I was reading Andy Gavin's The Darkening Dream recently. Upon completing the novel, I came across a polite request to re-visit the retailer where I purchased the novel (in eBook format, in this case) in order to leave a review. This tactic is not new. But is it effective? Mr. Gavin's got a lot more reviews than I do (190 ratings/103 reviews on Goodreads), so either it does work or he's just better at selling (probably both).
The only way to find out if this approach will work for me is to try it, so I added this to the end of The Hall of the Wood:
If you enjoyed The Hall of the Wood, please consider taking a few moments to leave a review or rating at the retailer where you purchased it. Your comments help other readers discover great new reads and really do matter.
And something similar to The Five Elements:
If you enjoyed The Five Elements, please consider taking a few moments to leave a review or rating at the retailer where you purchased it. Your comments help other readers discover great new reads and really do matter.
I keep meaning to write up a post on my thoughts regarding why reviews are important. I went on a little about why I've stopped reading them, but not talked about their importance to authors and readers alike. Perhaps every time I sit down to write it up it just seems obvious to me why they're important. In a nutshell, reviews help readers make decisions. Good, bad, meh… they all matter. Though in the same way too many 1 star reviews can raise a red flag, so too can too many 5 star reviews. So much so that some readers are placing a higher importance on middle-of-the-road reviews to avoid the haters on one end and shills on the other.
As far as this new blurb at the end of my novels goes, I figure it can't hurt. I'll let you all know how it goes.
Oh, and if you have read one of my books and haven't left a review, please go do so now. :-)
My second commitment with KDP Select, where Amazon Prime members can borrow books for free (Amazon pays the author a nice royalty and gives the author the opportunity to make his or her novel free for up to 5 days during the 3 month commitment period), ended a month ago. I chose not to renew this time for a few reasons: (1) The initial "free effect" (as my fellow indie authors were calling it) where an eBook coming off a free run got a nice boost in the sales rankings was wearing off due to some supposed Amazon algorithm changes, (2) the number of borrows per month was steadily declining for me, and (3) I really don't like the exclusivity part of the Select agreement.
The last point basically means that when a novel is enrolled in KDP Select the author cannot sell that novel through any other retailer. No Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo or even selling or serializing the content on one's own web site or blog. This wasn't as much of an issue early on when the money was rolling in, but as the Select effect fizzled, so too did my desire to remain with it. Once my enrollment period expired, I got out.
Which is to say that my eBooks, The Five Elements and The Hall of the Wood, are now available for purchase outside Amazon. You can still buy my books on Amazon, but you can now also buy them here:
If you do decide to buy one of my novels, please take the time to go back to that retailer and leave a review or rating. Reviews help your fellow readers discover great new reads.
There's a lot of discussion amongst both writers and readers about the "correct" price for an eBook. Take 99 cents, for example. Some writers feel 99 cents is too low; you can't make a decent living wage without having to sell an astronomical amount of books. Some readers look on that price as an indication of lack of quality. Others see it as a benefit because they can read more books at less cost. And if a 99 cent eBook isn't good, no big loss. $2.99, in my opinion, is a fairer price for an author. Writing a book is a lot of work. At $2.99, an author makes about $2 per book sold, which is much better than the $0.35 he or she makes on a 99 cent eBook. Typically, I price my eBooks at $2.99 for this reason. While I'm not quitting my day job anytime soon, I feel that the $2.99 price point both rewards my efforts while maintaining a low enough cost for readers that they shouldn't think too hard about making the purchase. I've experimented with higher prices: $3.99 and $4.99. I've had some success with the former and a bit less with the latter. Inevitably, I seem to come back to $2.99 as my standard eBook price.
However, for this week at least, I've reduced the prices on both of my eBooks to $0.99. If you're on the fence, this is probably a good time to jump in and get each for a pretty low price. They both clock in at around 110,000-120,000 words and have been getting some pretty decent reviews. Here are the links:
The Five Elements
The Hall of the Wood
The Five Elements is now part of the Magic Appreciation Tour site. Here's my listing:
The MA site serves two purposes: (1) it connects authors with other authors and (2) it gives fantasy readers a place to find some great, new reads. The proprietor of the site, Daniel Marvello, also organizes "reading tours" where authors help each other out with reviews and other promotional "stuff" (Twitter, etc.). This isn't an uncommon practice and there's no obligation to either read or, more importantly, review something, especially if as a reader/reviewer you find it's something that isn't working for you.
The Summer 2012 Tour approaches. There was a previous Tour in the Spring of which I did not participate because I wasn't aware of the site at that time, but I'll happily jump into this one. I'm not entirely certain how the Tour will take shape, but you may wind up seeing some related posts here once things get going.
Continuing down the path of narcissism, I give you another stellar review for The Five Elements, this one from a very nice Goodreads member who won a copy of the novel via a Goodreads giveaway I ran not too long ago.
Here's the review:
I loved this book! Read it through in one night! The characters take you along for quite an adventure! The characters are very believable in some unbelievable situations but they display very real and sometimes raw emotions. Very well written. An exciting plot and subplots which weave a fantastic adventure. If you like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, you will definitely enjoy this book. I personally hope to see more from Scott Marlowe! Well done! – Phoenix Carvelli
I'm stunned she read it through in one night. I'm also stunned—and appreciative—that she seemed to have liked it so much.