Any author can tell you that writing a book is hard. Really, really hard. You spend months and months isolated from your family and friends, grafting at a computer, fighting both self-doubt and sleepless nights, only to come through it all with something you love and cherish: a piece of work that you are proud to call your own. As author’s, we don’t let adversity put us off. We embrace it. Challenge is part of the journey.
And so, with your book in hand, you pick yourself up and move on to the next phase of your plan: marketing yourself and your book.
Marketing is an unfortunate and time-consuming part of any writer’s career. Even best-selling authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have to promote themselves at events and interviews, despite having large teams who can do a lot of the work for them. Whether you are traditionally published or self-published, few of us have the resources and platforms at their fingertips that they do, and our marketing methods are often much more low-key and delivered on a strict budget. Any author needs to be prepared to spend even more hours at their desk, contributing to forums, posting on social media, and trying your hardest to engage with anyone who will listen.
And the reward at the end of all that? Well, don’t get me started. This is the moment where many battered and bruised authors hang up their hats and head off to search for an easier career, leaving Twitter accounts inactive and promising future stories never written onto the page. It’s sad to see, but that’s the reality.
One of the reasons which authors attribute to why their books didn’t take off the way they hoped is down to the lack of reviews. Reviews drive sales, and sales drive reviews, but without either its a never-ending cycle that is hard to escape from. It feels like a desperate rat-race asking people to leave reviews of the books they read, and although major sites like Amazon may carry our stories, they have little incentive to help us when competition amongst authors is so stiff. Without reviews, it is hard for unknown authors to break out from amongst these ranks.
As consumers, we make a lot of our purchasing decisions based upon what those five little golden stars tell us. We hold the score and the words written by complete strangers in equal value to a recommendation by a family member or a friend. Reviews are everything for authors, so if that is the case, then why is it so hard to get them?
How can BookRoar help authors?
At BookRoar, we decided to try and solve the problems surrounding book reviews. As authors ourselves, we’ve plunged a small fortune in the tried and tested methods of marketing, such as paid reviews (grrr…) and distribution lists, and more often than not our campaigns fail and leave us out of pocket.
Which is why we created BookRoar.
BookRoar is a service where authors can generate reviews on Amazon and Goodreads through reading and reviewing books by other authors. It works on a Credit-based system where authors build Credits by reading books, and in turn their books are offered out for review. It’s a simple process that allows our members to organically generate reviews over time, and in turn helps them with the promotion of their books.
We pride ourselves on getting our users credible feedback in the form of truthful and honest reviews, and regardless of what happens in the future, we always plan to keep the cost low. We believe that no-one should spend a fortune to get reviewed.
Using BookRoar as a Marketing Tool
We’ve canvassed our current user base of authors and asked them a simple question: how are you using BookRoar to help you in your writing career? The response we had was overwhelming, and it was interesting to see how people have developed their own strategies for success.
Here are a few ways our members are using BookRoar as part of their marketing strategy. Some may be useful for you.
The Grafter may only have a couple of books under their belts, but they love their works and are taking their time to help them grow. They have a long-term vision of where they want their books to go and understand that getting reviews is critical in gaining them the attention and recognition they deserve.
The Grafter is in no rush. They use BookRoar to earn Credits, and then put those Credits back into their books so that their reviews build up over time. They are going at their own pace and enjoying the process, and understand that the promotion of a book is a marathon, not a sprint.
This strategy is effective for those who find themselves on a writing hiatus for whatever reason, whether it be family-related, work-related, or to combat that dreaded burnout which all authors face at some point in their career. It’s low pressure and can be done at a leisurely pace, which is perfect for those trying to grow their brand organically.
The Back-Catalogue Builder
The Back-Catalogue Builders are seasoned authors with a number of titles under their belts. They have learnt the craft and honed their skills, and are now seeking a larger audience for their next release, whether that be through self-publishing or trying to catch the eye of an elusive agent.
The Back-Catalogue Builder knows that reviews of their prior works are instrumental in helping them be seen as a brand and as a highly-regarded author. Similar to The Grafter, The Back-Catalogue Builder will earn Credits over time and distribute them amongst their existing works, and then, when the time comes to seek out an agent or to announce their latest release, they have a solid foundation on which to stand upon.
This strategy is useful for those who want to take their career to the next level. The Back-Catalogue Builders have weathered all the previous storms and know that nothing is going to stand in the way of their goals. They are prepared for what comes next, and are making sure that their books are ready too.
The Book Launcher
The Book Launcher wants to come out fighting. They are the new kids on the block, the determined authors with a point to prove, and they want their book to burst onto the scene all guns-blazing. Whether it’s their first book or the fifth, The Book Launcher wants their voice to be heard, and they are more than ready for success.
The Book Launcher spends time building up a large amount of Credits and stores them in their BookRoar account. Then, when the desired number of Credits or a certain date is reached, they plunge all those Credits into the book they want reviewed. Combining this with a free promotion or a heavy discount, other BookRoar users will snap up these books, earning the author sales and the promise of reviews within three weeks. The increase in sales and reviews means that the book will shoot up Amazon’s rankings, with the hope that the book will gain traction and attention from other Amazon shoppers.
This strategy is useful for those who want to reach the lofty heights that are unattainable to many authors. It should be carefully planned alongside a large marketing drive, and we suggest using this strategy in conjunction with other marketing tactics, such as e-mail blasts and social media promotion. Users can even build Credits long in advance whilst waiting for things like editing, formatting and cover design to be completed.
Whether you are new to BookRoar or have been with us a while, we hope this article has given you some ideas on how you can use us in your writing career. We hope that you see BookRoar as an effective tool to get reviews, and that you will be with us for a long, long while. So make yourself a coffee, pull out your Kindle, and get reviewing. We’ll be here to help you build your writing empire.
(BookRoar is currently free to use but paid options are available. The website is subject to constant development based on user feedback and new features are added regularly).