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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Reviews and Author Interviews

As aspiring authors trying to be discovered in the flood of E-commerce and especially in the epic flood of new books hitting the market with new, cheap, if not FREE e-books there are two FREE ways to self promote your book and help get the word out.
                              Book Reviews and Author Interviews!
Of the two Book Reviews are more geared towards getting your book discovered, as it is about your book.  If a person stumbles across a review of your book and it sounds interesting they may purchase it.  I have found this is a risky daunting task for several reasons, and I hope the information I pass along is helpful.
1.  Some Book Reviewers charge you to review your book!  I feel this practice is at best a conflict of interest if not plain morally wrong.  Especially if you pay for a review and get a bad review!
2.  Most Book Reviewers, do them for FREE, but they seem to perform this function in a marathon type manner.  Personally I enjoy reading.  No, that's an understatement.  I Love to READ!  If you love books why would you rush to get through one?  I am still in my first year of doing this and of those who profess to be Book Reviewers, and then run through the book so fast that they don't read it carefully, several negative consequences can be the result.
     a. )  Wrong or Miss Read stuff gets reviewed or reported about your book in the Review!  This may turn potential readers away from giving your book a try.
     b. )  The Reviewer reports they didn't get it, or that your book contains inconsistencies, which may again turn potential readers away from reading your book.  This may or may not be the case with your work.  I have had two instances in ten where something similar to this was in the review and each time elements from a.) were included also where miss leading or wrong information about the book was reported.  This clearly shows the Book Reviewer rushed through the book and was guessing, gleaning, halfway speed reading to get through your work, just so they could get another book review done.  The reader of the Book Review doesn't know what is right or wrong concerning the review, and are taking the Reviewers word for what they thought of your book.
     c. )  Your book is not what the Book Reviewer enjoys, normally reads, likes, or understands.  This will result in a confused if not outright bad review.  It isn't their fault.  Not many of us can read a book on advanced particle Physics, genetics, or biology and write an intelligent and cohesive review of the book, especially if we were not interested in the book, or didn't understand most of what we were reading.  The fair and honest thing for the book reviewer to do is contact the author and say, "Hey, this isn't my cup of tea, I think I should pass on this one."  If a reviewer does this to you, heed the warning and let them walk away.  I think too many times the Book Reviewer doesn't want to admit this is not their general genre or area of knowledge and put themselves out on a limb and write the best review they can with what they didn't enjoy or understand.  Let's face it; I would suck at reviewing Romance novels!
     d. )  Not all Reviewers know how to write a decent review.  Some tell about the book in a general manner without giving away any secrets, these are good.  Some tell about the book in a general manner and parts and things they enjoyed about the book, these are great.  Some try and write like what we had to do for book reports in high school or junior high to prove to the teacher that we actually read the book.  They in essence re-tell a condensed version of your book.  This isn't that great.  Let the reader discover the book on their own.  I feel a Great Book Review should entice the reader to purchase and read the book.
     e. )  An author friend of mine had a review done of her work and the reviewer trashed it.  Come to find out the reviewer's downloaded copy was corrupted somehow during the transfer.  The author's book was fine, and not all messed up.  Yet this review and bad rating are out there and unfixable because of the wrong impression gained by the reviewer from not having an accurate copy of the work.  If you get an E-book and it looks all messed up and things seem all out of place, before you jump to any conclusions make sure you have a good copy of the book, the right format for your reader, and nothing wrong the device you're reading it from.
As far as Book Reviewers go you roll the dice with the rest of us.  Everybody is different and comes from different back grounds with different educational mind sets.  You could take 10 people and have them all read the same piece and not everybody is going to enjoy it.  Not everybody is going to get the same stuff out it the piece.  Hell, if you quiz them on the piece you will clearly see that everybody read the same piece, but got numerous different stories from the same piece of material!
Book Reviews and Book Reviewers are important!  They do help get the word out.  People read reviews and make decisions based off the reviews they read.  As an author you should make a list of the Reviewers that work well with the stuff you write.  Maybe make notes as to their accuracy concerning your book, the time it took them to review the book, and how they rated it.  Be leery of using book reviewers who read hundred thousand word novels in two to three days.
I do think if a Book Reviewer reads a book they thoroughly hate, that's total unmitigated crap, they should just pass on writing a review of the book.  The world is negative enough and we don't need to be pouring more negativity into it by trashing somebody else's hard work.  Many great literary works were considered flops or downright failures at the time they were published only to become considered classics much later.  In some cases the books didn't become successful and great works until long after the author had passed.  So what somebody hates today may end up being an international bestseller and classic literature in time.
I have from time to time over the past year gotten my best results with gifting copies of my books to total strangers, with the simple request that if they enjoyed the book to please write a review of the book!  So far these by far have been slower more thorough reviews of my work.  These have been the kinds of reviews I want potential readers to read about my book.
Author Interviews
I have not found a downside to these yet, unless it is the time away from my writing I spend answering the questions.  Alas, this is but a small price to pay for somebody taking the time and interest to interview you and post your interview on their fabulous website!  As an author I find it fun and exciting each time I start answering the questions for an author interview.  The Interview questions, most of the time, have been unique, intriguing, and informative.  Usually you are asked to provide a photograph, the answers to some questions by the interviewer, and links to follow you such as the following:
Twitter                     Google +              Facebook
Author Pages           Your Website       Your Blog
Pictures of your book or books, and links to find them for sale on line.
I would suggest finding and making a list of places that do Author Interviews.  I have only done one interview with each place so far, so I don't know how this will play out in the future.  A facet I am just getting into is doing Author Interviews on this Blog in return for the other Authors doing author interviews of me.  This seems to be a win/win to drive followers and readers to each other blogs, get the word out, generate some buzz, and all for Free!  If you give at least as good as you get it should work out as a wonderful means for Independent authors to help support each other!
I am not opening up a free for all to do Author Interviews at this time as I feel it would take too much of my precious time from the writing of my books, and that is of paramount importance to me at this juncture of my writing career.  I believe to start I find Indy Authors I happen to run across through day to day business and pleasure surfing through the media sites I inhabit and do it on a individual invitational basis only, maybe about one every other week.  Only time will tell.
May God Bless You, and Have a wonderful and productive day!

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