Finding Holes

Happy Wednesday, Scriber-ettes,

I wanted to talk today about finding holes. No, not those kinds of holes (get your mind out of the gutter). Holes in a plan. Whether you are plotting a story, running a business or forming your marketing plan, you must, if you want to succeed, look for holes.  Earlier last week, I saw a hole in my business, MARKET OR DIE AUTHOR SERVICES. It became apparent just how large the whole was when a client released a book with little to no fan-fare reviews.

Being debut is tough, being debut and not getting read is tougher. I felt really bad about it, too. It’s a good book and if it wouldn’t have looked so obvious, I’d have reviewed it myself. But, since a lot of our industry knows about MODAS, I could not.

So, what’s a publicity firm to do? Recruit Reviewers. I mean, we have everything else: blog tours, market analysis, press services, advertising consultation, brand management. It was the hole we were missing, on staff reviewers. So, why not get started?

To qualify as a reviewer, the reader had to read at a minimum of one book per week. Also, they knew they were doing this for free to help MODAS authors gain a wider readership. So, a kind heart had to play into the job requirement. Also, they had to read all subgenres of romance.

Within a week, via social media, I recruited 25 MODAS reviewers who will have access to ARCs and join me in creating buzz about new releases.

So, tell me. How in your own (life, book, business) do you go about finding holes and filling them? 





6 thoughts on “Finding Holes”

  1. I’m with Harley. I don’t find the holes until its too late. I often don’t even recognize them until I’ve fallen into them two or three times. Not sure what that says about me, but maybe I either need glasses or an upgrade in my IQ. Mostly what it tells me is that there are too many moving parts to this gig for one person to see it all, do it all, or manage it all effectively. Stuff gets by us–even large gaping holes.

    Reviewers are tough to nail down and so important for the success of our books. I have trouble getting folks who’ve already read my books to write reviews. Soliciting them before the book launch is doubly hard when the final copy isn’t done until just days before a release for most indies. ARCs aren’t really an option unless you delay release for a a month or two–which for most of us doesn’t work because we set our deadlines so close to release date. The other issue is the huge time suck of researching and contacting reviewers. Do they read indie, dystopian, YA, how long might it take? I’ve contacted as many as thirty review sites for some of my books and gotten maybe 6-10 reviews from ten to fifteen hours of work. It’s a terribly frustrating process and a hole that gets shoved to the bottom of my list to fill. Ironically, when I do a free promotion, I tend to get lots of unsolicited reviews–mostly good so far, but it’s a crap shoot because readers devalue free books and tend to be more critical. I did hire The Book Rooster for about $68 to ensure me at least 10 reviews for Waning Moon. That was two months ago and I’ve had exactly three new reviews posted.

    If you’ve got a better way, I’d love to hear it!

    1. In my almost 9 months doing publicity for authors I’ve learned the many distinct differences between indies and trads. Whereas indies don’t have much time between finished manuscript and release as trads do because they are so tightly scheduled. I would recommend following the traditional model when it comes to review by releasing ARC’s prior to release. Why? It works. It gives the reviewers the needed time to read the book and solidly review it.

      I have an indie client and I am asking her to produce an ARC prior to release. Did she freak when I asked her to do this? Yes. Is she going to have to change the way she works in order to grow her readership? Yes.

  2. WOW! Surprise, surprise. I am not there yet, so this is all news to me. Jen, I was not sure I understood what you meant or mean by holes. A lack of reviews? Do you really have any control in that area. Or are you talking about prior critiques to find holes? Holes, where, what, when?

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