BOOK LAUNCH LEARNINGS 8: Reviews

PART 8 – LEARNINGS ABOUT WRITING AND PUBLISHING A BOOK SERIES – Reviews

While the last blog I posted about marketing might have been the most informative and useful. This post is about something that is probably the most important for a first-time unknown author. Reviews. This post will be split between some thoughts bout reviews and a bit about the reviews that have so far been received about On Swift Wings.

I’ve talked about my naivete when it comes to launching my first book. I didn’t really take into account the importance of reviews until far into the process. I’ve said that I figured people would read the book, tell friends, and it would just take off on its own. Once I launched, I realized that people need to be encouraged to write reviews, even their friends. There are rules about close family posting reviews on sites like Amazon, so I didn’t want to risk their accounts and review abilities, but anybody else is free to post honest reviews. Also, though it is very tempting, I’m not going to risk everything to buy fake reviews. I’m not even sure where to go to get them, and I’m not looking.

On Swift Wings is still starving for reviews, any reviews. I have received a couple dozen in various places, several on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, a few here and there on Goodreads, and a number of professional/semi-professional reviews from several legitimate sources. (I really need reviews! If you’ve read the book, please help me by posting a review to Amazon and/or GoodReads. The more people who comment (especially with 5-stars) the more people are likely to give it a try. A friend once told me that she wouldn’t buy a book without 100 reviews on Amazon with an average of 4-stars. I have 10, with an average of 4.6. So… just 90 more of you and I’m there! – this is an exceptionally high bar to achieve on Amazon. First-time authors almost never legitimately achieve that kind of review number, so she can only read mainstream published books.

Friends/Family/Advanced Reader Group

The first place to go for reviews should be your advance reader group. The only ARCs (advance reader copies) that I sent out were to my immediate family, who are ineligible to post reviews on Amazon… oops. Relax, sacrifice a little control, and give out copies to friends that can provide feedback and early reviews. It would also help to get involved in shared-interest groups. Find people with similar interests and connect with them. These are also more likely to provide reviews. These early reviews are crucial to achieving early traction.

Giveaways

Another way I tried to drum up reviews was through giveaways. I gave away 100 copies of On Swift Wings through a goodreads giveaway. I was hoping to get at least 10 reviews that way, I got 1 review and 2 ratings. There is a side-benefit of the goodreads giveaway, everybody who applies automatically has the book added to their ‘to-read’, so there are 303 people out there who have the book in their ‘to-read’ folder on goodreads. My guess is that a lot of people enter these giveaways pretty blindly and amass large quantities of free books they’ll never read. I’ll talk a little about giveaways and contests in my final blog post of this series.

Paid Reviews *** NOT PAID FOR RATING ***

The next place that I went for reviews was a number of paid reviewers. Note: These are paid for the time, placement and quality of the review, not for a positive review. You can pay hundreds of dollars for a professional reviewer to read your book and say its horrible. Fortunately, all my reviews came back with 75% or better stars. I approached a few organizations to find me some reviewers, either professional, or just people looking for new books:

OnlineBookClub.org – Arite Seki – 4/4 Stars
OnlineBookClub.org – Snowflake – 3/4 Stars

Reader Views – Paige Lovitt – 5/5 Stars

Readers’ Favorite – Romuald Dzemo – 5/5 Stars
Readers’ Favorite – Liz Konkel – 5/5 Stars
Readers’ Favorite – K.C. Finn – 5/5 Stars
Readers’ Favorite – Ruffina Oserio – 5/5 Stars
Readers’ Favorite – Lesley Jones – 5/5 Stars
Readers’ Favorite – Rabia Tanveer – 4/5 Stars

There are a number of other options that I haven’t explored deeply including Author to Author, where you review a book from a pool of curated works and authors from that pool review yours. It is all blind, so you aren’t reviewing the person who reviewed you, but it is a way to gather more reviews.

Something I hadn’t thought about, but will also do in the future, is to include a note at the end of the book asking for a review. It felt tacky the first time I heard about it, but now I recognize that many people don’t do things like review a book without being asked. Whether they don’t think about it, or they forget. You get a lot more of what you want in life by asking for it, so next time, I’ll ask for it. Also…

Please review On Swift Wings!

(You might notice that the more stars you give, the prettier your review. 😉 )

Coles North Hill – Sadly Closed
Order now from Amazon.ca

Anyway, thank you for reading my blog. I hope that some of the things I have written will be of some value to you. If you feel inclined, I would be thrilled if you gave On Swift Wings a try. It is available all over the place, if you are a fan of your local bookstore, they are able to order it from IngramSpark, it is stocked at a few Coles/Chapters locations, although sadly my local outlet has closed permanently due to the pandemic. Of course the book can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo, and many other sources. A kindle and eBook version are also available.

As always, I’d love to hear back from you. Tell me what you think.

Goodreads Giveaway Results

My first Goodreads giveaway wrapped up last night at about midnight. I consider it to be an enthusiastic success as 369 people requested a copy of On Swift Wings. The winners have been selected randomly and contacted. I’m very excited to see what they think of their new books in the next few weeks. One hundred more people are reading the novel today than were before, and that is thrilling for me.

If you are one of the hundred people who collected a copy of the book, congratulations! Let me know, or let me know what you think as you’re reading. I’d love to have some people write about what parts are their favourite, or engage in some conversation here, or on any other of my social media outlets.

If you are not one of the winners, sorry. BUT the book is available, and a Kindle version only costs $2.99CDN. I’m driving for more reviews here, my goal is to get at least 10 reviews on Amazon (currently @ 4.)

I’ve learned some useful things, at least I think they’re useful, on the way from writing, publishing, and now marketing this book. I have a new side-project, which is to create a little YouTube series about creating a book. Some new things to learn there, and I hope it’ll be useful.

I’m also watching the book contests for which OSW has been nominated. If you’re interested as well, here are some timelines:

  • Spring 2020 – Readerviews (5-star review) will announce their winners.
  • May 2020 – IndieReader will announce their winners.
  • September 2020 – Readers’ Favorite will announce their winners.
  • Unknown – OnlineBookClub

Fingers are crossed.

Oh, and a fun thing about the giveaway:

Distribution of entries

About 30% of the 369 entries happened on the first day, and more than half occurred on the last day. A jump of over 150 in the last 12 hours alone. Interesting stuff!

BW

On Swift Wings Trailer and Giveaway Update

On Swift Wings – A Satirical Literary Fiction Fantasy/Adventure Novel from Brett M. Wiens

A couple quick updates for current and prospective readers. The official trailer has been released. Thanks to Ravinder18 for his work on this, I couldn’t be happier with the result. Also fun watching my kids who love it too.

The second update relates to the GoodReads giveaway I announced three weeks ago. For those who missed it, I’m giving away a hundred kindle copies on GoodReads. I’m hoping for two hundred entries, and right now, with a little under a week to go I’m at 189! Follow this link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/302467-on-swift-wings-the-travails-of-cygnus You have a decent chance (~50%)

Thanks everybody for reading and following along. I’m looking forward to hearing from you once a few more have read the book!

BW

Review Success

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Certified Five Stars

The reviews are starting to come in at a greater pace, and my biggest push won’t even start for another three weeks when the Giveaway on Goodreads comes to an end and a hundred new readers will get a copy of On Swift Wings all at once. I’m extremely excited by the reviews I’ve been getting so far, all of which are four or five stars. It is a phenomenal feeling to read that somebody enjoyed or loved the book that I worked on for so long and into which I invested so much. Whether a friend or a stranger, it is wonderful to hear these words (and to get 4-5 stars on every review so far is just icing on the cake!) Thank you to everybody who has or intends to post a review! You can check out all of my reviews (of which I’m currently aware) here. I intend to post review highlights like these with each blog post from now on!

A unique and wonderfully detailed literary fantasy novel.

IndieReader Discovery Awards Verdict

If you love satire, you’ll love this book.

RinnyC – Amazon Review

The conclusion to his adventures is as exciting as it is revealing of the mysteries of life. Rollicking and fun!

Romuald Dzemo – Readers’ Favorite

Incredibly smartly written.

RinnyC – Amazon Review

Readers will feel like they are waking from a dream with a “Wow” after reading this book.

Romuald Dzemo – Readers’ Favorite

His journey makes for a compelling read.

Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

The author is a great storyteller.

Romuald Dzemo – Readers’ Favorite

Enraptures readers.

IndieReader Discovery Awards Verdict

This is a must-read.

Romuald Dzemo – Readers’ Favorite

The author does a fantastic job of using descriptive detail to bring the characters and places to life.

Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

A deftly written story… designed to offer pure entertainment.

Romuald Dzemo – Readers’ Favorite

An exceptional job of rewriting the political satire.

Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

Readers will see that this is a multilayered tale. They can just sit back and enjoy this adventurous journey, or they can delve deeper and observe the issues presented that relate to politics, economics, sociology and philosophy.

Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

Please do keep the reviews coming, whether you post on Amazon, Goodreads, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, or anywhere else, it is all extremely valuable to me. I love all quality feedback. Thank you for taking the time to let me know your thoughts!

Free Book Giveaway

100 copies of On Swift Wings are available to win via Goodreads (Kindle Version.) If you’ve been on the fence about getting a copy, put your name in here and try to win a free one!

It is an implied condition that when you finish reading it, you provide an honest review. I’m really excited to see what people think of it. Early reviews have been very positive (4-5 stars.)

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/302467-on-swift-wings-the-travails-of-cygnus

You probably need to sign up for a Goodreads account, which if you aren’t familiar is a huge community of book readers. People share what they want to read, what they are reading, what they have read, and reviews. You’re welcome to connect with me on Goodreads here as well. It is another public forum where you can ask questions or discuss the book. A favourite activity for me is discussing the book with my friends who are actively reading On Swift Wings right now and hearing their thoughts about various subjects and ideas presented therein. All interaction there is helpful as well. Engagement helps keep things relevant. It would also be really cool to hear some cross-talk among readers as well.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19267796.Brett_M_Wiens

Other Marketing Stuff

Book Contest Award Winning Author
Readers’ Favorite
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I mentioned that On Swift Wings has been nominated for a number of awards in categories like Debut Author, Literary Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure on ReaderViews.com, IndieReader, and Readers’ Favorite. A few of them are progressing. Readerviews and IndieReader are closed for new entries, while Readers’ Favorite closes on June 1. Fingers crossed.

One thing that I definitely didn’t know about when I started this was marketing. I honestly thought that I could just publish a book, somebody would read it, pass it on to the right person, and it would catch on all by itself. This has unsurprisingly proven to be naive, as a million other books are hoping for exactly the same thing. This is why I need your help to pass on the word and review the book (hopefully positively.)

I’m formulating a more detailed plan now, and it is wimpy and simple, but still miles ahead of where I started, comments and advice are always welcome.

Step 1 – Get the book into people’s hands.

I got it out to a number of friends early hoping to get reviews, I’ve added the above giveaway, I tried an Amazon giveaway. I’ve donated books to libraries and schools. Right now, the goal is to get people to read the book.

Step 2 – Get reviews and get known

I underestimated how important reviews were at first, I wanted to get reviews (and still do) but it dawned on me a while ago that nobody is dropping money on a book that has no reviews or that wasn’t recommended by a trusted friend. I’m pursuing this more actively now, through the giveaways and contests. If I can get a dozen reviews, that would help immensely. When people start to see that a book is well reviewed and that most people like it, they are more likely to buy it.

Step 3 – Advertise

Once the book has sufficient reviews and maybe an award, advertising should help a lot.

Step 4 – Publish a new book

This is a long way off, no doubt, but continuing the momentum and restarting the cycle should help.

Thanks everybody once again for your support. May your world always grow!

BW