A follower responded to my post: Self-Publishing – There is Trouble Ahead for Everyone!” indicating he was pleased that readers not gatekeepers were judging a book on its own merits. To quote:
“Selling more books is not a matter of assigning gate keepers to tell us what not to buy or what to buy. It is a matter of giving readers the opportunity to find and judge our book on its own merits. Readers will purchase a great story, if they can find it.”
I would love to agree with this comment, and to an extent, I do. But good published authors with a following and a great book find themselves fighting for readers amidst what Google estimates is 129 million different types of books published worldwide, as of 2010. I asked several friends how they select an online book. Here are the top four responses: 1. I choose authors I already read and like. 2. I get recommendations from friends who read the kind of books I read. 3. I go to my favorite genre and look the sales rankings and reviews. 4. I go to my genre and read inside the book, if I like the cover.
Lions and tigers and bears–oh my! Look at your book ranking on Amazon. If you’re not in the top 1,000, no one will find you who isn’t looking for you. Before a reader can judge a book by its own merits, they have to read the book. My #1 suggestion for self-published authors is to spend your time finding unbiased readers coast-to-coast, ask them to review your book, and send them your book free. These should not be relatives and friends. These should be avid readers who will do reviews on Amazon. Be prepared for poor reviews as well as great ones.
Having said that, it is an uphill climb which I have yet to master. In the past two years, I’ve received 22 5-star ratings and 23 4-star ratings on Amazon, Goodreads, and my blog tour. Out of 45 total ratings distributed over four books and three different sales websites I should be thrilled, but I’m not. The kind of novels that get noticed have 45 reviews on one site with a 4.0 and over star rating.
It’s not that I haven’t tried. Through Facebook and my Writer’s Associations, I’ve contacted over 10,000 individuals offering a free novel in exchange for a review. I’ve had 8 positive responses but only 1 actual review so far. I don’t want to discourage anyone, but everything about being an author takes hard work. This is no exception.
DON’T GIVE UP.