I’m in shock that someone loved my book so much they came to my website to let me know. I question their sanity, but in a good way. I’ve deleted all PII info and shared the fan mail everywhere I can because it’s so exciting for me! I can’t tell you how proud and validated I feel when people reach out to me to let me know that my book or one of my posts has had a positive impact on them! Yay me- happy dance time!
Working in tech sales, I can’t highlight enough the importance of reviews from third parties. Anyone looking to promote anything knows that they help provide incentive to others and add legitimacy to the product. Which is why they are so vital, especially to an indie author such as myself! There are processes put in place that I’ve been learning that help get the word out about your book, such as ARC (Advanced reader copies), social media, blogs etc.
However, there is also huge business in paid reviews. I first attracted the attention, from a readers perspective when I got a DM saying that they’d pay me $20 for 5 star reviews of books on Amazon, as well as reimburse me for the cost. Since completing my book and putting it on sale, I’ve been approached by many asking me to pay them to promote my work.
What do I think about this? Paying for reviews is no more than advertising in some ways. It’s a way to get the book in front of an audience and increase sales. However, to me it feels dirty, as if I’m tricking people, because that is in fact what I’m doing if it’s not done right. It takes away the authenticity, diminishes the quality of my work and can cause more harm than good in the long run. No one likes being tricked into purchasing something because they were led to believe it was great. This is why I wont exchange money for reviews. I’m happy to send my book to professional reviewers who will give honest feedback, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go. Watching Fake Famous, the HBO show reinstated my push for honesty.
One of my close friends said that they would purchase my book so that they could leave a review on Amazon to help me out. I thought that was so utterly sweet of them, however I declined. I don’t want to put pressure on friends and family to buy, let alone give me raving reviews simply because they know me. I want my book to be appreciated in all it’s glory, worts and all by the right people. It is art, and rarely does everyone have the same tastes.
Which is why when I received my fan mail I was ecstatic! When I got my first review I was shocked. It meant that my work, although different within the horror vampire genre, had someone out there that loved it enough to actually reach out. It felt great knowing that that was their authentic view, and that I hadn’t cheated by paying for it. That to me was the real ROI!
If you have the time, perhaps check out Fake Famous which was an eye opener to the world of social media!