August 29, 2016

The Real Value of Your Book Review

I'd bet every single one of you has—at least once—seen an author share a graphic reminding readers about how review numbers play into our success. Each image mentions visibility of a book and the importance of this new version of word of mouth, and most mention the selectivity of Amazon's algorithm.
    As an aside, some vastly more experienced authors claim there in fact is no magic number of reviews that makes Amazon care more about your book when it comes to including it in "also bought" or "similar product" recommendations. So, who knows.

Some graphics, like the one below from, also try to educate readers about the reality of being an author. No, we're not all best-selling gazillionaires. (I know: you're shocked!)

There are entire businesses built around helping authors get more reviews, because we've all had it drilled into us that reviews are the only way to save yourself from being swept into obscurity by the ocean of (e)books.

But one of the things that is rarely included (though Tall Poppies did touch upon it—go them) is how important reviews are to an author as a person and not just a business. Yes, reviews help authors be considered for competitive ad placements like BookBub, and they might affect how/when Amazon shows our books, but in reality, they're so much more than that, as I was reminded late last week. 

Lately, I've been battling discouragement (to put it mildly), and trying to decide if pushing forward was nothing more than falling into the trap of the sunk cost fallacy. I'm still not sure what the right answer is, but a fantastic review for Tasting Temptation from BiblioManiac could not have been better timed, reminding me that my stories do impact people in a positive way; that, just maybe, they are worth reading. The review was so wonderful, I have a hard time choosing a snippet from it to quote! Is it any wonder, with lines like:
"This story is emotionally gripping and explosive."  Or: 
"I love Gina. Despite everything she's gone through, she really is a fighter and doesn't ever stop. She's brave and strong, and someone I strive to be."
Seriously, after reading Emma's review, even I'm sold on on this book! ;-)

So yes, please, if you've read a book, leave a review. And it's true, the numbers don't care whether you loved or hated the book, or how many words there are in your review as long as it exists. 

But if you've enjoyed a book, then all of this applies to you even more so. Not because we only want positive reviews, but because authors are people, and sometimes we need a reminder that this whole putting-our-work-out-there thing is worthwhile.

Other Important Tidbits:

August 22, 2016

Mortal Musings's 1-Year Anniversary Extravaganza!

Mortal Musings cover

As of Thursday, Mortal Musings will have been out in the world for an entire year! It still hasn't sunk in. 

When I first decided to publish this book independently, turning down several traditional offers, I knew I was taking a huge risk. But now, Mortal Musings is a 2016 Booksellers' Best Award Finalist—and a reader favorite. Just take a look at these lovely reader comments:
"Adorable and genuine love story between truly endearing characters. Their romance was so earnest that I couldn't stop smiling the entire time I read it." —Kris B.
    "A very enjoyable read from start to finish. It’s beautifully and intelligently written, gently developed with a nice degree of whimsicality and sensuality."
    "I really enjoyed this book! I read it from cover to cover in one sitting, couldn't put it down. Very fun, lighthearted read that left me happy—the end was totally satisfying, even though part of me also didn't want to ever end."
    "Allie and Brett are captivating and their chemistry is magnetic. The story is sweet, magical, and marvelously twisty. “Mortal Musings” is a short Romance so the writing is tight and the angsty introspection is blissfully minimal while the character development is plentiful. In short, “Mortal Musings” was short, sweet, and steamy!" 

August 16, 2016

I'm Back!

I'm back! Sorry for disappearing without notice—I'd planned to write a quick post, letting you all know that I was merely heading out of the country, not truly disappearing, but of course, as usual lately, life got in the way (packing, friends visiting (yay!), wrapping up work, etc.).

Stressful as wrapping everything up under a very strict deadline was (and don't even get me started on the disasters of traveling on the way there!) this trip truly came at a great time. I spent two full weeks genuinely not working, and usually not even thinking about work. The freedom from social media and worrying about marketing or deadlines—enforced by a lack of internet access—was incredible, and in many ways eye-opening.

I read eight full books, and the beginnings of two more! Two of them were by the fantastic Susan Elizabeth Phillips, one of my favorite authors ever since I first discovered romance. A few were by new-to-me authors, Nalini Singh and Anna Elliott, with a couple more by Laurell K Hamilton. I can't say I loved every book I read, but I loved being able to spend that much time reading—among sight seeing, engaging lectures on art & artists, and plenty of family time.

I also watched at least 5 movies on the plane rides (definitely more, but I only remember one during my flight there, which can't possibly be right). It was almost like coming out of a haze of work and catching up on what was happening in the rest of the world—while simultaneously being completely separate from that world.

I did miss the Olympics, which I am pretty bummed about, especially since I don't have cable in ay form at home and so can't watch the replays on NBC (boo).

Now that I'm back, of course I'm focusing full-force on the celebration for the 1-year anniversary of Mortal Musings, which is next week! I have lots of fun in store, and I hope you'll come celebrate with me. You can get a head start by joining my newsletter so that you'll be the first to know about everything going on. (And because I can't keep a secret, I can tell you there'll be a special giveaway open only to newsletter subscribers!)