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Max sending you a message.
 

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Maximillion said:
I've been down the social media path, posting and what not. I've also done the advertising on FB to gain more newsletter subscribers by offering free books. Actually found relative success. When I come here I find great advice on how to get more exposure and I've got a pretty good track record. I'm satisfied.

The two main things I've learned is that there is no silver bullet and that interaction with readers is key. So, I don't just "do" FB, Twitter, Google Plus, Google Ads, Newsletters, etc. I utilize the best practices based on the collective experiences of you all and I thank you. Now, I'm about do a couple of new things and just wanted everyone's thoughts.

1.) Text List
Another author in my genre started a text list when I suggested it and he shots out a text when he has a new release. It makes sense because many of our readers read and make purchases using mobile devices. I see this when I check out my Amazon Associate's account. I see it as just another tool to have direct access to readers. I'd probaly use it once every two weeks since I shoot out an email pretty much every Monday due to new releases.

2.) ARC
Advanced Reader Copies are a great way to make die hard fans feel special and part of the process. I stumbled across Abby Weeks' website and I really like what she is doing. I'm not sure if how she does it would work for me but I admire her dedication to bolstering her ARC crew. She has over 500 members and I'm sure that if just a fraction of them promote her stories because they love them, this author is finding success. Check out her site here: http://www.abbyweeks.com/ I really want to get an opinion on this.

3.) Niche Social Network
I've struggled with this one for a few months. In my mind there are more than enough social networks. Why add another one? But, the idea is to create a small, tight nit community. Even if it's just 50 or so people I can interact with them on my platform and not worry about changes on a platform that I don't control (Anyone remember the FB Page visibility of posts...). I'd utilize Buddy Press and a them called Kleo to execute. I plan on having a forum where I let readers interact and post suggestion on stories I'm kicking around in my head. I can foresee having them vote on which story I would take up. That interaction seems priceless. I'm still kicking around this idea, trying to think of what would make it worth a person signing up. Still, sign up is easy because of social logins...

For me, the ARC and Social Network are great ideas because it focuses on more direct interaction with readers on my terms. I'm not a big fan of Goodreads and the other social networks are way too saturated. I want to get readers and keep them. Today I chat with a woman in her fifties who was a fan of my work. We exchanged numbers and she's going to give me a call on my bday this saturday. I feel like I can make these connections better on my own site.

I just hope it doesn't become overwhelming because I am wholly focused on putting out these series. In February I broke the $2,500 ceiling for the first time, largely because of KU and will likely break the $3,000 ceiling this month. Really, nothing is as important as constantly publishing. But, I believe that when a mass of tools are leveraged effectively there is a point of critical mass.

Sorry for the long post.
Abby Weeks is one of the top 100 authors on Kindle right now, so she's definitely doing something right. I'm looking to expand my own marketing repertoire myself, so thanks for the good ideas!
 

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Yes ARC's are a good idea.
P med you here.
 

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Just don't emulate Abby Weeks, have your heroine get raped twice in book one and call it a romance. She is treading on thin ice and seriously risking the dungeon by using rape as titillation.

My $.02. She sells books but is in the wrong genre.
 

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Abby makes very smart use of ARCS and develops a deep relationship with her readers. There is nothing wrong with that.  She's also a member here and I'd hate to see her go away because of snarkiness. So let's all be civil - and maybe she'll chime in with some advice.  :D
 

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I have 800 members in Team Milton - my advance readers. They are the single most important reason why last year was such a great one for me. For example, I released my last new book a couple of Saturdays ago. By the Monday, when it was ready for the full launch, I had 150 reviews. Priceless.
 

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I capped my ebook ARC team at 100. I have 40 for audiobooks. Those are bigger groups than most successful indies I know have. My understanding is that detailed, honest early reviews help gain your book attention with readers and with marketing departments. I hesitantly mentioned my group to Montlake, and they were fine with it, BTW.

I have a secret Facebook group for my ARC team. Just started but seems successful so far. My assistant does ask them to tweet new releases and so forth, but as I've had almost no new releases lately, not sure how much that will do. She runs the group and I stop by sometimes.

So that's one somewhat less complicated approach. Oh--I have a 95%+ review rate from my team. So within a few days of release, I'll get 100+ reviews. It's not as big as some, but it's very consistent and involved.
 

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Just a reader here. I see Arc reviews all the time. Some from Netgalley, or things like that. So I am used to seeing them. But and here is the but, lately I been seeing a see of them. I mean I used to look at reviews and there was the thanks to the publisher for providing copy bla bla bla and then followed by regular reader reviews. Now often I see a new book, often in romance, and its pages and pages of nothing but rah rah  5 star Arc reviews.

This is on Amazon and now also on goodreads. I can't often find any regular reader reviews anymore and I am not going to dig 20 pages deep. So my reaction is often now, next. Those reviews have their place, but they come across to me now like street team type reviews. I think its the sheer number and lack of non Arc reviews I see.
It seems to work for some, at least for a while. Me, I don't really trust them in general.
 

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Atunah said:
Just a reader here. I see Arc reviews all the time. Some from Netgalley, or things like that. So I am used to seeing them. But and here is the but, lately I been seeing a see of them. I mean I used to look at reviews and there was the thanks to the publisher for providing copy bla bla bla and then followed by regular reader reviews. Now often I see a new book, often in romance, and its pages and pages of nothing but rah rah 5 star Arc reviews.

This is on Amazon and now also on goodreads. I can't often find any regular reader reviews anymore and I am not going to dig 20 pages deep. So my reaction is often now, next. Those reviews have their place, but they come across to me now like street team type reviews. I think its the sheer number and lack of non Arc reviews I see.
It seems to work for some, at least for a while. Me, I don't really trust them in general.
I agree. I'm seeing a lot of ARC reviews too and I find them to be heavily skewed towards four and five stars, because of course they're from fans. I mentioned on another thread a book I saw a couple of weeks ago, which got good ARC reviews but one and two stars from all the non-ARC reviewers, which makes me wary.

Still, although I personally read reviews quite carefully these days, I think a lot of readers don't and just take them at face value, in which case an ARC team is a good idea.
 

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I had the same feeling, Atunah. I resisted doing it for 2 years and only did it after urging from KDP and Audible, interestingly. But that's why I capped the group. My last release had about 70 ARC reviews and has since received about 90 more, so not too bad.

But it's one reason I'm glad not to have all rah rah reviews as you say. My assistant keeps wanting to cut the reviewers who often give me 3 stars, but I won't let her. I think that detailed reviews that explain why they didn't like the book much are helpful. My ARC average is about the same as non-ARCs. So I would say, don't shy away from the more critical readers.
 

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Also keep in mind that once you get known, many of your reviewers are going to be readers who liked your earlier book(s), even if you don't write true series (as I don't). Your first couple books may well have lower reviews, especially if you have permafrees and/or have used sites like BookBub where they've been exposed to lots of people. That's where readers are discovering if they like your books. After that, the reviews will trend higher, ARCs or no, because it's more people who've read you before. (People who've read you before and liked you are more likely to review anyway. Sometimes that'll be to say, "I liked all the other books, but didn't enjoy this one." That's a common later review, ARC review or not.)

My highest-rated book has about 250 reviews on Amazon U.S., and a 4.7-star average. I didn't have an ARC team of any kind. 4.6 stars on Audible, with an ARC team, but again, ARC reviews are about the same as non-ARC there.

So, yes, I think there can be a perception, which is why I was initially hesitant, but i don't think the perception is necessarily all that valid.
 

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Rosalind James said:
I had the same feeling, Atunah. I resisted doing it for 2 years and only did it after urging from KDP and Audible, interestingly. But that's why I capped the group. My last release had about 70 ARC reviews and has since received about 90 more, so not too bad.

But it's one reason I'm glad not to have all rah rah reviews as you say. My assistant keeps wanting to cut the reviewers who often give me 3 stars, but I won't let her. I think that detailed reviews that explain why they didn't like the book much are helpful. My ARC average is about the same as non-ARCs. So I would say, don't shy away from the more critical readers.
You're right Roz. All 1 star, or all 5 star shouts fake. No one's book is 100% loved or loathed. A proper mix of stars is natural. All one type certainly isn't. When I buy something, I tend to read the 3s and 1s.
 

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For what it's worth, my comment isn't intended as snark. I'm genuinely concerned that new authors will see her success and try and jump on that bandwagon---and it would be a bad move. And I remember Abby being here, and have absolutely no problem with her seeing what I've said; I've no doubt she's aware of the perils.
 

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Agreed. There have been threats of reporting her books, and those same threats will be a risk for others. I'd rather be the bad guy and offer that PSA than not. :)
 

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Maximillion said:
Mark Cooper, Attunah & Lydniz, do you all think that if the ARCs were more evenly spread between 3 & 4 stars they would be believable? I usually look for reviews that say "I like this... but didn't like this..." Seems more real, like the reader really got into the story.
It's not so much star rating per se that gets my nose twitching as the suspicion that the reviews are not entirely objective. As Rosalind points out, later books in a series tend to have better ratings as you're preaching to the converted. My own series is no exception, so I'm hardly going to complain about high star ratings. It's just that when a new author has fifty four- and five-star reviews on a first book, all of which say they have received ARCs in return for an honest review, I tend to suspect that the free book is skewing their opinion. Like I said, I saw such a book recently, and all the non-ARC reviews panned it.

(As an aside, I can also usually tell when someone has got their friends to review a book, as the reviews nearly always call the author by their surname.)
 

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Lydniz said:
It's not so much star rating per se that gets my nose twitching as the suspicion that the reviews are not entirely objective. As Rosalind points out, later books in a series tend to have better ratings as you're preaching to the converted. My own series is no exception, so I'm hardly going to complain about high star ratings. It's just that when a new author has fifty four- and five-star reviews on a first book, all of which say they have received ARCs in return for an honest review, I tend to suspect that the free book is skewing their opinion. Like I said, I saw such a book recently, and all the non-ARC reviews panned it.

(As an aside, I can also usually tell when someone has got their friends to review a book, as the reviews nearly always call the author by their surname.)
Yeah, lots of good points. Its not just the rah rah 5 stars, its the fact that they are ARC and in recent times they are usually the same as the street team. They call the author by name like they are buds, they just love love love everything the author puts out. There is often also not a lot of info of the actual content of the book.
I just don't trust Arc reviews, they are not objective at that point anymore, they are from fans. At least the swarm types I am talking about. Brand new book, often new or newish author and out the gate 100's and 100's of 5 star with some 4 stars rah rah-ing with arcs.
For the a book like that is now a total turnoff, unless I can see some regular reader reviews somewhere. If none of my friends on goodreads have ever heard of the book, then I pass. On occasion such a over praised with Arc reviews books turns out to be good, but I won't touch them until I can read regular reviews. I have to see what some didn't like, or didn't like as much. What tropes didn't work for them, what characters didn't work for them. You almost never get this anymore with this new type of mass Arc reviewers.

Its all about the balance, I think Rosalind got it right as she has regular reviews mixed in always with the arc ones. And not stifling the 3 stars is a good idea. 3 star is still a good and positive review, I also need to see some 2 and 1 star on a book. Balance.

Why do I never see 1 and 2 star Arc's anymore? Or even 3 stars? I used to. I still do with friends that review on netgalley and such. They aren't fans of any author, they just review as they get them. And sometimes a book just doesn't work for a person. There is no way that all Arcs would be 4 or 5 unless they are all from the fandom and for me that is part of the friends and family plan.

Even if its a series, I read lots of series and sometimes I love love the installment, other times there is a 3 in there, a 4, even a 2. I think once I hit 2 stars and more than one in a row, I'll probably stop the series. But its totally normal not to totally love each book in a series. To me that is realistic. I might not like where the characters are going or the storyline. I still like the overall series, but its just a 2 or a 3 star for book number 4.
So I don't think a series would only get good reviews at some point. Even from those that read every book.
 
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