You’ve probably noticed that in the long saga of publishing the Realm Keepers series, I’m coming up with more and more ideas to try and market the books. I’m throwing myself into the marketing this time, to a greater extent than I’ve done on any of my previous books. I consider this my first real legacy project, and it’s important to me that it does well.
My latest idea centers on getting more reviews. Reviews, of course, are vital for any author, and even more so for us indies.If your book’s got more than 100 reviews and an average rating above four stars, that’s a pretty solid place to be. It’s social proof that declares to others, “Yes, my books are good and other people say so, too.”
That being said, I’ve never done particularly well at garnering huge numbers of reviews. My best-reviewed book has just over 30 reviews. Not too shabby, but not amazing either.
With Realm Keepers, I’ve had an idea. You want your avid readers to give reviews, of course. They like your books, so they’re more likely to review them positively. It’s not that you want to turn away honest reviewers—but if you’re going to court any reviewers, you should court the ones that are most likely to enjoy your book. This just makes sense.
So now, I’ve started a new weekly contest whereby entrants can win a copy of the Realm Keepers episodes in paperbacks. All they have to do to enter is provide me with a URL to their review on Amazon, and they’re automatically entered. Each week I’ll select a random reviewer, and that person will receive a copy of the week’s episode in the mail in paperback form.
There’s a number of awesome things about this:
- People will enter because they want paperbacks. That means they probably liked the book. Positive reviews!
- It provides additional incentive for readers to leave reviews in the first place. As anyone who’s had to beg for reviews can attest, it can be difficult to motivate people to go and spend a couple of minutes reviewing your book.
- It’s far from cost-prohibitive. Author copies of these individual-episode paperbacks cost me $2.15 plus shipping. In total, my “marketing budget” for this campaign will be less than $5.00 a week.
- It puts physical copies of my book out there in the world—more marketing! Yay!
I’d be remiss at this point if I didn’t mention storycartel.com. This website provides essentially the exact same service I’m talking about: you post your book to their site, make it free to download, and readers read it and then review it on Amazon. Those reviews are turned in to StoryCartel, who select your winners at the end of the run. They then notify you of the winners and provide you with addresses so that you can send them their rewards. You can choose a reward of free books, Amazon gift cards or a Kindle (yikes!).
I’m going to run my contest on the Realm Keepers website, and also on StoryCartel. I want to split-test them and see which one works better. I have a feeling it might be StoryCartel, but I want to have the option on my site so that I’m putting more eyes on the series itself. I’ve already submitted Episode One to their site, and once it’s accepted I’ll be notifying my friends and followers about it.
Quick Note: Story Cartel requires you to have print copies of your book available, so if you’re a digital-only publisher, you’re SOL. Consider getting your book formatted for print—I happen to know an excellent book formatter who works for great rates.
If you want to see what my contest page looks like (or if you want to enter) go check it out by clicking here. I’ll post an update of how the contests are going later on down the line.