The three R’s: Writing, Reading, Reviewing

My arithmetic skills having long since withered, my third R these days is reviewing, which I don’t do enough of. That’s partly because I don’t do enough reading, in fact, so I ought to reduce the first R to get more time for the other two. But if I did that, I’d be unhappy, so for the moment it’s staying as it is. Nonetheless, as I look ever deeper into self-publishing, the importance of reviewing becomes more obvious. A sizeable batch of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads helps to attract more reviews – it’s a snowball effect. Fewer than thirty, and you’re unlikely to make much of an impact – readers tend to dismiss them as the usual 5-star hype by friends and family. More than fifty reviews, though, and people start to take notice.

I’ve only been on Goodreads a short while, but one thing you see straightaway is that the books with the most reviews are the ones that need them least. The first book I rated (5 stars) was Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life. I didn’t write a review, though, because it already had 15,248, and I said to myself that I’d rather write reviews which could actually make a difference. So I wrote one (4 stars) for The Attic Piranhas by Marlin Williams, which currently has six reviews on Goodreads and 13 on Amazon.

Nonetheless, despite my writing commitments, I’m trying to make time for the other two R’s. I was recently a beta reader for William Chasterson’s intriguing Metaphysical Man, and I’ve just posted a couple of reviews on Goodreads. One for Clara Wiggins’s very well-written Expat Partner’s Survival Guide, the other for Casting Shadows Everywhere by L.T. Vargus. This, then, is the modest start to my Help Other Authors campaign, which others, such as The Story Reading Ape, have taken to admirable heights. And here’s a quote from Sally Cronin at smorgasbord which gives it a concrete basis: We are always hearing about the overwhelming number of Indie authors and the number of books we are competing with in the market place. However, instead of being overwhelmed, take a look at your circle of author contacts and instead of trying to make a difference to all Indie authors, how about as a group making a difference to twenty or thirty. If we all did that we would be supporting thousands within a very short space of time.

Sound advice indeed, and I’ll be posting more about the three R’s in future. Meanwhile, Amazon is asking me to rate the first issue of The World Unknown Review, volume 1. I bought it a month ago because it has a story by Book Country writer D.J. Lutz, but I haven’t started it yet. Give me a chance, guys – gotta do some writing myself!

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13 thoughts on “The three R’s: Writing, Reading, Reviewing

  1. I agree that you need to read, read and read more as a writer and it is only polite to review. Reviews are vital but there’s a big but here. This is fine if your main selling base is on line, but if you diversify and sell at events and fairs to people who have never heard of Goodreads, or there are many people who have read your books from libraries to similar folks, what do you do? Is it a reflection on the quality of the book? I had a gushing email from a local library whose book group, all twelve, had enjoyed one of my books. When I thanked them and gently suggested that they wrote a review, the reply was ‘never heard of Goodreads and most of us don’t use the computer much anyway. What do you do? You need to be encouraged by the whole picture don’t you think?

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    • Thanks for the comment, Diana – it provides a different perspective, indeed. That’s altogether a different form of marketing, and it’s true that although these days everyone swears by internet, it’s not all there is. One thing I’ve looked at is bookmarks, which can be done pretty cheaply and can perhaps be distirbuted quite widely. Not yet tried it, so I have no idea of the effectiveness, but I’m thinking that all avenues need to be explored!

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      • In the end, having tried leaflets, bookmarks and business cards I’ve found the business cards the most useful – you can keep some in your pocket in a little card holder for whenever the right moment pops up – and it does. best of luck with your writing D ….. the personal approach works best for me. If someone downloads a free e book they’ll likely as not forget the book and you … just a thought

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for the comment, Diana. Yes, I think everything needs to be tried. A matter of trial and error to a certain extent, and what one feels most comfortable with. Best of luck also!

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