A Question, and a Request!

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Agatha Christie

The Question: Agatha and I have been wondering…where does the time go? No, I mean, really. Where does it go, once we’ve squeezed every bit of the life from a moment, and cast it aside, moving on to the next? Is there some graveyard for used hours somewhere? Or is it really relegated to crumbling photo albums and lines in a diary?

Just curious, here, on account of I seem to have lost a LOT of it lately. But I suppose that’s the nature of things–both losing time, and wasting more, wondering where it went. By my age, there are veritable slag heaps of lost time piled up behind me,Β but I’m finally learning that it doesn’t pay to worry about it. What does pay, sort of, is writing. So that’s where I’ve been in recent weeks. Writing my fingers down to bloody bones! Makes for a messy keyboard, but it does get me closer to the final line of Novel #4, anyway. And that brings me to the next part of this post.

The Request: I’ve said this before, and I’ll no doubt say it again. Most readers have no concept of just how important good reviews are to writers, most especially in this day of eBooks. If you’ve read a book you enjoyed, please, please consider posting a review on Amazon. Yes, even if the book is by a famous author who has sold millions of copies. Every single review has an impact on where they rank on Amazon, which, in turn, impacts how many new readers come across their book. Unless they are in the #1 spot, across all boards, they have room to move up, and increase their sales. And if you enjoyed their book, they’ve earned it.

Reviews are even more important for new writers, such as myself. When I balance the number of reviews Swamp Ghosts has gotten, for instance, against the number of emails and other comments I’ve received from folks who say they enjoyed the book, I know that a lot of them–most of them–aren’t leaving reviews. I think some don’t know how critical they are, and others actually mean to do it, but forget. Either way, it would sure be nice if everyone who enjoyed reading a book, mine included,Β would take five minutes to let the world know. It will increase sales dramatically, and for some authors, that can mean the difference in being able to continue writing versus having to get a second job, just to put food on the table. You can leave reviews on your blog or Goodreads, too, but the one that will make the biggest difference is the one you leave on Amazon.

Help your favorite writers succeed. Read and review. Rinse. Repeat. Rainbows will follow you everywhere you go, and sweet dreams will visit you every night. Okay, not really, but you WILL be doing a good thing. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

12 thoughts on “A Question, and a Request!

  1. Reviews ARE really important because of their impact on the recommendation engine, and I agree with everything Marcia says here except:

    Every single review has an impact on where they rank on Amazon

    They don’t actually affect your sales rank. Sales rank is straight up numbers, although there’s a mysterious formula that weighs sales curve in there (sustained performance is weighed more heavily than one big spike). But contrary to rumors, things like reviews and price don’t factor in. I’ve seen this via more than one trusted source (Gaughran, for example), but I just read something recently where it was tested and confirmed. I’ll try to find it so I can cite.

    At least, until they change the algorithm again. πŸ™‚

    Reviews still have a huge impact because of the recommendation engine. And I don’t know if/where they factor into browsing placement using the default sort of “New and Popular.” Plus, a lot of effective promotional venues (such as BookBub) require a minimum number of reviews. I’ve been sitting at 9 reviews forever, which makes me whine every time I want to promote someplace that requires 10. πŸ˜€

    It’s hard for people, especially people who read a lot, to leave reviews for everything. (Heaven knows I have a backlog.) But there’s not a lot of awareness about how big a difference it makes, either.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry, Jen. I was simplifying for those who don’t read the data. To my mind, if reviews have an impact on the recommendation engine, and recommendations have an impact on sales, which we all know they do, then voila…shorthand, here…reviews impact sales which impacts where they rank on amazon. Lots of complicated formulae at work, yes, but the bottom line, the more reviews, the more recommendations, and the more recommendations, the more sales. At least, that’s my interpretation of Gaughran, and several other books I’ve read. Sorry if I misled anyone. Just want people to understand that every single review makes a difference.

      Since many of our members here are writers, most understand this already, but there are a surprising amount of non-writers following the blog, too, so I wanted to remind them that they can make a big difference to writers.

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      • Sorry! I wasn’t meaning to be pedantic. I’ve just seen this persistent rumor so many places, that having no reviews, bad reviews, pricing a book at 99 cents, etc. affect sales rank that I guess I had a knee jerk reaction. Perhaps if I spent more time meeting my deadlines and less time all over the internet I would not know which rumors are especially persistent. πŸ˜‰

        Bottom line: reviews are super important!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Not a problem, Jen. For sure, there’s a lot of confusing information and conflicting opinions out there. I don’t even try to understand the algorithms. I just know that anything which works with the recommendation engine has to increase sales, because it’s just one more form of “word of mouth,” which is widely acknowledged as the #1 reason people buy books. So, even though the math is far too tricky for me, more recommendations will eventually equal more sales, via one circuitous route or another. And for the average reader, all they have to know is that it helps authors when they review their books. (Unless, of course, their review shreds the book into confetti. Eeep.) So that was the point I was trying to make. Again, I’m sorry if I wasn’t more clear with it. But whatever reminds people to review the books works for me. Speaking of which, when may we expect Peak of the Devil to be released? I can’t wait to read…AND REVIEW…that one. πŸ™‚

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  2. I know what you mean by not getting reviews. I always write a review for the novels I read, and hope that other authors will write reviews for mine. When I needed a certain number of reviews in order to market one of my novels, I went on a “reviews only” blog tour. It worked, but ever since, my reviews have been sitting at the same numbers even though I beg readers who like my novels to write a couple of lines on Amazon. I tried doing a book giveaway on Goodreads, the purpose of which is to get reviews. It worked for one of my novels. but not for another, probably because it’s optional. I don’t know if reviews impact sales, but I do know that before I buy a book, I always read the reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well for sure, they impact things on the recommendation engine, Evelyn, and it is my belief, based on a lot of reading that recommendations = sales, via one formula or the other. So they are really important. I was lucky enough to get a good start on reviews with my first two books, but they are holding now, which tells me I have to do something to jump start them. And poor Rabbit just isn’t “out there” yet. I really flubbed the launch on that one…like not having one…so I have work to do. I am going to try to do better with reviews, myself, especially for my friends and fellow writers! I’ve been remiss, and must start making amends! Some of it is because the books are buried in my TBR pile, so I guess that’s where to start.

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  3. Marcia, Musings, and random thoughts float into brains like Steve Kin’g’s.. Steve (we both attended U of Maine, so we are kindred). Steve then transforms these rum inspired thoughts into ‘ Carrieisms. That’s where they go. Eldon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s good to know, Eldon, but what I was really asking is where does the lost TIME go? Is there a Carrieism for used hours somewhere? I know where my thoughts go…I never lose them, really. I just keep shoving them around to make room for new ones, and eventually, they pop up again. But I don’t know WHERE lost minutes and hours go. Maybe SK has an answer for that one? Next time you’re hangin’ out with Steve, could you ask him? Or maybe he’s already written a book about this phenomenon that I’ve missed? There ought to be a way to gather up the lost hours and recycle them like old soda bottles. πŸ˜€

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  4. Hope you are enjoying Swamp Ghosts. I’m reading three books at once, and thus, making very slow progress on all of them. Have to quit doing that! And I WILL be leaving a review for Die Laughing, too, honest! I’m just behind. I think we writers understand how critical those reviews are, even if we can’t always understand the complexities of Amazon’s algorithms. This post originated on my other blog, Bookin’ It, which is mostly reader-oriented, but I decided to share it here, as well, because we do have members here who aren’t writers. Hopefully, it will remind ALL of us to remember to take that few minutes, even if just for a line or two. It’s easy to plan to do it, but even easier to forget. 😦

    Good to see you tonight, Louis. Have you tried any of the teas yet?

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      • Yay! I’m glad you liked some of them. The coolest thing about Adagio is that if you don’t, you can go make a blend you like more. πŸ™‚ I just added a new one to my Custom blends. It’s Ruth’s Berry Apple (she’s from WRR), and is a blackberry/raspberry mix with apple bits. Haven’t received it yet, to try it out, but since Ruth grew blackberry bushes behind her cabin, I thought it sounded like one she’d like.

        As for Sarah’s Favorite Earl Grey, it’s not my fave, but that’s because the added lavender and cream mute the Earl Grey bergamot a lot. And I really love bergamot. So Adagio’s own Earl Grey Bravo is still my favorite EG tea, ever. But Sarah’s is nice for a change of pace. And for the first time, I now know the difference between Irish Breakfast Tea and English Breakfast tea. And when you compare them side by side, there’s a world of difference in how they taste. I’m becoming a real tea snob! I’ll be like those wine snobs…er…I mean, wine aficionados… in that movie “Sideways.” πŸ˜€

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