Monday, September 12, 2011

How Much is a Review Worth?

Chuck Gould at Horror Bound Online Magazine has reviewed Loathsome, Dark and Deep. It's a good one, too--he even uses the word "consuming" to describe the book. I like that.

From the very first page of Aaron Polson's Loathsome, Dark & Deep, there is something about the writing and imagery that offers up shades of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

That was my goal; I'm pleased it hit the mark.

Read the rest of the review online at Horror Bound.

Loathsome has been out for nearly a year now, and has garnered several (mostly positive) reviews.With the boom of "indie" writers and book bloggers--some sites which even charge for reviews or advertising--one asks oneself how much these things are worth, especially when most book consumers state word of mouth and author's personality do more to "sell" a book than any amount of reviews or advertising.

While I say I will never pay for a review, I have sent free books (even dead tree editions) to sites/publications/individuals in return for an honest review. Sometimes a review appears a month, two months, maybe more down the road. Sometimes a review never appears.

I've spent almost as much money promoting Loathsome as I've received in royalties. This is not a complaint--Jodi and the rest of the Belfire crew are top notch. This is reality. I can't really afford to spend another dime for my little book to find an audience--at some point, I must rely on the goodly power of word of mouth.Hopefully readers will stumble across me online and find I'm an all right dude.

How much would you spend (in time and/or money) to promote your work? At what point do you feel it is counterproductive (e.g., cuts into your writing time)?


Barry Napier said...

I've made no secrets about it: I loathe the marketing aspects to being self published. Not only do I suck at promotion (case in point, the lackluster response to a current contest I have going on) but the failed efforts take SO much time away from writing.

You on the other hand, sir...I would like to buy your clone-making machine when you are done with it.

Also, be warned, you're getting a rather large mention over at my blog today.

K.C. Shaw said...

Well, I do as little as possible when it comes to everything in my life, from washing dishes to book promotion. It shows in my sales, too (and my sinkful of dirty dishes). Actually, though, I don't think there's a lot an author can do to effectively promote a particular book short of sending out review copies, and I'm firmly of a mind that the publisher should do most of that. Then again, I'm considering changing my middle name to "$0 Royalties," so don't listen to me.

Aaron Polson said...

Barry - The funny thing I've found with marketing: it can be very counterproductive. I'm not worthy of a clone, but thanks. ;)

K.C. - I just received a Paypal payment for $8.88. After fees, that's about enough for McDonalds. The upside of fast food? No dishes.

R. Scott McCoy said...

I feel your pain. I look at it as part of building momentum. I'm not saying you couldn't get a small press book deal with some short story creds, but it helped. Now you get some books with great reviews and it helps to make a deal for the next book. All momentum driving toward a goal of getting a bigger publishing deal. At last that's my goal, while hopefully putting out better and better stories. You're right of course, at this stage, a review has little impact to sales, but 5 years ago I didn't have even one short story credit. Keep on keeping on, you are doing great and really growing as a writer.

Anthony Rapino said...

It depends on how much money I'm potentially making in royalties, but I don't think I'd spend much money, if I'm being honest. On the other hand, I'd spend a good amount of time making sure I get the word out.

Take Uprooted for example. I spent about $2 to print out some bookmarks for my contest, and another $5 to ship the prizes from the contest, but that was about it. All the other marketing was purchased with my time and energy (digital bonus content, twitter/facebook/blog, etc).

For my novel, I may be more proactive with sending out review copies and maybe even buying some ad space. Otherwise, I'm planning on focusing my energies much the way I did with Uprooted: community/social network based contests and word of mouth.

Here's hoping. ;-)

Cate Gardner said...

Excellent review.

I'm about to go down the marketing road with Theatre (bookmarks ordered, electronic ARCs sent - and my publisher is sending out physical ARCs). I probably spent too much on competitions for Strange Men, but I was excited. I think I have a similar viewpoint to Scott wherein at the moment I'm more concerned about getting people interested in my books than hard cash. Although hard cash would be very, very nice.

I'd rather spend more time writing than marketing, but then I'd rather spend more time marketing than playing Mahjong Titans.

James Everington said...

Congratulations on the review, firstly.

It's hard, the promotion, and not enjoyable. Not to me anyway. It would be a bit better if I knew what was effective, but so often you don't know how a review etc. relates to sales - would you have got them anyway? Also it's quite easy sometimes to tell yourself you're 'promoting' when really all you're doing is dicking around on Twitter...

Robert said...

I've come to find a Goodreads giveaway is the best thing. I gave away five copies of The Serial Killer's Wife last month, and five copies of The Dishonored Dead this month. Because of this, over one hundred people added the each book to their to-read shelf. Granted, not every one of them will actually read the books, but because they're active on Goodreads it means they're actual readers, which is a good thing. And even if they don't end up buying/reading the books, at least they encountered them in some way. All that and the cost is the unit price of the paperbacks and postage, maybe less than $30 all said. And yes, sending ebooks to book bloggers is very helpful too. This whole hocking your stuff on message boards to other writers, I think it's a major waste of time for everyone involved.