Why do I need to write a review? I bought the book, didn't I?
Yes, you did. Thank you. A million times, and with the deepest sincerity, I thank you.
You took a leap of faith when you clicked that 'Buy' button. For some reason, known only to you, you decided that whatever was rattling around in my brain and ended up on a page was worth your time (and money) to discover. I'm humbled by that reality, and I think I need to say 'Thanks' one more time and out loud (unless it sounds obsequious, then I'll just whisper it to myself).
I voted with my pocketbook.
By purchasing my book, you absolutely voted with your pocketbook. There's a lot of reading material out there, and your choices include well-established authors whose works are supported by publishing houses whose names you also recognize and trust. No doubt you have favorite authors whose works you buy on the release date and without question. I do, too.
The great thing about books is that there's always a new author to discover, and most avid readers I know (including myself) are always looking for fresh voices and new stories. The single most effective promotional tool for any author—no matter how well-known—is reader review and recommendation. This is Newton's 4th law (trust me, I'm a physicist...no really, I'm a physicist).
But why do you need my opinions?
First off, yes, I really do value your opinions. Shitty first drafts can't be turned into final manuscripts in a vacuum (Physicist says: that's because you can't breathe vacuum. Duh.). When you tell me that you saw a scene or a character in a completely different way than I did, that's important data. You are giving me the gift of insight. Thank you for being so generous.
What's in it for me?
Well, you're putting a penny in the karma bank. You're also shining a light for other readers, whether it's to draw them in or warn them away—I hope you like what you read, but I'd prefer an honest criticism to damning with faint praise. But that's just me.
The harsh reality is that indie writers live and die by this. We don't have publicity teams able to throw money into marketing the hell out of us. Every review is precious, because that's how we build our brand.
It takes a village...
When you pick up a paperback or eBook form an A-list author produced by a traditional publishing house, you have certain (and not unreasonable) expectations of quality. The first thing you see is a beautiful cover that evokes an emotional response—hopefully one that makes you want to devour the story inside. As you read, you don't even notice the typesetting, because it's perfect. And the editing is invisible (or should be). The A-lister didn't do all that by herself. She's got a professional, well-paid and well-trained support team, courtesy of her publisher.
As an indie author, I don't have those resources, but I still have to deliver a product that can run with the big dogs.
Your valuable opinions, expressed in your reviews, will translate into sales for me. And I can afford to hire the cover design team that will create an original piece of art that visually (and beautifully) telegraphs the essence of the story. I can afford to buy the software that will let me typeset my own eBooks without looking like I cut the individual letters out of six magazines and a newspaper.
Last, but most definitely not least, I can afford to contract with a professional editor. If you've read my work, then you should know that it would not—could not—have been that book without proper editing. Holy cow, my editor. She makes me a better writer and a better storyteller. Worth every single penny, but that's the point—your reviews help provide the pennies.
...and maybe some free books...
If you do happen to enjoy my Beckley's Daughters series and also happen to enjoy reviewing what you have read, please consider joining my street team. I'm building an Advance Review Crew, and will offer free advance review copies to readers who express interest in reading and opining. No strings attached, just sign up here.
Thanks for reading,