Help Your Favorite Author…Even if It’s Not Me

Most readers don’t realize that authors have to do most–sometimes all–of the marketing for their books. Many–perhaps most–authors would prefer to spend their time writing the next book and feel very intimidated about marketing the current one.

I’m one of many authors who have read so much about marketing that it all runs together. Regardless of what anyone says, there’s no guaranteed way to make a success out of any book.

Word of mouth is supposed to be the best marketing tool. Too often, however, readers fail to share their opinions about a book with people who might benefit from reading what they think.

And by that I mean writing a review on Amazon and/or Good Reads.

Some readers feel intimidated when they look at other people’s reviews. They read a scholarly-looking review and think they can never match it. I’ve read a number of reviews that would make me feel that way!

The truth is, readers don’t need to write something like that. An honest sentence or two actually helps to balance out the lengthier, more professional-sounding reviews.

Here’s a simple four-star review for The Devil and Pastor Gus:
“Interesting to see how the devil gets into hearts and lives and humans try to play both sides. Pastor Gus was a fun character.”

Who wouldn’t be comfortable writing something like that?

A simple review can even mix the good and the bad: Here’s a three-star review for Pastor Gus:

“I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It made me think about how Satan is the real enemy, more so than people. Unfortunately, I think Satan smarter than this character portrayal.”

Many of my friends have read Rosa No-Name and raved about it to my wife or me, but only nine people have written Amazon reviews.

Five thousand copies of the original edition of Found in Translation were sold, but only twenty-seven people left reviews. The original edition of Lost in Dreams (we’ve renamed the new edition A Season of Pebbles) sold twenty-five hundred copies. Only seventeen reviews.

Can you imagine how much better those books might have done if their readers had been willing to share their opinions in a review?

Even bad reviews can help. Not every book is for every reader, and it’s good to point out what someone else might not like in a particular book.

Found in Translation and A Season of Pebbles are now available from Winged Publications, along with Overshadowed, the previously unpublished third book in the Altered Hearts series. I’m currently editing and revising The Flowers of His Field, which is not only the final book in the series but a sequel to Rosa No-Name.

The success of those books will depend largely on honest reviews. I’m not talking about financial success. My only concern is the lives my books will have a chance to touch.

If you’ve read one of my books and haven’t reviewed it on Amazon, would you take a couple of minutes to do it? Yes, I know it’s a nuisance. But just think of the hundreds of hours it took me to write and edit each of those books.

And if you haven’t read any of my books, I hope you will.

Not because I’ve suggested it, but because you look at the reviews and think, “Why haven’t I read this book before?”

Please keep what I’ve said in mind about your favorite authors, even if I’m not one of them.

Your comments are welcome.

    

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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The Rewards of Writing

If you read my post on Wednesday (“Why Write?”), you already understand that I don’t write for recognition or money. Those things aren’t important to me. Good thing. Neither is in sight.

Instead, I write because God has given me the talent and I want to please Him by using it. And by striving to keep improving. Good writers  are never entirely satisfied with what they’ve written. They must accept it as the best they could do at that stage of their careers. That’s what I have to do.

It’s hard to turn a manuscript loose, though, knowing it could be better. And admitting that I haven’t reached the point of knowing how to improve it.

So, in a very real sense, every book published, every manuscript completed is an imperfect work.

As I explained on Wednesday, my goal is to both bless and entertain through my writing. How can an imperfect work do that? That takes some work on God’s part. But how can I know I’ve succeeded–at least in God’s eyes and with Him working behind the scenes?

Certainly the number of volumes sold is an indication of the minimum number of lives one of my books has had the potential to touch. Not every person who buys a book reads it, though. Yet because people often share their books, the original reader may not be the only person to read a particular copy.

Feedback from readers is what counts the most. I have a number of faithful fans–Tom D and Sally W are two names that come to mind immediately–and most of the reviews The Devil and Pastor Gus receives on Amazon are not just good, but enthusiastic. That kind of feedback helps me feel my writing is accomplishing something. That it’s touching lives. That it’s both entertaining and blessing readers.

Just within the last week,  I’ve received unexpected feedback from two very different sources. The first came from a fellow writer who was reading The Devil and Pastor Gus. She wrote,

God is so amazing! I started reading your book and found myself amazed. I’m only on chapter 6 but so far it is exactly what I’m going through and why I’m on a sabbatical from writing.
The words you wrote about Gus’s IT touched me and clarified some of my own feelings about my writing ministry. I don’t know if that will hold true for the rest of the story but just reading those few chapters have helped.
I’m pretty sure God wanted me to read this book.
I don’t mind telling you that message moved me to tears.
Several days later, my wife and I went to Red Robin for lunch. The young lady who brought our food to the table recognized me. Not from a picture she’d seen on a book cover and not from seeing me at Red Robin before, even though she’d waited on us before.
She recognized me because her professor in a graduate psych class had referred to several of my blog posts in class and included my graphic head shot. That professor may not have had any idea who I was or even realized that I live in Richmond, but she found something sufficiently valuable on this blog to share with her students.
Those are two examples of the very special rewards I receive from writing.
Do you have hobbies or interests that provide special awards? How about sharing a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger