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Discussion Starter #1
I've been delighted to see some enthusiasts of my books have been talking about me on the Amazon Kindle Boards. This thread, for example, is comparing me to bestselling thriller writer John Locke. Someone wrote: "John Locke is already a bestselling author and I'm convinced Michael Wallace will soon be one. That guy can write circles around James Patterson and Lisa Gardner and it's only a matter of time before he's discovered in a big way."

Man, I hope he's right, but I know there's simply a lot of luck involved.

http://tinyurl.com/4mroozt

And this one is a thread talking about my series, The Righteous.

http://tinyurl.com/6b9wza2

I've been so happy to see my books connecting with people. The Devil's Deep just got it's 68th review today in only five weeks, of which 62 are either five or four star reviews. The question is how I translate these numbers into higher sales. I figured out that one in nine people who bought The Devil's Deep cared enough to leave a review, which I consider a fantastic number. But how do I use that enthusiasm to increase the number of people buying the books?
 

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Congrats Michael!  You're an awesome writer!  Okay, I'm going to stop stalking you now.  :-[  I just really like your writing style as everyone on the boards probably knows by now.  I won't mention it again unless I need to butter you up for some advice.  ;)
 

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Michael:  This is exciting and way cool!

The best advertising is word of mouth.  Sounds like you're getting it and then some!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ashley Lynn Willis said:
Congrats Michael! You're an awesome writer! Okay, I'm going to stop stalking you now. :-[ I just really like your writing style as everyone on the boards probably knows by now. I won't mention it again unless I need to butter you up for some advice. ;)
Stalk away! Maybe some day I'll have so many that I'll turn them away, but for now, the position is wide open.

In all seriousness, compliments from fellow writers are the best there are and your compliment on the other thread made my day. I even read it aloud to my wife as soon as I saw it. She has an...uhm...somewhat more jaded impression of my abilities. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Saffina Desforges said:
Nice one. Well deserved. X
Saffina, I've seen some good comments about your books, too, and I notice that your book keeps popping up in the "also bought" list on my books. I think that's a connection that I'd like to see continue, and I admit I'm curious, so I'm going to go buy Sugar and Spice as soon as I wrest my Kindle back from my 15 year old son, who is currently reading Jenny's book, Goblin Market. Oh, and both my twins have now read Moses's novella, Black God, so we're just spreading the Kindle Board love around the Wallace household.

(BTW, Moses, if you see this my daughter was irritated to get to the end and find out you hadn't wrapped up the story. I hope you're putting calluses on your fingertips finishing the novel or you'll have a frustrated reader to contend with.)
 

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Wow, Michael! Your 15-year-old son is reading The Goblin Market? You'll have to let me know what he thinks of it when he finishes. I see your books pop up in my also bought list, as well as Moses, Victorine, Philip Chen and seemingly every book written by Amanda Hocking. Wonder if I show up on her lists... that could be helpful.
 

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What fanatastic news. I'm thrilled for you. ;D

I don't know how reviews affect sales. I've sold over 750 Something to Read on the Plane on Amazon UK and I haven't got one single review.
I've sold 190 on Amazon US and I've got two 5 star reviews.
Go figure :-\
 
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Color me skeptical, but something feels off. Devil's Deep has a 1 to 9 review/sale ratio, with 63 reviews. That's about 550 or so sales in five weeks. But your rating is at 11k in US, and 44k in the UK. I have a book myself that's sold a very similar amount of books in the last five weeks (fewer, actually!) It's rated 4k in the US, 2k in the UK.

I do have a book with a very similar rating as Devil's Deep (mine's 13k) and it has sold about 300 copies in the past five weeks. I feel like I'm looking at a more 1 to 5 ratio for your reviews, which is pretty darn close to unheard of. I mean, Vicki's Not What She Seems sold 10,000 books in January alone, and 50,000 lifetime, but only has 57 reviews. Her Last Letter by Nancy Johnson has sold just as many, if not more (with her even landing on the NY Times Bestseller list), and she has 55 since April.

How the -heck- do you have more reviews than them when they've been out for a year or so, and yours has been out five weeks, and they've each outsold you approximately 100 to 1? Bribery? Pacts with the devil (seems appropriate given the title of your book)? A note at the back? A lot of beta-readers?

Just saying that what I see isn't matching the math I know, so something is going on behind the scenes (or my math is wrong). Not saying you're Robert Stanek (man I hope not) but to someone who's been at this awhile, it looks a little fishy.
 

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I'd like your tips, too. My book's been out since Dec 1 and has 12 reviews - about a 3% reviewer rate. I even have a note at the back begging for reviews. (how pathetic, right?)

I'd really like to know how you get so many readers to actually write reviews!
 

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I used to get 1 review for every 100 purchases, but that number I think was skewed because I was sending out a lot of books to blogs and such.  Now I have about 1 review for every 1,000 purchases.  I'd love to know how to get more reviews too.

Vicki
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Half-Orc said:
Color me skeptical, but something feels off. Devil's Deep has a 1 to 9 review/sale ratio, with 63 reviews. That's about 550 or so sales in five weeks. But your rating is at 11k in US, and 44k in the UK. I have a book myself that's sold a very similar amount of books in the last five weeks (fewer, actually!) It's rated 4k in the US, 2k in the UK.

I do have a book with a very similar rating as Devil's Deep (mine's 13k) and it has sold about 300 copies in the past five weeks. I feel like I'm looking at a more 1 to 5 ratio for your reviews, which is pretty darn close to unheard of. I mean, Vicki's Not What She Seems sold 10,000 books in January alone, and 50,000 lifetime, but only has 57 reviews. Her Last Letter by Nancy Johnson has sold just as many, if not more (with her even landing on the NY Times Bestseller list), and she has 55 since April.

How the -heck- do you have more reviews than them when they've been out for a year or so, and yours has been out five weeks, and they've each outsold you approximately 100 to 1? Bribery? Pacts with the devil (seems appropriate given the title of your book)? A note at the back? A lot of beta-readers?

Just saying that what I see isn't matching the math I know, so something is going on behind the scenes (or my math is wrong). Not saying you're Robert Stanek (man I hope not) but to someone who's been at this awhile, it looks a little fishy.
When I first released Devil's Deep, The Righteous, and Implant, I gave away quite a few copies. I thought I'd hit a great strategy when I got a bunch of reviews in a hurry for Devil's Deep (and to a lesser extent, The Righteous), but it hasn't worked for Implant, which only has two reviews. As for the sales, I was selling about twenty a day at one point, but those numbers have slipped to somewhere between 6-10 per day.

The thing is, I'm still getting new reviews. There's something about that book that is connecting with people. Click on "newest first" of The Devil's Deep and search through the last several days of reviews and you'll see these are people with reviews of other products and purchases going back a few years. It's legit.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I've mentioned this elsewhere, but here are some more specifics about what worked and what sort of worked and what didn't work for me, even though I did pretty much the same thing every time. When the Devil's Deep, The Righteous, and Implant were released, I went to the Amazon Kindle Board and made this post:

http://tinyurl.com/6z9mmdq

The post reads:

"I've just released my new thriller/suspense novel, and would like to get a few copies out there. If you would like to email me, I would be happy to gift you a copy of the book. Of course I would be delighted if you like the book enough to offer a review, but there is no obligation.

My email is [email protected]"

I then gifted about 223 copies. You can see the responses that I got if you go to the thread. I got similar responses for The Righteous and Implant, although with Implant I didn't give away quite as many. From those copies I had numerous reviews just in the first week and some of those people posting on that initial thread have gone on to buy and review other books.

As to why The Righteous did pretty well on reviews, but not nearly to the same level and why Implant has only two reviews, there's a chance that Devil's Deep is just a better book, although it's still selling at a modest rate. There's also a chance that people gave me one review and felt that completed their obligation, even though it was mostly the same people getting the others (I'm not sure, as I didn't track), and there's a chance that there are simply too many free books being posted to that site and the tactic has run its course. I'm not sure. I certainly don't think those reviews are hurting anything, but it's also clear that they're not driving sales. My book, The Righteous, is selling at a far greater rate, due in part to price, but also to some important blog mentions.

One other way in which the gifting helped. Some people pointed out formatting issues to me, and this was very useful, as I was very new to the process. Since I had gifted them copies, they told me via email or in that thread instead of posting a nasty review, which would have stayed up there forever.
 

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MichaelWallace said:
Someone wrote: "John Locke is already a bestselling author and I'm convinced Michael Wallace will soon be one. That guy can write circles around James Patterson and Lisa Gardner and it's only a matter of time before he's discovered in a big way."
Awesome! Way to go Michael!

It's always great to be compared to our literary heroes. I got a review for one of my short thrillers, North of Forks, the other day that said: "Superbly written, this story has the feel of some of Stephen King's early short works."

That made my MONTH! ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #20
LiteraryGrrrl said:
Awesome! Way to go Michael!

It's always great to be compared to our literary heroes. I got a review for one of my short thrillers, North of Forks, the other day that said: "Superbly written, this story has the feel of some of Stephen King's early short works."

That made my MONTH! ;D
Wow, now THAT'S a compliment. Have there been any short works ever that have been as good as Stephen King's early stuff?
 
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