Reviews -- Be awesome, post them on retailers too!

Hey folks, for those of you who write serial reviews, if you could go the extra amazing step and repost your reviews, when applicable, to retailers that the story is sold on, you'd be extra-double-amazing. Getting organic reviews on sites like Amazon can make a MAJOR jump in the rankings and attention that the serial and story pull, and from there, income from writing encourages writers to keep on writing.


Not if they're bad reviews, though. That's just mean. ;-)


Reviews help, but they don't increase rankings. That's a common misconception that I feel the urge to clear up whenever it gets mentioned. The only thing that influences Amazon's seller rank is sales and preorders, if the book is on preorder.


To get an initial boost of sales, you need to do promotions. And to get accepted for a promotion by some of the better services, you need a great cover as well as some reviews - the more the better. Some services have a 5 / 10 minimum review requirement.


You might want to look into a more professional looking cover. A great cover is a requirement for getting accepted by the better promotion services, and also for sending review copies to popular bloggers. You need something that screams 'Fantasy' at a glance - please don't take this the wrong way, but your current cover wouldn't get you many clicks if the book link was sent out in a mass email by, say, Bookbub or Ereader News Today. Most promoters have 10+ books in their daily newsletter. Readers click the prettiest covers first. I was actually able to confirm this when I took part in a cross-promotion with other Urban Fantasy authors - the person running the cross was able to see the stats of how often each book was clicked, and shared the results.


That's kind of beside the point, though. People who review on WFG can't help you make a prettier book cover. They can, however, increase your review pool, which -- as you pointed out -- is used by promo services to weed out books.


Covers are also used to weed out books. By potential buyers, bloggers and by promo services.


That's true, and I agree with your original comment - covers are important, and they make me crazy. But posting about book covers doesn't have a lot of use here: it's all pretty much on the author to get it right, find the right artist, etc. Getting reviews, though... that crosses over with one of the main points of WFG pretty well.


For those curious, here are Bookbub's tips for optimizing one's chances to get accepted for a promo. https://insights.bookbub.com/tips-on-optimizing-your-submission-for-a-bookbub-featured-deal/


Other promoters are somewhat less picky, but the same points apply in most cases.


I see WFG as a big knowledge pool, and a place to share experiences. I sold 500 books the first month, and make a few hundred bucks a month since then because I studied the heck out of this stuff. Hundreds upon hundreds of hours went into ebook marketing research.


I just wanted to make it clear that more reviews isn't going to increase rank or sales, because that misconception needs to die. And I want my fellow WFG authors to sell more books. :)


> You might want to look into a more professional looking cover.


On the one hand, to go by recent Patrick Rothfuss covers, no, I don't.


On the other hand, I'm not Patrick Rothfuss, either. XD


We're all doing the best we can with the resources we have available. Keith and I came to a design we're happy with that sat within our budget. Future editions, if income merits them, will definitely see improvement to the cover.


In the meanwhile, the point of my post is to remind folks that ALL webserial authors selling on Amazon and other retailers would benefit! ;)


When we want to sell books, it doesn't matter what WE are happy with - what matters is what readers are going to click when they see it in thumbnail size among a bunch of other books. ;) I lived off food donated by friends and the Salvation Army for 2 months because paying an editor was more important, but the editing gets me blogger love and more sales, so it was totally worth it.


But I've made my point, so I'll just agree - yes, it would be nice if WFG reviewers cross-posted on Amazon! Reviews do help. Every single one of them.


So, you guys (and girls) who reviewed From Winter's Ashes on WFG, go post your review on Amazon. *wields cattle prod* I'm looking at you, Sten. And Fiona. And, uh, 8 other people. >)


In terms of gaining more reviews on Amazon, one thing I've found worked quite well was putting a note at the end of each book stating that I appreciate reviews and would like to thank anybody who left a review with a free copy of the next book. I don't know if it increased sales or not, but it's nice to see a string of reviews.


Done! OK, who else has books on Amazon?

Note: My reviews usually show up on amazon.ca not amazon.com


One I know of is Eren Reverie's Midnight Moonlight series (4 ebooks on Amazon so far).


There's also "The Only City Left" by Andy Goldman


Also, "The Machine God" by MeiLin Miranda, & "Leap of Space" from "Space and Time" by Sharon T. Rose


While we're on the topic, people may not know about this https://www.amazon.com/Other-Sides-12-Webfiction-Tales/dp/1456596284/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

It's a short story sampler by twelve different authors whose names you may recognize if you've been reading webfiction for awhile.


You can read my reviews of all these on Amazon...


My books are quite different from the serial version (better writing / editing), BUT Inky has a book on Amazon too, and really needs some more reviews. Link to Twisted Cogs on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Students-Dream-Twisted-Cogs-Book-ebook/dp/B00X37LF10/


I don't understand how some of the stories in this group can be so good and still have so little buzz.


On Amazon? All stories, no matter how good, are buried in obscurity (meaning, no one will know they exist) there unless they get sales. The more sales, the more visibility. Which is why promotions - or a great fanbase that will buy lots of books - are so important.


That's still the major advantage traditional publishing has over indie publishing. Volume. The trick is-> get famous as a traditional author. Self publish later on amazon. Profit.


Thing is, traditional publishers don't necessarily do much to promote an unknown new author, especially not small presses with limited to no marketing funds. You still have to promote yourself, and they'll watch if you sink or swim.


For instance, Kristal Shaff was with a small press and sold next to no copies of 'Powers of the Six'. After getting her rights back, she self published and the book went viral. She's now raking in tons of cash. https://www.amazon.com/Powers-Six-Emissary-Light-Book-ebook/dp/B01C6ZU9W0


Not to be contrarian, but I think the real key is "Get famous on Amazon, then negotiate a good deal with traditional publishers." It's difficult but possible to get good attention on Amazon. Then trad pubbers can get you on bookshelves, where you get exposed to a broader market. That ended up working out very well for both Hugh Howey and Andy Weir (and CS Pacat, whose Captive Prince actually started as a web serial, if memory serves).


I'm sympathetic to the plight of trad publishers, who are dealing w/ a somewhat crazy market. ("I REFUSE TO PAY MORE THAN 3 DOLLARS FOR A BOOK," consumers yelled. Tho at the same time I can't blame them, when there actually are some pretty good indie books at that price. And when publishers are pricing books over ten dollars it's just like... lol??? What are you doing???)


At the same time, I agree w/ Chrysalis that trad pub isn't supporting new authors. I thought the most recent Author Report was informative about that -- specifically the charts about "The Size of Publishing's Midlist." [http://authorearnings.com/report/may-2016-report/]


They're great if you want to end up on bookshelves. But if your main goal is to make a living? (Or if you're a weirdo like me who never dreamed of being on the shelves, but instead wanted to be a web serialist in like the early 00's when he didn't even know it was a thing?) Self pubbing seems the way to go.


IMO trad pubbers are mostly worth it if you hit it big (like "you definitely got lucky" big). Then you can go to trad pubbers and be exposed to an even bigger audience. To me it's like, if you already succeed trad pubbers can be the icing on the cake.


Of course, your mileage may vary. That's just the way I see things.


It's also to do with what you sell. Amazon lists are weird in that they can be either super specific or vague and broad, and a book competes with all other books in its genre. So you might have a genre with 800 books competing against each other, or one with several hundred thousand. Add in that most indie writers are romance, or fantasy, or both, and those genres become really hard to get anywhere with.


I think the real key is "get famous online." Don't worry about Amazon, worry about Twitter or tumblr or YouTube or Facebook - people will click a link to go buy your book.


I think trad is horrible unless you're writing something pretty generic - why would they even need to take chances of something weird, when they can watch all the weird indie books and then make offers on the ones that do best? It is useful if you get really famous - they'll put their ALL behind getting you mega famous. But we're talking Pratchett, Grisham, King, etc level of fame, with all the translations and TV shows and movie deals and whatnot.


Some people really aren't good at (or comfortable with) marketing themselves on social media, though. People will notice when they aren't comfortable with it, and it's not going to help much. Each author's individual strategy should take their strengths and weaknesses into account.


My strength is knowing what I want to write, and writing it.


... that's about it...