Monday, October 28, 2013

The Power of a Review

   When Monica La Porta talked me into holding a promotion to gain some exposure with my novel, The Gaze, I thought about it for far too long before making the decision to go ahead with it. I had my doubts and truthfully, the thought of giving away a novel that required so much work did not sit well with me. However, wise as always, Monica delivered the right piece of advice.
   After successfully promoting her novel, The Priest, Monica shared with me a list of sites that cater to the ebook reading community. Many of these sites invite authors to promote their work, and although I cannot speak for each of them, many of them required your book had at least 15 positive reviews.
   The Gaze held 36 reviews at the time, and I've been honored by my readers with incredible praise and nothing but four and (35) five star reviews.
   One of the promoters sent me an email to congratulate me on getting a spot on their page. The administrator of the site went on to tell me they only place up to 10 titles on their page for a limited time, and that they carefully consider the review factor. That's the deal maker for these sites. After all, they have a reputation to establish and protect.
   At the onset of the promo, my Sheri asked how many downloads I expected.
   "Realistically, if I get some two hundred and fifty, I'll be pretty happy. No one out there really knows me or my work, you know."
   Sheri gave me a little smile and added, "Well, that's readers you wouldn't have had before, right?"
   The promo began last Friday, Oct 25th. I checked the numbers at about 7:30am. 
   Six downloads. At that pace, I figured I'd do well to expect no more than a hundred or so.
   I had asked my friends on Facebook to please share a series of illustrated posts containing quotes from the story along with the link. I don't like the promotional duties of an Indie Author. There's such a fine line between tasteful awareness and outright spam, and I did not want to be the guy splashing the feed with the same line to go download The Gaze for free on Kindle, and blah blah blah...
   I hope to have made the ads enticing, easy to look at, and I hope the call to action was somewhat subtle. Not a scream to go download the book now! But more of a friend informing another, hey, this book is pretty good and it's free. You should get it.
   In that last phrase, "this book is pretty good", has to come from someone else, not the author. Of course the author will proclaim his work a masterpiece. Why not? 
   And boy did they ever...
   I received emails from readers with quote suggestions. Friends shared my posts on Facebook and their friend shared their posts. Twitter friends of mine added their own tweets and the reach was never more real than when the download count hit 1,000.
   People were telling their friends to take a chance on my novel, often with a "Look at the reviews!" 
   Reviews hold tremendous power in anything and everything. From lawn equipment to shoes to novels, we want to know what others like us thought of the product. The manufacturer will always tell us what they offer is the best of it all, but that's what they're supposed to do. 
   With books, the reviews are often much more personal and if we, as authors, are lucky enough to get a reader to connect to some part of the story, whether with a character or a plot line, and evoke an emotional response that compels them to post a review, good or bad, then we have advanced further in our path.
   The promo will end tomorrow at 11:59pm, as declared by Amazon. 
   After that, it'll be somewhat agonizing to wait for reviews to appear on the book page, so long as some readers become fans and time allows, of course. 
   Readers, when you come across a great read, I promise you, nothing short of a movie contract will help that author more than your review. The biggest triumph an author can attain is not a pile of cash, as welcome as that may be, it is having an audience to whom to deliver what the voices in our heads tell us to write.
   I cannot emphasize how important reviews are, and I thank each and every one of my reviewers, who inspire me to bring them the best out of my writing with each new piece. 
   The reviews I have on The Gaze are what propelled this promotions from an expected couple of hundred downloads to over 2,571
   I can't wait to see what the final number is, and to all my new readers, I look forward to your thoughts.
   Thank you.

   Javier A. Robayo


  1. I'm so very excited for you! Please let us know what the final number is.....

    1. Thank you, I ended up with 3,247 downloads. I don't know if each of those will become a read or a review, but it's definitely exciting!