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Monday, March 12, 2012

Chit Chat and All That! Sharita Lira and Tessa Wanton discuss...How Important Are Reviews to Marketing your Work


The seductive Sharita Lira and tempting Tessa Wanton, are our chit chatters today and they are talk about a subject that is close to their hearts.

So grab a beverage of your own choice and make yourself comfortable and read today's Chit Chat and All That!


(Caption: He’s reading my book. OMG. What will he say? Will it affect my sales?)

Intro: Hello again. This is Sharita Lira once again participating in the Chit Chat and All that Series. This one is more for authors than readers as it touches on a subject that can be either negative or positive depending on the way you look at it. Reviews! Do they affecting marketing your work? Well, from my chat with fellow author Tess Wanton, they do help a little but we also discuss things that well help an author to promo their book even better. Here is our email chat about reviews and marketing.

Sharita: In reality, I haven't had that many reviews. LOL Let me know your ideas
Tess: As for reviews I thought you'd had loads??? I see this from a number of angles, good, bad, indifferent. I would say the worst type are indifferent reviews. If you don't move someone either way, that's definitely more damning a situation...
Sharita: One thing about reviews is they're dependent on the books you write, plus being a new writer, kind of hard to get them. I write mostly m/m so I haven’t seen a ton of reviews yet.
Tess: Good point! I'm a new writer too, but I've been lucky with the amount of reviews I received, in fact one review I received because the reviewer won my book in a competition and felt compelled to write about it! I was flattered beyond words... And there is the key... Someone was moved by my words, for the good in that instance, but I have had reviews which have had other strong reactions too, but strangely, caused a surge of interest in its popularity! As I mentioned before, any review as long as it isn't bland, can be very good, even if it is not so good for the ego!
Sharita: I've had a few. In all honesty, I'm not sure they affect sales all that much. I think it depends on the genre too. M/M readers are pretty loyal. They have their favorites and me being new have to try to become a favorite as well. It takes more time I believe.
Tess: Maybe someone should start up a M/M review site? Seems there's an almighty gap in the market, and other review sites specialize.
Sharita: There are some m/m sites and some sites that do both. I've long made up my mind that good or bad reviews will not shape your career as a writer. Sure they help a little but more important is that you put out a great book that everyone wants to read. Tell me about some of your experiences with the reviews? Are there a couple that stood out? Did you notice a jump after those reviews were posted?
Tess: Well... It's hard to say, in fact I've found more jumps in book sales when I've done an interview or posted something prosaic on my blog... It's also difficult to know how many sales occur because people have read a reader's review on the purchase websites... They are good tools for marketing I would say, because if you get a rave review you can plaster it everywhere! It's the bad reviews others plaster everywhere you have to beware of, and I must admit I don't envy reviewers because if a book really is awful, how can you be impartial without coming off badly in general? **Sigh**, difficult business isn’t it?
Sharita: It is a difficult business. It’s true. I've posted the reviews on my FB page and on my blog when its 3 stars and up. I received 2 low professional reviews on my first 2 stories and I've looked to improve my writing ever since because I agreed with her.
In both the reviews the person said she liked the story but would've liked to have seen the story developed more. I had to agree!

So I've tried to make sure I've taken a lot more time with the books I've written and lately, the few I have gotten have been good. 

More than reviews, blogging and interviewing works more in my opinion. Being on websites with high traffic, tweeting occasionally, the Yahoo loops, etc, all help in one way or another as long as you're getting the book out there. Never be afraid to promo. We all work at a different pace and have different situations. Work on building a fanbase. Make it so the reviews won’t matter as much. The most important thing is to get your name out there. Any thoughts on Goodreads?

I've actually had better luck there than with pro reviews. A few bad ones but for the most part very positive!

Tess: For me it's all been about the quality, and I hope it always will be, I suppose more than anything, I'm just frustrated by lack of time to write, blog and speak to people properly. That was the one thing I loved about all of this, meeting and speaking to lovely new people who *got* what I was writing... I have to agree though. Perhaps interviews and blogs do make a bigger impact, and of course carefully chosen excerpts... What better to entice than someone's own opinion and perceptions?

Sharita: Yeah true. The interviews and blogs make a bigger difference. I mean, the thing about reviews actually is the book has to be something you want to read and then you might read the review to see if you want to skip or not. 
In my own opinion, reviews don't make a difference whether I buy the book or not. If I like the plot, the blurb, and storyline and it’s reasonably priced, I'll buy it. 

You know I actually belong to an m/m readers group through Goodreads. Me and like 2 other authors go and meet with readers. I don’t push my books but I do ask them questions and chime in on the conversation. I’ve only recommended books, never have I said it was a book I didn't like but when they do I listen. I ask them, what they didn't like about the author's story and why? Was it badly edited? Was it too short, etc. I've taken a lot if what I've learned from them to heart and actually a couple of them have given my books reviews on Goodreads. 

In some reader’s eyes, they don't buy books from certain pubs because of editing, covers, etc regardless if they like the plot. Authors should listen to reader reviews more I believe so it will help to find out who your audience is. 

The other thing I notice is, when authors review other authors books they’re sometimes overly critical. I never would do that to another author knowing that the "bad writing" could be due to poor editors or lack of knowledge. I’ve given stars but haven't given in depth reviews.

Tess: I agree, perhaps it's the type of review which matters. Reader reviews definitely seem to have an effect on how people approach me, if I get a good reader review, I find more people follow me on Twitter, or chat to me on FetLife, but then, I am also cognizant that this could just be coincidence. The fact is this is all something which builds up over time, building a fanbase, building friendships, every little additional exposure to get your name known, whether review, blog or promo, or even an insanely funny tweet, all help to ultimately 'get you out there' and become a name that the reader is drawn to. See I've never really used Goodreads or yahoo groups or anything like that... I'm not entirely sure how they work, it does seem to have positive effects for many - it is so difficult to ensure that you don't spread yourself too thin too, as if you're everywhere but only in small doses, readers may not really get a feel of who you are and the whole point of marketing yourself is to show yourself as the author, not just plugging each book as it comes out.

Sharita: Yes that’s the plan and I agree, just talking about your books when out and about in social media won’t help. Interacting with readers is what’s more important. BTW, the Yahoo loops are through email. You can promo on certain ones on certain days. You just need to subscribe. Goodreads is a two headed monster. It can be a good and bad thing. Sometimes you find yourself checking to see if people added your book and reviewed it and then you might get disappointed when you see a bad one. Lol It’s just the way it works sometimes. All in all, promo along with a few good reviews, professional and reader adds to the buzz.
Conclusion: In our discussion, Tess and I have discussed how reviews can help but also other avenues o promote your book. All in all, an author must be “visible” to the public, meaning blogging, book tours, ads, etc but also Tweets, Facebook, Google Plus just to make connections with readers. As you can see, Goodreads is a double edged sword but still a helpful tool when it comes to marketing. No one wants to see a bad review of their book but as writers, we put ourselves out there to be reviewed and judged. Hopefully, if the reviewer didn’t like the book, then they will say so I the comments and let it not be because of poor editing or choice of words. Hopefully, it is a personal opinion and nothing more.
The key here is building a fanbase. All the above helps. Do what you can as an author to be successful. No doubt it takes time and LOTS of patience but if you want to make it, you have to be willing to ride this roller coaster. All part of being an author.
Thanks Penny and also big thanks to Tess on this discussion!








3 comments:

  1. Eek, some typos in there but thanks so much Penny. Talking with Tess was awesome. We really connected in this discussion. :D

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  2. It was lovely to chat wirh Shar, it's given me a much better perpective on so many different ways to reach out to New audiences, and of course, getting to know Sharita better was just amazing *grins*

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