Monday, November 18, 2019

Boost Your Launch By Getting Reader Reviews


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Boost Your Launch By Getting Reader Reviews
Services that help authors get seen.

What do I know?

I feel like a fake.   Like I know nothing about writing, despite that, I joined in partnership with another writer, Vanessa Wells, to create themed anthologies.  We formed Stormdance Publications.  It has been a bit scary.  It has been challenging, overwhelming, and rewarding. 

What have I learned?  Here is what comes to mind because it is my current focus.  Getting our books in front of readers and getting reviews, which is important for authors who want their books to keep selling.

One thing I did was to learn how to create arcs in Mobi, ePub, and PDF, from Vanessa’s Word Doc she uses to upload our books to Amazon, using Scrivener. 

Pixabay.com
That done we now need a way to distribute our ARC’s and get them out to a larger audience if possible, but how?  We have two websites Writer’s Gambit and Stormdance, but that is not enough.  There are Facebook and Twitter, still not enough.  Not ready for Instagram.

No, we have not tried book review sites or podcasts, but that idea is on the table for the future.   We have not even scheduled a blog tour yet.  It's coming.   Our focus right now is "just do".  Do something, try something, experiment, and figure out the process that works best for us as a team.

We are hoping to get 20 reviews on each Grumpy Old Gods volume.  As the reviews build, we plan to experiment a little with paid ads and giveaways, as we can afford it.  We are learning about Amazon’s keywords, categories, and algorithms. 

We are sitting on 15 reviews for Grumpy 1.  We have had more reviews, but Amazon keeps removing them for no good reason, or we would have already hit twenty with the first volume.  Like volume one, Grumpy 2 has had more reviews then what shows.  

Grumpy 3 has two reviews, so far.  We are still working on that one as it just released October 30th.  I admit I have dropped the ball a little with Grumpy 3.  We are currently working to release Grumpy 4 by the end of November 2019. 

In our pursuit to get reviews, we have tried:  


For Grumpy 1 we tried Booksprout.  The first 20 downloads are free.  There is no integration of email such as MailerLite, MailChimp, so although it does tell you how many times it has been downloaded up to 20, you cannot connect to your email provider to know who is downloading it or recontact.

I also received two or three emails from people who had problems downloading from Booksprout.  Booksprout was good to let me know about those who contacted about problems and forward their email so I could email them directly. 

I also offered the ARC for review on the Booksprout site because you can do that.  We had one or two takers that way.  I had about 15 downloads on the account I set up and Vanessa had 10 on hers.

I almost forgot.  The first tier plan $20 you get automatic reminders, ebook distribution, unlimited pen names, unlimited arc reviewers, access to reviewer community, private arcs, strong arc freeloader protection, blocks all known pirates, identify & block pirates.  This one is in the running still.  


I looked at Book Funnel, but other sites beat their offer in their free plan and their first-tier plans.  I do like Book Funnel.  It is not as economical for what you get for the money as others if money is a huge issue for you.   It’s a nice site.

PROLIFIC WORKS (The old InstaFreebie)

For Grumpy 2 we tried Prolific Works.  I love the revamp and name change.   The free version, Basic, you get unlimited giveaways and distribution (downloads) but no email provider integration.  The next tier of the plan is $20 a month plan.  You get everything in Basic. 

PLUS: You can add subscribers to a mailing list, optional MailerLite or MailChimp integration, Prolific Works acceleration to the right readers, fully customizable giveaways, track giveaway success.   All plans include: Ability to set limits and expiration dates for giveaways, optional DRM, eligible for additional promotions to readers on Prolific Works

As a reader, I like Prolific Works over Book Funnel because they keep track of all the books you have downloaded.  You can see the past books you have downloaded in a bookshelf through their services your account as reader or author.    

I had fewer downloads on this site, about 8, but I was late getting the link out too.  


With Grumpy 3 I found StoryOrigins.  StoryOrigins is in open beta since it is a new platform, so all features are free to everyone for now, including email integration.   I am working on getting our links now, so do not have any numbers to share. 

Yes, I canceled my Prolific Works subscription and went back to their Basic plan for now. 

StoryOrigins offers group promos, newsletter swaps, collect reader email addresses, integrate email service providers, get reviewer history & completion rate, automate review tracking & follow-up, distribute & track audiobook promo codes, unlimited file delivery, tech support for readers, schedule newsletter content, Facebook tracking pixel, and Amazon affiliate tags.  That is quite a bit all free for now.

We are using StoryOrigins for our coming releases.  We have a call for submission out for Grumpy 5, deadline December 1st with publication in January 2020.  We will post submission calls for Grumpy 6-Love gods and Grumpy 7-Trickster gods at the end of this month November 2019 with the release of Grumpy 4. 

I may also use Booksprout again as well, as we did get several downloads there. Another site I learned about but I have not tried is BookSirens.com similar to Booksprout. 

Getting reviews and getting seen are problems we all face.  Using sites like these make some things easier and gives you exposure to avenues such as newsletter swaps and cross promos with other authors on the site. 

I am not ready for the swaps and cross promos, yet, but I am working my way there. 

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You can find Juneta at Writer’s Gambit and Stormdance Publications,


8 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'll look into StoryOrigins. We don't use any services for reviews (outside of uploading to Reader's Favorites) and just go after reviewers from our databases of reviewers.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have done review tours with Itsy Bitsy Books. There is no guarantee of reviews. They will offer the book to their list of readers and they choose what they want to read and review. They have a lot of available readers and the ones who have reviewed my book were awesome to add shout outs for it- which was a wonderful bonus.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

There are a lot of services for reviews and exposure - we just have to pick the most effective ones.

Juneta key said...

@L. Diane Wolfe: I like StoryOrgins so far. I will probably try others, but for right now this one is free and you can do so much with it. I was not familiar with Readers Favorites so I will check that out.

@Elizabeth Seckman: I will check out Itsy Bitsy Books too. That was a great bonus. On Booksprout they appear to have some active reviewers that look for books so on that site that was a perk.

@Alex J Cavanaugh: That is the trick picking the one that is right for you and aids your goals the most. I am just discovering them all.

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

I've used Booksprout and have heard of Book Funnel, but the others are new to me. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Great article.

cleemckenzie said...

I agree that it's a challenge to find book reviewers. Seems as if you're exploring many possibilities.

Juneta key said...

@ Patricia Josephine Hope it helps.

@Unknown Thank you.

@cleemackenzie I am. Trying to learn this marketing stuff and 20 reviews seems to a magic number on Amazon for now. Of course they change things all the time who knows how long that will last. It use be 10 reviews made a big difference.