Category Archives: Pegg’s Musings
I don’t tend to post a lot about me on this blog – and perhaps I should – but today I need to whoop-n-holler a little bit. It’s been an exciting year so far.
Back in February, I decided to enter the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Carol Awards. I had three books release last year, and I hemmed and hawed about which one to enter. Well, I gave up and entered all three. It was announced this evening that I have two of the three finalists in the novella category. “Her Redcoat” in “The Backcountry Brides” and “In Sheep’s Clothing” in “A Bouquet of Brides.” Yowzer! The winner will be announced at the ACFW Conference in September.
At about the same time, I entered the RWA (Romance Writers of America) Faith, Hope, & Love Readers Choice Award. I only entered one of the books in that contest, “In Sheep’s Clothing,” and it’s also a finalist there. The winner will be announced at the end of July.
And then, knock me over with a feather, I was nominated for the ACFW Editor of the Year! I have no idea who nominated me (they don’t tell you), but I’m now a finalist in that contest as well. The winner will be announced at the ACFW Conference in September.
Did I mention that it’s been an exciting year so far? Well … it sure has. Even if I don’t win a single one of these contests, at least I know that I’m good enough to romp with the big dogs.
What do authors crave? Book reviews. Most especially, five-star book reviews, but in reality, any book review is a good one. Why? Because it’s book reviews – pure numbers – that boost a book’s visibility on sites such as Amazon, Christian Book, and Goodreads. People looking for books see what the search engines tell them are the top sellers, the most active, the books people are “talking” about in the cyber world.
How does an author get reviews? Begs, pleads, threatens (this only works with family and close friends), and whines. Does that work? Marginally. So what’s the better way?
How about cultivating relationships with people who do book reviews? There’s a revolutionary thought. Many authors build what they call their “street team” and offer them freebies and perks for being the frontline of their book’s release. These folks agree to post reviews, create blog posts, and share on social media forums like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
That’s great! That’s just what an author needs. But … how do we reach out and find other reviewers beyond our circle?
Start stalking the reviewers – in a good way!
Find books comparable to yours as far as genre and audience appeal. Visit Goodreads and look at the reviews for these books. Are there some reviews that really stand out to you? Reviews such as you’d like to get? Click on the reviewer’s name and go to their Goodreads page. There’s a place there to message the reviewer and offer them a copy of your book to review. You can’t demand a review if you send the book, that’s not allowed, but if this person is regularly reviewing books and you’re impressed with how they do it, ask them if they’d like a copy of yours.
(It should go without saying – so of course, I’ll say it – that your book needs to be worthy of a good review.
If you’ve got twelve reviews and they’re all three-star and below, don’t expect better from someone who is reviewing books regularly.)
Now you have your street team and you have some new reviewers. What do you do next? That’s right, you’re not done. Check Amazon and Goodreads often – even daily when your book is released. Both places allow you to click a little button after the review that says either “helpful” or “like.” Click. Click on each and every review you’re given. This shows the reviewer that a) you read their review and b) you value it. It doesn’t matter if you have ten or three hundred reviews, you should be personally clicking on each and every one. That’s the pay-back for your reviewers. That’s their “thank you.” Neglect that, and you’re neglecting your reviewers in a world where it’s getting more difficult to find them.
Back in the day, I was able to mentally juggle four to six important thought threads throughout the day. I knew what I needed to do, the steps I needed to take to complete each task, and how to integrate the steps into a seamless day that would end with all of my work done and dinner on the table. I didn’t even consciously coordinate it, the thoughts just sifted through my mind as I multitasked with a vengeance. Farm chores, work, house chores, writing, meal prep, and even special things like entertaining or spinning and knitting a project … they all got done.
Back in the day.
These days, it’s completely different. These days, I have two buckets in my mind for information. One is marked “Necessary for Survival” and the other is marked “Junk Mail.” If I don’t consciously make the connection that something needs to be remembered and stuffed in the “Necessary for Survival” bucket, then it slips into the “Junk Mail” bucket where it may never surface again.
I guess this is what my grandma meant when she said getting old wasn’t for sissies.
What’s really annoying is that this change didn’t happen gradually. One day I was clicking along on all six cylinders, the next I’d fallen off the cliff into my two-bucket system. Now I write lists, make notes, send myself emails, and post everything even remotely vital to Google Calendar. Anything that falls between “Necessary for Survival” and “Junk Mail” has to be recorded somewhere or I’ve lost it.
I find this all vastly annoying. Hense, this blog post to whine about it. But now I have something else that needs doing. I just wish I remembered what it was. *sigh*