Why You Want To Read Indie Books

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

During the beginning of the Internet Publishing revolution many Indie books felt short on production quality. Needless to say that this fact, on top of the traditional publishing efforts against change, gave all Indie authors a bad rap, which made it difficult for them to succeed in the market. Yet, many Indie books began hitting the bestseller mark as authors learned more and more about the publishing process. In the end, the publishing industry seems to have been able to accommodate traditional and Indie authors in the entirely different book formats currently available. So why should readers want to read Indie books on top of, or even in place of the traditional ones? Below are some reasons:

·         Because readers want to choose what to read! The broad list of Indie books is so vast that readers will always find something different to read. This is due to the Traditional Publisher Marketing focused selection process.

·         Because they are getting better and better! The bad rap is going away as the quality of Indie books improves steadily.

·         Because Indie is here to stay! There is no longer uncertainty about the Indie Publishing Industry existence. In fact its growth has been fast and hefty!

·         Because Indie Authors are becoming as Credible as Traditional! In the beginning, a self-published author was not given much credibility because a publisher did not choose to publish their manuscript, and instead they did it themselves. Currently the idea that good books are not self-published is less relevant, as Indie authors grow fans and establish their own platforms.

The book market has gone from being publisher based to reviews based as readers now shop for authors based on the reviews and Awards honored instead of who published them. To find good books to read, check our book reviews through www.readerviews.com and www.readerviewskids.com.

What is a Back Cover without Endorsements?

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

All Authors know the importance of an interesting front cover to hook the reader, yet many ignore the true purpose of the back cover. Even if the front cover gets the attention of a reader while passing by the shelves either at their local bookstore or their go-to online store, the front cover is not what will close the deal. What will actually get the reader to open the book is the back cover. This is why it is critical to sales that the back cover is put together strategically. Yet, many of the Indie books worth reading that have come my way show very little thought in them by showing only the author’s picture, bio and a short synopsis, but no endorsements. Here are some tips on getting endorsements for the back cover.

·         Be selective when choosing who to ask. All endorsements are awesome, however if we wish to target our specific audience, the endorsement should speak to them. Another author on the specific genre could do the trick, a specialist on the book’s topic, an editor of a publication that covers books, or even a book review quote can also give the credibility needed to close the deal for the reader.

·         Don’t be afraid to ask, and even offer to pay the endorser for their time. We hear everywhere that paying for any kind of review and publicity is a no. However, if you are asking someone to take time out of their own schedule to read your manuscript and provide a back cover endorsement, this is no longer a review…it is a service to the author.

·         Send the finished manuscript for editorial reviews before publishing to be able to quote them as endorsements on the back cover as well.

·         There is no specific good number of endorsements, just remember that they need to be short, and have a sound-bite quality to them to resonate on the reader’s mind.

Remember, any endorsement is better than none! For more information on how we can help with endorsements email us at admin@readerviews.com or visit www.readerviews.com.

Testimonials, Book Reviews and Awards Programs

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Many authors, including me, put a lot of effort getting our books reviewed and entered into awards contests as soon as the book is out, if not earlier. We do this all the while knowing that it can backfire if the review comes back negative, because it is very important to put people’s opinion about our work out there in order to give our work credibility. But is this the only thing we can do? My answer is no.

Granted, winning an award and getting excellent book reviews is awesome, but we can gain professional credibility in many ways and through many sources. As authors, we are in contact with different venues for our events - bookstores, professional organizations, etc. So why not request testimonials from the people we come in contact with while promoting our books as well. This can include media, event coordinators, bookstore managers, editors, book video producers, publicists, etc. Further still, why not request testimonials to the contacts we made while researching the topics for our book, and even requesting testimonials from writers who critiqued our manuscripts? If you think about it, positive testimonials about the author, posted along with book reviews and award winnings, will give your possible audience the full picture to relate to you, and thus promote your book.

It is a fact that many people that purchase books at an author event will do so because they liked and related to the author. This is the number one reason author interviews are used as a book-promoting tool. Some authors dream of being on a T.V. talk show. The exposure these shows can give are great, but what closes the deal is how much the audience related to the author during the interview. Help your audience relate to you and your work through the testimonials of those who have met you and worked with you!

The best promoting strategy comes by combining tools, which allow your genuine uniqueness to be put out there along your work. Honest book reviews and testimonials posted on your website and even on your Amazon page can go a long way. Then if the award is accomplished your promotion will be ready to get your work to the next level. 

For more information on how Reader Views helps Indie authors, visit our website at www.readerviews.com.

Love to Read? Become a Reviewer!

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I have always loved books. My favorite place was a book shop owned by two Old Italian ladies in my home town in Venezuela. To this date I haven’t found a brick and mortar bookstore that shows a variety of books comparable to what they used to carry, and I have lived all over the US, Venezuela, and Italy! Yet our literature budget had to be divided between our family of five book lovers, and thus I ended up reading a lot of Stephen King and Sci-Fi books as hand me downs from my older brother, along with Agatha Christie books and other cozy mysteries in Italian from my mother.

This is why Reader Views is a dream-come- true for me. Who would have ever imagined that I would be able to get so many awesome books and even voice my opinion to authors, and other book lovers like me! So there is no mystery that I am the one picking out our own reviewers. In my mind a book lover is someone who see reading as a basic need, and thus regardless of their budget or time availability, they are somehow always reading something.  Sometimes this love for books makes us hold on to some of them to create our own library to cherish, re-visit and share with loved ones. To people like this, or more accurately, to people like me, I just have to say: Become a book reviewer! Below are benefits about becoming a book reviewer with Reader Views:

·         Free Books! To a book lover, this is like getting free food on an all you can eat menu. The only catch is to write an honest review about it. Now “honest” means honest and not rude. There are many ways to say things, and positive or negative opinions can always be said with manners, and using a professional voice. For someone who reads a lot, this is not that difficult, plus did I mention - free books? Yes, the free books were the hook that got me into it…but in all honesty my writing has also improved considerably thanks to writing professional reviews. In fact, most of our kid reviewers grow up with amazing communication skills due to their reviews.

·         Also, becoming a reviewer does not means that you won’t be able to choose what you read. On the contrary, not only does the reviewer pick what they are going to review, their picking pool will double. Some even end up increasing the genres they pick as they dare to try other genres when some titles from other genres might grab their attention once in a while.

·         My favorite aspect of being a reviewer is the relationship that developed with authors and publishers. Whether the reviewer becomes a professional reviewer for Blog Critics, Amazon, etc., or remains an independent reviewer for their own blog; the experience is life enriching as they connect with the literary world and publishing industry

·         Finally, it could become a source of income whether through ads on their blogs, affiliate accounts or even becoming a paid professional for publicists; although as a hobby it is also satisfying and enriching through perks from the publishers and authors. The reviewer could actually go both routes at the same time

Reading and writing have been always a big part of my life, but it wasn’t until I became a reviewer that I truly threw myself into my purpose and passion in this life. Some of it has to do with the services I provide to Indie authors, and some of it with helping people find life lessons in books to improve their lives. Plus, I get free books! To find out on how to review books for Reader Views visit us at www.readerviews.com and click on the become a reviewer tab.

Spoilers – How to Avoid Them?

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

On many occasions, I find some reviews so thorough that they actually spoil the story. This is one of the points we try to catch when we edit our reviews, before posting them. But I never imagined I would find an author spoiling their own book on the back cover until it came to my attention this past week. I actually found a couple thrillers that had spoilers on the back cover synopsis. One of them went even further giving the chapter away with the title chapter. This prompted me to write about this topic.

When producing a book it is important to make sure the back covers gives enough information about the story in order to draw a reader in and close the purchase. The chapters name should also have a hook, as many readers will skim through the chapters before deciding to purchase a book. But how much information is too much information?

There is such a fine line as to how much is too little or too much information, that many times we authors sin one way or the other when coming up with the back cover synopsis. Depending on the genre, missing that line can be disastrous. So, here are some tips on how to draw the line.

·         First thing to do is make a list of story points that would spoil the story if revealed ahead of time.

·         Then write the synopsis of your book.

·         Compare your list against the synopsis and take out any spoilers you find from it.

·         When choosing names for your chapters, keep in mind that although the title should paint a picture of what it is about, it should never spell out what happens. A short sentence or a couple of words describing chapter should be enough.

·         Have others read the chapter names and synopsis and get their feedback. Ask them what they think the book/chapter is about. If they reveal the main event, then you gave out too much.

If there is something more difficult than writing a book, it is marketing it. Do not overestimate yourself by thinking you know best. Find counsel with marketers when it comes to the back cover of your book as well as the front cover. It is the first thing readers will see, and some advice on how to hook the reader from marketers can make all the difference on sales. For more information on how we help authors visit www.readerviews.com.

Book Reviews and Book Criticism

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Many people are not quite sure what the difference is between a book review and book or literary criticism.

The primary purpose of a book review is to present enough information about the book to help a person decide whether to read it. A review will state what the book is about, without giving away the plot or the conclusions of an argument in a non-fiction book. Think of a book review as similar to a movie preview.

Literary criticism, on the other hand, is written for people who have already read the book and are interested in exploring the meaning behind the work. The literary critic is sharing his or her thoughts, opinions, and interpretation of the work, based on a close reading of the text, with the reader, as if the two are having a conversation about the work. Criticism is like the afterword to a book; it may give away the plot because it assumes the reader has already read the book—that’s why, when reading the classics, it’s best to read the introduction last, after you form your own opinion of the work.

Book reviews and book criticism are both important, but they serve two significantly different purposes, as preview and afterword. Although many book critics also write book reviews, it is important to know the difference to be able to use for promotion efficiently. A book critique is a literary analysis that will require precise information about literature and the craft of writing. As such, the person providing the critique should have the qualifications necessary to do so. A book review, does not need a literary expert…it needs an avid reader with experience on the genre of the book in order to have professional credibility. Below are some tips on how or when to use each:

  • Book Reviews can be used for any type of book. It provides a preview and an opinion about a title to anyone interested on its topic. As such, they are the most effective tool a writer has to promote their book.
     
  • Literary Critiques are not really necessary for promotion for all types of books. Their purpose to an author is primarily one of providing literary recognition for the author’s skills shown in a book as a literary contributor. So unless the author is an English BA, Journalist, or has a BA in Communication and is looking to enrich their portfolio or become the next Shakespeare, it is truly not necessary for promoting purposes, as the value of any regular Fiction and Non-Fiction is not based on its literary contribution to the art.

In the end, it always comes down to what the writer is looking for when they write –you can be the next Shakespeare, selling only a few books of your recognized literary piece and be famous for it without making best seller; and you can be a best-selling author without being a recognized literary genius! For more information on how we help authors visit www.readerviews.com.

Titles Sell Books

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Most of us have heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but the cover isn’t just about its design….it is also about the book’s title. In essence, the title is a one-sentence advertising of the book, a one-sentence synopsis, a domain name, a sound bite…in short, it is what the reader will remember, and as such, it can make or break sales.

 No matter how good a book is, if the title does not appeal to readers, they are never going to read it. Picking a good book title is crucial and should never be done without a great deal of thought. Here are a some tips for creating a book title that will capture reader’s interest, clearly convey the book’s subject matter, and be memorable.

Short and Sweet

Your title should be short and to the point so that it immediately conveys your book’s subject. The longer the title, the more likely readers will forget it or substitute wrong words into it. But, that is not the only advantage of a short title. A short title will also make the book easier to market through ads, as it requires less space. It is also easier to use as a sound bite, and as a website domain.

Resonance and Rhythm

You want your title to stick in the reader’s mind, so it is not only easy to say, but a pleasure to repeat. Some of the best titles have the ability to resonate giving the title emphasis and flow. Repetition of a word also works well to give the title a rhythmic sound.

Avoid Words with Double Meanings or Pronunciations

Ask yourself if your title has any words that could be misread before you settle on them. The reader should be able to get the right meaning of the title to identify what the book is about immediately. Many negative reviews come from a mislead reader.

Be Original

Readers need to find your book, in order to buy it. If your title is similar to other titles, your audience might end up buying another author’s book. Always do an online search for your title to see whether anything comes up. If you find other books with your title, pick a different title.

Reserve Your Title’s Domain Name

When making sure your title is original, also check to see whether your book title is being used for a website. If someone has a website with your book title’s name, then what is your website going to be? You can use your own name for the website, but that won’t work if you have a fairly common name since those websites could already be taken as well. Pick a title without a website already taken so you can purchase that domain name. Don’t wait or you may lose it.

Subtitles

If you feel your title needs more explanation, a subtitle is a good idea, provided it’s not there just for show. A subtitle can reinforce a catchy, but vague title. For non-fiction books, a subtitle can provide a lot of clarity about the book’s topic.

Never be afraid to ask people for their opinions. Come up with multiple titles, and then ask people which one they like best. In the process, the people you ask for help might even come up with better titles for you. Brainstorming your title can be extremely productive, fun…and enlightening as you get feedback from future readers. So be creative with it and maybe even use it as pre-publication promotion by starting a contest for the title of your book!

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

Do Your Readers Know Who You Are?

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Ask yourself and some friends/potential readers:

  • Does the page tell my potential readers who I am?
  • Can the reader resonate with me?
  • What is on the page that makes me human?
  • Is there something on the page that will make my potential reader say, “Yes, I want to read this author’s book?” and “This author sounds like someone I can relate to?”

If the answer to all those questions is “Yes” then you’ve created a successful author page. Just remember to update it (information, photo, contact information) as needed so it stays effective. If your answer to the above questions is no, then get to work to fix it! Following are some tips on selling your book through your bio.

  • Check the “About Us” pages of other websites. Make a note of what pulls your interest and what turns you off. Most likely, you are not the only one feeling that way so use your own feedback to re-evaluate your own page.
     
  • Put some thought into what is it about you that could resonate with your audience. Then make sure you include that in your bio. Yes, accomplishments give authors credibility, but being genuine is what will create a connection with readers.
     
  • Be selective with what headshot you will use. It is important for the pics to be clear, so high resolution is imperative. However, it is also important that it gives away a little about your personality. So a studio passport style picture won’t do! Be creative, take it in your favorite outfit, on your desk, or at your favorite reading corner…then mention those things in your bio.
     
  • Make sure that your “About” page reflects your brand and mission. This can be done by using the same design all throughout your website, having pics that show you at work, posting quotes, or a video can also make it a bit more interesting.

Although being credible and professional are important factors to convey, without a welcoming tone that just might not do the trick. On the contrary, without a friendly tone your “About” page could just push readers away! For more information on how we help authors visit us at www.readerviews.com.