R is for Readers and Reviews

Ris for readers and reviews, and the eternal question, how on earth do you get them?

Since publishing There Must Be An Angel, it’s become clear that making your book stand out among the millions of others that are vying for attention is no easy task. Aside from constantly tweeting and posting on Facebook, “Buy my book, buy my book!” there doesn’t seem to be a way of attracting that attention and, frankly, I’m not prepared to bombard the general public with those sort of pleas. I’ve been on the receiving end of them myself. It’s not attractive, is it?

Besides, the more someone nags at me to buy their book, the less likely I am to even look at it. I don’t think I’m alone in this view. So what’s the answer?10557168_1419733644995613_2322906802217758091_n

When Angel came out I had a launch party on Facebook. It was terrifying and every time I thought about it I felt sick. I’d had a bit of experience in that field, having taken charge of the Facebook launch party for Winter Tales. But then, I’d had nine other Write Romantics backing me for that. I was guaranteed some guests, and I was assured of some comments at least. For Angel, it was just me, and I was scared stiff that no one would come.

As it turned out, I had an absolutely fantastic time. Loads of people dropped by and we had a lot of fun. I’d got some prizes together and set some questions, posted music relevant to Angel, added photos of celebrity “guests” and food, drink and cake, and generally had a great afternoon. Many of the guests joined in – answering the questions, adding their own pictures of food and drink, showing off their party clothes and bringing their own guests!

I don’t know how much it affected sales of There Must Be An Angel, or if it even helped at all, but at least I did something proactive and the book title was out there on Facebook, popping up on people’s feeds.

The problem is, what to do next? I’ve been lucky to get some great reviews and I’m very grateful for them, but I need more. And to get more reviews I need more readers.

I was never expecting huge sales from day one. I was never expecting huge sales full stop. I’m in this for the long haul, and I still think the best advert for a book is another book, and another, and another…The more work I have out there on Amazon, and/or other platforms, the better. So my plan, really, is to keep writing. Finish the Kearton Bay series, write the next series I have in mind, the stand alone novel, the novella that I’m currently working on, and the next two short stories. Hopefully, when I have a reasonable body of work, people will start to notice, and readers who enjoy one book will look for more. That’s the theory anyway, and I’m hoping it works for me the way it’s worked for so many others.

The truth is, I could post to Facebook and Twitter all day, but it’s doubtful it will win me any readers. The books must stand and fall on their own merit, and they must direct readers to the others I’ve written.

11072050_768298186620756_8236897633283154950_nI read a post once about free books, and why it was pointless to give your book away for free, as so few people who downloaded it would read it. I could see the sense of this argument, as I’ve downloaded loads of books myself that I’ve liked the look of but wouldn’t necessarily buy – maybe because I hadn’t heard of the author before, or wasn’t quite intrigued enough to pay money for it – and nine times out of ten those books are still sitting on my Kindle unread. It’s not that they’re no good – I wouldn’t know. It’s simply that I haven’t had time to get round to them with all the other books clamouring for my attention – books that I’ve paid out for. I was reluctant to add to the growing pile of unread novels on someone else’s Kindle. However, now that my book is “out there” I can see that it may be worth taking the chance. I’m a new and unproved author. People will be reluctant to take a chance on me. Offering them Angel to read for free may be the only way I get them to read it. If even a small percentage of them read and enjoy it, it will be readers I wouldn’t have reached before and they may like Angel enough to want to buy Rose when it comes out in September.

It’s a tough world out there for authors – especially new authors. I worked for three years on Angel, trying to make it the best I could manage. To give all that work away for free is hard to do, but I have to look at the bigger picture. There Must Be An Angel is, therefore, currently free for Kindle up to and including 23rd April. Click on the image in the side bar to get your free copy!

All publicity is good publicity, they say, and I was lucky to get a mention in Yorkshire Life this month. If you read my post, A is for Art of Mallow, you’ll remember why there is 10999593_768298183287423_8954625750848729002_na connection between that lovely gourmet Yorkshire marshmallow company and There Must Be An Angel, and you may recall that I said Philippa Quayle, who runs the company, had contacted Yorkshire Life to tell them about that connection, and our connection to their magazine. Philippa has a great feature in May’s food and drink supplement of the magazine, and she very kindly explains all about me and my book! I’m really thrilled as Yorkshire Life has a wide readership and, who knows, one or two people may be tempted to investigate Angel further. Very exciting to see my name in a magazine I’ve read and enjoyed for a long time, whatever happens!

So there you have it. I’m at the start of a – hopefully – long and rewarding adventure. My basic plan is to write, write and write some more. So I’d better get writing!

Have a great day xx

Why not visit some of the other blogs taking part in the A to Z Challenge?

 

4 thoughts on “R is for Readers and Reviews

  1. This is a very interesting post, Sharon. Although my books are story collections rather than novels, I still had all the same worries: Shall I have a FB launch part? How much should I promote on social media? Should I give free books? I had a goodreads giveaway for the first book which didn’t make any difference to sales but haven’t gone down the route of offering it free (for the reasons that you mentioned). Shall be interested to hear how it goes for you and in the meantime will download your book and will try to read it as soon as possible.

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    • That’s very kind of you, Wendy. Thank you! It is a real dilemma, isn’t it? I was very resistant to offering the book for free, but few people seem willing to take a chance on a new author, and I can’t blame them when there are so many books out there. Letting them try it at no cost seems to be the only way some will give it a go. I’m aware that a good many of those who buy it won’t read it, so I’m not getting too excited, even though, literally, hundreds of copies have been downloaded in the first two days, but if even a third of them do, that’s a lot of readers who may potentially review, spread the word, and even look out for my second book and be willing to pay for it. Fingers crossed, anyway. Hope you enjoy Angel x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a creative writer, but I’ve been visiting a lot of writers like you through AtoZ. It’s interesting getting a glimpse into your world — seeing how it works, reading about your fears and insecurities and even enjoying the successes. I’m going to take you up on that free download even though I’m one who still prefers a used paperback.
    ~Visiting from AtoZ

    Like

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