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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I signed up for a netgalley co op with romance beckons http://romancebeckons.blogspot.com/p/for-bloggers-reviewers-if-youre.html#.VOh1MfnF_a4
and I'm happy with them, they allow you control so you can approve your own requests and see your reviews and feedback. BUT, I had been warned that netgalley reviews can be critical... which makes me consider my strategy for approving.

I kind of just want to approve everyone with the idea that the more reviews the better (Although I know not all approved will review) but at the same time I'm scared of my rating dropping. Oh well, I'm going to bite the bullet and just approve and see what happens.
 

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Volume is important, because if you reach 100 readers and only half of them love it, that's better than reaching 10 and all of them loving it. But a poor score will trash your chances on many of the discount newsletters. I've seen books I love suffer a very low review average, and on closer inspection I've found they did promotion on NetGalley.

NetGalley is harsh, and I think it's harsher on average than typical Goodreads reviews, which are harsher again than typical customer reviews on Amazon. I also believe it's harsh above and beyond the "trying something outside my usual genre because it's free" effect. High volume book bloggers are simply harder to impress because they've read so many fantastic books already.
 

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I found good success with NetGalley, but my coop person did filter out the notorious reviewers (the ones that live simply to tear down), so I wouldn't just blindly accept. Look at their reviews and how they handle themselves professionally.
 

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I work with a small publisher and they've told me they had little success with NetGalley, and the cost didn't justify the meager returns. *shrug* Others milage may vary, of course. If you can do it with a co-op deal, that could mitigate the result.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Angela Quarles said:
I found good success with NetGalley, but my coop person did filter out the notorious reviewers (the ones that live simply to tear down), so I wouldn't just blindly accept. Look at their reviews and how they handle themselves professionally.
I am checking their goodreads scores and past reviews first for sure. Figured give this a shot, but I think it will only be a good return investment if bigger name bloggers are reviewing... instead of just a reader on goodreads (which many are)
 
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Volume is important.

However, rating is far more important.

We run a lot of books in both free and paid and 4 stars is a Psychological barrier for a lot of readers.

I know a lot of authors get upset if a promo site won't take their 3.8 stars rated book. However, it's because past experience has shown most promo sites that readers respond very strongly to reviews.


Ideal: 4.5+ stars rating and 100+ reviews. More the better.

Good: 4+ stars rating and 10+ reviews.

OK, might still do well: 4.5+ stars rating and <10 reviews.

Won't do well: No reviews
Won't do well: Reviews less than 4.

If you're close to 4 stars then you should be super careful about who you ask to review your book, and I'd even recommend avoiding free book promotions. As mentioned earlier those reviewers sometimes get books they arne't really interested in and then give harsh reviews.








 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ireaderreview said:
Volume is important.

However, rating is far more important.

We run a lot of books in both free and paid and 4 stars is a Psychological barrier for a lot of readers.

I know a lot of authors get upset if a promo site won't take their 3.8 stars rated book. However, it's because past experience has shown most promo sites that readers respond very strongly to reviews.

Ideal: 4.5+ stars rating and 100+ reviews. More the better.

Good: 4+ stars rating and 10+ reviews.

OK, might still do well: 4.5+ stars rating and <10 reviews.

Won't do well: No reviews
Won't do well: Reviews less than 4.

If you're close to 4 stars then you should be super careful about who you ask to review your book, and I'd even recommend avoiding free book promotions. As mentioned earlier those reviewers sometimes get books they arne't really interested in and then give harsh reviews.
This is good info. Thanks. Does this apply to goodreads rating too since they tend to be harsher? Or is goodreads even considered for promo sites? (I know I read Bookbub does look into this) Although i'm still in the good range at least for goodreads, but I could see that one slipping first as my amazon rating is still really strong.
 

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We run a lot of books in both free and paid and 4 stars is a Psychological barrier for a lot of readers.

I know a lot of authors get upset if a promo site won't take their 3.8 stars rated book. However, it's because past experience has shown most promo sites that readers respond very strongly to reviews.
I don't know anything about NetGally but felt I needed to give a differring opinion here. It's not for the sake of argument, but because I feel it's unreasonable for writers to feel they need to maintain a 4.5 or above rating if their book is any good.

The reason many promotion sites have a 4 star cut-off is to keep things sane. If promoters didn't put some cut-off they would get too many books in from 1 star on up, so a lot have stopped at 4 star. Sheer volume of books submitted is the reason, not readers being scared of less than 4 stars.

I have read over and over again that when a book is free or discounted it's the cover and blurb that get them to buy. I can vouch for it because it took me 2 YEARS to get a one star on Amazon. I think I had about 50 reviews, maybe 60. I don't remember for sure the total. Once I started doing promos with larger promo sites I got people downloading it who were not my target audience. That's fine, it's part of getting your book out there. This happens to everyone if they get enough people buying or downloading their books. And, of course, now that my rating has fallen one small site won't take me so I don't advertise my higher ratings with them either. :) If the book was good enough for them before, well, it hasn't changed any.

Gastien now has over 160 reviews and a 3.4 rating. Truly, if any author wants to have a lot of readers they have to face the fact they most likely won't carry 4 star and above forever. Readers say over and over in polls they would rather see a book with a balanced amount of reviews than all 5 stars or all 4 and 5 because all good reviews make them suspicious. So obviously you can skew this rating thing and how it affects readers any way you want it.

All I know is I get more readers with a 3.4 than I ever did with a 4.5. The biggest promo site still takes my book. Probably because it always performs well. Every time it has ran it either goes over the average downloads for the genre or places in the high top. If my rating stopped readers those downloads wouldn't happen. And guess what? Along come more good reviews and more bad ones.

Unless you write something so bland it can't upset anyone you can hope for a 3 star average over the long haul if you get enough people reading it. Come to think of it, if it's that bland it WILL probably still get a lot of low rating.

The ones I see carrying four and above with hundred + reviews are usually romance. They are probably very well-written, but there IS a formula to follow which makes it less likely you're going to upset readers. NOt that romance is easy. I'm just saying if you know how to write romance and can write well you have the cushion of a formula to keep you within what readers expect.

If you write about characters or topics that make people feel great emotions all over the board, some will love you and others will hate you. Add graphic sex and some brutality and the same happens.

When a book is in a promo the readers don't read the reviews. If they did, they'd know mine has graphic sex and wouldn't have to read it and then complain it had graphic sex in it. :) 95% of my one stars are because of the sex. It isn't sex for excitement, it's about power, abuse of class, and trying to find something that momentarily takes away pain, but some readers simply read a sex scene and assume it's supposed to be erotic. Then again, some readers call it a romance in their review (both good and bad reviews) and it is not a romance, nor is it in the romance categories. Readers have all kinds of opinions and ways of picking books, and we can't completely control it. Am I complaining? No. I'm just saying, if you get a lot of downloads it happens. I knew writing this book I would end up somewhere between 3 and 3.5. I'm proving myself correct.
 

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Caddy said:
I don't know anything about NetGally but felt I needed to give a differring opinion here. It's not for the sake of argument, but because I feel it's unreasonable for writers to feel they need to maintain a 4.5 or above rating if their book is any good.

The reason many promotion sites have a 4 star cut-off is to keep things sane. If promoters didn't put some cut-off they would get too many books in from 1 star on up, so a lot have stopped at 4 star. Sheer volume of books submitted is the reason, not readers being scared of less than 4 stars.

I have read over and over again that when a book is free or discounted it's the cover and blurb that get them to buy. I can vouch for it because it took me 2 YEARS to get a one star on Amazon. I think I had about 50 reviews, maybe 60. I don't remember for sure the total. Once I started doing promos with larger promo sites I got people downloading it who were not my target audience. That's fine, it's part of getting your book out there. This happens to everyone if they get enough people buying or downloading their books. And, of course, now that my rating has fallen one small site won't take me so I don't advertise my higher ratings with them either. :) If the book was good enough for them before, well, it hasn't changed any.

Gastien now has over 160 reviews and a 3.4 rating. Truly, if any author wants to have a lot of readers they have to face the fact they most likely won't carry 4 star and above forever. Readers say over and over in polls they would rather see a book with a balanced amount of reviews than all 5 stars or all 4 and 5 because all good reviews make them suspicious. So obviously you can skew this rating thing and how it affects readers any way you want it.

All I know is I get more readers with a 3.4 than I ever did with a 4.5. The biggest promo site still takes my book. Probably because it always performs well. Every time it has ran it either goes over the average downloads for the genre or places in the high top. If my rating stopped readers those downloads wouldn't happen. And guess what? Along come more good reviews and more bad ones.

Unless you write something so bland it can't upset anyone you can hope for a 3 star average over the long haul if you get enough people reading it. Come to think of it, if it's that bland it WILL probably still get a lot of low rating.

The ones I see carrying four and above with hundred + reviews are usually romance. They are probably very well-written, but there IS a formula to follow which makes it less likely you're going to upset readers. NOt that romance is easy. I'm just saying if you know how to write romance and can write well you have the cushion of a formula to keep you within what readers expect.

If you write about characters or topics that make people feel great emotions all over the board, some will love you and others will hate you. Add graphic sex and some brutality and the same happens.

When a book is in a promo the readers don't read the reviews. If they did, they'd know mine has graphic sex and wouldn't have to read it and then complain it had graphic sex in it. :) 95% of my one stars are because of the sex. It isn't sex for excitement, it's about power, abuse of class, and trying to find something that momentarily takes away pain, but some readers simply read a sex scene and assume it's supposed to be erotic. Then again, some readers call it a romance in their review (both good and bad reviews) and it is not a romance, nor is it in the romance categories. Readers have all kinds of opinions and ways of picking books, and we can't completely control it. Am I complaining? No. I'm just saying, if you get a lot of downloads it happens. I knew writing this book I would end up somewhere between 3 and 3.5. I'm proving myself correct.
I love this post so much. I'm just sitting here reading it and smiling, because I know exactly where you are coming from. ≈

You always tell it like it is, which is refreshing, and I love what you say. :)
 

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I love this post so much. I'm just sitting here reading it and smiling, because I know exactly where you are coming from. ≈

You always tell it like it is, which is refreshing, and I love what you say.
Aw, thank you. Actually brought tears to my eyes. :) Nice of you to say so.
 

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ireaderreview said:
Volume is important.

However, rating is far more important.

We run a lot of books in both free and paid and 4 stars is a Psychological barrier for a lot of readers.

I know a lot of authors get upset if a promo site won't take their 3.8 stars rated book. However, it's because past experience has shown most promo sites that readers respond very strongly to reviews.

Ideal: 4.5+ stars rating and 100+ reviews. More the better.

Good: 4+ stars rating and 10+ reviews.

OK, might still do well: 4.5+ stars rating and <10 reviews.

Won't do well: No reviews
Won't do well: Reviews less than 4.

If you're close to 4 stars then you should be super careful about who you ask to review your book, and I'd even recommend avoiding free book promotions. As mentioned earlier those reviewers sometimes get books they arne't really interested in and then give harsh reviews.
It's fascinating to see book promotion from the other side. Many things can be deduced by studying the acceptance guidelines of the various sites, but it's not the same as this - thanks for sharing.

A question, though.

Do you see subscribers to book promotion sites as representative of buyers as a whole? Or do you think they're a (very large) subgroup with their own buying habits?

For instance, I see a typical subscriber (this is a generalization only) as someone who probably subscribes to multiple promotion sites. What they want are free or cheap books so they can discover new authors. They select something from their daily lists and give it a go. What they don't want to do (at least on a regular basis) is spend a lot of time scouring through Amazon trying to find something they like.

If this is correct, their decision making process at the buying point might be different. Most promotional sites offer a snapshot - that is the cover, a selling sentence rather than the whole blurb, and a review summary (something like "4 star average on Goodreads," or "100 5 star reviews on Amazon"). This gives the prospective buyer a summary of things, and given that at the price it's likely an impulse buy, that's probably all they want.

The effect of reviews (number and quality) on an Amazon browser not looking for a quick and discount buy might be different. For instance, the importance of cover and reviews might recede and the impact of the blurb and look inside feature rise. And they may spend more time studying the actual reviews and picking out a few of the balanced ones to go on rather than just a summarized total.
 

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anniejocoby said:
I love this post so much. I'm just sitting here reading it and smiling, because I know exactly where you are coming from. ≈

You always tell it like it is, which is refreshing, and I love what you say. :)
+1. Caddy always makes plain, good sense. When she posts, I listen (or, uh, you know, read).
 

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Gosh, I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy now for Monday night.  :) I enjoy both of your posts and Annie's, too. I guess I don't say it enough. Hugs!
 

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Caddy is a wonderful person.    She is also very smart when it comes to books. 
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Caddy said:
Unless you write something so bland it can't upset anyone you can hope for a 3 star average over the long haul if you get enough people reading it. Come to think of it, if it's that bland it WILL probably still get a lot of low rating.
I'll jump on this Caddy band wagon. I loved the entire post, but the above especially stood out. It's kind of what I've told myself from the start. If you write something that pushes any boundaries some people are going to love it but some people will hate it. And that's better than everyone just liking it.
 

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Building a campfire, making s'mores.  Cin, start leading the Kumbyyah song...
 
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