My first novel was published six years ago followed by five more with the most current one, Abandoned Dreams, released in March, 2016.
Over that period of time I've had a total of about thirty reviews - that's for all books combined, non-duplicated. They've appeared and can actually be read on:
I've had a few other reviews on personal blogs, and there may even be more out there I'm not aware of.
I confess I actually paid for three, but never again. Despite the assurances from paid for review sites that the fee does not guarantee a positive review I can't reconcile this practice with my own conscience.
So how does an indie author get honest reviews since reviews apparently sell books?
I say apparently because I don't know otherwise. My experience has been a few reviews equal a few sales. Would a whole bunch of reviews translate into a whole bunch of sales? I can't say for sure because...well, you figure it out.
As a journalist I was trained to not to assume anything and take nothing for granted. I strongly urge other indie authors to do the same. As far as unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims the charlatans in the writing/publishing industry rank right up there with those affiliated with miracle cures and get rich internet scams.
But I digress. How does an indie author get honest reviews?
I've tried book giveways on sites like Booklikes http://booklikes.com/ LibraryThing, Goodreads and StoryCartel. I've sent hundreds of free e-books attached to personalized e-mails. I keep an up-to-date website, tweet everyday and even blog, as you are no doubt aware, though I have yet to establish any link between the last three "soft sells" and book sales, unless after reading this you decide to buy one of my books and post a review (let me know if you do).
Media reviews or other established review outlets like Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal seem reluctant to review your book unless it's successful (go figure) or at least traditionally published.
In desperation I checked out a site called The Indie View http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/
If you're inclined to read and subsequently write reviews of the work of independent authors you're invited to add your name to their list, which is quite substantial.
If you're an author and fishing for reviews the site provides your with the name of the reviewer, their website, their preferences, guidelines, where they post their reviews and the date this information was last refreshed.
Keeping all this in mind I sent about a dozen review requests with an e-book of Abandoned Dreams a little over two weeks ago. So far nothing.
However, here are some interesting things I discovered.
A least twenty-five percent of the reviewers listed are closed for reviews due to a backlog. I take that as not a good sign.
Quite a few reviewers state they will not post a review of a work they cannot rate as at least three stars. I imagine they do this out of consideration, however misguided, thinking a bad review can pull down an author's average rating.
Depending on why you write, you may be of the opinion, as I am, there is no such thing as a bad review. First and foremost I want to become a better writer - money and fame, well, I'll accept those too - if you insist. Critical reviews, especially those that are specific, point out where I've let the reader down and allow me to consider how to improve in those areas.
If you're in this game for ego, if you some how think you can fool all the readers all the time than I can understand that a bad review really sucks.
But not for me.
If someone hated my book, well, that's okay. I'm just glad they read it and took the time to review it.
Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs.
Book Giveaway Win a copy of
THE BIG PICTURE, FOREST or ABANDONED DREAMS
Video book reviews of self-published authors now at
Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ
Cover Art of books by self-published authors at
My novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and Abandoned Dreams are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and as e-books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin
The ECO-WARRIORS series:
Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success?
Book 2, Loving the Terrorist - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs
Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients
are available as e-books an paperbacks at
More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin
View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/
Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music