Reviewer Learning Curve…OR Drunk Author Rant

I’m not really drunk. Not yet. *Pours vodka*

*SLAM*

Ahhhhhh…

I’ve learned a lot since my slovenly muffin-topped self stumbled blind and braless into the self-publishing world. You know how I love to spew my chunky, sometimes gelatinously amorphous experiences on anyone who’ll listen, so today’s rant will focus on my hits and misses with the reviewing process. And how shit’s gonna change before I start whoring out EXHALE in a month or so.

What I’ve Learned about Reviewing:

  1. Seek readers who are excited about your genre, your blurb, and your voice. This is tricky because you never know how people will react to your words. I’ve had a few readers who didn’t connect with my book. Not their fault. Not mine either. But you can minimize potential “Meh” reviews by reading the reviewer’s bio and checking out the kinds of books s/he enjoys.
    • Dear Jane Austen addict: you are NOT my target audience. Period. I don’t want you reading INHALE. It will end badly for both of us. Love, Kendall “Womancock” Grey
  1. Accept that not everyone will like the book. Cry over that shitty review, and move the fuck on. Easier said than done, but do it and get over yourself. *Bawls*
  2. Warn potential readers of possible threats of blindness to virgin eyes. You don’t appreciate excessive swearing, graphic sex, or occasional violence? Then don’t read my fucking book. Again, it will end badly for both of us.
  3. Send out digital review copies only. I hear you print-only reviewers groaning. Put your ass-probing protest sticks down and hear me out. I offered print copies of INHALE to select reviewers, but I’ll never do it again. Here’s why…I’m donating all profits from the JUST BREATHE trilogy to whale education. Paperbacks, envelopes, and shipping costs totaled about $10-15 per US reviewer. Sometimes I got a good review out of the exchange, sometimes an okay one. I’m not gonna lie. I want awesome reviews, so go ahead and call me a star-grubbing author whore if you want. Regardless of the review, the fact is, all that money could have gone to the whales. But it didn’t. As a self-publisher, I expect to sell very few copies of the books. I’ll be lucky to break even. I dream of writing checks to whale education organizations for gobs of money, but let’s be realistic. They’re getting zilch. Costly lesson learned. :-(
  4. Resist the urge to stalk-obsess over Goodreads updates. Knowing someone is reading your book — like, RIGHT NOW! — is nerve-wracking as hell. Best not to pay attention to it. My initial INHALE reviews were great — a slew of 5-stars in a row. Woo hoo! I’m gonna be a bestselling author! Then some 4s came in. After all those 5s, I was a bit dejected. Okay, so my self-deprecation meter spiraled into a tizzy of depression. Which is so totally fucking stupid. A 4-star review is great. But it makes you wonder, “What about the book made it less than perfect? Do I suck as a writer? Why didn’t she like me as much as so-and-so?” You see where this is going. Self, meet rocks of despair in a most eviscerating and odious end to your writing career.
  5. Learn to say no. It’s hard to refuse someone who contacts you and wants to read your book. It’s so goddamn flattering, and all writers are screaming attention whores wearing fake diamond “Queen of the Fucking Universe” tiaras. BUT…if you sense the reviewer isn’t a good fit for your book, thank them for their interest and use the N word. You can do it.

*Pours another shot of vodka*

All this ranting in no way implies I’m ungrateful for my reviewers. On the contrary. If you reviewed (or plan to review) INHALE, thank you from the deepest hollows of my blackened soul. I mean that. Without you, potential readers will have no idea whether the book is worth a shit. Your comments will help make or break an entire trilogy. It’s a mighty big responsibility for to you bear, and it’s your duty to be honest, whether you love it or hate it. I truly appreciate the countless hours you put in reading and writing down your thoughts. You rock my womancock!

So, EXHALE. Coming soon from an author pimp near you. I hope if you reviewed INHALE and enjoyed it, you’ll consider giving book 2 a shot. Watch for reviewer sign-ups as early as next week.

*SLAM*

Happy weekend!

*BURP*


ADDENDUM:

Forgive my obsessiveness, but I got curious…

It costs me an AVERAGE of $14.39 to mail a paperback to one reviewer. That includes costs of book, mailer, and shipping. I (actually, the whales because I’m donating all profits to them) will make $.20 (yes, that’s CENTS) off each paperback I sell through Amazon. To make back the money I lost in sending a book to ONE REVIEWER, that person’s review would have to generate 72 paperback purchases or 7 ebook purchases (royalty of $2.09 per ebook – much better for the whales and the environment!). Unless the reviewer has a HUGE reach with a large number of followers, I’m very doubtful they’ll generate even that many ebook sales. I’m not slamming reviewers at all, just pointing out the cost involved in mailing paperbacks for review and the minimal return for writers. These are facts, not judgments.

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20 Comments to “Reviewer Learning Curve…OR Drunk Author Rant”

  1. By Alan Edwards, February 24, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    Pure awesome, as always. All of that is good advice. And often really hard to put into practice, heh.

    I’m gonna go polish my “Queen of the Fucking Universe” tiara right now. Proud of it.

    • By Kendall Grey, February 24, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

      Thank you, mate! BTW, if you notice any cubic zirconia missing from that tiara, I think a dingo ran off with it whilst it was in my care. I tried to chase doggie-poo down, but he was twelve feet tall. At least as big as this house. I thought it best to leave the dingo to his own queenie devices.

  2. By Dennis Sharpe, February 24, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

    My Tiara must still be held up in shipping… must have been shipped by Amazon.

    In all seriousness… yes. Everything you said here… yes.

    • By Kendall Grey, February 24, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

      I’ll get right on sending you out another tiara, my friend. You deserve it! ;-)

  3. By Candice Bundy, February 24, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

    Excellent points, Kendall! As I have a similar-style Urban Fantasy book I’ll be self-pubbing soon, so point three is something I will keep clearly in mind. A reviewer who reads chick lit or children’s books is not going to handle violent, intense, sensual, UF. Not gonna happen. Even if they like you personally, even if they’re buds.

    You’ve got an awesome tiara. Wear it with pride. :)

    • By Kendall Grey, February 24, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

      Thanks, C. Can’t wait to hear more about your urban fantasy. Yay!

  4. By TL Jeffcoat, February 24, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    I Love It, stop Goodreads stalking me though, I’ll finish it in time. You’re in luck too, I’m trudging through Harry Potter 2 at the same time and it’s making your book look so awesome, but then I’ve recently come to realize, I’m not a fan of YA anything it seems. Bring on the blood and sex. I grew up on Cinemax dammit. Love Inhale. So far, if I rated the 47% I’ve finished, it’s got 5 stars. Love the advice though, I’ll be archiving this for later use. ;-)

    • By Kendall Grey, February 24, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

      *Does shifty-eyes* I don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s definitely NO Goodreads stalking here. No way, no how. ;-)

      Thanks for reading INHALE. I’m thrilled that you like it and quite humbled by the Harry Potter comment. I’m all for blood, sex, and guts too. *High fives*

      Have a great weekend, mate. I will absolutely NOT have any clue where you are in the book on Saturday night at 8:53. Nuh-uh. ;-)

  5. By Larry Kollar, February 24, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

    Great advice! I will definitely keep it in mind when I start giving the puppy-eyes to reviewers.

    I think the World’s Cutest Grandkid ran off with my tiara. Better that than my iPhone though. :-P

    • By Kendall Grey, February 24, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

      Well, cute grandkids are allowed a tiara every once in a while. Def keep that phone hidden. And the TV remote. ;-)

  6. By Barbara Jean Byrem, February 24, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    I want the tiara, and I want the second book EXHALE right now damn it. Been waiting long enough. Dying to know what happens next.

    • By Kendall Grey, February 24, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

      I am a very impatient person, so I feel your pain about wanting the next book. It’s in its final round of edits with my awesome editor. I hope there won’t be tons of changes. As soon as I get through final edits, I’ll format and put that puppy out there for reviewers. I’m targeting mid-March. We can be anxious together. ;-)

  7. By Kara @ Great Imaginations, February 25, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

    While I am disappointed that you won’t be doing physical copies for Exhale, I totally understand. I’m still signing up for a digital review copy though. And also, I’m gonna buy a copy of Exhale. I want physical copies of this trilogy in all its cover gorgeousness.

    I have a question. Since I am almost finished reading and will be reviewing Inhale soon, are you wanting us to hold off reviews until a certain date? Or is it okay to go ahead and post it on my blog now and then when it is released, tweet it like crazycakes? It’s totally up to you. I’m okay with either option. If you want me to hold off, what would be a good date to post it?

    • By Kendall Grey, February 25, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

      Ah, you’re too sweet, Kara! Thanks *so* much for reading and reviewing the books. As I said on Twitter, your opinion matters a lot to me. :-)

      As for posting reviews, if you don’t mind slapping it up on Goodreads at your earliest convenience, that would be fantastic. I’m hoping to generate lots of buzz there before release day. Once the book goes live on May 1, I’ll email the Amazon link to all my reviewers, bat my eyes, and beg them to copy and paste their reviews there too.

      As far as your blog goes, you are welcome to put the review up there any time you want. I’m still a total newb at all this, so I don’t know if it’s better to post stuff early or wait til the book drops. That’s why I’m kinda leaving it up to the awesome bloggers who’ve been so kind as to review.

      If you’re up for doing any extras (hint hint ;-) on your blog like character interviews or some other such fun, I’m willing and eager (see my tail wagging happily?). I have a few dates still open in April and almost all of May. Lemme know!

      Another thousand thanks to you and ALL the reviewers who’ve reviewed INHALE. Seriously, my career *hinges* on you guys. No pressure. Hahahaha!

      • By Kara @ Great Imaginations, February 25, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

        I’d love to do an author interview with you. I’ve never done a character interview in my life and wouldn’t know where to start, but I can think of a million questions I would like to ask you, the author! Any time in April is fine. May would be fine as well. Basically, I don’t care. Give me a date and I will schedule it and get the questions over to you as soon as you want them.

        I’ll go ahead and post the review on GR and my blog then as soon as I have it written. As far as Amazon goes, I’ll post it there as well. But I may need a reminder. :)

        • By Kendall Grey, February 25, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

          April 27 then? I’ll be happy to send you a reminder when to post to Amazon. I want to make it as easy as possible for reviewers – if you have the review up somewhere else, you can just follow the buy link I’ll send and copy and paste to Amazon. Easy-peasy. I hope! :-)

          THANKS, girlie!

  8. By Anakalia, February 29, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    1. You’re awesome, your posts always make me smile!
    2. I passed the copy you gave me to another reviewer, hopefully between the two of us we can encourage 72 people to buy your book!
    3. I’ll happily do my best to help stir up some buzz and post links to my blog closer to the actual release date.
    4. Remember that your work is an amazing representation of your imagination, don’t get caught up in doubting yourself over what others may or may not say!

    Also, I apologize for not realizing that my review copy really was an advanced one! I thought the world at large was awaiting Exhale already. Now I feel extra special for having gotten a copy of Inhale from you!

  9. By Andrea, March 25, 2012 @ 3:14 am

    Random commenter time! Someone Tumbl’d you (think it was LadyCheeky or ladylovesbodies, don’t remember which – one of my PrettyPornPics dealers) and I clicked ’cause I was curious and I’ll go download an ebook of yours to try out since I like your blog voice… okay, and the Jane Austen lovers bit made me laugh (can’t read the stuff, I get bored and distracted. I’ve found my ADD gets worse as I age…)

    Anyway… yes. That was all. *cheeky salute*

    • By Kendall Grey, April 2, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

      Hey Andrea! Sorry, I just found your comment in my spam folder. Ooops! Thanks for checking me out. Yep, my ADD grows exponentially by the day too! I feel your pain. :-)

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