Wednesday, 29 January 2014

What does it take to make you #review a #Kindle book?

I guess this is the eternal question that most authors would ask their readers. I've been trying to find out the industry standard rate for book sales on Amazon to reviews left, but the data is either elusive or does not exist.

It would be nice if it was 2% or even 1%, but so far I seem to get one review for every 300 or so sales. One of my books does a little better than that, but there's not a big margin of variation.

All my books feature a page at the end politely asking for a review or at least a rating, I've tried to persuade readers to leave a review in discussions on Facebook and Google+, and I've even given copies away free in return for reviews (which in the majority of cases did not lead to reviews).

Obviously, there are review sites out there, but I am dubious as to how a review generated that way would compare to one by someone who chose to read one of my books because they liked the sound of the story or read the sample chapters and wanted to go on and read the rest of it. I'm doubtful that someone who reads and reviews books in order to create content for their blog/website is as likely to enjoy what they are reading and write as positive a review. I've heard horror stories about authors getting bad reviews from people who didn't even like the sound of the book before they read it and then the resulting review damaging future sales.

I hoped I could get some of my friends to review my books, assuming they like the genre, but I've had no luck there either. Most of them are not big readers anyway.

So if you are a reader, what is the key thing which makes you want to leave a rating or write a review?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Is one good #Amazon review worse than no reviews?

I may have made a mistake recently. I had five novels out on Amazon but, as you would expect, the most recent ones were better than the first ones. I would hate to reach a point where my writing skills are not improving, but an unfortunate consequence is that my older books won't be as good as what I'm writing now. As I've been writing a series of novels which should be read in order, I decided to revamp the first novel.

This wasn't just a quick edit or tweak. Instead I took the first two books, extensively edited them and combined them into one 390+ page novel. It was then submitted to the proofreading and editing process and given shiny new front cover artwork. I am very pleased with the results, but the changes were too great to simply make it a new edition of book one.

So I removed the original book 1 and book 2 from sale and launched the new one as a new release (Astronomicon: The Beginning). As a side-effect I lost all my original reviews, but with renewed enthusiasm I tried to persuade readers to leave reviews and ratings of the revamped book.

My efforts were quickly rewarded with a good review (4 stars and some most positive comments) but that's when the problem started. As soon as the book had one review, sales all but stopped. At first I put it down to the usual random fluctuation in sales, but nothing improved. Even a string of good ratings on  made no difference.

It's been suggested to me that having one good review makes potential readers suspicious. They often assume that I've reviewed my own novel, rendering one good review much worse than no reviews at all.

Has anyone else had similar experiences?

Friday, 17 January 2014

Don't forget Icarus is still only $0.99

Whilst working the Trojan asteroid cloud, Captain Taylor and the crew of the deep space mining vessel Icarus discover a mysterious prototype ship drifting in space having suffered a catastrophic failure.

Battling the dangers of the asteroid field, the Icarus crew attempt to rescue the survivors of the stricken ship. Meanwhile a vessel from Earth is coming to deal with the damaged prototype but with a conflicting agenda. After unwittingly discovering the bizarre secret of the prototype vessel, the crew of the Icarus end up fighting for their very survival.

Although it's not the first book in the epic Astronomicon science fiction series, Icarus forms an excellent introduction to the Astronomicon universe. It is a stand-alone novel, but still firmly set in the same technologies, politics and history. It gives you an exciting taste of the Astronomicon universe without committing to the ongoing series.

99c US (or 77p here in the UK) is a bargain for over 160 pages of quality science fiction.

To find out more visit the official Astronomicon website or visit your local Amazon website. There are now four Astronomicon novels and another one on the way soon. The fifth novel, Astronomicon: Deadline should hopefully be published in the third or fourth quarter of 2014.