Steve and Dr. McGinnis,
I always enjoy reading your insights.
I for one love to write reviews for books I consider five stars. If a book is only good or fair, I don't write a review. If you look at my Amazon reviews, they all have five starts. That's because I don't write reviews for books that aren't worth five. I can think of several I have read lately that I didn't write reviews for because they didn't deserve five stars (and none of them were your books, by the way, just to reassure you).
I just get excited about good books and want to share them with others. As far as asking people for reviews, I rarely do that. And it's even harder for me to ask a friend to review a book for me. Several offered and I was thankful for that.
What I did do to get many of the reviews on Amazon is paid a company a very small amount of money to do some reviews for me. I did not know any of the reviewers personally.
I am not sure why this is looked down upon in the industry. I see nothing wrong with it. Someone provides a service and I pay them for it. I am not paying for a good review, I am paying them to read my book and give me their opinion of it.
And not everyone gave me a five-star review. One person only gave me three. So the risk is, you take what people give you and live with it. The one with three stars didn't like the spiritual aspect of my book. And that's okay. It was his opinion, and that's what reviews are for. So somebody that doesn't like Christian books has that input, and maybe they decide not to read my book. Reviews help people to know if it's a book they would want to read.
Good points Lorilyn and Dr. McGinnis! I think this is an important discussion.
Another angle on soliciting reviews:
I'm a person who absolutely hates asking people for favors, but I have no problem asking people for reviews. I don't see any contradiction there. Here's why:
There's a symbiotic relationship between me (the writer) and those I ask for reviews. I never ask people who have no interest in my subject matter if they'd like to review my book. I ask people who are passionate about the subject or at least have a felt need for the information. Thus, I'm giving them something of value free of charge.
Example: I e-mail the 200 most popular finance bloggers, asking them if they'd like a free copy of my personal finance book for review and/or giveaway. These bloggers have to come up with something fresh to say about personal finance several times per week. My book can provide them with a lot to blog about. They're also passionate about the subject but probably can't afford to go out and buy every personal finance book.
Thus, 50 of the bloggers asked for a free copy or two. Many of them did giveaways (which they love to do to delight their readers and attract more readers) and others wrote reviews.
In the end, the bloggers are delighted to get free books (they didn't have to request it if they weren't interested), their readers get exposure to a book they might benefit from (after all, they read the blog to get financial information), and I get exposure for my book. (My sales tripled during the time of this campaign.)
I don't think a honey bee needs to feel bad about drinking nectar from a flower, since the flower benefits by getting its pollen spread around.
I don't feel comfortable at all pushing friends and relatives who have no interest in the subject to read my books and do reviews. But for those voracious readers who are looking for ways to support their book habit, writing reviews provides a wonderful symbiotic relationship with authors.
J. Steve Miller
President, Legacy Educational Resources
Author of Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
"The money book for people who hate money books." http://wisdomcreekpress.com/press_kits.html
Steve, if you haven't tried Book Talk with Chris O'Conner here is his website. http://www.booktalk.org/aboutchris.html
He will let you talk about your book on his blogs and will also roll your cover on the screen for some time. Then he will announce that he is giving one or more of your books away to a lucky reader.
You might try his program, it was free when I last checked it. You can tell him I told you about it, but I am sure he has forgotten me by now.
Thank you for contacting me. I am always interested in writing book reviews and interviewing authors. Generally I try to review and/or interview one author a month and am currently booked up for the next several months. However, if any of you would like to submit a specific book for review or would like to be considered for an interview, please contact me.
Theresa, I just visited your site and concur with Steve. It is very nicely done.
I will also offer a couple of suggestions. If these were the types of books I read, I would like to read something you have written to see if I liked your style. What about posting the first chapter of a couple of the books as a sampling? The book buzzr widget works well for this.
Another thing you might do is draw people in with a blog -- it looks like you have a feed, but I don't see the posting on your site.
A third suggestion would be, since you have many books, is to have a free book drawing. For instance, you could have a blog, and if someone makes a comment, you enter their name into a drawing at the end of the month.
Finally, on your ebooks, you might try dropping the price a little and seeing what happens. If I am buying a book from an author that I don't know, I tend to buy an ebook first that is on the low end and see if I like his writing. Just some thoughts. Hope this helps.
I give samples of my writing to my fans. I keep a list of known buyers of my books and others.
this is a sample. (unedited)
title White Bird Returns. ( two years away from publication)
Many tribes migrated to better hunting and gathering sites throughout the year and the Wisnooks were no exception although the entire tribe didn’t always make the move. About half always stayed on the same plot of land to hold territorial rights. That is until the European settlers began pushing Indian people back away from the coast. Some Indians fought back, but not the Wisnook. White Bird had a lot to do with producing a passive nature among his people. The next question was, “If you become a medicine man of our tribe, how will you select your wives?”
He was still standing, even though no one seemed to notice any longer, as he answered, “I will not select more than one wife unless there is someone that is not wanted for a wife by any other. I will not select my first wife, but we will select each other. When we are single, we are two different people, created for two different purposes, but when we marry, we become one person with one purpose.” Again he stopped as they glared at him, but he continued. “Men fight over wives like buffalo trying to build a big herd. Women are herded into a group where they are prohibited from being part of the tribe on a personal level. They are called the property of so and so and not the partner of so and so. I want a wife that is considered equal in all things and given the right to hunt and to go out and search for horses if she chooses.”
The council withheld further questions and this was the straw that broke the resolve of those that were willing to support him after the first question. He was not answering like a true Indian of the times. They didn’t understand him at all. They didn’t like anyone who suggested that they were not a ruler of their own family. Many of the men had two or three wives and most were allowed to have as many as they could feed and care for. That system worked when they were young, but once the men were too old to hunt and feed a family, they began to starve unless someone else was willing to do for them what they couldn’t do for themselves. That was another reason for warfare, because the younger men would often kidnap women from other tribes because there weren’t enough to go around at home.
White Bird saw this as a problem that could only be sorted out by some system of equality, not only with gender, but with the pairing of available resources, namely young men and women.
I also enlist the aid of fans to announce books in their area.
certainly mine has been getting exposure for my book, a good friend was going to publish it and decided to sell his business, retire and moved to Ecuadore just as my books editing and formatting was completed, I had to self publish with createspace whish is great for me since I am currently unemployed and have no money to put into my project, but how can I generate sales?
As a self-published author, I have found that I didn't stay focused once the book was submitted and during the process of final editing. This comment specifically relates to getting people to know that my book is about to be released and the lack of engaging in activities that I should have been doing concurrently.
I work a traditional job, and find that I now have a second job when I get home in the evenings. I have a blog, but my blog still needs work; even though I have the infrastructure set up. It takes time to work with blog sites, brochures, press releases, Publicity material that I had conceptualized is still a work in progress. But, I have recently completed some major milestones.
With all the energy expended in writing the book and getting it published, I am going to use adrenaline and tips that I garner from sites like this one, to fully publicize my book.