How to Get on BookBub–and Why You Should

Bookbub ScrreenshotWhen you ran a Goodreads Giveaway, did it work the way you wanted? Lots of TBR’s and a few winners. Did you get good reviews from your winners? Any reviews? Residual sales? I like Goodreads. There are a number of reasons it’s an amazing place to open an account and promote a presence.

BookBub logoBut have you considered BookBub? What does it take to get a book listed on BookBub? It is probably the most expensive marketing site out there–but that may be because it’s worth it. It is the most successful book promotion site for authors (or publishers) in the world, and the 2,230th most visited website in the US alone. Continue reading “How to Get on BookBub–and Why You Should”

The Absolute Definitive List of the Top Ten Best Selling Genres

Popularity of Historical Novel by CenturyApparently, it is impossible to find one absolute definitive list of the top ten best selling genres anywhere–but can you find a list with 150? Yes, if you know where to look!

There are SOOO many variables out there from website to website. What is the focus? Is it hardback fiction, hardback non-fiction, paperback, or ebook? Are you asking the New York Times, USA Today, or Amazon? I recently wrote an article regarding Historical Fiction, and alluded to that genre’s sub-genres. This week I went looking for where the Historical Fiction genre related to all the others. See below for the breakdown. Continue reading “The Absolute Definitive List of the Top Ten Best Selling Genres”

Seven Major Sources of Book Reviewers

According to The Huffington Post, who cited Bowker numbers, the number of new books published each day in the US is now up to 3,500. That’s 3,500 Each Day!

BooksThis, according to Bowker, who issues ISBN numbers, does not include eBooks that are published without benefit of an ISBN number. Holy cow! Can it really be more than 1.2 million per year? Last I read somewhere, the count was 750,000/yr and I thought that was staggering! If you are a newly published author, how do you even begin to compete with those numbers? Everyone points to getting book reviews. I’ve covered that topic before–it’s still relevant.

Buried in Books!And according to the Huffington Post, Amazon calls the reviews “Social Proof.” Maybe so, but you can buy reviews, and I’m not talking about the reputable sites that receives a submission and returns an “unbiased” opinion–such as Kirkus. Kirkus is well known and wields some influence, often turning a five-star rating into gold. Still, whether the source is Amazon or Goodreads, I am getting a lot of review requests, many of which have obviously not scanned my Submission Guide. Continue reading “Seven Major Sources of Book Reviewers”

Twelve Points for Review Submission

Most new Indie authors believe reviews are the make or break of a book and aggressively pursue them. There are numerous articles on the algorithm Amazon uses to determine Best Sellers Rank. While it is generally considered to be reviews that help to get you to the top of the pack, it isn’t, according to what I’ve read. Amazon won’t disclose their algorithm, but will readily agree that good reviews do seem to help drive sales, which IS the major contributory factor in Best Sellers Rank.

ReviewsI’ve written before on reviews, discussing whether or not 300 five star ratings are really all bogus or not. Having written and posted over 100 reviews myself, I’ve always strived for honesty, striking a balance between what I liked about the book as well as what I didn’t. Most of the books I review are Indie books, although I’ve also read more than my share of best-selling authors in the past year and posted those reviews whether the author needed it or not.

Reviews can run anywhere from a short informal paragraph or an in-depth analysis of the book of more than 500 words detailing not only the description of the plot, but a critical view of how the topic was handled. Point being: Did you agree with the observations or challenge every posture? I’ve developed the following twelve points in the submission of my reviews. Continue reading “Twelve Points for Review Submission”

Dishing the Dirt on Reviews

This is the age of instant. We want it now. Whether food, internet, or books, it must move–quickly! I’m older. I can wait. I can give Burger King up to 5 minutes. I can give a book several chapters. I’m usually pretty careful regarding the book I choose to begin next–sometimes looking up Amazon reviews to see if the little descriptive blurb really tells the story. I’ve written before regarding Amazon Reviews. You generally want to read the good and the bad reviews. Somewhere therein lies the truth. love-hate

Having read a great book, I really enjoy creating a lively and honest review. Unfortunately, I’ve read a few lately that have not been so inspiring as depressing. The last I began was “The Hostage,” Book Four of the Sarah Roberts Thrillers by Jonas Saul. Having read one of his previous books, “The Warning,” Book Two, I noted the foul language, but apparently enjoyed the plot enough to award five stars. This time I couldn’t get past Chapter 3 with the description of a scene by the perp that turned my stomach. Yes, I know–it’s a thriller/horror novel. (I don’t like Freddy either.) Not usually one to abandon a book–I freed The Hostage. (Yuck) Continue reading “Dishing the Dirt on Reviews”

What Do You Love – Or Hate – To Read?

Day 5 of the Author Blog Challenge: What do you love – or hate – to read?

     Hate is a pretty strong word. While it may be bandied about fairly lightly at times such as the utterances of a strong-willed teenager to a parent, when you get down to it what do you really hate? Human circumstances such as cancer, world war, and terrorism come to mind. But books? Books just don’t fall under that category for me.

A quick viewing of “My Books” on Goodreads would seem to bear that out with a smattering across genres such as Jinx Swartz’s irreverent but fun romps out to sea with her 42′ yacht while she’s solving the latest mystery as the most hip, hardest drinking, sharpest tack in the engineering drawer. Or the Alex Lukeman or Bob Mayer books of black op or military prowess. There are auto-biographies, biographies, memoirs, fiction books about the civil war and non-fiction books about WWII. Historical fiction (obviously a fav) and books about autism. Books about combining plants to achieve color splashes and books about animals (especially love dog books). Caught in the middle of a good page turner, I’ve certainly been known to burn the midnight oil! Blue Moon

There’s YA Fantasy, Sci-Fi, thrillers, and books on social problems and remedies, travelogues, life transitions, American heritage and religious controversy (“30 Pieces of Silver” by Carolyn McCray presented an interesting theory).

So thinking it pretty much comes down to one negative for me and that is the length of the narrative. I have a rather limited time that can be devoted to reading–and one really LONG book will rob time from reading two or three. Not a matter of trading quality for quantity–some have belabored the same premise over and over. That makes for a very long book, not necessarily a good one.

No, maybe hate is too strong a word for that, too. I don’t hate an overly long book–but looking at the length of a 700 page book may have me estimating two others I could read in the meantime. Then maybe avoidance would be the more appropriate description. But looking at that list of books, what have I missed?

Virginia Williams

Can You Expect Success If You’re Mentor-less?

DAY 4 PROMPT: Who are your writing role models? Whose writing has most influenced you? Who are your writing mentors?

Can You Expect Success If You’re Mentor-less?

I don’t know if you can find success without having a mentor, but totally agree with Patrick Hodges of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup who wrote yesterday regarding the value of beta readers. Having tried that and being on the giving end of an review swap without the reciprocal receiving end, he’s right in that it has to be people you trust to read your work before it hits the Internet.” Fortunately, I did find one on Goodreads willing to perform that task for the next book, although I’m somewhat reluctant to trade a review of my 168 page historical anthology for his 637 page telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation (sci-fi fantasy) odyssey. The spirit is willing but the eyes are weak!

Caribbean Gold

Okay, I have another Goodreads buddy who has read it and willing to enter a review, but hasn’t yet performed “beta” duties. I absolutely love his work, however, and have read, rated, and reviewed a pre-release for him–Michael Reisig. He would constitute what for me is a role model. The description of his characters leaves you smelling the sweat or feeling the tension, seeing the terror in their eyes–wide with shock. And the way his characters hold and exhibit their respect for each other is a delight, often felt, impossible for most to actually put into words. The scenes are riveting, whether 300 years ago or 40, on the back of an ox on in a Beechcraft skimming the waters of the Caribbean at sunrise. He has written the “Road to Key West” series, “Hawks of Kamalon” among others, but my favorites were “The Treasure of Tortuga” and the Treasure of Time”.

Somewhere between my musings and his mind-blowing, page-turning sagas lies a real artist. Would that I could attain somewhere near that.

Are Amazon Reviews Bogus?

Interesting and lively discussion back on Goodreads.com regarding all those wonderful stars trailing the best-selling books.

Neil (of “Shut Up and Read”) started it all in December 2013 when he ranted, “Are all Amazon reviews bogus???…Some reviews are so obviously fake, shills, they must think the readers are stupid. …”

Having read the posts and feeling fairly strongly about it myself given the degree to which I’d worked to get any stars at all, noted that I spot read reviews; usually a couple rated 5, but also rely on the lesser rated for some good insight into the book. I felt that the book descriptions don’t always accurately describe the book and the title can be deceiving.

I appreciate honest and detailed reviews for the manuscripts I’ve published for my grandfather and likewise try to be very honest in my reviews of the books I’ve read–and I’ve read quite few; some good–some not so. In view of the time it takes to write a decent review on the books I thoroughly enjoy, I might rate but will not generally spend the time to review one I didn’t care for. I suspect many do the same, although in reading the reviews left by others, usually find a consensus of the same two or three stars I would give confirming my judgment of the book.

My problem here is that if I don’t leave a review for the book I didn’t care for (and that seems to be the norm), the author is deprived of the problems I perceived. The same applies to the books I’ve published. I didn’t understand the motives behind a two-star rating which left me wondering how to fix a problem I’m unaware exists. Of course it’s hard to actually print those harsh words for someone else knowing the blood, sweat, and tears that comprise a manuscript. As Ken from Goodreads wrote“I’ll read the bad reviews first and see if they have anything valid to say. You can usually tell if it’s real. Sometimes a bad review will complain about something that I consider an attribute and that’s makes me want to read the book. I don’t really trust 5-star reviews any more.” Continue reading “Are Amazon Reviews Bogus?”

Calvin Many Wolves Potter

Calvin Many Wolves Potter

goodreads_icon_32x32-032d59134a33b2b7a83151dec051b8f3Twelve year old Calvin Potter had had enough of his abusive Pennsylvania father; he couldn’t stand it any longer. Stealing quietly out of the door early one morning with little more than the clothes on his back, Calvin begins a journey into another life punctuated by the walk of his life, incredible endurance, and unbelievable pain. Calvin awakened to the care of the gentle Falling Star and attentive Spirit Wind and began the change from white to the Dakota of Minnesota. Running Fox quickly becomes a boyhood friend and mentor and the young boys of the tribe enfold and foster a bond of friendship and respect. Calvin is adopted into the family of Strong Eagle and White Cloud and their daughter, Red Leaf, and slowly and carefully learns the language, the ways, and the respect of the rest of the tribe as he is indoctrinated into the tribe and leaves Calvin behind to become Many Wolves. Many Wolves participates in tribal activities as seasons and years evolve until it is apparent the very way of life of “the people” is threatened by the encroaching white man and the severe negative impact their civilization has on the native peoples. Strong Eagle has wisely forced Many Wolves back into the white population to help salvage the situation between the peoples, to get Many Wolves out of harms way, and to bring about his assimilation into the growing white population. Failure to follow through with agreements to alleviate hardships and misunderstandings produce hard feelings on both sides, until the situation becomes so dire that flash point occurs. The native peoples are starving and have few options open to them as their centuries old way of life begins to unravel. The situation deteriorates into forced massive movement and exodus of large populations of all tribes of the Dakota Nation while 38 of their young men are brought up on charges in acts of retaliation and face an incredibly sad ending to a remarkable life. Many Wolves as Calvin has been unable to salvage the situation to his overwhelming sorrow and finds himself neither red nor white. Lost between worlds, Calvin begins a journey back to his “borning” family to try and discover where he belongs. But after so many years, a journey of boy to man to another world, can he ever go back?