Authors, how do you generate interest in your book?
Offer a limited number of free Advance Review Copies (ARC) to get reviews. My Experience as a First-Time ARC Reviewer
Getting readers to notice your book is extremely challenging. You telling your friends won’t work. You must have reviews.
When you search for a new book on Amazon, the screen shows the book cover, its category, the number of reviews, and the average approval rating. Goodreads and Barnes & Noble, among others, do the same.
So, you need to set up an ARC readers program. The web site explains how if your publisher does not have one. You can then recruit readers using whatever mailing list you have. If you don’t have one, the ARC readers program website offers alternative suggestions.
After I posted a review of another book about a year ago, Hanna Hamilton asked me to join her mailing list and I did.
Recently, she sent an email asking 300 people to review her new Scottish Historical Romance book, “The Perks of Being a Duke!” before its release to the general public. We had “the next few days,” which turned out to be seven days, to post it.
I behaved like the stereotypical software developer who makes this comment, “You all start coding and I will go find out what they want.”
Well, I didn’t check out the general purpose of an ARC reviewer until after I posted my review.
I wrote my review as if the book was in beta test, like pre-release software, and the author was going to go back and make further improvements.
It was much too late for that. The reviewers, as a group, were there just to determine the average number of stars for the book.
My review: The Perks of Being a Duke!
I expected a strong romance story, but it turned out to be more of a mystery.
The Duke’s platonic marriage of 10 years has a very unexpected twist that I have not seen in hundreds of books and movies.
Jonathan, the Duke, and Celeste, abigail to the Duchess, are both very likable characters. However, the Duchess is a spoiled brat spending money to the point of endangering the Duke’s holdings. For Celeste, anticipating her mood swings and soothing her out of her tantrums was a never-ending chore. Jonathan takes a long time to notice Celeste and how brilliant she really is. By then, he must decide what to do about his wife and her latest shenanigans.
The introduction and setup of the mystery took over 30 chapters. It seemed awfully long, but maybe my comment is like the Emperor telling Mozart that the opera had “too many notes.” Much more is going on than it appears. The numerous sub-plots and the climax is well worth waiting for.
Technical recommendation for future books:
Split very long paragraphs. Although technically correct and okay in a printed book, they transverse three screens on my Kindle and were irritating.
The book averaged 4 ½ stars from 103 reviewers. Seven gave it three or fewer stars. One person quit reading before getting through the 30+ chapter introduction. That review has disappeared or been modified since I saw it.
I will definitely volunteer to be an ARC reviewer again, if asked, keeping in mind that the review, itself, is the goal. And for an author, it is a great program and it’s never too late to improve.