I researched extensively, and continue to do so, potential readers and reviewers for my novel Fling!. Reviews generate a buzz, especially if they are posted on major sites like Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. It’s essential, then, to gather as many as we can. They encourage potential readers to take a chance on our books based on other readers’ experience. And it’s more readers that we want, right?
I also found it useful to generate interviews on other writers’ blogs. I did this in multiple ways. First, my press, Pen-L Publishing, has authors who were willing to work with me, doing blog exchanges. In addition, I found blogs that seemed to have good followings and suggested we exchange interviews or guest blog posts. This also generated some good connections.
I also paid Women on Writing (WOW) to manage a blog tour that included four reviews. It was worth it to me to spend this money on marketing, though the “tour” wasn’t as well managed as I’d hoped. I’m not sure that I connected with potential readers of my novel during the 12-day event. I was supposed to be available each day to respond to questions that could come from followers of these blogs. But, in reality, in most cases, I was the only one there, waiting for someone to ask me a question! Even the blogger was absent. The four reviews that bloggers posted on their websites were the best part of this deal. After some prodding, most were posted on Amazon, etc. Would I do it again? Not likely. I could probably do as well on my own by contacting potential bloggers and reviewers, but for those who don’t want to spend their time in that way, WOW might be the answer.
I have found Goodreads to be the best source in two ways. First, I have done two giveaways of a total of 20 books. While it’s costly to mail the novels, especially if you don’t designate US only (as I didn’t on my first giveaway, opening it to Canada and the UK, thinking it would give me a bigger readership range), it’s worth the expense, a tax write off. A number of people listed the novel as one they wanted to read. And some of them will write a review.
Goodreads ad campaign also has been productive. The book title and description reaches many people over a long period. I’ve been running mine since early July. So far I’ve only paid about $39.00 for my original $50 ad campaign, but I’ve reached innumerable potential readers. So in terms of pay off, the Goodreads ads seem to be a good investment.
Bookstores are only worthwhile if you have a large following in an area and can generate traffic. Otherwise, the percentage they want per book doesn’t make them a viable option. Also, several now charge authors for the honor of doing a reading in their facility. I just paid $100 for such an honor.
The message here? Take the time to do your homework and find the many resources there actually are out there before you give away too much of your hard-earned money. It pays off in the end.