Friday, December 04, 2015

Get A Gift, Give A Review

In the past, giving away free ARCs of books has helped get some attention for our books. As a very small publisher, Newcastlewest Books does not have the financial power to run big marketing campaigns, so putting a few books in the hands of readers is an affordable way to market our offerings.

Here it is, we go, read it and tell your friends how much you enjoyed it. Maybe they'll buy a paperback or an e-book, and tell their friends. That's how word of mouth buzz is generated.

With SAINTS OF THE NEW IRISH KITCHEN ready to be born, we offered the copies well in advance, using the free book giveaway function provided by Goodreads. Goodreads, in return, selected the winners from the long list of entrants and our office manager made sure that the copies were sent off to the winners.

So how does Goodreads select those lucky recipients?

Of the five readers who entered, most have never given either a rating or a review.

For a publisher, it's a waste of time, effort and money. The book was given away in the expectation that the person getting it would read it, add it to their list of books, and then give, at the least, a rating.

If the person getting the gift does not give a review, what is the point?

Goodreads is owned by Amazon, of course, and you'd have to wonder if their so-called 'algorithm' is skewed. The more ratings a book receives, the higher it climbs on Amazon's site, and when you're trying to get the attention of readers overwhelmed with choices, you want to get up there in higher echelons of the search results.

Sean Gleason's debut novel may not have been something that the entrants wanted to read. Maybe some people just want free books that they can turn around and sell to a second-hand shop. Once the book leaves the office, the recipient is free to do what they like with it, of course, but can a person not at least offer up a polite thanks for the gift?

And that has been the rant du jour. Five more copies are going out to another batch of readers, the majority of whom are in Canada or Great Britain. Maybe we'll get a review or two there. At least that's what we are hoping for as we try to get our novels in front of a few eyeballs and provide a little entertainment for those who like their prose.

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