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Understanding the Importance of Reviews

What is the importance of Reviews? Well, it just might make the difference in how the reader views your book. And whether a purchase takes place.

In my last blog I spoke about a very nice review I received, and I mentioned Booksprout. There seems to be a growing number of review services coming online these days. I have checked out others, and most seem to want to swap reviews.

As far as I know, that is fine as long as you are not swapping type of book review, as in ‘I will review and give your book 5 stars if you will do the same for me’. That would be wrong. But making yourself available to do reviews in exchange for someone else reviewing your book does not violate any rules that I know of. The key is there is no direct link from your doing a review to you receiving a review.

That said, I like Booksprout’s approach. With them I have choices: Free to up to 20 reviews per book; $10 per month for up to 50 reviews per book; and $20 per month for unlimited reviews.

It is easy, cost effective, and it works.

But are book reviews still important?

More about this on the other side of this break.

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Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

I asked if reviews were still important. In a recent book I was reviewing the author had this to say, ‘any author’s marketing strategy should include the pursuit of reviews…[and] a good number of them’.

Reviews are important. Even bad reviews can be good for you. On a previous book I wrote and published I received a 2-star review. The reviewer didn’t like the book and was highly critical of it and me (the author). I could have deleted it, but I left it up.

Why?

Because it was obvious from the review that he didn’t follow reviewing rules. He skipped around and, in the end, he never finished the book. How do I know? He said so in his review (at least he was honest). But I was getting 4-star and 5-star reviews from others. So, it made a dramatic contrast.

If he had read the book through, the negative statements and/or observations he made would not have been named. In other words, the problems he cited were of his own making! He was careless, should have known better, and ended up writing a review that even a novice could see was wrong.

So, here is a review principle you might use: If you get a negative review while you are also getting positive reviews, consider keeping it on the list. Not on the top, but further down so that potential readers will already have read positive reviews before getting to that solitary bad review. There is a way to do this, but that isn’t the topic today.

Back at that time I had a different website and I posted reviews of my books on that site. It was a good practice that I got away from when I shifted to another website, but now I am returning to that practice.

In building my new website, which is using a storefront theme, I forgot about providing reviews. And in the process of time, I have lost some reviews when changing computers, but others I have now posted to the site. And I will be pursuing reviews more aggressively in the future.

Perhaps, you ask why I am returning? Because it enables readers to check out the reviews of any books they are considering. It shows the readers that I am honest by providing the negative review, but it also shows that the reviewer was quite likely off-base. (If you look for the negative review, I haven’t found it yet; it may be lost.)

Now, if there are a great many negative reviews, you might want to consider a different response. Read the reviews thoughtfully. Do they all harp on the same errors? If so, then maybe you should unpublish the book, fix the errors and then republish. If it is a major change you might need to retitle it as a new work and then seek new reviews.

I did receive another negative review, although it was more of a communication that a true review. In that review, the writer liked the book but felt some of my facts were wrong. Some of the criticism was off, in my opinion. But some of it made me take a closer look. The end result was an almost complete rewrite. So, I retitled the book and republished it. I tried contacting the man, but he never responded. But that was a case of a bad review influencing me to write a better book.

So, if you are doing a review, where do you post it?

The answer usually is Amazon. However, Amazon is making it harder to post reviews. For example, I don’t buy a lot off of Amazon within any given year. Over time, maybe. But not within a year. While I sell on Amazon, I usually like to go into a bookstore and ‘handle’ a book that I am thinking of buying.

But Amazon has installed a requirement that you have to purchase $50 or more from them in a year’s time to be able to post a review. It is unfortunate, but Booksprout for instance lets the reviewer post their review to Bookbub and Goodreads, as well as Amazon.

Reviews are a good way to influence sales. Finding a good reviewer is a little different and I may visit that subject in the future. One source of finding reviewers is kindleprenuer. But even such listings there need to be approached carefully. You want someone who works in your genre to begin with. Check them out. And definitely check out Booksprout. I have only limited experience with them, so I can’t say positively that they are the answer. Only you can answer that question.

All three formats of World of Joseph are available at Amazon. But the paperback and hardcover are available at TR Independent Bookstore where all our books are always discounted. Now that the special discount of World of Joseph of 20% ended at midnight of the 19th, both formats are still discounted the same as all our books. So, you still have great bargains!

Speaking of reviews, why not review one of my books. Next month I plan on submitting more books to be reviewed on Booksprout, but you don’t have to wait. If you buy one of our books from Amazon, you can post a review. Or you can try Goodreads where I am listed as R. Riddle.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Ron’s Lit Tip Immerse Yourself

09 29 2020

Welcome to Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.

If you’ve been following me for very long you’ve read my advice to identify with your primary character and, to some extent, with all the characters. This is important and I don’t mind restating the idea. But there is more.

Like What?

Just as a painter doesn’t paint his primary characters in colorful clothes and place them in a drab setting, so the writer must also not forget the overall picture. Every part of a painting garners the painter’s attention. The same is true with the written word.

When I edit my books, I not only look for misspelled words and poor grammar, I look at the flow of the story. It is also called ‘pace’. Pace can be affected by the tense of the words, the length of sentences and paragraphs, and more.

But there is more than spelling, grammar, and pace. There is the ‘coming alive’ factor. I love it when a reader says I brought the story alive!

How is that done?

There are many technical tools available to achieve this, but I think one of the most useful tools is your involvement in the story. Or, to put it another way, are you immersed in the story?

Immersed?

Just as you got immersed in your character(s), you need to be immersed in your story or plot. The plot could be described as the most important part of a story. If you have a character that is great but the plot flops, you have a flop. However, you might be able to overcome bad characters with a good plot. It is difficult, but not impossible.

By immersed I am saying that you are into the plot. You can picture it unfolding even as you are writing it or later reading it. Anticipation develops and carries you forward. But a bad plot does not have that ability.

So, how do I Immerse Myself in the Story?

You let the story take control. Just as you become a character and let the character take on a life of its own, you do the same thing with the plot. You start out with a basic plot and let it build upon itself.

If you are reading your story and it suddenly develops bumps, you might need to stop and smooth it out. For example, you are reading along in the present tense and suddenly the book is in past tense. Easily done, easily fixed. Usually the culprit is one word and only requires changing the tense. Other times it could be a sentence, a paragraph, or the entire scene. Which means you go back and rewrite the offending portion.

Sometimes this requires more than the correct word but changing the wording, even the structure. There are times when you toss the offending scene and either replace it or leave it out.

Tip: Let the plot drive you.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices

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Ron’s Lit Tip 09 10 20

Today’s Issue: Proofing

Welcome to Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.

What is Proofing?

Google says, “a pre-publication version of your work. The purpose of a proof is so that you can check through everything before your work goes live.”

In other words, it is your last review and edit before publishing. This is a very critical step because some publishers will charge you if you want to make changes after publishing. If you use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) that is not a problem. More on that later.

I recommend the following steps for proofing:

  • Proof Copy
  • Cover to Cover
  • Chapter by Chapter
  • Upload
  • Publish
  • Get Published Book
  • Read

Proof Copy

With KDP you pay for the printing costs and shipping. That means it will probably cost lest than $10. The print copy is very important because it’ll look different than what’s on screen.

Cover to Cover

This is recommended so you read the book thoroughly. You will be checking the front cover, title page, copyright, dedication, Table of Contents, Body (actual story), About the Author, Other Books by Author, and back cover, plus other pages. Some experts suggest reading the book from the back to the front, so you don’t let the story distract you.

Upload

I make periodic uploads to KDP and preview on screen. That way I see the appearance of the book with all changes. May not be necessary, but it gives me a feel for how the corrections are going.

Publish

Once you’ve finished editing and if you don’t need to reedit or ask a third party to proof the book, then it is time to publish your work. If you have followed all these steps then your work should be ready for the world.

Get Published Book

Once you are published get at least one copy for yourself. If you are using KDP you can publish your work, discover a mistake then pause the book, edit, and republish. Or you can leave the book live, edit, and republish.

If it is a major rewrite, then you might want to indicate a  new version or re-title. Some publishers may not allow this without a fee.

Read

Sit down, relax, and read it as though it was someone else’s book. If you don’t find any errors, then put it on your bookshelf. If you’re like me, you’ll eventually pick it up and read again. And you might think of new or additional scenes to add. And you can, because you are not only the author, but the publisher as well.

Conclusion

Every writer has their own ideas, but the above should help you get a strong start on your writing career.

Tip: Take Time and Thoroughly Proof Your Book

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices

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Ron’s Lit Tip Rewrite

Today’s Issue: Rewrite

Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.

Should we ever consider rewriting our book?

Yes!

Maybe it’s me but I enjoy rereading books I’ve written. Not because I’m vain, but because I enjoy the same genre’s that I write in. I read other authors works as well, but on occasion I read what I’ve written. I love to read.

In the process of reading my books I sometimes think that something should have been written differently or maybe expanded upon. On occasion I may find an error. But the biggest thing is I am inspired to make changes that, in my opinion, strengthens the book.

And then there is the feeling of freshness. Unless your book is a masterpiece it probably needs refreshing from time to time. And a refreshed book might stir sales, as well.

Isn’t that hard?”

Not as hard as you might expect. If you are an Indie Author and Publisher, you probably have that ability. You do if you use KDP. That is one of the reasons I love being an Indie. Once I have written a book I can go back and edit it anytime I want.

How do you do it?”

There are two ways to do it.

Number 1: write your revised version while the original is still for sale. You should do this if the changes are only cosmetic. For example, you found some errors after the book was published and you want to correct/remove them. Simply edit the book then republish.

Number 2: suspend the book and rewrite it when you have major changes that impact the entire story. When done, republish. You might want to consider this if the book has major mistakes or you want to do a total rewrite. However, if a total rewrite, then it might require a new ISBN. In addition, you might want to change the cover. If you want to change the Title or the ISBN, that will mean you are publishing a new book.

Then What?

Once you decide to revise it, began going through your book and making the corrections, deletions, and/or additions. Next, revisit editing the book. Be just as thorough as you originally were.

Will that mean changing the price?

KDP allows you to change your price at any time. You can raise, lower, or leave as is the pricing.

What else should I change?

You have the option of changing the book cover, but not the title or ISBN (see above). If you are doing a complete overhaul you can then create a new book with a new ISBN.

Any final thoughts?

Don’t be afraid to edit or revise. It is a powerful tool that you can use to improve the writing and the sales.

Lit Tip: Once your book has been published, review and, if needed, rewrite (edit).

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.