Weekly Ramble #159

Consistency. No matter the trends or events happening, Consistency will always rule. And the results might not always be instant or even obvious but those who do keep going will find them.

I don’t consider my writing or work to have any level of finesse but I work hard and I keep going to make that writing my very best. It isn’t really up to me to say whether or not it is any good and perhaps that’s the real beauty and thrill of being a creative in the social media arena. Readers decide and interpret things in their own ways.

For all the things my journey has represented this year, enduring is the word I’ll use to describe it. Through the strange but mostly wonderful social media interactions to the huge numbers of reviews, sales, follows and even royalties. Things have endured, I have endured and I am still standing after whatever forces, good or bad were thrown my way.

The future is a concept I look to with excitement and possibility but I also know the time is actually now. Every day is an opportunity to shape our future and make it a good one.

I am one with the journey and the journey is one with me.

Five Ways to Get more Book Reviews

Let’s face it. Finding reviews for our books is hard. The struggle is something that unites many of us who have published works out there and I’m semi obsessed with finding solutions to sometimes difficult things so here are five ways to get more book reviews.

This post first featured over on Patreon where the real party is happening. Sign up to see articles like this first as well as a huge array of other cool resources.

Selling in Quantity

This may sound obvious to some but the more units you sell, the higher chance someone will read and then review. Now there are many inputs to this concept but quantity really is the key to finding more reviews. Just how do you move books in huge quantities?

From my own experience running a free promo or a price reduction will certainly help. My best influx of reviews have come from big-time free promos where digital downloads were in the thousands.

Mentioning your work regularly across social media will also help. I do anything and everything (within reason) on my social media platforms to regularly sell books through presence and the occasional mention and if you really want to sell books, then you’ll eventually figure out a way.

Running my most recent numbers has pointed towards a review for every 100 sales I get. So maybe quantity is the key…

High End Advertising

This brings us nicely to finding some help to tell the world about your book. Paid advertising is pretty easy to find these days online but the very cream of the crop in advertising should lead you to readers who review. Premiere book promotion sites like BookBub boast to have readers who review and so this is a great place to target readers.

Having successfully clinched three BookBub Featured deals over the years, these were the very best value in terms of sales and then reviews. You can find my list of book promotion sites here.

Shouting About it

If there is one thing I can guarantee, it is every week without fail that I mention on Twitter how important reviews are for authors. Important because they help us in so many ways from finding new readers to potentially shaping our future work. The more we shout about it, the more many readers will realise and I will happily admit before being published, reviewing books wasn’t at the top of my priority so reminding readers will help the greater good.

Approach Book Bloggers

There are plenty of bookish bloggers out there looking for their next read and much like me I quite enjoy being approached by authors looking for reviews. If you offer a free digital copy in exchange for a an honest review and as long as your approach them nicely, someone will eventually say yes.

Consider joining a Review Platform

As a tenured book blogger I have my own profile over on Reedsy Discovery which is an awesome review platform that does its best to place books into the hands of reviewers from indie or self published authors. Some of these platforms have a joining fee but they will also put in the effort to pair your book with the best possible reviewer candidate.

And so that’s five ways to get more book reviews. If you have any other methods then do please drop a comment below. Thanks for reading and for more awesome resources, check out my PatreonI‘m giving away digital copies of my paranormal romance this month to all new sign ups.

Further Reading:

How I landed my 3rd BookBub Featured Deal

A guide to selling books on social media

Books not selling? A troubleshooter guide

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Wings and Shadows’ by Dominika Pindor

Introducing author Dominika Pindor who shares an excerpt of YA fantasy novel ‘Wings and Shadows’.

“When I turned onto Welling Ave, the crowds began to disperse, and by the time I reached Scott Street, I was alone. At the intersection, I pressed the greasy button on the traffic light pole and leaned against it as I waited for the red circle to turn green.
“I don’t mean to bother you, dear, but could you assist me with these? It’ll only take a moment.”
The voice came from an old woman, who had seemingly appeared out of thin air. She was short, perhaps five feet at most, and stood wearily hunched over her walker. The overflowing bags of groceries she had been referring to were draped over the rails, making the thin pieces of metal strain underneath their weight. I recognized her as Mrs. Riley, my mother’s old college professor. We had met a few times when I was younger, but I doubted she remembered.
“Sure. How can I help?” I couldn’t bring myself to say no. Aside from the large mole on her cheek, she looked just like my grandmother.
“Carry these,” she said, pointing to the three fullest bags, each of which was filled with at least half a dozen cans. I picked them up and she grinned. “Thank you, dear.” The dear came out sounding like deah. Then she coughed, covering her mouth with one papery hand.
“Are you alright ma’am?”
Mrs. Riley chuckled. “Me? Oh no, can’t say I am.”
I raised my eyebrows, expecting her to elaborate. She didn’t. We continued walking, heading towards the assortment of worn-down, brown apartment complexes where I lived. The street was empty, except for a few vehicles parked along the sidewalk—six cars, all different shades of black, and several white trucks.
“Where are we heading?” I finally asked, curious to find out how much longer I would have to carry the bags, which were growing heavier by the minute.
“Over there, dear.” She paused to lift a wrinkled finger and pointed it towards one of the shorter buildings in a nearby alley. “Distance won’t bother you?”
There was a broken wine bottle on the sidewalk, and I had to pause to step over it. “I’m fine, ma’am. No worries.”
“You know,” the woman said, unwilling to lapse into silence, “ you look just like my Lillian.”
“Hm?”
“My granddaughter. She has red hair as well; it’s the most beautiful color, if you ask me.”
“I appreciate the compliment ma’am. I was never too fond of it myself,” I said. That was true. My hair color was one of the only things kids in middle school would laugh about. I recalled the moment—sometime in seventh grade—when I had asked out a boy I liked. His rejection still echoed through my head every time someone brought up my hair color.
We rounded the corner and walked into the alley. It wasn’t a pleasant place. A swarm of flies hovered above one of the dumpsters, which was backed up against the wall a few feet to our left. That explained the nauseous stench.
“Hope you don’t mind the smell,” Mrs. Riley apologized.
I couldn’t reply; the odor was making me dizzy. To my surprise, it seemed to have no effect on her at all. I suppose that’s what happened when you spent your entire life in such a place. The wheels of her walker rattled on the uneven ground, and a single tomato fell out of a grocery bag. I bent down to pick it up, although my own bags were threatening to spill.
“Ma’am, how much longer do we have to walk? These bags are getting awfully heavy.”
She paused for a moment before answering. “We’re almost there,” she told me. I glanced up from the ground and realized we were nearing the short brown building she had pointed out a few minutes before. Of course. I had known our destination all along. The question had been unnecessary. I smiled to myself, hoping to ease the strange feeling that was flaring inside my gut.
There were three doors on this side of the building. The one in the center was the main entrance that likely led to the upper apartments. The others were doors to the ground floor apartments—14 and 15. We stopped at 15. The woman left her walker, climbed up the single step, and began fumbling for the keys. Her hands were visibly trembling.
Arthritis, I thought, remembering one of the lessons Huma’s mother—a doctor—had taught me. The poor woman had arthritis.
“You can put the groceries down, dear. I will take them inside once- oh!” Her keys fell to the asphalt, startling a rat that had begun sneaking in our direction. I picked them up and handed them to her. “Thank you dear. Thank you so much.” She coughed again. “Leave the bags on the ground. I’ll take them inside once I open the door.”
“Got it,” I said and did as she asked. The keys jiggled in the lock, and the door finally swung open.
“Thank you,” the woman said again, a warm smile spreading across her face. “Would you like me to call a taxi cab for you? An Uber, perhaps?”
“No ma’am, I’ll be fine,” I replied, glancing at the bags. Would she be able to carry them in by herself? She would have to unless she was going to call someone to do it for her. I decided not to pry; her business wasn’t mine. I turned around to go…
And then I stopped dead in my tracks.
A large black SUV stood in the center of the road. It was positioned sideways, creating a barrier between the alley and the main road.
More importantly, cutting off my way out.”

This is an excerpt of ‘Wings and Shadows’ by Dominika Pindor which is available now. You can find Dominika on Twitter.

If you would like to share an excerpt, article or book review then do get in touch via the submissions page.

A message from Best Selling Indie Author Lee Hall

Above all, thank you to everyone who has ever had faith in my words. For me to be sharing this moment is both surreal and quite humbling. Those who did tune in yesterday via social media will know the news but for those who didn’t, I shall leave it here…

I’ve said before that the material things that come with writing; the sales, the reviews, the ‘success’ don’t really matter as opposed to the writing journey and that is still true to me but when the worlds largest book retailer decide that you are a best seller, then that’s a moment you cherish. This is not just a personal victory but for the wider brethren of indie authors that make up a wonderful writing community. A win for one author is a win for all.

From being 12 years old on a rainy day facing that windows 98 computer about to start this journey with nothing but starry eyed dreams to the now many wonderful people who support stories I’ve released into this world. This road has been paved by moments like this, it perhaps justifies the efforts, the hours and the work. There’s a place in the world for my stories and they can be successful, they can be best selling and they can stand on their own. And probably the most wonderful crowning moment of all of this; if I can do it, there’s no reason why you can’t. While on paper everything I have achieved over the years may appear absurd, it’s achievable by anyone willing to make the journey. How do I know that, because I did it, I achieved it!

Thank you Bookbub for the distribution and having faith in my work. Thank you readers for taking on my work and of course thank you Canada for making me a best selling author. Keep going writers and bloggers, your words are needed in this world…