Hi guys,

Anyone know a decent blog/review site I could contact to promote my new crime thriller novel? 

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Hi Jack,

How do I go about giving away books on Goodreads when I epub on Amazon?

Do I have to send .pdf files? I'm so new to all this stuff. 

I hadn't thought of .PDF files. I publish both print and Kindle.

This is worth reading:

The Fussy Newsletter

Getting those early reviews

A common frustration I hear from many of you is that it's tough to get the first 10 reviews in order for your books to be eligible for consideration on The Fussy Librarian. Well, when I saw that LL Collins' "Reaching Rachel" had 34 reviews only one week after publication, I asked her to write a guest column about how she did it:

The biggest thing that any author needs - independently published or otherwise - are reviews. We live and breathe for them. So why are they so hard to get? How can you motivate your readers to review for you? By no means do I think I’m an expert, but I’ve learned a thing or two over the last several months that I would love to share with you.

First, my name is LL Collins and I’m a self-published author. I currently have two books out, and I appreciate all of my reviews (well, okay, not all of them, but most of them you can learn from!).
One thing I have found that has helped get more reviews is to have a strong team behind you. I use a ‘Beta Team’, a group of people that read my book before it is even edited. They are an honest, real group of people that will tell me straight up what works and what doesn’t. I also have a ‘Street Team’, a group of people that by choice help get my name out to others. In return for them helping be my ‘marketing team’, they get exclusives that others don’t get. One major thing is, they get an ARC (advanced reader copy) of my new books.

With my newly released book, Reaching Rachel, I had a team and gave it all to them to read prior to release. My team consists of readers, bloggers, and fellow authors. To receive this perk, they had to agree to post reviews immediately upon the book being published. I do make sure to tell all of them that I want honest reviews. While it is hard to read negative reviews sometimes, you don’t want people that just tell you what you want to hear. You want real people.

Also, I give ARCS to bloggers that ask to review. The first time, being a new author, I gave one to anyone that would give me a chance. This time, I sent ARCS to about 30 bloggers for honest reviews. I then will have a blog tour, where on each given day, a blog or blogs will post their review on social media and the major retailers (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc). Without the bloggers, many authors (myself included) would never make it in this very competitive market. They not only help with reviews, but with getting the word to their fans about your books.

To get readers to leave reviews, I simply ask. If they send me a message saying they loved the book, I encourage them to please leave a review. I tell them honestly how much it means to myself and fellow authors for them to leave reviews. Often I will post on social media, asking for readers to post reviews if they have read the book/books, telling them that their review only needs to be 20 words. Really, it’s all about being interactive and being real. There are many people that just don’t leave reviews, for whatever reason. They may feel intimidated by it, not see it as important, or forget. While I’ve had pretty good success catching some of them, the percentage of reviews based on sales is still pretty low. While I’ve had thousands of people read my books, only hundreds have reviewed.

So to try to get more reviews, to put it simply, be interactive. Get a good core group behind you that can help get the word out about your books, and build some relationships with bloggers. Beyond that, being a hands-on, interactive author will help your readers identify with you as a person, and therefore understand how meaningful it is for you to get the reviews. This solidifies not only current but future sales, and helps lead you to a successful writing career.

I agree that it's ok to ask readers to leave a review, but I have problems with creating a "core group" of people ahead of time to review your books. These people are no longer independent and objective readers. It's not too different from paying for reviews or asking your friends and family to post.

That's always the balancing act, I.J.

While it's great to have reviews from friends, and I do, it's even more joyful to receive them from strangers who have bought and read your work. 

Truth be told, I'm always gobsmacked that people read my books. Humbled, actually, and encouraged to continue. . 

Yes.  Me, too.  And all the more so when they review or write to me. I have the best readers in the world.

No you don't, I do - unless they're the same readers. Tee hee. 

And that's unlikely, considering I've not developed much of a US readership yet. Hence the drive for US promotion.


Are you a journalist being fair? Or an under-discovered author trying to be noticed? I see no reason not to ask family, friends, and fans to help you. It's not like they could make you rich or famous or even well-read -- it's a starter campaign to make strangers notice. 

I guess giving away books is sort of like paying, but I don't feel the same way about it. It sure didn't guarantee a good review for my giveaways. I got three one-star ratings (no review) and six or seven two-stars, including people who thought my character was a total jerk and didn't mind saying so. Luckily, they were a minority.

Hi Jack, 

No, I'm not a journo, just a guy trying to put his name out there into the wide blue yonder.

I guess I need to push harder and let my inner businessman take over. As you say, reviews are essential if I want to push my name into the world. 

I've not have many hideous reviews yet - one guy complained that my first publication was too short to review, although he 'liked the style'. This was after I clearly stated in the bumph it was a '12k word novella' and sold it for $0.99.

Sometimes you can't win. 

Reviews need to be scrupulously honest, or you're cheating your customers.

Hi I.J.,

I agree, and have no problem with honesty, in fact I advocate it. I am not naive enough to think everyone will love everything I write, it's a big wide world out there and there's room for all tastes and styles.

On the other hand. I do have a problem with nastiness for nastiness' sake.

For example, a friend of mine wrote an  unofficial sports biography. As far as I could tell, it was pretty well researched and very well written, (in my unbiased opinion). It received quite a few good reviews - averaged 4-stars. One reviewer panned it and gave it one star, saying it was badly written, badly researched and too short (at over 200 pages). 

It turned out that this fellow was part of the sports personality's management team wanting to spike the unofficial bio's guns in advance of the release of their own, anodyne bio. 

Honesty works both ways. 

Personally, if I really hate a book, I won't review it at all, rather than give a bad one. Don't know why, - remember the old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say..."

Cheers, K

Whenever I see a troll review, I contact my friends and fans and have it flagged as abuse. So far, I've gotten two of these deleted.


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