The Literary Awards Entry Deadline is Approaching Fast!

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

I can’t believe a year has gone by from the last deadline already. Here at Reader Views the excitement has taken over as all our reviewers and judges are busy reading away and scoring titles! Many awesome books have come our way and as we get buried by the December entries, we will welcome the Holidays to enjoy them as well! It is not too late to enter your title so hurry up and make sure you meet the postmark deadline of December 31, 2017! Below are some tips on submitting to any literary awards programs:

·         Read the Guidelines! All awards programs post submission guidelines on their websites and/or submission forms. These guidelines and rules are there for a reason. No program will make exceptions and the result of most of them is disqualification – sometimes without even a notice. So make sure you understand guidelines and follow them. After all, if you don’t compete, you went through the trouble for nothing!

·         Send the final version of your book! This is just common sense, however due to time limitations or budget constraints – I have seen authors submit galleys or Advance uncorrected copies. This is a big mistake. Judges will penalize you for it even if they liked your story! This is really bad if the contest also provides and posts a review, so it is best not to submit if you can’t send in the final product.

·         Listen to your Audience! If your book reviews are not good; or they are good but mention editing issues, it might just be a good idea not to send it to a contest. It would be best to publish a revised edition and send that one instead. Or cut your losses and do a better job with the next one. Chances are that if your audience found many flaws in your book, or didn’t find the book interesting; the judges will find those issues as well. So let your audience guide you when considering investing time and money in awards programs.

It is never too late to become an award winning author. It doesn’t need to happen with your first publication, so don’t push it – strategize instead. This will allow you to submit with a better chance to win! For more information on how we help authors, visit bookbybookpublicity.com.

Things to Consider When Deciding What to Write

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Many writers write about topics that are relevant to their lives, others write only within a specific genre; but all writers who are published want their work to be read. So what should writers who wish to make a living writing and publishing their books write about? Should they write what is relevant to them or produce a story based on what is trendy? I think they should do both. 

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not big publishers create trends. I mean how many more vampires, werewolves and witches can we handle on books, cinema and TV? But big publishers are not the only ones to create trends. The media creates trends by just broadcasting the news. I am not suggesting that we forget the story we want to share, what I am suggesting is to deliver the story in a way that is relevant to current times and trends. Here are some tips.

•    First determine what is the heart of the story? For example: Suppose you wish to write about the coming of age of an Italian boy during WWII in Italy. Is the heart of the story the coming of age of a boy during the war, or is it about an Italian boy during WWII? By determining the heart of the story the author will be able to be more creative in how to develop the plot and setting to make it more current and thus relevant to current times.

•    Decide how to deliver the story, and don’t look back. Taking the example above, the author can make the story current in two ways. If the heart the story for the author is just coming of age during a war, then the story could about an Afghan boy during the War on Terror. If the heart of the story is an Italian boy during WWII, then the plot can be developed to be a recounting of a survivor sharing the story in current times.

•    How open are we to change our original idea? Can the boy be a girl? A vampire? A witch?  You get the gist.

There is nothing wrong in writing what we want. In all honesty that is what I do and it is what we should do. However, if your goal is sales and not just doing what you love, writing what you want might not get you there. After all, what we want to write might not be what people want to read today.  

For more information on how we can help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

How to Price your Book to Make the Most of your Title

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Finding an appropriate price for your book requires a lot of thought—the price should be high enough to make a profit, but low enough for readers to want to buy it. With a little research on what buyers think a book is worth, authors can find a price that will work for them and be the right amount for their readers to spend. Below are some tips on pricing your book:

·         Understand the mechanics of return on time and effort put into a Title. It is imperative that authors understand that a book will not provide a return on the years spent researching and writing. The author can consider the publishing production costs of the book and price high enough to make a profit on top of that, but the return for the overall cost has to come from quantity sold. This is why having the right marketing and PR strategy in place and ready is so important.

·         Remember to take into consideration the book’s genre when pricing. The genre will determine what the reader is willing to pay. For example, if the book offers new or specific information which is not found easily in other books they will consider that book more valuable than a mystery or fantasy novel, as they are currently flooding the market.

·         Product quality is also a pricing factor. A hard cover will always be more valuable than a paperback, but that is not the only quality factor. The type of paper, the book design, etc. can also determine quality level.

·         Take time to research prices. The best way to establish what book price readers might consider your book to be worth is to check what they are already paying for other books similar to yours.

In the end when trying to make a return, what matters is what readers are willing to pay for your book, not what the author thinks their product is worth.  For more information on how we can help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

Book Reviews and Literary Awards: Are They Relevant to Fiction Sales?

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

We all know that many readers check the reviews before deciding on a book, so no wonder that most authors rush out to get book review requests even before the launch of their new title. We also know, as it is evident, that non-fiction books such as Self Help, Health, and Spirituality have the author’s credibility and certification as their foundation and thus winning awards plays an important part of credentials confirmation as well as credibility to the title. When it comes to fiction however, all bets are off, as praise for creative work is such a subjective matter. So are reviews and awards really relevant to sales when it comes to fiction? In my opinion, yes!

·         We all are very particular about what we like, but at the same time we always ask others about their experiences and opinions when it comes to food, hotels, movies, books, and anything or place that enriches our lives. When it comes to subjectivity, just who likes or dislike an item or place will give or take credibility. This is why designers give fashion to celebrities to wear, advertisers hire celebrities to feature products, and authors hope for good reviews and endorsements. This is also why The Oscar is so important in the film industry, as is the Emmy in the music Industry and the Pulitzer in the literary world. Within this context I believe that reviews and awards can and will influence some buyers to purchase or not purchase a book. But I must be honest; I also believe that it is not the decisive factor. It does take the buyer’s opinion of the product that is in front of them when they are considering purchasing a book.

·         With the Indie’s boom, the pool of fiction books to choose from is limitless and all new books need to stick out in the crowd more than ever in order to make some sales. Famous authors and celebrities stick out just by their name alone due to their fan based platform. Authors published through the big publishers stick out with their publisher’s platform and distribution system, but Indie authors have their work cut out for them. This is where reviews and awards can help. More and more readers are venturing into the Indie pool as it offers variety, which is the one thing the traditional system is not offering to the market. So, having reviews and awards seals to back up the title can make the difference when it is being considered by a reader.

·         Finally, reviews and awards are truly the one feedback from the audience that can note to the author what their target market thinks about the title. If the feedback is showing a problem with the product’s quality, the author could fix it and publish a revised copy, or simply improve the production on their next title. If the feedback reveals that the title is being targeted to the wrong market, then that feedback can help to point the marketing strategy to the right niche. There is really no negative feedback if it is utilized to make and increase sales.

For more information on how Reader Views can help visit www.readerviews.com. For information on our Literary Awards Program click here.

 

Promoting Your Book - Is There a Perfect Formula?

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Most indie authors realize that promoting a book is the real hard work in the writing profession. Most of us have already spent an infinite amount of time online and at speaking events, book signings, and conferences, and many other things, to promote our books and ourselves. For some people, these efforts translate into book sales, but for others, it does not. Why is that? What do some authors do that helps sell books? What are we missing when our promoting efforts don’t produce the expected results? Is there such thing as the perfect formula? In all the years I’ve been doing this, I came up with “No” as the definitive answer to this last question. I have come to realize that promoting should not be designed with a cookie cutter. Yes, we must use online tools in combination with real world events and opportunities, but how we combine them is not a “one-size-fits- all” thing.

Below are some tips on how to design a promotion campaign customized to each title:

·         The most important thing is to begin promoting early. That is, about 6 months before the book is out. While the book is still in production, the author should already be planning what strategy best fits the book, and begin putting it in motion.

·         Get help. Even when the author plans to do their own campaign, some guidance is necessary to navigate the different angles, tools, and best timing for the launch of the campaign. So collaborating with a publicist, even if just for consulting, always makes good sense.

·         Make a decision and be persistent! Promoting is not a one-time thing. It must be a consistent effort for as long as the book is for sale.

·         Be proactive. In the end, no one is more interested in selling the book than the author. Not bookstores, not publishers, not publicists! So the author should always be the consistent nagger and pushing promoter. Be proud of your product and keep up with it!

For more information on how Reader Views can help visit us at www.readerviews.com!

Does your Reading List Change with the Seasons?

Sheri Hoyte Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Editor

It occurred to me recently that my reading preferences tend to change with the seasons. This surprised me somewhat as I consider myself to be a well-rounded reader. Sure, there are certain genres I gravitate toward, but I am open to reading just about anything.  In fact, I try to push myself to read in genres that don’t call to me naturally. Curiously though, aside from the books I read for my job, my personal selections seem to be strictly driven by my mood, which, as it happens, changes with the seasons.

During the first few weeks of the year I am full of ambition –inspired and ready to jump in and start anew.  I usually set a ridiculous reading goal for myself, much like those often unattainable, but well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions.  I spend countless hours scouring the internet and perusing library shelves for titles to add to my reading list (probably logging enough hours with which I could have already actually READ a few books).  With the mindset at this point being that anything is possible, it is also the time when I am most willing to venture out of my comfort zone with books from the history, business and self-help genres. 

By Spring I am finished with non-fiction – sorry all you wonderful non-fiction authors, but at this point I really need a good story.  Coming of age tales, memoirs and happily ever after stories usually match my mood this season.

During the Summer I love to read mystery, romance, and historical fiction.  Reading historical fiction puts me in the mood for more history though, so I’ll typically listen to an audio book about a specific person in history (do audio books count)?

With the fall comes more mystery, specifically psychological thrillers that have a bit of romance mixed in.  Sci-fi and fantasy also works, and this is the only time of year I can venture into the horror genre.  I try to read a couple of horror titles a year but I have to read something humorous or uplifting immediately afterwards (nightmares guys – I’m a sissy)!

When winter hits I’m back to romance.  Snuggling under a blanket with a never ending supply of coffee and a great book and I’m set.  I also love books geared toward the holidays and family – ‘tis the season. With holiday shopping and the excitement and activities of the season, short stories are perfect for me since I can squeeze in some reading time without a heavy commitment.

Looking back over this list, it does seem pretty well rounded.  Did I miss anything?  I’ve considered creating a calendar and plotting out my reading for the next year.  It would be interesting to see if doing so would expand my reading horizons.  I’ll let you know how it works out.  How about you?  Does your reading list change with the seasons? Visit ReaderViews.com to learn about how we connect readers and writers.

Hooking Readers with Your Synopsis

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

When people pick up your book they want to know is what it is about. This is why books have a synopsis or description on the back cover. But if the text featured on the back cover doesn’t hook the reader’s interest right away, chances are they won’t buy the book.

After seeing your book cover or hearing your book title, the first thing readers do is pick up the book and flip it over to read the back cover, or if they are online, they will look for the product description, also called a short summary or synopsis (about a paragraph long). Some authors put only their biographies on their back covers. Depending on the book, the author’s Bio might give credibility but not only will the reader still wonder what the book is about; the author is also missing out on the best opportunity to hook readers.  Below are some tips on writing a synopsis with a hook:

1-      Make it Short. Remember, the possible buyer will not spend more than few seconds looking at the back cover, so make it sweet, short and to the point.

2-      Make it Relevant. Most people look for stories relevant to their lives, so it is important to show how the book can relate to current times on the synopsis.

3-      Make it Credible. Even sci-fi needs to sound credible to call the interest of a reader. So make sure that how you describe your story (no matter the genre), sounds credible to the reader.

4-      Make its Uniqueness Evident. What makes your story different from other books in that genre? That is the question to answer in the synopsis.

To give an example on using the above tips to create a synopsis, below is my book’s back cover/Amazon Synopsis:

“Growing up under WWII Italian survivors was not easy. For Susan, the hardest part was the feeling of alienation as she desperate tried to relate to her parents to no avail. Through the years Susan was able to relate with her mother, but her father remained an enigma until one day he gave her five tapes containing his memoirs.  Based on Nino’s first tape, Innocent War is a boy’s adventure, showing a child’s point of view through the war’s hardships, dangers, and tragedies, combined with his own humor, innocence and awakening as he grows up. Join Susan as she gets to know her father, and finds herself within the family she thought she knew.”                                                                               

1-      Make it Short: It is 114 words and states all topics within the stories.

2-      Make it Relevant: It states how I was trying to get to know my father (relevant to all who have parents)…even though it is about WWII, currently we are in war against terrorists.

3-      Make it Credible: I state that the story comes from first-hand accounts and there are tapes to back it up…

4-      Make its Uniqueness Evident:  WWII under the Italian point of View, A child’s experience.

In the end, the best sales person for a book is the author…and the best sales tool is the book itself! For more information on how Reader Views can help Authors visit www.readerviews.com.

Early Bird Registration Discount for Literary Awards ends October 31, 2017

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

We have been receiving so many great books for the 2017 Literary Awards program that I didn’t realize until now how close we are to the early registration deadline. Where did the time go! The Literary Awards is actually my favorite thing because every time I open an awards package I go back in time to when I was sending my own book to different awards programs.

I remember how I felt as I double-checked the entry form and the number of books, making sure everything was included, and then sealed the package sending in all of my hopes with my submission. It feels weird to me to think about it now, as I remember not knowing anything about literary contests or how they work. I remember wondering who would be judging my book and hoping that they would love it as much as I did. And now I find myself receiving so many authors’ hopes along with their books…

So, I decided to explain how the Literary Awards program works here at Reader Views.

  1. We receive the package, and process the submission. 
  2. The title then goes to the first line judging where the book gets read and a review is written.
  3. Once the book has been reviewed a set of scores is generated and entered into the awards database.
  4. This process goes continues until the final deadline and all the books are read and reviewed.
  5. Then the title goes into the second line judging where the finalists are selected by evaluating and tabulating the scores by a second group of judges per category.
  6. Once the finalists have been selected the final judging takes place by another panel of judges who will judge the books on each category, based on the physical book, the review and scores, upon which a final score is determine and placement awarded.

All books are treated with respect and enthusiasm as all our judges are avid book lovers, whether authors, or readers, or experts in a specific category.

The final deadline for entry is December 31, 2017.  We receive a LOT of books in December and, as you can imagine this process takes time. If you are planning to enter your book, this would be the perfect time to do so.  Not only do you avoid the mad rush at the end of the year, assuring your book is read and reviewed sooner, but it’s the final week to take advantage of the discounted entry fee.

For more information on how Reader Views helps authors visit www.readerviews.com, and check out our Literary Awards Early Bird Discount at www.readerviews.com/literaryawards.