A while ago I I conducted an experiment . I gave away my novel The Antique Love for free, for a limited period, through a website called Story Cartel. Anyone who downloaded the novel was encouraged to leave a review, and if they did, they were entered into a draw for a prize – one of three $10 Amazon vouchers.
This month I’m giving away my contemporary romance The Silk Romance on the same website. ( Please note the novel will only be available free until 4th Feb 2014 – so please download now if you’d like a copy!)
So why am I giving my romance novel away for free again? Well, here are ten reasons:
1. My first experiment with Story Cartel was a success. I got 120 downloads, which isn’t a massive amount to some, but it’s 120 new to me readers, and any exposure is good for a new author.
2. Out of those 120 downloads, I gained twenty five more reviews on Amazon. (The more reviews you have on Amazon, the more your novel will be favoured by their algorithms.)
3. Other readers have told me they’ve received emails from Amazon with The Antique Love as a suggested read. I feel sure Amazon are promoting the novel because of the extra reviews.
4. Of course I have no control over what readers write about the novel, but I’m thrilled to say that reviews for The Antique Love were overwhelmingly positive. In fact one reviewer called it “the best romance I’ve read in a long while“, which – apart from making me dance with joy! – made me feel more confident about offering The Silk Romance for free this year.
5. By offering my novels free to reviewers, I get to find out what readers think. Readers’ comments are really important to me – more so than those of agents or publishers – and reviews are an excellent way to find out what people are saying.
6. Reviews influence other readers. If people see that your book has a lot of reviews – good or bad – they are more likely to buy it to find out what all the fuss is about.
7. Ditto with agents and publishers. I have another novel nearing completion, and will be looking for a publisher. If agents/publishers see that my previous novels have a lot of reviews, and that I have a readership, they are more likely to look at my manuscript.
8. Reviews have influenced my present writing. I have read more than one comment on my present novels that suggests the reader liked them so much they wanted them to be longer. (eg “I wanted more!” and “I didn’t want it to end.”) So now I’ve had a go at writing a longer romance (be warned!)
9. By giving my novel away on Story Cartel, a flurry of reviews came in at once. From a personal point of view, this was heartening and, again, increased my confidence.
10. The Silk Romance will be up for a new writers’ award later in 2014. Whether it wins or not, the award will mean publicity, and more reviews will give the novel more credibility.
So, that’s why I’m offering The Silk Romance for free. As I mentioned, it’s for a limited period only, so if you’d like a free copy, please download now to avoid disappointment :)
Do you read reviews, and do they influence you to buy a book? Would you try an unkown author based on other readers’ reviews?
If you have any comments at all, I’d love to hear from you!