Showing posts with label Goodreads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Goodreads. Show all posts

Six Reasons to Review Books


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

For many years, several times a week, publishers and authors send new books which arrive in my mailbox. To libraries, I’ve given away so many books that a church in Kentucky was able to gain accreditation for their school and it amounted to thousands of books. The mayor of the town even declared a Terry Whalin Day (a one-day event). I receive many more new books than I could possibly read—especially since I do it in my “free” time and write book reviews. Whether you are a new writer or experienced professional, in this article, I want to give six reasons to write book reviews.

As an editor, I often ask writers what they are reading. If they write fiction, I’m expecting they will tell me about novels they are reading. Years ago, I met an older man who had written a romance novel. He confessed that he did not read romance novels but only wrote them. This answer did not give me the right impression about this author. You don’t write a novel just because it is a large genre. Writers are readers and writing reviews documents your reading habits—and my first reason for writing reviews. 

Writing reviews helps you understand your market and audience. I encourage you to read and write about other books in your area of the market. As a writer, you can either be a competitor or cooperate and support your competition. I believe you are stronger if you support your competition with reviews.

Book reviews sell books and everyday people read reviews to make buying decisions. If your book on Amazon has less than 10 reviews and has been released for a year, that gives one message where if it has over 50 reviews (mostly four and five stars) then that sends a different message to the reader. As authors, we need to continually work at getting more reviews—even if your book has been out for a while.

When you write a five-star review for an author, reach out to that author and tell them about it. Reviews are an important means for you to support other authors and build relationships.

Books change lives and this reason is my fifth one about why to write book reviews. You can influence others to buy a book and read it from your review. I know firsthand books change lives because a key part of how I came to Christ years ago involved reading a book.I read a book called Jesus the Revolutionary and you can follow this link to read the magazine article that I wrote called Two Words That Changed My Life. Books can have powerful impact on our lives.

My final reason: Writing the short form is an important skill for every writer. For example, I do not review electronic books—only print books. If I read or listen to a book, then about 99% of the time, I will write a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Create a personal standard for your book review. Mine are not a single sentence but at least 100 words and often include a quote from the book to show that I’ve read it with a unique image.

Are you reviewing books or going to start reviewing books? Let me know in the comments below.

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W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in California. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s recent book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Goodreads Participation Helps Amazon Best-Selling Authors


Contributed by Carolyn Wilhelm

 Dublin author Clare O'Beara writes award-winning mysteries, quarantine lit, science-fiction, multicultural children's novels, as well as horse books. O'Beara likes to share a slice of her life and inspirations with other writers. As a past show-jumping champion in Ireland, tree surgeon, member of MENSA, World-Con volunteer, and journalism student, she comes by her knowledge with a depth of experience. She is an example of leveraging Goodreads to a writer's advantage. She credits the platform with some of her book success. 

O'Beara suggests getting involved in Goodreads Groups, which should reflect an author's genuine interests, like horses in her case or green (environmental) matters. If an author joins Groups, which are about promoting books, he or she will come across as 'all about me.'

O'Beara also writes a monthly column on Goodreads, such as her post about Ireland's Octocon. First, an author page on Goodreads is required, which has to be completed by the author. So many authors have not completed their free Goodreads author pages. Writers must then select to enter their blog feeds or could write posts on the site. While the post text area is tiny, pulling the corner out will provide a larger space to allow a lengthy article.

Of course, blog posts alone are not enough; O'Beara advises authors to read books, rate, and review them on the site. Reviewing helps other authors as well as potential readers of those books, so the author comes across as the keen book lover they are, and not just about him or herself.

Goodreads offers book lists, as well. Lists may be reviewed by authors who might include one or more of their books. Goodreads won't let you add your own books to any lists, but it's always nice to find someone else has added them. For instance, YA New Releases for October 2020 might grab your attention. Goodreads offers some tips at the top of lists, such as to double-check the book's release dates make sure that they are classified as correctly. If you see a book that doesn't fit that description, you may comment. The Goodreads librarians will check comments from time to time. 


Be sure to check favorite genres from the pop-up menu under your photo to select which to follow. Goodreads will choose for a writer, otherwise, and it might not be correct. If a person has been on Goodreads for a while and not checked on genres, it is a good idea to edit those choices, perhaps. Shelving read books can be individualized by naming shelves according to what an author wants.

Authors without Goodreads author pages are advised to set one up. If you are wondering how here is the information. (https://help.goodreads.com/s/article/How-do-I-start-a-blog-on-my-author-profile-1553870941102) Authors who already have such pages are advised to make use of the opportunity.


Carolyn Wilhelm
is the curriculum writer and sole owner of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. As a retired teacher of 28 years, she now makes mostly free educational resources for teachers and parents. Her course about Self-Publishing from the Very, Very Beginning is available on UDEMY.

 

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Write A Review and Promote Your Latest Book


By W. Terry Whalin

For years I have supported other writers through reading their books and writing reviews. Writers are readers and I am always reading at least one or two books. As a practice, when I complete a book (or even hearing an audiobook), I write a review of that book on Amazon and Goodreads. In addition, often I will tell others about my review on my various social media connections. If the book is tied to writing (as some of them are), I will also repurpose some of my review on a blog article about the Writing Life.

In this article, I want to show you how to promote your latest book on the bottom of your review. There are several details involved in successfully doing this type of review and promotion. If your review is short (only a sentence or two—as many people write), then this technique will likely not work and you could even be banned from writing reviews on Amazon. Please pay attention to the details of your review.

1. The review has to be of substance or at least 100 words. In your review, you show that you have read the book because of the summary you give about the book—but also I normally include a short sentence or two quotation from the book and I list the specific page for the quotation. It shows the reader that I didn't just flip through the book one night but read it cover to cover.

2. Normally I write my review in a Word file where I can easily count the words and see the length of my review. I craft a headline for my review. Then I cut and paste it into the customer review place on Amazon. Note you do not have to have purchased the book on Amazon to write a review of that book. You do have to have purchased something on Amazon to be able to write reviews. This detail about purchasing something is not normally an issue but it is one of the basic requirements from Amazon to write customer reviews. I've written almost 900 customer reviews on Amazon. Yes that is a lot of reviews and didn't happen overnight but little by little.

3. At the end of my review, I write a separate little paragraph that says, “Terry Whalin is an editor and the author of more than 60 books including his latest Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist.” (Notice this link is a live link that takes people directly to the page for my book on Amazon). As a rule, Amazon does not allow you to add working website links on your review. But, they do allow you to add product links within your review. A few times (maybe half a dozen with almost 900 reviews) this technique does not work and my review is rejected. In those few cases, I have my review in a Word file, so I resend it without my little one sentence bio line. Then the review is still posted on Amazon and still helps the other writer.

As an author I know how hard it is to get people to write reviews. Serving and helping other writers is one of the reasons I have consistently reviewed books.  I've written so many reviews and my email is easy to find, that several times a day I get requests from authors to review their books. I do not review ebook only books. I look at the book and normally I answer their email but I politely decline the offer to review their book. In my decline, I also send them to my free teleseminar about reviewing books to give them this resource. If they take me up on my offer, they join my email list in this process.

4. After I write my review on Amazon and Goodreads, I normally tout my review on social media. If that author has a twitter account, I include their twitter account in my social media post. Some of these authors re high profile people who thank me via social media for my review. Before my review I had no connection to these authors and it has been fun to see their gratitude and responses on social media.  If I originally got the book directly from the author or from a publisher or publicist, I make sure I email this person with the links and results of my review. This final step of follow-up is important because it shows your professionalism and puts you on their radar for future books. As I've written in other places,this follow-up step is necessary. 

I've included the details about this process because I have not seen other authors using this process to promote their latest release. It does take work to read a book then craft a thoughtful review but it is worth it in my view. 

Are you using such a process? If so, let me know in the comments below.  

Tweetable:

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 books and his magazine work has appeared in more than 50 publications. Terry lives in Colorado. Follow him on Twitter where he has over 220,000 followers

Other references in this article:
- http://terrywhalin.blogspot.com/2016/01/you-need-honest-book-reviews.html
- http://yourbookreviewed.com/
- https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/amzn1.account.AHS7F2FRAKMXP4PPRNJQWCP7OAUQ



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June and AudioBooks


By W. Terry Whalin

June is AudioBook Month. This area of publishing continues to expand and explode from everything that I read online and in print, in consumer magazines and in trade magazines. 

For example, I encourage you to read this article from the recent Book Expo America and mega-bestselling author, James Patterson. “Patterson (Crazy House, Hachette Audio) opened his presentation with a declaration: “Listening to an audio is reading. A lot of gatekeepers don't buy into that, but I do.” Noting the audiobook “is only scratching the surface of its potential importance and its audience,” he offered a pair of recommendations. “The first suggestion is that some audiobook people have to go out to Silicon Valley. We need to redesign audiobooks so they can be sold at a better price.” He also advocated for offering an irresistible audiobook package, which “could include, just for example, a John Grisham, a Patterson, Hillbilly Elegy, a Wimpy Kid novel, Alan's new book,” to automobile makers at close to cost if they would agree to put it in every new car they sell.” I found this idea interesting and will be watching the publishing world to see if someone takes James Patterson up on such an idea.

If you are wondering about the viability of audiobooks, just look at these recent statistics:

In 2016, Audiobook Sales Up 18.2%, Unit Sales Jump 33.9% Audiobook sales in 2016 rose 18.2%, to $2.1 billion, and unit sales jumped 33.9%, according to the Audio Publishers Association's annual sales and consumer studies, conducted respectively by Management Practice and Edison Research. This marks the third year in a row that audiobooks sales have grown by nearly 20%. The APA attributed audio growth to an expanding listening audience: 24% of Americans (more than 67 million people) have completed at least one audiobook in the last year, a 22% increase over the 2015.” 

“Among other findings:
  • More listeners use smartphones most often to listen to audiobooks than ever before (29% in 2017 vs. 22% in 2015).
  • Nearly half (48%) of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35.
  • Audiobook listeners read or listened to an average of 15 books in the last year.
  • More than a quarter (27% of respondents) said borrowing from a library/library website was very important for discovering new audiobooks.
  • A majority of audiobook listening is done at home (57%), followed by in the car (32%).
  • 68% of frequent listeners do housework while listening to audiobooks, followed by baking (65%), exercise (56%) and crafting (36%).
  • The top three reasons people enjoy listening to audiobooks are: 1) they can do other things while listening; 2) audiobooks are portable so people can listen wherever they are; and 3) they enjoy being read to.
  • The most popular genres last year were mysteries/thrillers/suspense, science fiction/fantasy and romance.
  • 19% of all listeners used voice-enabled wireless speakers (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home) to listen to an audiobook in the last year, and for frequent listeners, that rises to 30%.”
I hope some of these numbers caught your attention about the importance of audiobooks. I want to finish this article with three ways you can get involved with audiobooks:

1. Listen to audiobooks on a regular basis. The first way for any of us to get active in an area is as a participant. I have written about audiobooks in past articles

2. Use your activity to promote and encourage others to listen to audiobooks. As you complete an audiobook, take a few minutes and write a review. If you examine my Goodreads book list, you will notice a number of these books are audiobooks.


3. Get active creating audiobooks. If you have no idea where to begin, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Richard Rieman's book, The Author's Guide to AudioBook Creation. This little book will help you learn more about the audio book industry and give you resources for launching your own audio products. 

Are you using and creating audio books? Let me know in the comment section.
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 W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing and the author of more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success (available exclusively through this website with bonuses even though this book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews). He blogs about The Writing Life and lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers.

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Strategies to get Book Reviews

Guess what book it is,
and write your answer in the comments below.

This is what we all want: 20,000 reviews on Amazon, mostly good. But even the author pictured here had to start somewhere.

Getting reviews for your book takes time, effort, and lots of patience, but it'll help your visibility and sales.

People hold varying opinions about the ethics of reviews. Paying for GOOD reviews is always unethical, while some argue that it's okay to pay for HONEST reviews, especially through big impersonal organizations like Kirkus. Whatever your opinion, here are some strategies for getting reviews without any money changing hands.


Strategies to Get Reviews

-If you belong to a critique group, many of your fellow critiquers will be happy to review, as will some of your other author friends. To avoid potential awkwardness, make it an invitation instead of a request, and don't pressure or feel offended if they don't. Some people don't like mixing friendship and reviews.

-In your e-book, be sure to add a call to action in the end matter, something like, "If you enjoyed this book, please leave a review on Amazon or your favorite book site, even if it's just a sentence or two telling what you liked. Thank you." A lot of readers don't realize how important this is, and might not think of reviewing, even if they loved your book.

-Nicely ask for reviews from the fans on your e-mail list.

-Reach out to bloggers who do reviews of books similar to yours. You can find lists of book blogs online, like on The Indie View (for Indie Books). You can also search for reviews of books in your genre. Bloggers often post their review policies and instructions about how to contact them. Most are pretty selective, but if your work looks right for their tastes, pitch them.

-Blogtour.org is a free site where you can meet up with bloggers willing to do guest posts, excerpts, blurbs, interviews, etc for blog tours. Some also do reviews.

-Participate actively in Goodreads groups. Many have sections where you can offer free books in exchange for reviews or participate in review circles and  read-to-review groups. Be sure to advertise in the appropriate section, and only after you've contributed to the group by commenting on other posts.

-If you have a paperback version, do a Goodreads giveaway. People enter to win a copy and then you mail it to them. Winners of these competitions tend to review more often than random readers, especially if you mention that reviews are appreciated. Giveaways also get your book added to members' "to read" lists, which may eventually lead to sales and reviews. In your description for the giveaway, put eye-catchers first, like short quotes from reviewers or "FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY."

-You can also run giveaways of e-books at places like LibraryThing.

-The most effective way to get good reviews, according to Jim Kukral of AuthorMarketing, is to find people on Amazon who have positively reviewed books similar to yours. Check their profile pages. If they've listed their e-mail address, you can contact them. Send a nice personalized e-mail telling them that you saw their review on such and such book, and that you've written a similar book. Ask if you could provide them a free copy in the hopes that they'd consider reading and reviewing it too. Be sure to emphasize that if they take it, they can choose not to review it, and if they review it, they're under no obligation to give a positive review. Thank them. This takes a lot of work, since you have to find reviewers that are still active and have listed their contact information, but you're more likely to reach people who will like your work and possibly become long-term fans.

-Work on getting your book out there, using the promotional strategies on this blog and any others you've learned or imagined. The more readers you have, the more reviews you'll get.

So…

When is the best time to start looking for reviews? Before your book launches. Can you still work at it long after the book is published? Of course.

Keep plugging away. All these strategies take time, and only a fraction of the people you contact will actually end up posting a review, but every review helps—even the not-so-positive ones. And as always, keep writing!





Melinda Brasher's short story, "Stalked," about an ill-fated space colony and a camping trip that doesn't go as expected, appears in March's edition of On the Premises. Read it free by clicking above. When she's not writing, she loves traveling and plotting ways to escape the Phoenix summer. Visit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com/



Don’t Depend 100% on Your Publisher

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin) In 2007, America’s Publicist Rick Frishman invited me to participate on the faculty of MegaBook Marketing Uni...