Saturday, February 27, 2016

Whoring Yourself Out: Book Reviews

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It is not uncommon for advice givers to tell you not to care about what other people think, that you need to be proud of your individuality, and that you should really only be concerned with your friends' and family's opinions. While that might be true about life, in general, when you are an indie author, the opposite is true about what you publish--or at least that's what I'm told.

The people who regularly promote this point-of-view say that your success, at least in part, relies on your getting positive reviews from as many different sources as possible. If you want people to buy your books, you need to care what others think about your work, and that means sending your book out to be reviewed as many times as possible so you can use the positive reviews to market your book to your audience, and hopefully get some sales.

Clearly, I am not entirely sold on this idea, but if you are committed to pursuing it, I would say there are a few things that you can do before seeking reviews to help make sure that you get at least three stars out of five, which I consider to be a positive review, and it all comes down to competent writing (whatever that means to you) and professionalism (which is doable, if you are careful).

Make sure that your writing is at least somewhat focused and cohesive, grammatically correct and carefully proofread, that the copy is formatted and designed professionally (or if you do it yourself, it gives off the appearance of being designed professionally), and that you are marketing it to the right audience (and reaching out to the right reviewers). Review sites list the criteria their reviewers look at when judging a book, so make sure that you read the criteria carefully on each site before you send any anything.

This is something I am still working on myself, and I know that it might take some growing pains before I finally get it right. If you are struggling, there is plenty of information on websites like this and this (and here).

Realistically, success doesn't happen overnight for most people, no matter what you do, and writing is no different. Most have to keep working at it, and if you are persistent and patient, eventually your hard work might pay off. It's good to try lots of different things while in the pursuit of success (however you view it), and while the present thing may or may not work for you, it is worth at least trying (because it could work).

At least that's what I read on the internet.

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