Thursday, August 8, 2013
How To Get Good Reviews on Amazon (review) and ponderings about a blogger's time
Please make sure you check the post on August 9, 2013 for more information and a Giveaway! (And, if you are wondering why I have my review up twice...I had a hiccup with a different author who was supposed to have a post here...so I went ahead and posted the review so that the day wouldn't be empty but please make sure to go to the other post to read the blurb and enter the giveaway)
“How to Get Good Reviews on Amazon: A Guide for Independent Authors and Sellers” by Theo Rogers is a terrific guide for any author who is trying to navigate the treacherous shoals of Amazon. It is full of interesting insights and comments that combine practicality with good business advice. There are comments and observations that should help authors searching for a way to reach reviewers and gives tips on how to evaluate the usefulness of their rankings on Amazon. A lot of very pertinent information is available in a compact dissertation.
As a reviewer, I am grateful for some of the hints that are couched in polite terms but which remind authors that there is an entire culture of reviewers out there with its own rules and conventions. I was intrigued to recognize various positives and negatives that I have run into during my own experiences as a reviewer. I am in the interesting position of having started as a reviewer and gradually branching out to become first a proofreader and then a copyeditor and editor. I occasionally write a review for a work that I have worked on but I definitely will only do so if I have enjoyed the story. Evidently, that is considered a no-no by Amazon but I find it to be a matter of ethics and I certainly would not praise a book that I don’t think is worth it. It disturbs me that this could potentially harm the author and I will have to ponder what I will do about the reviews I have already posted. I really appreciated the reminder to authors that most reviewers write reviews as a hobby but that we take ourselves seriously and devote countless hours to doing this therefore it behooves the author to be respectful of our time and preferences. The only thing I really don’t quite agree with is the role of 5 star reviews as I rarely confer those, even though I really like a work but that is why I personally give 4.5 stars to many of the titles that I have enjoyed. I think this is a great work that both authors and reviewers would benefit from reading.
When I first thought about writing a blog, I seriously wondered who would read it other than family and friends? It turns out that I don't have any family who reads the blog and just one faithful but very busy friend who peeks periodically but slowly, I have started to have a few people who look in every so often and hopefully learn about some of the books that I have read and enjoyed. I have gotten to know an amazing number of enthusiastic readers and some wonderful authors and I have been privileged to meet quite a few lovely folks associated with the publishing industry.
One of the reasons I started hosting blog tours was that I foolishly thought it would be an easier way to keep the blog active and I offer guest posts to help promote some of the authors I met. I also participate in street teams for multiple authors. The past couple of months have been a little disconcerting, as first I was attacked by an author for being a 'blogger' who was not keeping up with my commitments in posting about his book (he never apologized even after discovering that I was not supposed to post until 5 days after that date...he just stated that bloggers were worthless in terms of advertising!) and then I ran across a couple of different posts in forums that I participate in which the person posting shots at street teams and reviews that include summaries (a la 3rd grade book reports). It saddens me to realize that there are those out there who don't know how much work goes into making these posts and just discount, criticize or ridicule our efforts and I found that the book being featured today and tomorrow did a good job of mentioning that most of us do this because we like doing it...not because we are earning anything for it other than a (hopefully) enjoyable read or an occasional prize!
Ok, jumping down from my soapbox again!
Don't forget to return to the August 9 post and enter the giveaway!