Tuesday, 1 May 2012

What I know so far...

People read what others read. If you are an unknown writer and you get four or five, five star reviews with glowing words, then number six will probably buy the book.

If number six loves the book, then number seven, eight and nine will follow. It is the way of the world. We are a planet of followers.

How many times have you read a two or one star review stating that the reader bought the book because of recommendations from the other reviewers? I have often wondered about reviews and how they stack up for an author.

I am starting to come to the conclusion that a bunch of good reviews garners a bunch of more good reviews…with a few bad ones thrown in. But hey, who cares about a few bad apples in the bunch? In this case, it’s not going to spoil the whole barrel.

On the other hand, if an unknown author receives a bad review for the first review then no more follow for a while, that can be devastating. Since I believe readers rely on reviews to give them a bit more information on a book, the first thing a reader is going to do when they see that two star is to scroll down and read it. If they are disappointed by it they will most likely pass that book up…no matter if it is only 99 cents. Of course you are going to get a few people one in a hundred maybe who will overlook the review and want to see for themselves what the story inside the cover is like, especially if it is only 99 cents.

Then there is the sample chapter or chapters that a reader can read and decide if they want to purchase or not. Some beginning chapters are so amazing that a reader cannot help themselves, they must read more, even if it’s 9.99.

So I guess it all comes down to the power of the words in the book. For example: I don’t buy many books. In the past I have read library books. Of course I’ve bought my share in the past of books up to forty, fifty dollars, if I wanted it.

But today it’s different. A reader can choose to buy a hardcover, soft cover, or electronic version. We all know that electronic versions cost way less and take up way less room, in fact they are invisible in our house. And if we want to take a trip, a reader who has to have a good book with them at all times, doesn’t need to cart along heavy books in their luggage or go looking for a book store when they get there. All they need to pack is their lightweight e reader and they’re set.

Selling books, I have come to realize, is much like the stock market. One day your book can be riding high and you wonder to what heights it might reach. Next day your book can be sinking into the slush pile of thousands of others. That nasty or nice little graph just zooms up or down and you must ride along on the waves and surf above.

A new writer tends to follow the progress of his/her book diligently, almost to the point of excessiveness. Well, to be truthful, I have been excessive and addicted. But that can drive you bonkers if you keep it up. You won’t get anything else done. If you have people around you (which I don’t most of the time) you will tend to ignore them, not go out and do the things that you used to do. Instead you will be hovered over your computer checking out the stats every five minutes or so. Yes, it is very addictive.

During the other times you will be searching the net for new ways to market, new websites to pursue for reviews and places to list your book. You will be a crazy mess!

Don’t let this happen to you. However, if it does, remember, it will smooth out and with time you will get less anxious, you will learn to accept when one of your books takes a tumble. You will no longer worry that it will burn and die. You will move on. When you have a good day and you get a few book sales you will rejoice, momentarily.

It’s spring everyone…time to get out of your cave, time to live your life, not just the characters of your books. I find winter time is an excellent time for me to write. I find spring a new awakening in more ways than one. I have awakened to the beauty around me, and I can’t wait to dig my fingers into warm spring soil and plant and harvest. I can’t wait to ride my bike everyday and enjoy the scenery around me.

So please don’t despair over plunging book sales or no book sales or bad reviews. These are momentary things. What is really cool is the world around us and the people in it, and of course the animals too. I call spring and summer the seasons of renewing. The time to watch, look, listen and save those memories and good times. Who knows you might want to use them in your next novel come winter.

Happy Writing and Happy Reading everyone. I hope you all have a glorious day!

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