An old friend from high school sent me a nice message on Facebook saying how much he loved my first fantasy novel Angst. My reaction was, of course, gratitude. I haven’t been in touch with him since High School, I didn’t know he had purchased it and was happily surprised. The support means everything, both reading it and letting me know how much he enjoyed it. I really couldn’t ask for anything more, but I did anyway. I asked him to review my books.
Good Social Media
It’s a funny thing promoting your novels as an indie author. You’ve got Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Friends and hope. Readers from Twitter often let me know they bought a copy, then follow up weeks later with feedback. It’s proof that social media can be a lot more than shouting out to a crowd “HEY BUY MY STUFF!” Hearing that someone loved Angst or Buried in Angst or why they didn’t is invaluable. I get all of that on Twitter.
Less Good Social Media
Facebook is mostly about people I know and people I knew. I haven’t found the magic of leveraging Facebook for Angst other than sharing con pics. Maybe if I worked the day job less and social media’d more I would do better. That’s what made the shoutout so cool. While this wasn’t the first time, it has surprised me how many friends have read my books and never said a word. People I’m close to, who I genuinely love, and I get crickets. It’s the kind of stuff that used to make me wonder “wow, was it that bad?”
Was I Wrong?
Maybe this is the reason I don’t hear from them, I may ask for something, and like I said, I did. Rather than leaving this nice man alone, one who took the time to read my stuff and share his thoughts, I pushed. I asked him to spread the word, to tell his friends, and maybe even make a comment on Goodreads or Amazon. I haven’t really done that before, so it makes me ask, was I wrong?
Spread The Word
Some would say that it’s bad to ask readers for reviews on Amazon or Goodreads because they’ll be biased. I haven’t noticed that. My friend reviews don’t seem to be affecting the curve. I currently have 20+ reviews on both sites and only 3 or 4 are posted by friends. Of those reviews, some are actually 4 stars which is the current average. The other reason, I wouldn’t hesitate to go to my friends for advice on what to purchase – their insight is just as valuable as anyone. I think there is a huge difference between saying “go post a five star review” as opposed to “spread the word and let people know what you think.”
It’s Okay To Be Tacky
Asking readers to review my books may come across as tacky. Especially when someone’s already ‘shouted out’ that they loves the book on social media, well, other than maybe buying the 2nd. 😉 I’d buy into this, maybe it is a little uncouth. It’s sort of like a friend saying “You look good in that shirt.” And you replying, “Damn, you’re right, I do look good. Please tell everyone in the room how amazing I look.” Yeah, I guess a little tacky.
It’s Not Too Much To Ask
On the other hand, what I do takes a lot. I think all writers work incredibly hard to provide great entertainment. For me, it has literally taken years of effort to produce my two novels, a team of dedicated and honest friends willing to critique, and throw in more than a few dollars for art and editing. Angst isn’t a write and release project, it’s a production that takes time and money.
Review My Books
I truly believe that it won’t happen if you don’t ask. If everyone who has enjoyed my books, from closest friend to unknown reader halfway around the globe knew how important those reviews could be – most wouldn’t hesitate to post something. I’ll never be that guy that sends a message begging for a five star review or annoying my audience with badgering messages to review my stuff right now or die – but I may be that guy who sends the occasional friendly reminder that what they say counts. Maybe I can live with being a little tacky.