In this tier I include 40 people I contacted for review whom I met via Scribd.com, Twitter, or Goodreads. In this tier I also include reviews I requested from 3 people who downloaded my book during a free promotion and wrote to say they loved it.
Of the 43 people I contacted in the fashion described above, 30 (69.8 %) have written a review.
The second set of people I contacted are “dedicated reviewers” and also are people I haven’t had previous contact with. I have sent out 212 individual review requests to these reviewers. This is the response I‘ve had.
27 (12.7 %) agreed to review my book.
34 (16.0 %) declined with the most common reason being that they were too busy.
11 (5.2 %) either said they were too busy but I could try again later or offered another option such as a book feature or an interview.
12 (5.7 %) said they were not reviewing my genre.
128 (60.4 %) have not replied yet to my request.
Of the 27 people who agreed to review my book, as of today only 5 (18.5 %) have written one.
These are reviews I did not solicit directly. So far I have had 2 unsolicited reviews from people who downloaded a free copy during my promotion.
To sum it up, of my 37 reviews 30 (81.1 %) are first tier, 5 (13.5 %) are second tier, and 2 (5.4 %) are third tier
I did my free promotion about 2 weeks ago. I gave away 19,000 plus copies of my book. If you lump the 3 people who wrote to me from whom I solicited a review with the 2 unsolicited reviews, you can see that all those copies I gave away have so far only gotten me 5 reviews. Maybe with more time I will get more reviews, but I am beginning to think that the vast majority of the people who downloaded the book have not read it or don’t care about writing reviews (positive or negative). For me the take home lesson is that beginning authors like me cannot rely on unsolicited reviews.
But books need reviews to compete effectively not only for readers but for promotional slots (books with high rankings and many reviews are given preference over those with lower rankings and fewer reviews). So how do you get them? My experience with tier 2 doesn’t look very good either. Contacting these reviewers was a lot of work. The majority did not bother to respond, and many of the 27 reviewers that committed to a review informed me that they have long lists of books to review and it would be months before they got to mine.
So that leaves the beginning author only with tier one as the most important source of good reviews that can be obtained in a reasonable amount of time. It is important for a beginning author to have a sizable number of tier one contacts before publishing. To obtain them you have to be sociable. Read what people write, comment on it, tweet or like their posts, write reviews for their books, get involved, become friends, but be sincere. People familiar with your work who are willing to read it, give you feedback, and write reviews are one of the most important assets for a beginning author.
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