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Reviews shouldn't scare you. They don't have to be a great production. All you need to do is just give a rating, four and five stars are wonderful, and write a couple sentences about what you really liked or didn't like about the book. That's that. No analysis of the characterization, the plot, or anything else. Leave that to the English Lit types and professional reviewers.
Of course, authors, if you want reviews, you must first market your books. Unfortunately, marketing's hard. Paul Jarvis gives a good check list of what a writer must do in How to Market a Self-Published Book. Mid-list authors can also learn something there. One problem though. Jarvis only tells you what you must do. Writers, then, have to do the research to learn how to do it.
Authors: If you are scrambling for reviews, you might want to read Michael Hardach's Blog: Five Ways To Generate Authentic Book Reviews. His actual suggestions are at the end of the blog. The first part of the blog is a rant against paid reviews.
Personally, I've been pleased with the results of exchanging reviews with GoodReads members. Yeah, I've posted reviews which were not returned. But that's not really any skin off my nose. On the other hand, I've been slow on my review turn-arounds and have a line four deep waiting. At least my to-review stack doesn't look like my to-read piles.
Most important result of exchanging reviews? I'm reading books and/or stories I don't normally read. Guess that's enough reward if the review fails to show up.
All that said, Crossings has gathered a few reviews out of the about 1,000 free downloads. Here are pieces of a couple reviews, I especially liked.
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Ron Baker gave a 4**** review:"The unusual dialogue and behavior of the inhabitants of this fantasy demonstrate the talent of the author. I like weird and this story delivers. A very creative fully realized world. Recommended."
H. G. Estok gave a 5***** review:"Ebe is what you might call a Boomer hero -- an elderly gent who, with the help of some magic and some very special dogs, does his darnedest to try and save the day. I enjoyed the world-building in this tale with a setting that's close to our own reality but very different. Theodoratus knows how to weave an intriguing yarn, and this might be my favorite one from her yet. She has a way of making the reader root for her characters, whether they be human or otherwise, with a story that's well-wrought from start to finish."
The free promotions for Crossings are almost over, and the e-pub will soon be up for full price. Here's the blurb: Slight of stature and lacking magic, old Ebe must destroy a nest of frogtrolls who killed a long-time friend to regain his self-respect. You can find download links on my website if you find the concept interesting.
Of course, writers have to get people to buy or download their books. Sorry. I don't have any easy solutions for encouraging them to do it. I sweat blood to get miniscule sales. But writers, you might want to look at JA Konrath's blog: Ebook Sales Down? Here Are 15 Tips! As usual, this best selling author offers great advice.
Writers: How do you go about getting reviews?
Readers: How big of a chore do you think writing reviews is?