Archive

Posts Tagged ‘appreciation’

I’m Reviewing Reviews

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

I just read a blog snippet off of a blog by a guy named The Passive Guy. He writes some of his own articles and captures bits and pieces from other useful blogs around the web each day. I’m not sure how he manages it all, to be honest, but I make no claim to technological blogging supremacy. The point is this piece of blog I read focused on writers reading reviews. It strongly opined that they should not do so.

The thought behind it is that when a writer finishes a project and publishes it, it’s like entering a child in a competition. If the kid fails we’re disappointed. If the kid is picked on by the parent sitting beside us we’re likely to throw a punch. That’s my kid, damn it, how dare you make fun of them?

I admit I followed the reviews on my books religiously for a while. Just like the writer in the blog, some of those reviews sting. I can take the sting if its thought out and makes sense, but some of the zingers are not. In some cases it’s a personal disagreement, which seems pointless to me. If you don’t like ‘X’ because you’re a vegetarian – don’t down rate it and bash the book for it, sheesh. It’s frustrating and infuriating, at time. At others it can be a kick in the pants that makes you challenge your desire to write anything longer than your name.

The things that writers need to remember is that I see a review posted between .1% and 1% of the time. Meaning for every 100 to 1000 copies sold, somebody posts a review. In my experience, both as a writer and as a consumer, people tend to be more motivated when something irks them. Anger is easily converted to energy and motivation, and that means quite often people are more likely to read a negative review then a positive one. Our news media thrives off of negative stories – as a culture we love watching a train wreck (e.g. reality TV shows).

My fellow writers, is your book still selling? Are there good reviews and ratings? Ignore the poorly written bad review that is entirely opinion based. Not everybody is going to like you. We can’t expect people to write a commendation that’s opinion based and not write a defamation as well. The best tactic I’ve found is to more or less ignore the reviews.

I still check from an eagle eye point of view, but I focus more on the ratings and number of reviews rather than the specific content. The emotional lurch that can consume me isn’t worth the hours of stewing and negative impact it has on my schedule. I get emails from people that love what I’ve written and want to know where and when they can get something else. That means the world to me. Those people and those kind words are what keep me going some days. Sales suffer from time to time but a simple kind word makes it seem insignificant. Knowing I affected one person in a positive way makes it all worth it.

As for the bad reviews? Screw ‘em. Don’t write a review focusing on the author of the book, write it for the book and for other readers. Picking on my son or daughter because you don’t like me doesn’t show what a thoughtful, intelligent, and morally superior the reader is.

And no, I didn’t write this because I received a bad review on one of my books! This was prompted entirely by the aforementioned blog post that I heartily agree with.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Have Passport, Will Travel

November 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t know when, nor do I know how, but I do know that I have got to get over to visit the UK. I haven’t done much of anything to target readers of fantasy and science fiction in the UK but I’ve had several books hit bestselling lists over there on Amazon. Voidhawk, Wanted, Ice Princess, and the Lost Girls all had a few moments of glory. It’s been shocking and amazing for me, and it instills in me a serious fondness for my readers in the UK.

So my plan, far fetched as it may be, is to visit the UK at some point in the future. I sincerely hope I can hook up with at least a few readers when this happens to share firsthand my appreciation with them. No, there’s nothing on the books yet, and for that matter I’m not sure when I could afford to do visit with my entire family, but that’s how goals start out.

As a case in point, let me share a link and a snippet from a review I stumbled across today on the web. It’s from Ishbel Stronach, a wonderful woman across the pond. She picked up Vitalis: New Beginnings not so long ago and used it to step into the world of science fiction for the very first time. She loved it and came back for more, starting with Wanted. To quote a line from her review she said: “New Beginnings was a fantastic book by Jason Halstead. my first science fiction book ever and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

If you’d like to read more of her blog, here’s the link: http://ishbelstronach.blogspot.com.

If you’d like to check out Vitalis – New Beginnings, here’s your chance:

Vitalis Book 1 - New Beginnings

Vitalis - New Beginnings, on Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

How to Advertise

September 29, 2011 3 comments

Happy news, I set a new record for sales this month. Two records, actually – I sold more copies of Wanted this month than ever before and on top of that, I doubled last months sales a day before the end of the month. Ah hell, how about the hat trick – Wanted also broke the 20,000 mark in “all sold books” on Amazon. A couple more sales and it’ll break 10,000 – hint, hint. :)

But this is about advertising. How’d I get to where I’m at? Wanted has two review on Amazon. Sure, they’re both good reviews, but only two. It’s got a striking cover. Not the best, but it’s good. I’m tried my best to make the Amazon page appealing…but again, it’s one of many. So why is it doing reasonably well?

Pricing maybe? I’ve got it at $.99 at the moment. Yes, that helps. But it doesn’t pull people in to look at it in the first place. That’s a combination of me doing my best to make it available as many places as possible, including Twitter.

Ah yes, Twitter. The marketing mecca of the 21st century. I’ve amassed roughly 5000 followers and I regularly send out tweets that promote my books. Not directly, typically. Usually I’m either throwing out a snippet from a review and suggesting people check it out because, damn it, I’m proud of what somebody said in that review. At other times if I think there’s a particularly catchy phrase in a book I’ll tweet that as well. One of the best catch phrases in Wanted, for example, is: “We’re all whores, darling,” he said. “I ain’t judging you, I just don’t care.” If that’s not cool I don’t know what is.

And, of course, if you’re going to give people a reason to check out something, give ‘em a link to do so! The easier you make it for someone, the greater the chance of generating that click. I’m a reader too and if I’ve got to do the extra work to find something like looking it up, odds are good you just lost me as a buyer. It’s not that I’m a prick, it’s that I’ve got a lot of things going on. I’m a busy man, and while my time is not any more valuable than yours is, it is valuable nonetheless. Treat your would-be readers with the same respect you want to be treated with and you’ll get a lot further.

I mentioned pride above. As in I’m proud of the reviews I’ve received. I don’t have a massive amount, but so far I don’t have a single bad review. Sure, I expect sooner or later I’m going to ruffle somebody’s feathers, but it hasn’t happened yet. That doesn’t mean I’m the next NY Times #1 Bestseller, nor that I’m a marketing genius. It just means I’m doing okay and connecting with the right people who like what I write. This is called targeting my market. I’m no wizard at it – in fact I’d say I’m more lucky than anything, but that luck is aided by trying to find people on Twitter to follow and tweet with who share my interests. Who wants the apple at the top of the tree when there’s one at the bottom that’s just as good and you don’t need a ladder? Pluck the low hanging fruit first!

More on pride. I’ll be honest (for those who don’t know me) and admit that I can be rather full of myself when it comes to a few areas. Weight lifting, in particular power lifting, is something I’ve excelled at (and suffered catastrophic injuries while doing). I figure that earns me the right to talk a little smack. My day job and many prior jobs and college degrees / certifications state that I’m an expert in the IT field, so I can roll my eyes with the best of them there too.

But writing? Writing is personal. Writing is pouring time and effort and life into something that comes entirely from inside. Every character has a part of me in it, and short of reality TV stars, who’s comfortable baring parts of their souls to complete strangers? So a positive review, a positive rating, or even a sale is nothing short of humbling. Every time somebody reaches out to me on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, my website, or via email and says they enjoyed what I wrote I’m filled with a warm fluffy feeling.

Maybe I haven’t become jaded yet, but I have a hard time seeing that ever get old. Reading a book is an investment not only in the money spent buying it but also in time. The time is generally for more valuable. Even at minimum wage a single hour would buy any of my ebooks. Reading them, on the other hand, will take considerably longer. If someone’s willing to spend that much time with a little piece of my soul and then come back and say, “Hey, good job, I really liked what I read!” Well, is there a better compliment to be found?

So to tie that back into the advertising aspect, do little things like this. Share with the world just how damned appreciative and amazed I am that they like what I’m doing. As Lady Gaga figured out, nothing is possible in this type of market with the fans. So for anybody who’s read one of my books or one day plans on it, my door’s open and, so long as you’re not a stalker who wants to wear a bodysuit made out of my skin, I’m always happy to talk.

And now another chance to check out Wanted because, well, it’s a fun book with a main character who reminds us all of how we’d like to act if only we could get away with it. Well, for the most part, Carl can! And when you’ve finished Wanted and have questions, head on back to find the sequel, Ice Princess!

Wanted, book 1 by Jason Halstead
Wanted, on Amazon
Ice Princess, 2nd book in Wanted series, by Jason Halstead
Ice Princess, on Amazon
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 18,780 other followers