March 25 2014 Editor Assistance Newsletter
I just finished a sweep of my GoodReads account area. I currently have nine books in their system that are involved in giveaways. That is, I have nine books in a specific “need readers and reviews” forum where people can chime in and say they’re interested in doing a review. I then send them an e-copy of the book. They are supposed to post a review within a month.
Here's how you get this going for your own books and ebooks, to build reviews and sales.
The first step, and I can't emphasize this enough, is to make sure your book is READY for reviews. If your book is full of typos or other grammatical issues, it's going to earn poor reviews. Those poor reviews will then haunt you for the rest of your life :). Make the effort. Enlist multiple friends to read and re-read the book. Hire an editor. It's worth it. It can mean the difference between poor sales and amazing sales. Make sure your book is in a state that reviews will be positive.
You also want to make sure your book is listed in GoodReads and that you have an author account connected to it. That way all the basics are ready before you go to the review stage. If you don't have your author account associated with your book, let me know and I can help.
Once the book is ready and live in the GoodReads system, it's time to seek out those reviews.
Here's a group I've used, which specializes in ebooks. This is great because it means you pay nothing to have the reviews done. No printing cost of the paperback, and no shipping cost to get the book to them. You simply email them the PDF or EPUB or other file they want.
The group is Making Connections. It's very easy to use.
Step 1 - click to join the group. Easy enough. You are now associated with the Making Connections group.
Step 2 - post your request to have your book considered for the review. You do this in the "Authors Requesting Reviews" thread, of course :). There's a thread called Author's Sign Up. It has instructions right in that thread of what to do. In essence you post your author name, book name, genre, and other particulars into the thread as a starting request.
Step 3 - one of the group administrators will write you and confirm the details.
Step 4 - The group administrator will create a specific thread for your book request, in the appropriate genre area. So if your book is an action / adventure story, the request for reviews will be posted in that thread. Now reviewers will chime in on the thread and ask for copies of your book. The administrator will manage those requests and send you a personal email for each valid request.
Step 5 - each time you get a valid request from the administrator, you do what they indicate. You send the book in the format requested to the email address shown. So if email@example.com asks for a PDF of your book, you then send a PDF of your book to them.
Step 6 - the reviews roll in. Hopefully they're good! If they're cranky about something, it's worth it to look at what they're saying and see if your book can be tweaked. I.e. if they complain about typos, don't ignore them! This issue will upset a lot of your readers. Look for those typos and fix them. That way future readers don't also deluge you with complaints. On the other hand, if the reviewer complains that the book is too scary, that's an indication that your book blurb isn't good enough. You want to make sure your book blurb is clear about the content of your book. That way people know what they're getting. You want to be sure that those who would NOT like your book don't buy it by accident. If they do, and leave a nasty review, that is quite harmful. Make sure your marketing material is crystal clear about the book's content, both to sell more copies to your ideal audience, and to avoid getting negative reviews from people who are not your ideal audience.
Step 7 - Once your first round is done, you can make another request if you wish!
I highly suggest setting up an Excel spreadsheet with columns for the book name, requestor name, date requested, date sent, and date review is posted. That way you can keep track and make sure you send out all the books you were supposed to - and that the reviewers actually posted a review.
Let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help! Getting those reviews is free and it can greatly help sales.
Lisa Shea, owner
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