First, you take an idea for a story and you map it out, a challenge within itself. Then, you write the book, a much bigger challenge. After that, you publish the book and release it upon the world. Next, you begin to market the book via social media and other avenues, a challenge that eclipses the others for many. Finally, comes what one would assume is the toughest challenge of all, selling that book.
While all of that is true, there is still one more challenge that is the toughest challenge of all: getting a review.
I feel as if I have succeeded at overcoming all of these challenges, although that final one, the review, is the toughest one I’ve attempted to master. For whatever reason, getting that review is like pulling f’n teeth.
I can see my sales, I know how many units I’ve sold of each book. However, despite that and all the repeat buyers coming back for the sequels and those who praise my work on social media via tweets and DMs, only a very small portion of this praise (or criticism) makes its way into a review.
As a writer, it’s frustrating.
Now, I’m not here to bitch about it, but I like to use Substack to chronicle my progress as a writer, as I know that it helps soon-to-be authors.
The most helpful thing a reader can do if they like an author or a specific book, is to go back to Amazon (or wherever it was purchased from) and leave a review. Reviews help that book and that author move up in the algorithm. This is true for Amazon, especially. A book with 50+ reviews starts to get put on lists and promoted much more heavily. With that, comes more success. With that success, comes a writer that is more motivated, more driven, and better rewarded. Some may even have the sort of success that may allow them to make their passion their full-time job. Ultimately, this is the goal of most serious authors. As a fan of an author’s work, you can help make this happen.
The reviews don’t have to be lengthy or elaborate even. I know that on Amazon, a rating with a review that’s just a few sentences is enough.
This is why I review everything that I read, specifically from indie authors who are self-published, trying to carve out something on their own. I want to see other indie authors grow and keep moving forward. Frankly, that’s what’s best for all of us that appreciate an alternative to the traditional mainstream publishing industry. If you want to stick it to these creatively bankrupt corporations, you have to support those who work hard to give you a real alternative.
I set a lot of goals for myself regarding my still budding career as a pulp novelist. I don’t reveal all of those goals publicly. However, I will say that one goal I do have is to master a method at generating more reviews for my work. It’s probably the one area I need to improve in the most. Granted, I am also open to suggestions. Especially, from those who have found success in getting a good amount of reviews.
However, if you have read my books and enjoyed them, go back to Amazon and let people know. It doesn’t have to be an essay. It’s not a book report.
I don’t expect to be anyone’s favorite author, by any means. However, your favorite author could probably use your help too. From my perspective, the one thing that really keeps me motivated is knowing that my stories connect with people in some way. If they have connected with you, tell me.
In the meantime, I will keep working at trying to master this challenge, the toughest one I’ve faced, thus far.
I know your pain. Even getting family and friends to leave reviews on Amazon or Goodreads can be a chore. If I had to guess, less than 5% of my book sales ever resulted in a review on either site, even from free book giveaways. It's extremely frustrating but the only thing I know to do is constantly remind people on social media (or face to face if I know them personally ) but even then I feel like a broken record.
I think you're doing a great job advertising and promoting your work. Over time that will go a long way in reminding those who've read your books that maybe they should leave a review and let others know what they thought. It ain't easy being indie some days but consistency and fresh content is the way to reach the heart of the masses from what I've observed so keep plugging away.
Best of luck to you!
I'd wager that anyone who takes their craft seriously seeks out critique, and it is frustrating when no one seems to say anything at all. I've struggled with this regularly, but I've also been fortunate enough to have people privately workshop with me, so I at least have a better idea of my strengths and weaknesses. As someone who reviews tons of stuff (with so much more coming down the pike), I hope to show people how simple it can be.