reviews

Proper Care and Feeding of Your Book Reviews

Reviews Blog part 2: for the Writer

For the first part of this, I asked readers to leave a single sentence and a couple stars and call it a review. But then it occurred to me—getting people to leave their opinions is not the only struggle in the big bad game we call book reviews. What happens after you get them? And thus we have blog number two: for the writers.

So you’ve got some reviews on Amazon. Excellent. Congrats. 90% of the reading population gets their fiction fix from Amazon at this point. Unfortunately, less than 1% of them will leave a review. Oh they may have liked it. Maybe even really liked it. They may have even told their friends, or even you. But they’re probably (even after reading the first part of this) not going to leave a review. Because why? I have no idea. If you figure that out, let me know.

So let’s, for this portion of the show, think outside the box, beyond the storefront, to review sites and journals and other places. To this I say, have a hit list. Where do you want to be reviewed? (Again, I’m not talking about Amazon anymore) Who do you trust because they’re thorough and honest and if it’s not good, they won’t fluff it with Atta’boys. Where are your heroes reviewed? Your peers? Make a list.

Now contact them all.

Yes, all. Because a.) they won’t all be able to get you on the TBR schedule, and b.) many of them don’t have the same audience—grow your audience by spreading your reviews out.

What to say? Easy. Short and sweet and “hey, I have a book, would you like a review copy?” Because yes, you’re going to give away copies of your book. Whether they prefer printed review copies or are kind enough to take arcs, ebooks, and/or pdfs, you are going to give away your book. With a smile. And a prayer.

So now you have a list. You’ve sent the book. (Jump forward in time…) And they’ve reviewed you! Now what? Because this is the spot where my thought occurred the other day. So now that we’re all up to speed and have these reviews, those not on the storefront, what do we do?

Sure, we post them on our blogs, our websites, our twitter feeds, and our facebook pages. We point and smile and say, “look what I did!” It might get liked, it might get shared, and you get that warm fuzzy feeling.

But then, like everything we post, it get swallowed by the neverending feed monster and disappears into the depths of posts forgotten. The archives. The annals. The things forgotten beyond the “load more” button.

Then someone wants to buy the book and they wonder what others thought of it, so they look at the reviews on Amazon or B&N or where ever. And they see “didn’t finish it, it sucked.” Or they see positive reviews in the form of single sentences and a smattering of stars because those readers read the first part of this two-part blog. But what if they were looking for that in depth review. What if they were wondering whether or not Cemetery Dance or Rue Morgue or Gingernuts read it and what their thoughts were? They would have to dig to find those buried in the feed monster. But they won’t dig. They won’t hunt. If you don’t provide it, they won’t ever see it once it’s been swallowed.

So to combat this, I’ve done the following, and gladly welcome others to do the same.

First, I’ve taken the juicy bits of the reviews, and put them on the product page of Amazon or B&N in the “reviews” portion between the back cover copy and the readers reviews. You can get to this section through Author Central (amazon), or in your book details on B&N, or by having your manager and/or agent take care of this for you. (I also use these little blips, blurbs and highlights in ads, tweets, gentle reminder posts, etc)

Then, I took those same juicy bits and put them on the individual book pages of my website, with links to the full review. And just like that, those pretty words they said are no longer lost to the ever scrolling feed demon. Now if that reader finds you because of a different book and goes looking through your catalog, they’ll be able to click and read those journal reviews. You’ve saved them. Shared them and kept them safe for future sharing.

And that’s it. Get the reviews. Share the reviews. Post them in a place they won’t disappear forever… and then get to writing the next thing. Because no matter how good this book is received or reviewed, the question on everyone’s tongue will be: What’s next?

 

pssst Leave a Review

Reviews Blog part 1: for the Reader

Reviews are something every writer fears, loves, needs, wants, and often begs for. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to reviews lately, and two separate ideas started formulating, so I’m going to do two separate blogs. One for the readers, and one for the writers. This one is for the readers…

It started when I was looking around google and did some quick math. Scary math. Terrifying math that made me want to curl up in a corner and rock for a bit.

According to Statista—about 50,498 new fiction books were published in 2013.

That’s 138 books a day.

So the day a new book comes out, it is immediately competing with 137 other books.

137.

And that’s just the day it came out.

The next day, it’s now competing with 274 new books (previous day, plus new day—because *new release* is longer than a twenty-four hour period). And then on the third day, it’s competing with 411… and by the end of the first week alone it is competing with 959 other *new releases*.

959.

Absorb that.

Not to mention the 4,000 books that came out the previous month, but the readers hadn’t had a chance to grab them yet. So now do they buy one of those 4,000 they were thinking about, or one of the new 959, or yours?

Keep in mind, that data is from 2013, because the consensus among the pollsters, librarians, and other book nerds since then is that there is no longer any way to come up with a true number due to the sheer amount of self-published books which have no ISBN or other way to track them.

Which means the number is actually higher than 959 at the end of one week. 1,000 maybe? Probably more?

And this is why the authors you know, love, follow, stalk, read, etc. literally beg for reviews. Because we need to somehow hold our book a little higher than the other 959 that week… and those reviews help more than you can imagine.

But what is a review? First of all, for the purpose of this blog, I’m talking about them as if they were a product review for that new toaster you got—whether it was on Amazon, B&N, etc. Secondly, we’re not looking for in depth literary reviews. We’re not looking for a book report. We’re not even looking for a breakdown of what did and didn’t work. David Wilson actually just brought this up on facebook recently.

Sometimes I wonder if readers don’t leave book reviews because they think they need to write something like you would read on a review site, or in a magazine. Reader reviews on Amazon are more likely to be considered useful by sites like Bookbub if they are short, just say something like “great story line, loved the xxxx character…” Or mention very briefly a theme. If it looks like someone sat down to write a formal review, it also looks either paid, or like it came from a friend trying to outdo themselves.

If you’re interested in the comments and conversation spurred off that post, check out the thread.

Regarding the reviews themselves—he hit the nail on the head (hehe, there’s a pun in there if you know him). We are literally looking for, hoping for, asking and begging for, nothing more than a number of stars (as you see fit), and a single sentence.

A single sentence.

What did you actually like? Was it the characters? Was it the storyline? Or perhaps the twist at the end? Without giving anything away, say something short, sweet, concise, and toss some stars at it like shiny yellow punctuation.

That’s it.

Why? Because yes, we want to know if you liked it or not—especially if we’re debating a sequel or using a character elsewhere. But we also want to somehow hold that book a little bit higher than the other 959 people who released their books that week… and your single sentence and smattering of stars can actually help us to do that.

So please, care for your favorite author enough to give their work a (brief, one-sentence) review.

I recently changed the information on my Amazon account so that I, too, can leave reviews when I finish reading. Because I read a lot of books, and it’s horrible to ask for reviews but not leave them. So if you’re worried about someone knowing it was you, change your info. Remove your last name. Use only initials. Do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable enough to share your opinion.

I’m leaving reviews. Are you? Have you read something of mine? Did you put a sentence and some stars on Amazon? Could you? How about that other author you just read? They could use a little one-sentence love, too…

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the season for giving… and this year, I’m giving back to YOU. For (each and) every book of mine you buy this holiday season, you can enter to WIN one of three signed blu-ray/dvd combos of the breakout indy film I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday.

If you’re a fan of my work, you’ll enjoy this film. This is not a bloody gore-fest. This is not an in-your-face horror movie. This is a post-apocalyptic nightmare of the quiet kind… the kind that don’t necessarily shake off when you wake up.

Written and directed by Mike Lombardo of Reel Splatter Productions, this little gem has been collecting nothing but rave reviews and film circuit laurels. If you haven’t seen it, you should, and here’s your chance to own a (FREE) signed copy.

Once, when, or after, you buy any Kelli Owen book, simply fill out the form below to be entered into the drawing. You may enter once per purchase, meaning—if you buy more than one book, fill out the form for each book, for multiple chances to win. It doesn’t matter if the book is for you or as a gift…

And if you’re looking for a signed copy at con prices—novels only $10, novellas $5—I’ve got the following inventory. Just email me your shopping list and we’ll go from there. (note: I only have 1 or 2 of most of these, so don’t delay).

 Teeth  Floaters  Wilted Lilies  Deceiver
 Live Specimens  Buried Memories  The Neighborhood  Forgotten
 White Picket Prisons  Black Bubbles  Gracie flip chap  ABCs coloring book*

Thank you for being a reader, a fan, and a supporter of the arts. As a token of my gratitude, I gladly offer up these three copies of I’m Dreaming of a White DoomsdayHappy Holidays!

 

 

Book purchase date must be between Nov 30 and Dec 31, 2018. Winners will be randomly drawn on January 1, 2019 (New Year’s Day). Blu-Ray/DVD is signed by cast and crew who were present at the signing at Lancaster’s FYE. Retail price $24.99 (and yes, I paid for these. these are not a promo on the part of the filmmaker, but rather just me… because I wanted to support the filmmaker, and give back to you!)

*The Atrocious Alphabet (no crayons) is on sale this month for $5.00


 

Potpourri | Buttercup of Doom ep 58

bodep58-potpourri

This week I answer, have opinions, and generally babble on about some topics you’ve tossed my way (via the form or social media) that just weren’t enough for a full episode on their own, but together, they are a potpourri of variety! From food to jewelry to tarot readings and much more… prepare to be randomized!

Available FREE on: Project iRadioiTunesStitcherAndroidTune-In • Google Play Music • Overcast

Sponsors: Kelli on WATTPAD |  Subculture Corsets & Clothing (and twitter)| Project iRadio’s Patreon | Kelli’s Patreon page

Suggestions/Requests: Nathan, Robin, Amber3, Kayleigh, Bill, Alan, Sammy, and TJ — thanks guys! (to suggest/request use the form or post on FB)

Mentions/Shoutouts and Linky-Links: Kelli’s Amazon (leave a review!) • Kealan Patrick Burke • Poopourri (the funny) • Miss Cleo • It Cooks • 13 o’clock podcast • Tina’s Mary Kay

Hashtag Hell: #review #tarot #pizza #sheep #mandelaeffect #boho #wisconsin #pennsylvania #makeup #80s #gypsy #amywinehouse #oreo #apple #marykay #deadpool #vote #realitytv #drama #water #patreon #facebook #twitter #instagram #projectiradio #buttercupofdoom #podcast #kelliowen

Coming up: #horrormovies #paranormal #ghosthunting #halloween …and your suggestions

This Week’s Rating: PG13 (language) buttercup ratings system info here

Wanted

Prereaders Wanted:

Must be thorough, honest, brutal, helpful and have decent turnaround—I’m pretty good with deadlines, but there will be occasional rush jobs. Need MSword and be able to hold your tongue regarding details until publication. Must be willing to break my heart and make me cry, but know how to do it with a smile. Previous experience with other writers helpful but not necessary.

I know, I know… not really a “question” so much as a “call” for a Garage Talk kinda Thursday, but I’ll make up for it next week. If interested, please respond below…

 

Attention Reviewers

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
~Chinese Proverb

The short version: Looking for serious reviewers for upcoming releases—backlist available upon request—for both print/ebook and audio versions.

The long version: Looking for serious reviewers. Review must be static rather than revolving, so that it can be referenced later or linked to without going dead in a month. Review copies will be in electronic format (pdf, epub, mobi, etc.). Quotes may be pulled from review for use on books themselves, or as marketing materials on this website or my affiliate social networking sites, as well as online sellers offering reviewed or other works of mine. Backlist items are available upon request, as many/most of them will be re-released and reviews will be viable at that point.

For further information or to volunteer your soul to the task, simply fill out the form below.


 

 

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August 2-4, 2019
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