Sunday, 8 August 2010

Reviews and stars

This morning I wrote a five star review of a socket spanner set I bought on Amazon for a bargain £8.07 including delivery. I did it because I was pleased with my purchase, so cheap and so good, and wanted to spread the word.

That's the sort of reaction I'm hoping for my ebook on Smashwords. Good reviews and ratings will make it rise in the chart and increase its visibility, and make it more likely to be considered by people looking for something to read. Of course I want it to be a success.

But the nice thing is, at this stage there isn't much I can do about it. I can jump up and down on forums, squeaking 'Look at my book!' but if people look and don't like it, I can't change their minds. Which is just how it should be. The public always has the last word. And readers don't have to review; it's entirely voluntary. They don't get anything out of it, and have no reason not to be honest. (I haven't noticed other writers touting for a reciprocal review, though I'm too much of a newbie to be certain yet.)

It's great when somebody loves my book, and tells me so. But I am grateful to anyone who takes the time to share their thoughts about my writing. The correct response to any review is thank you. One just has to hope there aren't too many where one is typing thank you sobbing over the keyboard.


  1. Are you on Twitter? Because mentioning it on Twitter might help to get some traffic to it. I'm sure once people read it you'll get good reviews. I know I loved it.

    Oh, and Facebook. If you're on Facebook I'll like it there for you!

    I'm having trouble getting into Smashwords today.

  2. Fairy, I've just joined Twitter and am a terrible noob. I've personalized my home page and found a few people I know to follow, but that's it so far.

    I don't think I can quite face Facebook yet...would you recommend it?

  3. Oh crikey!! Twitter!! Wow!

    GOOD LUCK with your smashwords, ebooking thingy...

    You are going to have a paper version of Remix aren't you????

    Take care

  4. Kitty, I'm finishing the cover and proof-reading the text for the paperback right now. It's going to be lovely.

    103 people have downloaded the ebook so far - more than I expected.

  5. 103 people have downloaded so far? That sounds pretty dang good to me. I'll follow you on twitter.

  6. 112...

    Thanks, and ditto; your bio is irresistible.

  7. The three star review you received is, at least to my mind, an excellent bit of feedback and really, a very positive thumbs up for Remix. Those are the sorts of reviews I like, the ones where the reader cares enough to be specific, obviously read the entire book with some attention, and is discerning enough to place what he/she really thinks is a fair rating. After all, how many books are there in the universe that actually deserve five out of five stars? Not many. And time is usually needed in order for that sort of appraisal to really be valid.

    One hundred and twelve and climbing. Keep in mind that many of these folks will be downloading and tucking it away in their TBR file. So don't expect anywhere near 112 reviews. I have done some asking around on sites such as mobileread, kindleboards and nookboards and most of the folks who responded said that they often as not will pick up a "limited offer" free book just to get it free, but it might be weeks, months or never before they actually read it. It's a chance one takes, but I think it's worth it to get those few readers who like the book and often help get the word out that it is worth the investment of a bit of money. That word of mouth advertising is what you are really going for here.

  8. Yes, I was pleased with that review. The writer of it said in the Mobileread forum that he nearly gave it four stars, but has rigid rating criteria he sticks to.

    He also said, 'as I was up all night reading it, I can confirm that the story is pretty gripping' and one can't ask for more than that.

    I've had 182 downloads so far; and I do know people are much more likely to read books they've paid for. But I hope a proportion of the downloaders will get drawn into Remix.

  9. I've written a review of Remix on my blog here. Feel free to point people to it as much as you like!

  10. Thanks so much, Fairy; and if any of my American readers wants to know what the Gherkin (visible from my heroine Caz's rooftop) looks like, Fairy has thoughtfully posted a photograph of it on her blog post.