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