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In Wilder Lands
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Author Resources > How DOES one get reviews around here?

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments To preface...

I did the nice post asking for reviewers and got a lot of interest from CR. Tons of messages in my inbox, plus a few posts to the thread. Lots of good interest. Yay!

I sent out a bunch of review copies to the requestors...and all but one have bailed on me, saying either that they no longer feel like it or no reply at all. None of them are declining because of dislike of the book, they just don't feel like it. Several even thanked me for the free book and admitted they had no intention of ever doing reviews with CR. They really just wanted free books.

So my question is, what's the expected rate of return around here? Do CR reviewers only carry through on their promised reviews about 1 in 5, 1 in 10, or even worse than that? Do we need to send out partial versions of our books so that they aren't getting free full editions?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for giving out free copies to boost exposure...but I need to know that's what I'm doing. When people promise reviews, I expect some to not carry through. When people in a group dedicated to reviews don't carry through, it makes me wonder.

Let me know if this is typical of what others are seeing lately.

Thanks!
Jim


message 2: by Kat (new)

Kat (katzombie) Hi Jim,

Wow, that's harsh! I'm not an author, but I do have a book review blog and to me, agreeing to review a book and then bailing is (at risk of creating controversy!), pretty much up there with shoplifting a book from a book shop. Now in the interests of disclosure, I have quite a long book review list that I'm struggling to work my way through, which is why I've limited the amount of books I request/accept and I don't actively participate in this group as a reviewer anymore. And yes, I've put off reading books because if I force myself to read them I'm far more likely to get a face on and not be subjective, but never just taken a book because 'it's free'.

And that also brings me to a question, what is the point in a free book if you aren't actually going to read it?

I know that some reviews don't like being 'bugged' by authors as to when they will read and review the book they have been given, but for me a gentle reminder is sometimes necessary just in case I actually forgot it's a review copy (with a large TBR it's fully possible).

Just out of interest, how long ago did you send these copies?

Oh, and good luck, I hope you DO find some reviewers :)


message 3: by Jim (last edited Feb 15, 2012 06:57AM) (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments Generally, I hate to ask the reader if they're still planning to review...but after a deadline they proposed passes or many moons, I will usually prod a little or ask if something came up.

Most of these were sent out October through early December, so it's been a while. When I put up the request for reviewers, I actually was specific in asking for people with smaller stacks of books TBR. :)

Oddly, I'm having no appreciable problem getting reviewers elsewhere. It's just around here people seem to keep bailing on me. Was trying to figure out if I just have bad CR luck or whether this was common.

Jim


message 4: by Kat (new)

Kat (katzombie) OK that's a long time ago! I have a review list of, er, 20 books or so and I'm working through the stuff I got in early December at the moment and I thought I was behind, so you've made me feel a little better at least ;)

Be interesting to see if any other CR authors have the same problem!


Tricia Kristufek | 181 comments Sorry to hear that Jim. :(

I know my reading list is a bit long (and as I was one of your reviewers you probably questioned if I would do your review also) but I wonder if that's part of the problem? While I love free books, I always mention that I have a queue and it will be a while before I can get to their book. And, as you know, if the book is *that* good, I have no problem paying for it!

I do hope some of your reviewers pull through for you, you wrote a GREAT book.


message 6: by Damali (new)

Damali Who could resist a free book? I've never been able to. :)

I think it's more likely that some of them have read it, and didn't care for it.

I've downloaded a few books by indies because I heard it was free, and the writing was really bad, so I haven't rated it or even let anyone know I was reading it.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments Thanks Tricia. Wasn't actually sure which group I snagged you from, so you weren't included in that list. :)

Jim


message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments I'd actually rather hear, "It wasn't for me" than "thanks for the free book I won't read."

But that's just me.


Tricia Kristufek | 181 comments Jim wrote: Thanks Tricia. Wasn't actually sure which group I snagged you from, so you weren't included in that list. :)

No worries Jim!

As for Indies with bad writing, that is true, but Jim's book is not - it's well-written and well-edited. That's the problem with Indies right now - there are so many people just putting their work out there unedited that the ones who do take the time and money to make it right somehow get lost.

Maybe try putting up a small sample with your post? Not a lot, but enough to show the writing style?


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments That may be an option. Kind of curious if other authors had to do the same. Didn't really consider it originally, what with Amazon's sampling features.


message 11: by Laurie (new)

Laurie   (barklesswagmore) Jim wrote: "I'd actually rather hear, "It wasn't for me" than "thanks for the free book I won't read."

But that's just me."


But many author's are not like you and will go on a rant. It happens quite often. And honestly who wants to email an author and say "Sorry, I dislike your book, can't finish it and will not be reviewing it"?

I'd go ahead and write the review because that's how I am but many others are afraid to post something less than glowing. I'm not saying that this is what is going on but it may be the case for a few. Also, as others have said people may be in over their heads, don't realize how difficult reviewing is and/or did just want a free book to hoard and probably never read. It happens. My advice, if you're concerned about the legitimacy of potential reviewers, would be to check out their goodreads page and see how active they are posting actual reviews and also check out their blog (if they have one) and see what's going on there. It also gives you a better picture of their reviewing style if that's of any concern.


message 12: by Jim (last edited Feb 15, 2012 08:00AM) (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments Not bad thoughts all around BLWM. Don't get me wrong, I'd be annoyed and possibly upset for a few minutes if someone said they hated the book...but I'd rather that any day over just not knowing or feeling like people are using the word "review" to get freebies.

Heck, getting a freebie isn't hard. They could just ask me when I'm tossing up my next KDP Select freebie day. No need to say they will review if they don't intend to. :)

You are probably right on the number of them getting in over their heads though. I just wish they'd come back and say that. "Oops" is more forgivable than silence.

Jim


message 13: by Laurie (new)

Laurie   (barklesswagmore) If they asked for and accepted your book and you emailed them about the timeline of the review it is rude for them to remain silent. Things do slip through the cracks occasionally but if an author queried me I would always respond. Next time you might want to check their legitimacy before sending.


message 14: by Harriet (new)

Harriet Schultz | 27 comments BLWM's point about researching a reviewer before providing them with your book is a good one. At first I was anxious to start piling up reviews since that's one way to publicize your book. But then I realized if the reviewer gives your book 5 stars, but has very few followers, the review stokes your ego, but does little for sales. Now I Google them first, check the number of followers on their blog, and ask where they post reviews. The more places, the better. I also check the style of their reviews since writing the Cliff's Notes version of my book (a romantic suspense novel--Legacy of the Highlands), gives the plot away! Bad! Not great for a story filled with twists and turns!
I hope you have better luck in the future Jim. This is definitely a process with a learning curve.


message 15: by Matt (new)

Matt Posner (mattposner) | 70 comments Sorry you are having this experience. Sending out review copies is a ticklish thing. I worry when I take a review copy that I will wind up not liking the book and will have to decide about providing a bad review (hurting someone commercially) or avoiding posting the review (being unreliable). My rate of return on review copies I gift to others is about 60%.

I would volunteer to take on your book, but I'm overwhelmed right now. Ask me late next month if you would like. schooloftheages@gmail.com.


message 16: by Kat (last edited Feb 15, 2012 09:27AM) (new)

Kat (katzombie) Harriet wrote: "BLWM's point about researching a reviewer before providing them with your book is a good one. At first I was anxious to start piling up reviews since that's one way to publicize your book. But then..."

Oh I hope I Google well!

Just kidding, you've got a very good point - the more exposure the better!

However, maybe I am biased in saying this, but don't rule out 'new' book bloggers. When I first started blogging I was really eager to accept review books - and I was very good at following through with my reviews because I didn't have so much on my plate.

They're also far more willing to plug your book for you. One of the first review books I received has been reviewed, author interviewed, mentioned in 3 or 4 of my 'Top Ten of 2011' lists, has had a whole post dedicated to his book being on sale and a whole bunch of other plugging because I loved the book so much.

But I have to say this is the exception rather than the rule ;-) - however all the books I receive are also mentioned in weekly round ups of books I've received, so there's more exposure there too.


message 17: by Kat (new)

Kat (katzombie) Jim wrote: "To preface...

I did the nice post asking for reviewers and got a lot of interest from CR. Tons of messages in my inbox, plus a few posts to the thread. Lots of good interest. Yay!

I sent out ..."


Just one other thing I'm curious about - were these e-copies or hard copies?


message 18: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments Mostly e-copies, but I did send out a goodly number of hard copies. The e-copies I kind of roll my eyes at not getting reviews out of...the hard-copies were what set off this thread, since those get expensive.

Jim


message 19: by Kat (new)

Kat (katzombie) OK that's a whole different kettle. I completely understand your frustration! Hard copies get my priority because of the additional expense the author bears.

I'm so tempted to offer to review your book! But I can't be realistic in my timeframes!


message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments No worries. :) I understand how crazy it can get.

This thread definitely wasn't meant to beg for reviewers. It was more to see if this is a common problem...and vent a little.

Jim


message 21: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 726 comments Hey Jim,
I myself sent out a few reviews to people but have yet to hear back from them or see a review however I am not in a panic just yet. They may be backed up and havent gotten to your book yet or just havnt gotten around to reading it. I know how you feel, when you send someone a copy and they agree you hope they wont bail on you, I actually look into how much they review and ask them if they truly are interested, I am going to be doing a follow up and e-mail them to ask if theyve read it. Your not wrong for following up you just want your reviews so I think if you don't already do so, take peoples e-mails down after u send em out and write em and ask after a while. Best bet is to really develop a rapport with someone or look and see if theyre other reviews are good and if so they may be better than someone just asking for a copy.
best of luck to you.


message 22: by Experiment BL626 (new)

Experiment BL626 BarkLessWagMore wrote: "Jim wrote: "I'd actually rather hear, "It wasn't for me" than "thanks for the free book I won't read."

But that's just me."

But many author's are not like you and will go on a rant. It happens qu..."


Strongly agrees with BLWG. On one hand, I feel bad for you, Jim. On the other, you had to expect this would happen — people getting books and not reviewing them. People already said this but I'm still going to repeat it: you have to check the legitimacy of reviewers. Don't just take their word for it. I find this no different than someone walking into a restaurant and demanding a free meal in an exchange for a review. Just because someone said they're a reviewer doesn't mean they actually are.

I also to add if any author here writes PNR or UF, they might want to check out this Read to Review program at this group: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/6... Group members can sign up to read a free book in exchange for an honest review. If they don't review, they get penalized and are never allowed to review again until they pulled through on that promise.

Jim, I suggest you find a Fantasy-focused Goodreads group and see if they have a similar program.


message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments Been looking for that actually, but haven't found one yet. The fantasy groups tend to be rather quiet. 1000s of members, but the only posts are often the authors trying to sell to each other.

Very odd.

I'll keep hunting though.


Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey) (mybookboyfriend) | 17 comments Try Making Connections group as well.


message 25: by Experiment BL626 (last edited Feb 15, 2012 12:30PM) (new)

Experiment BL626 Jim wrote: "Been looking for that actually, but haven't found one yet. The fantasy groups tend to be rather quiet. 1000s of members, but the only posts are often the authors trying to sell to each other.

Very..."


The PNR&UF Fan group is expanding their R2R program by making a website (http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/7...), similar to the one at NetGalley. You might want to PM them and suggest if they could allow authors in other genre to participate as well. My thinking is this: why search for somewhere new when you can suggest a new thing to an established place? Can't hurt to ask.


message 26: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments Fair enough. I'll jump right on that.

Thanks everyone for the ideas. :)


message 27: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) I have given away quite a few e-book for review and only half have actually showed up on Smashwords or GR or Amazon. I don't want to go through my GR messages to see which reviewers requested the e-books, though. I'm busy writing other books. Hopefully eventually the reviews will show up. This is the only GR group where I've actively searched for reviews, and if they don't show up... I don't care too much.
Writers write. The don't care too much about sales numbers or reviews... or try not to! ;-)
Happy writing!


message 28: by Doc (new)

Doc (doc_coleman) | 46 comments If I were one of the mods for Creative Reviews, I would want to know the names of the folks who said they would review your book and then later admitted that they just wanted a free book. I agree with Jim that people who do such things deliberately are undermining the purpose of the group, which is to aid reviewers and authors in making connections.

It doesn't take a lot to read and review a book. Scamming someone just to get a free book is petty. And technically, it is criminal. It doesn't matter that the author might have been willing to give you the book anyway, if you've misrepresented yourself to gain access to a property in exchange for a consideration you have no intention of providing, you're committing a crime.

I would want to know who these people are so they'd get banned from the group. Better yet, get them kicked off of Goodreads.

Doc


message 29: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Clement (jaclement) | 1328 comments That's a pity, Jim - this has always been a really good group. I've only done e-copies and still have figured my review rate was pretty good - off the top of my head I'd say 60-70%.

But as you say, actual hard copies is a whole different kettle of fish as that's costing you some real money, and it's certainly not like most authors earn megabucks. The irony is that the take-up of free ebooks offered here does not appear to be huge, which leads me to wonder if these hardcopies are not for reading but are going to end up on ebay.

I do think that asking for a free hardcopy when you have no intention of reviewing it is basic dishonesty though, and I'm really sad to hear that's happening in this group. Not getting round to it or not liking it is one thing and is perfectly valid - but conning a hardcopy? I'm sad to hear that.

JAC


message 30: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) Like JAC I only gave out Smashwords coupon. And I finally went through the GR messages - 2 reviewers have it and haven't reviewed it since November. 1 is "currently reading it" and her latest message said she'd finish it soon, the other has marked it as "to read". Since mid-November. Sigh.


message 31: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 726 comments I have a several people who have my book to read for review. They have gotten back to me and said they havent had time but that they will read it so i mean at least they told me the deal, those who havent Im not so much worried about it cause I'm very picky in who i send a review to, i do background checks if you will, I see if they have reviewed before and if they are truly interested if they arnt I just move along.


message 32: by Alice (new)

Alice Dinizo (JBDiNizo) | 38 comments Count me in as a reviewer. As a librarian, I reviewed for years for Library Journal, now I write my own stories and review for ReadersFavorite. I know what you mean about being selective in who reviews your works. I don't blame you at all. My book "Bay House" just got a 5 star review. I had despaired of publishing it as a few years ago as an editor said it was not good. Well, what did he know?


message 33: by Steven (new)

Steven Stickler Jim,

You are right to feel frustrated. I think Justin's advice is probably well-taken, which is unfortunate. It may be the case that people overpromise and then get overwhelmed and can't follow through, but even so the lack of communication is hard to excuse.

Like every other author, I would gladly trade a free copy for a thoughtful review, but I will learn from your experience and make sure to be careful. Sorry you had to go through that.


message 34: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 31 comments As I'd mentioned, it's not a huge deal on one hand because I've gotten a bunch of reviews from elsewhere. On the other hand, it gets costly and just plain irritating when someone promises then bails on you.

I think I'm just weird that my ego can handle bad reviews easier than silence from someone who asked to review my work. :)

Jim


message 35: by Alice (new)

Alice Dinizo (JBDiNizo) | 38 comments Hi,Jim,
You are right. Silence or no response from someone who is supposed to review your book is difficult to handle. I should qualify what I said about "Bay House". I was being polite in stating that the editor
said the book was bad. Actually, he riped it apart. I've had reviews that said what they said, but his was a real bummer!


message 36: by Kat (new)

Kat (katzombie) Doc wrote: "If I were one of the mods for Creative Reviews, I would want to know the names of the folks who said they would review your book and then later admitted that they just wanted a free book. I agree w..."

Mmmm I wouldn't really agree with 'it doesn't take a lot to read and review a book'. It takes hours of reading (an 80,000 word book will take me somewhere in the range of three days), and reviews can take hours to write.

That being said, reviewers should be honest about their 'waiting times' when it comes to reading and reviewing books. Keeping an author updated on the progress doesn't take more than a quick email/message.


message 37: by Damali (new)

Damali Reviews do take a lot out of me. I can read 800-page books with no complaints, but trying to sum up my feelings in a few paragraphs can be daunting, especially since I'd rather be going on my next adventure.


message 38: by Experiment BL626 (new)

Experiment BL626 Damali wrote: "Reviews do take a lot out of me. I can read 800-page books with no complaints, but trying to sum up my feelings in a few paragraphs can be daunting, especially since I'd rather be going on my next ..."

This is why I hardly review. In the hours I spend writing a review, I could be reading and finishing another book already. It's not a good trade-off imo.


message 39: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarah055336) | 55 comments I'm interested i writing a review for anyone with a romance that needs a review :D PM me.


message 40: by Vered (new)

Vered (vered_ehsani) Experiment wrote: "Damali wrote: "Reviews do take a lot out of me. I can read 800-page books with no complaints, but trying to sum up my feelings in a few paragraphs can be daunting, especially since I'd rather be go..."

It's true that writing reviews does take away, but I also have learned a lot by putting on the more critical reviewer's hat, as I have to think about what really works and doesn't work, and it's helped strengthen my own writing. I do limit the number of reviews I do - maybe one or two a month.


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