Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ Reviews and Giveaways

One of the hardest thing to get as an indie author is free book reviews and reviews in general. How can you get 'em? That's the big question for today.

Some GoodReads sections have areas where you can get your book in a queue line for ARCs, or reviews. There are even sections set up for reviewers looking for books to read and review. Be aware these fill up fast and the wait could be long before your book comes up. I believe my first indie published fiction, Escape from Second Eden, will be reviewed later this year after a year of being in queue.

Most times, you run across reviewers with a goodly number of followers (2,000+), but they are so back logged in reading material it could take months if at all. If I had a buck for every reviewer that has posted under their submission guideline, *Not accepting new material at this time,* I'd be rich. Believe me, I've perused thousands of these sites over the years.

Now I could pay to have someone review my books, but I have principles against doing so. But why you may ask...
  • Is the reviewer giving an honest review, or just in it for the money?
  • Can a reviewer be impartial when reading for money?
  • Does it really count as word of mouth advertising when using a paid for service?
  • Are they grammar Nazis or content readers?
  • How can they give an honest review of your work when they read thousands of books in a year?
  • How much credibility does it actually carry?
These are some points I ponder when I look at paid for reviews services. Now I was an rabid reader. Sometimes reading up to two books a week, but that only equates to 104 books a year. Maybe I'm crazy which wouldn't be far from the truth, but why pay for a service to read your book?

Does a Kirkus review carry more weight in your mind when it's a sentence taken out of context on the cover or description? It doesn't as far as me, the reader, goes. I've found more stinkers than roses with paid for review services. They'll review any book for a price. Now if the author was to post the full review that might be a different story too, but it would be unlikely to sell many books.

I've had the stinky reviews about grammar and formatting issues by those who leave reviews in the past and I take them in stride. I even pulled all but one of my books off Kindle for that very reason. That was a logical choice. A no brainer in foresight, but not necessarily a good move when you consider I had my stroke a few days later and have been unable to reformat them to put them back up for sale in a year.

If as an indie author you pay for cover art. If you pay for editing services. If you pay for formatting service. You've already paid through the nose for something you haven't even published yet.

While I agree with the premise you've got to spend money to make money...should you have to pay for reviews too? I'm a relative tight wad. I'll squeeze every penny until it screams for mercy. I'm not opposed to spending hard earned money when I can rationalize it as a need, but some things take a lot of debate to ratify in my mind.

The more rational choice for me is to giveaway copies and have the average Joe review it or maybe another author that writes in the same genre as I do. Someone with a respected opinion would be helpful.

Who would you trust for your reading material, some faceless service or a friend?
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

4 comments:

Zan Marie said...

Who would I trust? Fellow writers I know. That's where I'd start. And that's why I've trying to review and interview more and more authors. We have to stick together.

Jeremy [Retro-Z] said...

i have trouble trusting... i find that i have been taken by people who i did trust. in the last couple of years i just close my eyes. pick up the dart and throw it.

so if you ever get asked by me, do you want to see my books... be afraid...

J.L. Murphey said...

Zan Marie, I agree with you totally. That's why I asked you to be my editor for my new book whenever it gets finished. You are a fellow author, you've edited this type of book before, and I've "known" you for years.

Jeremy, I also have an issue trusting people. While I develop online "frienships" not many would I trust. I've had tons of authors and readers alike offer and even consider paying someone but it boils down to trust and expertise. lol that's how I feel about my current WIP.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never even considered paying for a review.