When I wrote Anna, it was because I had a story to get out and a goal I needed to accomplish for myself, to write a book. But, like most things, it didn’t turn out exactly as I envisioned. The story took on a life of its own, I discovered things about my characters as I went along, and I found myself facing a few surprises; but an evolution within the process was almost to be expected. What really didn’t turn out as I envisioned was the publishing and marketing part.
I knew selling my book was going to be hard. I’m not a sales person. The funny thing is that I work in real estate selling homes, not as a Realtor, but as a marketing and social media specialist. I write content, including blogs, and create media to sell homes. I’m pretty good at it, not perfect, but effective. The problem with that is when I get home, I’m done. I mean, done. I have a very limited amount of time, and I don’t want to do what I’ve been doing for the past 9 hours. I’m supposed to be writing anyway, right? But this is just another one of those things I knew I’d be doing to sell my book. So, you can say I’m not really done, no matter how much I feel it.
So far, a lot already expected, right? Let’s talk about reviews. They are the major driving force behind sales. Not only can they affect a person’s choice to buy your book, but they also tell the site they’re on if your book is worth showing to other users. Amazon, for instance, will give you more perks (unofficially…*wink-wink*) when you reach certain numbers, but here’s something I’m learning – if you have any sort of content whatsoever with a reader before or AFTER they review your book, the review will be removed or blocked. It doesn’t matter how real that reader is. If they buy your book and then email you afterwards to say how much they loved it, author beware!
When I crowdfunded my book, I sold a good number of copies, which I ordered and mailed or gifted through Amazon. Yes, I had friends buy my book, but I also had complete strangers who like to support indie authors, as well as acquaintances (people I only know by name, who work in my company, but at a completely different office). Do you know how many of those people were able to leave reviews? 4. Did most of those people have to leave a review? No, but some cared enough to try, because they knew what a review could mean to a writer.
I felt compelled to write about this today, because Amazon, who has quite a large market share of book sales, both decided to sue a bunch of people for writing fake reviews that were able to be posted and reject a completely legit review for my book this week…again. Matter-of-fact, when said reader called them, they (3 customer service reps and 1 supervisor, matter-of-fact) said they had no record she even made a review, but she was still receiving emails saying it was rejected, which, to me, sounds like a pretty big flaw in their system.
Can I get reviews elsewhere? Sure, but they won’t get me any added exposure on Amazon/Kindle, where most sales occur. It’s frustrating to say the least. A big wall that I never expected to face. Getting people to actually WANT to review has been hard enough. Now, I don’t even get to have those reviews, and I can’t say exactly how many I’ve missed out on because I only find out when I’m told by the reader.
If you’ve taken the time to read this through and have tried to leave a review for Anna, only to have it rejected. I ask you to PLEASE go to one of the other sites the book is listed on and leave a review. You have no idea how thankful I’ll be.