Saturday, 10 December 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is... Reviews!

Sigh, maybe next year?

As much as I would like to wake up on Christmas morning and find Richard Armitage lying under my tree wearing only a strategically placed bow, I fear that is highly unlikely and so this year I am going to make a plea for something more realistic. Reviews.

With the rise of the ebook the number of books on the market is growing rapidly; not only can authors publish their own back catalogue now but the rise of the digital age has made it possible for indie authors to publish their own work. The big publishing houses these days won't touch a new author without an agent and most agencies get over 1,000 manuscripts per agent per month, so even if you have written the next masterpiece, getting discovered is next to impossible in this day and age without knowing the right people or an incredible amount of luck.

Most indie authors I know write because they love it, simple as that and they would continue to write even if no one ever bought another copy of their books. Having said that, the dream of most indie authors is to one day be able to make a living from their writing, however when competing with publishing houses who spend millions on marketing, we have to offer our books at low prices in order to be competitive. Without the money for a marketing campaign, it's exceptionally difficult to get the word out there. Some indie authors do have the money for limited promotion but whether they recover that investment or not is another story.

Regardless of whether you have a marketing budget or not, whether you're an indie author or a traditionally published one though, there is really only one thing that matters when it comes to books; are they any good?

And this, dear readers, is where you come in. If you like a book, please take a little time to share that with your friends. Twitter and Facebook are great tools and most sites will have a “share” button for them, saving you the trouble of getting links etc. but even better than that is a review. This is where the quality of a book can't be faked because the rating is based on readers views. Not all readers agree, of course but that's the great thing about reviews, you can see for yourself if you agree with Reviewer A who doesn't like boink busters, or Reviewrr B who really enjoyed all the sex!

Writing a good reviews does take a little time and effort but even a two line review and a rating helps. When you consider the time an author puts into their book, the hours it took not only to write but then the love and care needed to craft it into something publishable, then realise that most of the, time indie authors still have a full time day job because they only make a pittance from their books*, does it really seem like a lot to ask?

In the past I've even tried giving books to friends for free with the only condition being to please put a review on Amazon, which of course, they say they are more than happy to do. I have now stopped that. They're perfectly happy to tell me how much they enjoyed it but to actually write a few lines after having spent hours reading the books is obviously too much to ask.

Even if you hate a book your opinions are still helpful to other readers. My only ask with reviews is that, love it or hate it, they are honest and in fact I know of one person who bought a book based solely on a terrible, one star review because the amount of sex the reviewer described sounded right up her alley!

So please, take a little time this Christmas and give an indie author that you love a little recognition. Review, like, tweet, retweet and ask your friends to do the same.


Indie Authors Everywhere.

[*On Amazon I price all my books at $2.99. For some reason that is too technical to understand, this goes up to a sale price of $4.12 and $4.66 in the Amazon store of which, also for reason that are very complicated and I don't understand I, the author earn between, $1.05 and $2.06 per book in royalties. That's right, Amazon take at least 50% (often more) of the sale price. Even for those authors who have chosen the 70% royalty option, they just add fees on! Authors who sell their books for $0.99 are lucky to see 20-35 cents per copy]

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