Authors, you're in for a treat today. Giacomo (Jim) Giammatteo is like the Pied Piper of reviews. What impressed me is that he makes it looks so effortless and transparent. He uses no hidden agendas or ploys. But as you read his post below, you'll come to understand just how seriously he takes his responsibility for keeping his books visible.
It's not just asking for reviews, but taking every opportunity to secure new readers and fans. That's a talent surrounded by hard work and dedication.
You can't argue with his stats, so I am pleased to introduce my friend and peer.
Take it away, Jim!
The Agony and Ecstasy of Book Reviews
It is damn near impossible to get noticed when you're a new author. Think about this—there are more than 2,500,000 books listed on Amazon.
“Showing 1 - 48 of 1,981,178 Results”
The above was taken from Amazon’s Kindle store list of books. And yes, that is almost two million books on the Kindle store alone.
The city of San Francisco has @ 800,000 people! (City limits) The picture above is from a protest and it was estimated to be about half a million people. In Amazon’s Mystery genre there are @ 300,000 books. So how the hell is an author going to get noticed in a crowd like that?
I decided that working hard to get reviews would be the key to getting noticed. I figured if I got enough reviews, readers were bound to take notice. Little did I know how difficult getting reviews would be.
The Process of Getting Reviews
◆ Your Book—In the back of your book put a statement about how important reviews are, and ask the readers to please leave a review. Don’t ask for a “good” review, just an honest one.
◆ Bloggers—This bit of advice is perhaps the most important. Do your research. Find the bloggers who read and review in your genre. Follow their instructions and guidelines. Most of them have their policies posted on the site. Read them. Did I mention—Read the Review Policies?
◆ Giveaways—This is huge. I have done three giveaways on Goodreads and two on LibraryThing. I gave away 16 print books on Goodreads and more than 60 ebooks on LibraryThing. What was huge about it wasn’t the number of reviews the giveaways generated—which wasn’t nearly what I anticipated—but the additional exposure, especially on Goodreads. During the most recent giveaway I had more than 100 people add my book to their TBR shelf, and more than 900 entered the giveaway. That generated a lot of exposure, which will pay off in the long run.
◆ Giveaways—I know I just said this, but now I’m talking a different kind of giveaway. These are personal giveaways and this can payoff in a big way. Talk about your book. Don’t be a pest but, if you see an opportunity, talk about it, and give the book away to anyone you think might enjoy reading it.
◆ Giveaways—What? More giveaways? Yes. Absolutely. Now I’m talking social-media giveaways. If you get in a conversation on Twitter—give your book away. If you’re talking to someone on Facebook or Linked-in—give the book away. G+, Pinterest—give them away. Any chance you get, give a book away. And don’t forget to politely ask for a review. The keyword in this section is conversation. I’m not talking about spamming your book all over Twitter, or mentioning it in every Facebook post. I’m talking about actually engaging people and getting into a conversation with them. As a side note, I seldom mention my books in social media—unless I’m doing a promotion of some kind.
◆ Bribery—Perhaps the biggest opportunity of all. If a reader writes to you to tell you how much they liked the book, don’t pester them for a review, but offer them your next book free if they leave a review. You’ll get a high percentage of people take you up on this, and the best thing is you can keep the chain moving. If they leave a review on the next book, give them the one after that free. But make sure to say, “It doesn’t have to be a five-star review. All reviews help.” Otherwise, they might feel pressured to write a five-star review, and if they aren’t comfortable with that, they simply won’t write one.
The Bottom Line
This is not an easy road. I spend more than three hours every week. Yes, every week, doing something related to getting reviews, but in the long run I know it will be worth it.
What I Don’t Do
• I don't trade reviews with other authors. I'll read another author if I like the kind of book they write, and, if I’m inspired, I’ll write a review.
• I won't buy reviews. I bought a Kirkus, and a few other "editorial" reviews for Murder Takes Time last year, but I wouldn't do it again.
Ciao, and thanks for listening,
Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of MURDER TAKES TIME, MURDER HAS CONSEQUENCES, and A BULLET FOR CARLOS. He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”
I know I have a lot of crime readers out there. If you haven't tried one of Jim's books, please do. You won't be disappointed!
Let's discuss. How do you normally ask for reviews? Is there anything that hasn't worked for you?