The dog days of August are almost upon us (no, I didn't mean to rhyme, LOL), and I'm happy to back home working diligently on my writing. My trip to the West Coast was lovely, despite catching the "airplane grippe" and hacking my way from San Francisco to Seattle in twelve days. (Number one on my list if I ever become extraordinarily rich, will be a private jet!)
You can read about my exploits and see a few cool pics here.
Now that I'm home and caught up on the 1600 emails and rid of the rotten onions (I forgot to empty the vegetable drawer in the mudroom before we left) awaiting me upon my return, I'm back at it. Of course, my biggest priority is finishing that first draft of HEALING WATERS, book three in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy, due out later this year. It's slow going, but I promise, the wait will be worth it! As always, we busy writers have our hands in everything, so I'm also in the midst of another short blog tour. This time, however, the tour is focused on reviews.
If you're a writer, you understand the importance and power of having your books reviewed. After all, if no one is talking about your book, readers have no way of finding it. Discoverability is one of the most difficult aspects of becoming a successful author. Aside from shouting about our books from the rooftops--a practice that is both futile and annoying under any circumstances but even more so in the overcrowded marketplace where EVERYONE seems to have something to sell, authors really have only two ways of finding a readership.
Paid advertising and word of mouth.
Now, I know the general public thinks that if we're published that we are magically rolling in dough, but I assure you that nothing is further from the truth. The return on investment to write and publish (whether traditionally or independently), is often meager at best. In fact, most authors never "hit it big" and many barely break even. Nope...I'm not planning on quitting my day job anytime soon. So paying for advertising may not be feasible. Some of the larger publishing houses will pay for some advertising, but even that is hit or miss these days and usually relegated to established authors.
As an indie author, I'm on my own to pay for editing, cover art, formatting, and such, so I have to be super careful about where I put my advertising dollars. To make things even tougher, the most effective advertising sites are expensive and so highly sought after that they can be very picky about what books they are willing to advertise and what criteria those books have to meet. As many as thirty reviews with a 4+ star rating are required for some of the bigger sites and let me tell you, getting thirty reviews is no easy task these days. With thousands of new books coming out each week, readers are busy reading and don't often give a thought to leaving a review of the books they've enjoyed. Most of the time, it's not even on their radar to do so.
If they only knew how valuable their opinion is--both as feedback about what we're doing right, and as a way of helping us get the word out--I have to believe more people would take a minute, write a few lines and post their reviews to Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Smashwords, or Goodreads. Writing reviews is as simple as letting other readers know why they should (or shouldn't) read a particular book. You don't have to write a huge synopsis, and frankly, the only thing worse than not getting reviews is having reviewers tell the entire storyline, making it pointless for anyone to read the book themselves. A fair rating and a few lines about what you liked or what you didn't is enough to let the author know you cared enough to take the time to share your feelings about their work and recommend it to others. Trust me, authors appreciate the effort more than you can imagine!
So to show my appreciation to both readers and reviewers, I'm having another beach bag giveaway this week while PIECES of LOVE is on it's review tour. Just stop by any of the sites along the tour and enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win! Along the way, it might be nice if you leave a comment to let the reviewers know how much you appreciate them sharing their opinion. These folks don't get paid to do this. They do it because they love books and want to help authors spread the word. I'm so grateful to each and every reader, but especially for those who put the time and effort into writing these reviews. And a big THANKS to Candace Robinson of Candace's Book Blog & CBB Book Promotions for setting it up.
Peace and blessings,