ARC request

handsup

A recent post, How It Could Work, by Atthys Gage on Writers’ Co-op describes a five-step approach to promoting the book you’ve just written. That being the case with Perfume Island, I’m on step one, which I reproduce here:

Step One: approach everyone you know and beg/cajole/threaten them until they agree to read an advance copy of the book and post a review at Amazon.com. A hundred reviews would be good, but realistically? Aim for ten. This probably means settling for five. The main thing is getting some reviews up, because nobody likes a blank page.

So far I’ve threatened no one. But I overcame my reticence and sent out some emails (remaining polite at all times) and the responses have been wonderful. I haven’t even had to beg. Thank you!

Now, this post is addressed to anyone who feels put out that they didn’t receive a request, but would dearly love to review Perfume Island all the same. Please don’t be put out – the only reason you didn’t get a direct request is that I’m shy. No, honestly. Or perhaps there are people who aren’t put out but would still like to review it. Or people curious to see what happens in the book. Or people keen to get it now for free rather than later at a price. There are many possible categories of reader but I do not discriminate – everyone is welcome!

Drop me a line at curtis.bausse(at)outlook.com and you shall receive your Advance Review Copy forthwith, PDF, mobi or epub. And have the immense satisfaction of proving Atthys wrong. Because much as I admire his writing, wouldn’t it be nice to smash that gloomy prediction of his? Five? We can do better than that!

Oh, and I almost forgot – here’s the blurb:

People come out here, they do things they wouldn’t do back home…

All they wanted was a quiet evening together. Then came the phone call. And a chain of events which would take Magali Rousseau into the sinister heart of the tropical island of Mayotte. Where a gloss of beauty hides a tangle of contradictions and fears. Where the scent of perfume covers the stench of poverty. And where Magali goes on a perilous search for the truth.

In 2011, Mayotte became France’s 101st department. Generosity? Or the cynical occupation of a colony? Perfume Island – a mystery story where the setting itself is a mystery. A geopolitical oddity seething with tension. A wonderland waiting to explode.

And everyone is paying the price.

Posted in marketing, Perfume Island, Writers' Co-op and tagged , , , , , , , .

17 Comments

  1. I’m curious to know – what, exactly, will those reviews accomplish for you? Most successful indie authors advise that reviews don’t really sell books. To sell books, make sure you have a fantastic cover, pitch (blurb), and first chapter. Once all that is good, promote the book.

    If you’re really interested in the business side of things, you need to read the Writers’ Cafe over at kboards. Elsewhere on the net, people write advice articles telling you to blog and get reviews. The writers at kboards tell you how that launched their book into the top 1000 for all kindle paid books.

    • Thanks for the comment. No they probably don’t do a lot to sell books but they raise your profile a bit. Better to have some than none at all. And once you’ve got the cover, blurb and first chapter as good as you can, then, as you say, you ‘promote the book’. ARCs are just one part of that. But if you have any magic tips, I’m all ears!

  2. Erk — I just looked at Writers’ Cafe over at kboards. It’s visually similar to Reddit, which I have taken part in but now avoid at all cost simply because it’s so visually irritating. Anyway, while I will never return to kboards, I think I found the most recent post about “Reviews: Started by Beatriz” — possibly the only one on Page 1 — it’s difficult to sort through it all. That author is actually asking readers why they won’t leave reviews even when the author begs them to at the end of the book, which apparently they now have the ability to know that the reader reached. (There’s nothing creepy about THAT.)

    Personally, I’m happy to read and review, especially if asked, as long as it’s understood by all parties that my review will be fair and honest.

    • Thanks for the comment, Sue. I popped on over to kboards to see what was being said – unsurprisingly, a mix of for and against.My own view being that reviews can’t do any harm (unless they’re bad, of course, but that’s a risk inherent in publishing a book). They may not do a lot for sales but a book with zero reviews is unlikely to attract much attention.

      • Regarding kboards, I think that it’s important to understand that anyone can post. You have to learn who the newbies are versus the people who are actually selling books. It makes no sense to listen to advice from people who don’t know any more than you do.

        Find threads by people who are launching books into the top 1000 on the Amazon store. Follow that advice.

        • Yes, kboards is something of a labyrinth so that’s a useful tip – thanks. I assume it’s what you do yourself? Have you come across any nuggets?

          • A fellow writer that I’d come across on a different forum recommended kboards to me about a year ago. It’s taken a lot of reading to sort the wheat from the chaff. Here’s kind of the top tips that I’ve gleaned:

            1. (This sounds incredibly simple, but it has amazing implications.) If you want to sell a book to a lot of readers, write a book that a lot of reader want to read. Try Chris Fox’s Write to Market if you’re interested in this. If not, really try to put yourself in the readers’ shoes and write the book that you really want to read.

            2. Once you’ve produced a book that the readers want to read, the cover and pitch (which everyone insists on calling the blurb) must convince the reader that, yes, this book is exactly what they want.

            3. Write a series. Most people indicate that their sales really take off with the 3rd book in a series. I really think that the true key to success as an indie author is volume.

            4. Email list. Build one. Just about everyone agrees that this is your most important and cost effective marketing tool.

            5. Promote. Obviously, the gold standard is Bookbub, but they’re choosy. Lists of promotion sites abound, though writers are warning of waning results. A lot of writers are getting pretty good at using Facebook and other avenues for advertising, both to directly sell their books and to give away books in exchange for mailing list signups.

            I think that’s what I’ve gleaned. Note that I am not an expert at any of this.

          • Here’s something I found just today:

            “Facebook ads take a lot of experimentation, but are potent when you get them right. Adwords, Twitter, Amazon and other ad options exist with varying degrees of effectiveness. All require you to identify your audience, and the better you do that the more effective your ads.”

            Indie authors who are selling lots of books do so because they treat it like a business. Compared to getting reviews, understanding Facebook ads is a lot more crucial to selling books.

          • Well, that’s not a bad list! Thanks for sharing. And it’s true kboards is a mine of information, though it does take some wading through. All of your points are helpful – n° 1 is very true though imitation or formulaic might work for some but isn’t a path I’m willing to go down – even if I write in a well-defined genre. N° 5 is the tricky one! Still going at it by trial and error.

  3. I’m not exactly sure how that would work. How would reviews already posted on the sale site attract attention to the book? The reader doesn’t know they exist until they have turned their attention to the book. I see the review (or lack thereof) only if I am already on the book’s page, and a lack of reviews doesn’t stop me from looking inside to decide for myself if the book is worth my time. There have been reviews posted on blogs or FB that aim me at a book. None of those have been bad that i recall. It seems people tend to save negative reviews for the sale site. And, as you and I have already noted, we check out the bad reviews just to see what they say in comparison to the good ones. Usually they are far outnumbered by positive reviews, so I think there influence is minimal unless they outnumber the good ones.

    But I agree positive reviews would encourage and comfort any author who receives them.

    • Yes, there has to be awareness first and then interest, so the reviews could only influence the later decision phase – which if course is necessary too. So better to have them than not, even beyond the comfort they provide. But creating the awareness has to involve other strategies or outlets.

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