never truly captured me. It’s not terrible writing — I’ve certainly read worse, especially in modern novels — but neither is it very good, let alone great. (I’m told there’s some controversy over whether F. Scott Fitzgerald really wrote this book, and some attribute it to his wife Zelda, but regardless of who wrote it, the writing is nothing to write home about.)

The characters are unlikable as well. Gatsby is a sad excuse of a human being, not caring who he hurts in his quest to win his true love, even descending to drug-dealing and homewrecking. The girl of his dreams isn’t much better, and comes across as painfully shallow. Her husband, and the closest thing this book has to an antagonist, isn’t much better than Gatsby himself — he’s also racist, but then, this book was written in the ’20s, and some uncomfortable elements of older novels are simply products of their time. The narrator, Nick, is the closest thing to a decent human being the book has, and even then he comes across as a wet blanket, letting himself be walked on and not bothering to get involved when events take a turn for the worse. Some might argue that the unlikable characters are the point of this book, that it was meant to show the shallowness and corruption of the day, but a cast of unlikable characters will make your book VERY unpleasant.

Finally, without spoiling too much… the ending of the book renders the entire rest of the story pointless. The characters have gained nothing, learned nothing, and in the end the moral of the story seems to be “isn’t this world a terrible place?” I don’t demand a happy ending from everything I read, but this book isn’t so much a sad ending as it is a nihilistic one. It’s as if the author set out to write an unpleasant and cynical book simply to make his story “meaningful” or “deep.”

I don’t understand why “The Great Gatsby” is considered such a classic. It’s unpleasant and miserable to read, without a single sympathetic character in the cast and without any sort of meaningful resolution. All I can say is that I’m glad I was never forced to read this in school.

**********************************************************************
Perhaps this post is also an unpleasant and miserable read, and please, don’t feel forced to read it. But thanks if you do. And if you have any thoughts, please feel free to share them too.
Olga Núñez Miret

The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions

Greg Marcus’s immensely informative book, The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions, is written with a purpose—to help people learn how to feel in their heart what the mind understands.

In it the author points out, “When we practice Mussar we are adjusting and correcting our soul.” Undeniably, that is what this book will do for you! It is nothing short of a workout for the soul.

Learning how to achieve better balance within your soul is not an easy task. It can take time to develop and patient endurance to perfect. In the book Dr. Marcus guides you gently and teaches you thoroughly on how to do just that. The wide array of subjects discussed, humility, patience, gratitude, silence, to name a few, are addressed in a concise manner to not bog down the flow of the book, yet are thought-provoking enough to give contemplative pause.

I enthusiastically recommend this book. It was a blessing to have received this book to read and review. It is a book for everyone, regardless of religious affiliation. It is a great resource for anyone interested in learning how to approach life with greater balance and more insight. It is a wealth of concentrated nuggets of wisdom.

4.5 star book review by Jason E. Royle

Spiritual Practice review by Jason E. Royle

Rotten Reviews and Terrible Trolls

You will get bad reviews. It’s inevitable, I promise you. Take comfort in the fact that it’s a rite of passage all writers go through. Every – single – one of them, and after the first one has you on the floor, bawling your eyes out, and inexplicably trying to chew your own foot off for a while, they’re not so hard to deal with. Some are pretty funny, and some are just to be ignored. There are people out there who delight in trashing books, and sometimes the authors of books too, for reasons unknown to most decent humans. Sometimes it’s jealousy, and sometimes it’s just because they’re mean. Sometimes also these one star stabs to the soul are perfectly legitimate in their author’s hearts and minds, because they really didn’t enjoy what you wrote for reasons that do or don’t make sense to you. Whatever the reasons are for your one star clanger, you must never, ever, never, never, and I repeat, never respond to them. If you really need to share your pain then talk to a friend – preferably a writer friend, who will totally get you. I personally don’t think that it’s a good idea to respond to fabulous five star rave reviews either. “Liking” that wonderful review is good enough. The reviewer might actually not appreciate being gushed at by an unknown author, no matter how much you really want to catch a plane, find them, and kiss them on the lips. Reviews are for readers, good ones and bad ones. It’s best for you to let them be.

Now the trolls on the other hand can be some crazy scary creatures. Try and avoid them at all costs, and be very wary of provoking any. After any amount of time cruising around our dear world wide web you’re guaranteed to come across a couple. Whether it’s something you’ll read in a forum or on a blog or article that enrages you so badly you act before thinking, or a troll actually infiltrating your own sites for whatever reason, you need to throw away that pointy stick without poking that horrible hairy monster, turn around very quietly and run away. On other sites you’re better off never getting involved with these people – ignore them, and they won’t even know that you were there. On your own sites use your block, ban, and report buttons with gusto in the event of any sort of blow across your bows. I have a few times and that’s been the end of that for me personally, but I have witnessed some pretty awful trollings online that were truly appalling to see, especially on Goodreads. Have no part in these things if you can help it.

When you do get a negative review, pass it on to that part of you who is the business – not the writer – figure out if there is anything to learn from it, in which case it becomes helpful, and if not, move right along and forget about it. Don’t waste your valuable online time on trolls and hurtful reviews.

How much time of every day should you spend “marketing” online, versus how much time should you spend each day writing your next book? Writing your next book must always take priority. A couple of self-published books have gone on to be NYT bestsellers with break out first novels, but that’s not the way this author life generally works. You have to produce more than one book. A little quirk that all of us readers have is the desire to read more from a writer we love. We’ll read a book that we adore, and praise it from the rafters. We’ll look for more books by the same author, and if there aren’t any, we’ll forget about it unless something pops up to remind us about it again. So schedule your daily writing time, and try and stick to it, doing other marketing and business related projects at other times of your day.

If you want to write books and earn a living from it, you are going to have to write and publish more books. If you’re writing a series you probably won’t see substantial sales until you have a couple of books out there. Don’t panic about this though. Underlying anxiety fussing about getting this done could very well knobble your creativity and leave you staring at a blank computer screen. I read an article by Hugh Howey a long time ago, where he said that he didn’t ever bother trying to market his first book until he’d published others. It was only his seventh book, Wool, that rocketed him to fame. I took his advice and I’m glad that I did. As you publish more, you learn so much more than you expect to after that bright eyed ecstasy when hitting the publish button for the very first time. Definitely do market and advertise your first book – of course you must, but don’t let disappointing first sales put you off writing the next or let marketing consume all of your time. You need time to build a readership. Patience and tenacity are what the Indie needs to succeed.

Troll

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

Article excerpt: The Absolute Indie

Talking about #bookreviews. A collection of great posts on how to get them and how to keep reviewers happy.

Hi all:

Recently I’ve read some great posts about reviews: how to get them, how to avoid things that annoy reviewers, and even posts recommending free books on the subject. You might have read them all, but just in case you haven’t, I thought I’d post them here.

How to Get Good Reviews by Theo Rogers (remember to check the price!)
How to Get Good Reviews by Theo Rogers (remember to check the price!)

The first one that came to my attention was a post by Nicholas Rossi, where he mentioned a free book  (this one ) that was still free when I wrote this post but do make sure that’s still the case, and also some updates on other interesting sounding books on similar topics. You can check Nicholas Rossi’s post here. Do follow his blog if you haven’t as he shares a wealth of knowledge and is a great writer.

That post resulted in a comment by Beetley Pete, a great blogger and a top reviewer in Amazon (do check his blog especially if you like dogs, photographs and pretty good writing too. See here, for instance ), where he provided a review on the said book. He made such great points that Nicholas created a post sharing that comment. Check here.

Book and mugsmall

This morning I read a post with the title Top 7 Book Reviewers Complaints in the blog Indies Unlimited. I’ll share the list but you can (and should) read the full post, and contribute to the discussion, here.

According to the post these are the seven top complaints by reviewers:

  1. “…he woke up and it was all a dream.” Done to death and back as a zombie too.
  2. “She could see the insanity creeping into his eyes.” Not the best way to justify a character doing out of character things. (I’m a psychiatrist and this is a particular bugbear of mine.)
  3. “He asked…” “…she answered.” I’m sure there are full volumes on dialogue tags but…
  4. Lack of Dialog (Can result in a lot of telling and not showing)
  5. Too Much Dialog (This is a bit of a personal taste, but it depends on the type of book. The writer of the post likes dialog and so do I)
  6. Too Much Description. Might depend on the genre but…
  7. Too Much Background. Like before

And Others

Don’t forget to check the full article and comment here.

If after all that, or perhaps after doing more reading on it, you still want to approach reviewers, I got a link to The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages here. Good luck! (I have no personal experience of that page but do let us know if you do).

PS: After publishing this post I just read a post by Rosie Amber about writing reviews, the reasons some people don’t and suggestions as to how to go about it, so I had to share it. Check here (and do follow her blog too for great reviews and also for a great way to get reviews if you’re an author).

Thanks all for reading, don’t forget to visit the blogs and follow the bloggers and good luck finding reviewers. And readers remember that reviews are a great way to share your love of books and to support writers!

Olga Núñez Miret

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

 

 

#Bookreview ‘Havana Jazz Club’ by LolaMariné (@bcnlola) Love doesn’t conquer everything but art is a great consolation. And an opportunity

Hi all:

I have quite a few reviews that I have accumulated and I plan on sharing some in the coming weeks, but I saw an opportunity for other people who love to review books, and also a chance to help a Spanish author whose books I enjoy.

Lola Mariné (here her Amazon page) is from Barcelona too, and although I haven’t met her personally, I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with her on a variety of occasions, mostly in Facebook. Yesterday, through Twitter, she sent me a message to let me know that one of her novels ‘Havana Jazz Club’ that I read a while back and thoroughly enjoyed (although when you read the review you’ll see that enjoy is not perhaps the best word to use, as the book really pulls at one’s heartstrings) had been translated to English (it was chosen by Amazon and they’ve managed the translation) and was now available to reviewers in Net Galley, FREE. I am signed to Net Galley and it’s a great way to get a flavour for new books (both from independent authors and publishing companies, big and small) and yes, it gives one access to books before they are published. Not all the books (some have copyright restrictions and it might depend on where you live if you have access to it or not).

As the book is not going to be officially published until late in August, I thought I’d take the chance to leave you my review for the Spanish version (translated, don’t worry), and would see if any of you who might be signed onto Net Galley could be interested in reviewing it too. I didn’t see any restrictions on the page that is this one:

https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/69985

First I leave you some information about the book and the author.

Havana Jazz Club by Lola Mariné
Havana Jazz Club by Lola Mariné

Description

Translated from Spanish by Rosemary Peele

Like Lady Day, Billie is young when she falls in love for the first time. Lured by her new playboy husband, the beautiful, trusting woman leaves her close-knit and caring family in Cuba to follow him to Spain. Once there, he reveals his true—and violent—nature, and Billie chooses the dangers of the street over the abuses of the man she once loved. Soon she finds herself with trouble to spare and nowhere to turn, but when her voice lands her a spot at the Havana Jazz Club, she discovers a new, unconventional family in a city far from the one she left behind. And with every high note and heartbreak, Billie skirts destiny to write her own song.

A Note From the Publisher

Lola Mariné is a writer, licensed psychologist, and actress. Born in Barcelona, she worked in show business in Madrid for twenty years before returning to her hometown. There, she earned a degree in psychology while teaching theater workshops to children. She has contributed to four anthologies, Tiempo de recreo (Playtime), Dejad que os cuente algo (Let Me Tell You Something), Atmósferas (Atmospheres), and Tardes del laberinto (Evening of the Labyrinth), and wrote Gatos por los tejados (Cats on the Roofs), a collection of short stories. Her first novel, Nunca fuimos a Katmandú (We Never Went to Kathmandu), was published in 2010.
And here, my review (a word of warning. As explained this is a review of the original Spanish book, although considering Amazon has handled the translation I assume it will be good, but I’ve downloaded the book and will try and check as soon as  I can).

Havana Jazz Club by Lola Mariné. Love doesn’t conquer everything but art is a great consolation

The novel Habana Jazz Club by Lola Mariné narrates the adventures of Billie, a Cuban girl, daughter of a woman who adores jazz and decides to call her Billie as an homage to Billie Holiday, despite everybody telling her that ‘it’s a boy’s name’. Billie inherits her mother’s love for music, particularly jazz music, and luckily for her, that love never disappoints her. Unfortunately, the rest…

I’ve never been to Cuba and I only know about it what I’ve read in books or watched in movies. I wouldn’t dare to comment on how realistic or not the description of Billie’s life before leaving Cuba is, but her home life is endearing and loving and shows us a close and happy family. Although we all know mothers’ are always right, unfortunately Billie ignores her mother’s advice and her mistrust, and marries a boy, who isn’t only handsome but also knows it, Orlando. Billie leaves Cuba and a big chunk of her heart there, and follows her husband, and things don’t work well for them. Billie’s story once they arrive in Spain becomes one of domestic violence and exploitation. And things only go from bad to worse, to the point when she ends up living in the streets of Barcelona, where she is rescued by her guardian angel, Armando. And when things start to look up, the men in her life continue making her miserable. And I won’t tell you anything else because you must read the novel.

Lola Mariné has written a masterful melodrama. There are irredeemable baddies, goodies as sweet as sugar, terrible suffering, and talent and music, plenty of music. There were moments when I couldn’t help reading ahead convinced of what would happen, and that it would be bad, but the same as when we’re dragged by a fast current, I couldn’t do anything else but let myself go and see if I came up, unscathed, at the other side. And despite her trials and tribulations, and the disasters that pepper her journey, or perhaps because of them, the protagonist makes her dreams come true (in a small-scale but…), and creates a family made up of people who love her because she is who she is, and not because she’s been born here or there, or because it is their duty.

The part I enjoyed the most (and I loved it all) was when towards the end, the author, first through Gerardo and later through Billie herself, reflects upon the nature of creativity, about what the really important things in life are, and the tranquillity of feeling happy and comfortable in one’s own skin, without pretending or having to worry about appearances. I hope we can all reach such a state at some point in our lives.

If you enjoy novels with a heart, with unforgettable protagonists, and the stories about self-improvement and personal achievement, I wholeheartedly recommend it to you.

Here is the link to the novel in Amazon, but as I said, it’s not published  yet. Although you can pre-order it.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U2ZMTZC/

Sorry for not following the usual format but it’s a bit of a novelty. And once the book is out and the author has had a chance to recover, I’ll try to bring her here for an interview. She’s a fascinating woman.

Thanks so much for reading, and you know, if you’re interested, like, share, comment, and CLIC! And if you do, don’t forget to leave a review!

 

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

Paid book promotions and other ideas to sell your book. The feedback.

Hi all:

As you’ll remember a few weeks ago I shared a post I’d originally posted on my personal blog asking other authors and readers their opinions and suggestion about paid promos and what might or might not work. I also promised to collate the replies and bring them back.

So, here it is. Sorry to those of you who might have already read it in my blog. I leave you the link too as the replies might be of interest. And  I intend to keep updating if I get any further replies. Ah, and don’t miss the links to other people’s posts on the subject.

Thanks!

Here is the link:

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/paid-ads-and-promos-for-books-the-feedback-thanks/

And the post:
Hi all:

As you’ll remember, a few weeks ago I asked for your thoughts and feedback on paid ads and other kinds of promotions to try and sell your books. I promised to come back with a post trying to summarise the comments. As I shared the post in other places, I also got comments in Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks all for the comments, and although, of course, the numbers and the differences between people’s circumstances and books mean this is in no way scientific, I thought I’d collect common themes and mention some of the points that seemed to come through for me.

By the way, just in case you don’t remember or want to read the original post again, it is here.

Woman's shoe

Promoting your giveaways, special promos:

As I had read before, most people seem to think that Bookbub is a good option, although difficult to get in, expensive and not everybody seemed to make the money back (remember it’s for giveaways or promos, so it might be that sales follow as a result of it at a later date but…). Now it seems that big publishing companies are using it, so it might get more competitive. You need a good number of positive reviews, and the prices vary according to genre (more for more popular genres).

Here is a comment by a writer (thanks Carol Balawyder) about content in Bookbub:

I went on BookBub’s site and these are some of the writers I found: Jo Nesbo, John Irving, Sophie Kinsella, Dan Brown…I would be like a little league baseball player asking to go up to bat in the major leagues.

 

Quite a few people mentioned Ereader News Today that is more economical. For some it seemed to work better than for others.

Exploring new sites that are appearing all the time was also suggested. Of course the reach of those might be limited but a combination of many (if you have the time) might be worth considering. I’ve had good comments about The Fussy Librarian.

If you are offering free downloads, check as there are many places that suggest places that list those for free. I have tried a few but I don’t do free giveaways any more, and as I tried many, it’s impossible to know what worked and what not. In any case, some sites have very specific requirements and you need to submit plenty in advance for a chance, so planning is a must.

Word of mouth:

Big cheers for word of mouth. Personal contact, book clubs, etc… If you’re completely unknown and don’t have a lot of following, getting to that stage where you’re in the mouth of people can be quite difficult I guess, but yes, this is the best. And it costs nothing (or possibly some free books if you offer them for review). Of course, getting to the point where enough people have read and recommended is the crux of the matter.

Some people get postcards with information about their books printed; try local venues (libraries, book fairs, markets, local press, radio, independent bookshops if you’re that lucky). And of course, use your friends and connections…

Blog tours:

This got quite interesting replies. I had comments about specific blog tour companies (both good and bad, but as they aren’t my personal experience I won’t mention those), people talking about things not going according to plan (people not posting, things being missed), others who organise their own.

Alina, who has worked in PR for many years and writes herself (she also organises blog tours, but despite her personal involvement in the topic, I thought her reply deserved to be quoted, as it covers many aspects other people brought up) told me this:

Blog tours are not advertising. They are closer to PR actually. Do they help? They do get your name out there. They get a bulk of promo posts and reviews for your book soon after it’s published. They also bring it back into people’s mind later on when you are promoting a second book, for example. And yes, if your book is promoted by some really well known book bloggers, that has an impact. So much so that some authors do exclusive cover reveals for example, where they go with only one blog.

Tours can be a bit hit and miss though, and sometimes it has to do with more than who organizes it and what contacts they have. Some genres are more eye catching than others, for example. All in all, I’ve never heard of an author (and I don’t mean just those I’ve worked with) say they reaped no benefits from tours.

As a reader, I have actually read quite a few books because they got great reviews from book bloggers I knew. I know who has similar tastes and whenever they recommend a book, I tend to check it out.

On the other hand I have read some comments from authors who did not feel a blog tour had done anything for them.

Amazon ads:

I’ve been reading recently quite a few posts about this. So far the conclusions as to the new PPC (pay per click) ads aren’t that encouraging. You need to pay a lot per click to make sure enough people see them to buy (as we all know the conversion rate is quite low, although depending on how you choose your add it might not be quite as low) and then it does not seem to be recouped. Of course, with regards to the effect on branding… It’s probably too early to call and it requires much more experimentation, but like most things, the more people get into them and use them, the more difficult it will be to make an impact. (Check out Nicholas Rossis’s blog as he’s been sharing a few posts on the subject).

Chris McMullen has also shared quite a few posts on the mechanics and how to assess your campaign with Amazon. I share one of them here, but check the whole series if you’re seriously considering it. Ah, don’t forget that to use this your books have to be in KDP Select, so if you’re thinking of publishing elsewhere, this won’t be an option.

https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/how-to-assess-your-ad-campaign-at-kindle-direct-publishing/

Of course, Amazon advertises many other things and there are other ways to go about getting an ad campaign there, but I think most of our budgets would not reach there…

Ads in other sites (Facebook, Goodreads,…)

I haven’t come across much positive feedback on ads in Facebook. Early on they seemed to be difficult to target. Now some people think it might work for the brand but it does not seem to translate on sales (it might be worthwhile if you’re organising something that requires a certain number of likes, etc…).

Some authors have done fairly well accruing reviews through Goodreads either advertising or giveaways, although number of previous books and a strong following/readership seems to be imperative.

Reviews

Everybody thinks reviews are important, but nobody seems to know exactly how. Some people have got good results from offering ARC (advance reading copies) of their books in groups in Goodreads or to bloggers, others say the bigger blogs with many readers are saturated and it might be months before they get round to your book, if at all. Approaching people directly seems to take time and not everybody thinks the results justify the time spent. (All resources are equally important though. It might be that we don’t have the money to pay for advertising, but of course, time we spend trying to advertise our books, with more or less success also has a value, and we need to weigh that up too. We know life is short but we don’t know how short it might be. Sorry for the philosophising.)

No, no, no paid advertisements

There were quite a few people who said there are far too many other options (social media, friends, other authors, developing relationships, words of mouth…) and publishing can already be quite an expensive business, so no, they haven’t tried and wouldn’t. And there are also those who have tried and consider it a waste of money.

And the readers?

Some said that they have bought books based on Amazon recommendations or ads, also on ads seen in periodicals or magazines.

People still look at covers but some are checking out blogs and discovering new books and authors through them.

 

Suggestions for further reading:

Sorry, I could not help the title of this section. I’ve mentioned some bloggers to visit if you want to check further, but also one of the bloggers who visited my original post suggested two interviews she’d published that dealt with some of these issues and I thought I’d share:

https://roughseasinthemed.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/confessions-from-an-american-in-london/

https://roughseasinthemed.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/views-and-reviews/

I’m sure there will be more feedback to come and I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime:

Thanks all for the comments, for reading, and you know, like, share, comment, and CLICK!

Fair Reviewing or Review the Book, NOT Your Expectation.

If you have been around here long enough you know Book Reviews are something I am passionate about. How can someone be passionate about Book Reviews? I know how important they are to an author.

  1. The more Reviews a book has on Amazon and other places the better chance of being seen by potential readers, moving up on lists of books that will be shared in emails and websites.
  2. They give a potential Reader an opinion about the book.
  3. They give the author feedback on what is working with a book and what is not.

Recently Author Jo Robinson, one of the Feature Writers here on LWI wrote Safe Reviewing. The article is well worth a read as can be attested by the record breaking numbers it is setting on the site to date in Views, Likes and Comments in just 24 hours. But it was also that article that reminded me of an article I had been wanting to write.

One of our LWI Authors has received what I will call Inconsistent Reviews. I had to think for a moment how I wanted to phrase that. One review on Goodreads simply had a Rating of 1 Star.  When the book is consistently Rated 5 Stars, you know there is something going on, especially when there were no comments attached to the 1 Star. I did some research into the person’s Reviewing history.

  • Only likes a certain subject,style or author.
  • Seems to have a dislike for a certain type of author.

Another Review was a good Rating on Amazon but the actual Review was so completely opposite of the score I am questioning the person’s ability to do Reviews, only because they have their Amazon name include Reviews in it. The problem here is the person was expecting or wanting one kind of book and this was not that kind of book, so they decided to basically rip it apart in several ways that showed their lack of professionalism and actual ability to comprehend the book. I read the book. Every point made in the Review was such a sad piece of drivel that I was so angry by the end I wanted to somehow find a way to delete the person’s ability to write Reviews anywhere ever again.

fair-reviewingThat’s the purpose of this article. If you are expecting a Star Trek novel and you end up with a Dune novel, don’t complain. Science Fiction is Science Fiction. Just because it is not your flavor does not make it bad. If you feel let down because you were EXPECTING or HOPING for Star Trek and you didn’t get it, it’s not the Author’s problem. If you cannot find you are able to write a fair Review, then don’t write a Review at all.

I do my less than favorable Reviewing in Beta-Reading. When I Beta-Read I don’t hold back. That’s when you need to realize, especially with friends, there is no such thing as compromise or benefit of the doubt for that matter.That’s when the Author needs the absolute truth.

Will I give someone a bad Review of a book? I would prefer not to publish one. But there are times when there has been an agreement or an insistence and I had to do it.

So Review as you will but think before you Publish. As Jo mentioned, we as Authors nor Reviewers or even the basic Reader want to break down an Author. We want to help the Author and the Reader. You can do that in a Review if you take the time to do it right.

 

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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