Death by Reviews

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Bad platform builder, bad!

Okay, self-recrimination complete. Now to the topic at hand.

What is the defining difference between being a poor artist and a successful author?

Reviews!!!!!!!

Now I know that you may want to argue that the quality of the story, the niche of the audience, having a major publisher, and so on, are what will make a successful author, but I’m going to argue that it is actually the reviews.

Simply put, without reviews, you don’t get sales. There are two factors to this.

Say it with me, Math. Yep, you heard me right. And you thought that as a wordsmith, you would never have to deal with that vile beast again, but it just isn’t so. Algorithms what the major retailers use to decide which books to display in front of their shoppers, and they are heavily based on reviews. Yes, being in the top hundred helps, but less than you think.

If you use a kindle, take a quick look at your suggested readings. Okay, now check what their rankings are. It’s all over the place, isn’t it? That’s because those suggestions are based upon both what genres you read, who else bought the same books as you, and what their reviews and ratings on other books are. You see, the algorithm is trying to make money, so it’s trying to match your taste, and it does this by looking at reviews.

But just getting a few reviews isn’t enough, and this leads to the second point, data points. There has to be a link to make a link. You can think of it as a pyramid scheme, with you being at the top. If you only have a review or two, it is challenging to get any coverage away from your start point, but if it is you and twenty to fifty reviews under you, the web grows and overlaps much more efficiently. Those overlaps are new sales. They are points where the system looks at the person shopping, compares them to others, and goes, “Based on their shopping trends and similar shoppers, they would probably be tempted by this,” creating a suggestion for them.

And this is why reviews are even more important than the quality of the work, spending money on ads, or creating posts. What is going to sell your work the most are your reviews.

So, do your homework, don’t rush your release, and get your reviews before you release it. If you want to be successful, that is your number one job. Get your reviews! If you can do that, you will not only start on level ground, instead of in a dark cave without a torch and no map, but standing on a tower above the assailing armies of other books that are trying to be sold, reigning down fire on them from above.

Now for the hard part, where to get them.

Friends, Family, neighbors, teachers, anyone you can ask and get a copy to, do it, but don’t expect much. Sadly, most of these people are flaky and won’t read your work or write a review. So ask, but don’t expect much.

Reading groups are a decent place to look, but you will still only get a few takers. But every review helps.

Paid options:

BookSprout is a decent option for if you are on a budget, but you’ll get a lot of span for a few reviews. On the plus side, the reviews are usually good.

BookSirens is the other option I will suggest if you want to take this route. They are similar to BookSprout, but they have a pay-to-play setup where you pay $2 per reader. So this cost a bit more, but you usually get more reviews. They will also accept books that are on KindleUnlimited.

SNS: Twiter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, GoodReads. These are all ways to reach out to people and look for readers willing to do reviews. You’ll get some good and bad ones with this, but you can still pick up a few.

Book swaps: These work okay once you have some other authors that you know and are also looking for reviews.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter how you get the reviews. Just know that if you really want to make this your life or earn some spare money, you are going to need to put in the hard work to front-load reviews before you release and to always be on the hunt for more.

Follow me on twitter at JgJ1126

Bibliography

Here is a list of the books which I have published. Some of them may not have links yet but I will add those as I receive them.

If you could leave a review when you are finished reading any of these, that would be a great help. Reviews help me to know your thoughts and help others know if a book is for them. Thank you.

Account of the Change Series:

Swell:

Jake thought he knew what he was getting into when he moved to Japan. But destiny has other ideas and as the Swell draws near, no one is safe. Beware teacups, and adapt or die, because it is a brave new world out there and it will just as soon eat you as save you. Myths and Legends, new and old, are back to play, so keep your friends close and your Tanuki closer because you’re going to need all the help you can get if you plan to survive.

Swell: A New Beginning:

Sometimes new beginnings are actually old. Aida Kyoko thought she knew who she was and what she was going to do with her life. But when she catches wind of what is to come, her life is forever changed as she travels through the changed world that she tried to warn everyone was coming. With the aid of friends and plucky family, can she survive the demands of this new world and find her place in it?

Swell: A Different Path:

When Mick Renalds packed his bags and left for Japan, he thought he was rid of his old life, but some people are destined to walk a Different Path. As much as Mick would like to live the quiet life, Destiny has something else in mind and Mick is just the man for the Job. As the world turns upside down, the real monsters are out to play, and only Mick can stand in their way.

Endless Skies Series:

Cloud Dancer:

In the skies of Spiria, only those who Dance on the Clouds can rule the land.
Cast adrift at the mercy of the skies as a baby, cursed with deadly secrets, and thrust into the heights of power, Delphi just wants to be free to sail the infinite skies. But when you are a national asset, Freedom comes at a high price.
Is the price of freedom worth it?
Labeled as a rule-breaker, trouble maker extraordinaire, cursed freak, and surrounded by a backbiting bureaucracy worse than a pack of Worlpertinger, Delphi has her hands full if she wants to reach the top and seize her freedom.
There is a new wind brewing, and it just might be a tempest.  

Sparks in the Wind (2020~)

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