Do Book Covers, Reviews, & Ratings Matter To You?

Are there days when you feel like you’re the struggling artist or writer?

Can't get up!

Do you sometimes feel like a younger version of Edgar Allan Poe? Are you a Nobody, who’s unloved and unknown?

Are you the one who believes you’ll die penniless before you became a famous anything?  Actually, there’s a list of artists and writers who died poor and were unknown for many years, until after their deaths.

Well, to those who are new…

All the world's a stage

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF THE STRUGGLING WRITER!

Our lives are similar to the plays of Greek Tragedies. If Socrates and Shakespeare were ever alive today, you can guarantee they’d love to write about how many times you’ve failed.

I surrender!Whether you’re a writer trying to get published or a self-published writer trying to sell your accursed book, we writers go through so much crap in our lives it’s amazing how some of us are still alive. There will be days (trust me when I say this!) when you feel as though you should just shoot yourself in the face and quit while you’re ahead. Some of us do quit. Others continue their passion despite all odds, even if they risk losing everything: their jobs, their money, their friends and family… their lives.

That’s the path we’ve chosen. No one said it was going to be a cake walk for us; however, we kept our dreams alive and persisted as best as we could. Some of us make it… and some of us don’t. Let’s just be honest here. A lot of writers never make it. That’s the nature of the game. There will be winners and losers––always!

So, I’m here to tell you something important.  Don’t give up! Keep your dreams alive. If you want an example of how bad it’s gotten, just look at me. I still haven’t been able to get my ratings up for my book Nightmarish Reality.  Still no reviews on Amazon. Don’t know if that’s really good or bad. I believe I’m now in the 3 million range––I’ve lost count. I’ve only sold a few books so far, both e-books and paperbacks. More paperbacks have been sold than e-books, which isn’t too bad. Am I proof that you can’t make a living off writing? You betcha! I’m still looking for a job to pay off my remaining bills.

Luckily, I have family members to help support me, but I’m not a millionaire folks. Which brings me to the question of why people keep asking me for advice. Can you please ask another writer who’s––um… let’s see… more successful than me to help you with all your publishing needs? I can give some people advice on a few things to help them on their way, but I’m no publishing whiz. If I was, I’d probably be laughing all the way to the bank, don’t you think? But I’m not. We’re practically in the same boat.

Actually, I’d have to say that I’m maybe one baby step ahead with some experience, but when it comes down to selling––yeah, I’m clueless. Please, don’t ask me how I can sell your book. Email someone else. Marketing has been a major issue for me, since many places I’ve gone to will not allow me to talk to people directly. Something about areas considered free zones, where promoting anything can get you kicked out. Went to my own colleges and universities hoping to promote my novel, but they want nothing to do with me. It’s a shame really. The only thing I can think of is the newspaper and the library… I have several online, networking sites, but nothing beats having a PR Agent to do all the work for you. I blog––yeah, that’s a lost cause.

If I find a decent job someday, that’s what I’m going to save all my money on next time. PR Agents, man! If they can sell the Pet Rock, they can sell my book. My funds are so low and practically nonexistent. What’s left in the bank is to pay off all my bills. Not to mention, getting people to review the book is another headache. I don’t have enough money to just hand out several free books to people. Don’t have the money and time to buy a book or read other people’s book, exchanging reviews with them. Don’t have the money to even buy me reviews! Not that I would want to anyway, due to the controversy surrounding bought reviews… Anyway, let’s talk about the topic at hand.

DO BOOK COVERS, REVIEWS, & RATINGS MATTER TO YOU?

Cool Shades

Frankly, I don’t give a damn… but it all just depends…

  1. The Cover –  I don’t often judge a book by its cover… unless it’s done so poorly that it hurts my eyes to even look at it. However, I do have a problem with about 80% of erotica covers, where there’s scantily clad men or naked women on the front cover. Buying your book and reading it around the house will be embarrassing enough for some of these folks, but buying the paperback book and taking it outside is like saying “Please, stab me now!” I can’t imagine ever buying erotica, because I’d never want to be caught dead carrying around some of these graphic images. I don’t know why many of these authors don’t go for the more unexposed looking book cover versions. *Cough cough* Look at Fifty Shades… random stock image of a tie. Yes, I know we writers are poor. I’m sorry, really I am to those who have no money. I feel your pain. But if you have stick people on your front cover, please reconsider hiring a professional.
  2. The Description – If I read a book’s description and it sounds interesting, I will buy it. No matter what. If the story sounds like it’s a keeper (one with a strong hook), then no one can change my mind as to why I shouldn’t be reading this book. I don’t care about ratings and reviews if someone wrote a description that knocks my socks off. If an author’s summary is not so hot, then I might question it a little, especially ones that have “It’s like star wars and star trek but different….” Yeah, if you have to tell your readers that. Then, that’s a bad omen already.
  3. The Reviews: Good or Bad – I always read negative reviews, before reading the positive ones. Please don’t judge me. I love all my self-publishing buddies, I really do, but I have a tendency to read the negative reviews first. WHY? Because, I want to see if there are some negative reviews that have valid points/information about characters, plot, pacing, and so on. Negative feedback is just as important as positive. However, I know the difference between a flamer and a reviewer. It’s called constructive criticism. If a reviewer says, “Omg! I luv this book!” that doesn’t really help me when I’m trying to evaluate whether or not I should spend my hard-earned cash on this book.  Likewise, anyone saying the total opposite, “This book sucks!” doesn’t help me either. 😐 I look for reviewers both negative and positive, who spend effort and a lot of their time writing well-written reviews. I like honest reviewers who tell me both cons and pros to a book.
  4. Ratings Are Just Numbers – It doesn’t matter how many ratings a book has. To me, it’s just a number. On Amazon, there are thousands of books being published a day, so they keep everything in lists to keep track of everything. This is one I could care less about actually. It doesn’t matter to me if your book is #1 NY Bestseller or not. The more popular your book is… isn’t going to make me run to the store, buy it, and read it the same day. It’s all about if this book speaks to me, by reading the free sample content and the description. I don’t follow trends at all. Not a follower! Not a mindless reading zombie! I even don’t follow word of mouth sometimes. What my friends love to read, I tend to hate to the end of time. My favorite books I love to read, my friends hate with a passion. So, it’s really a matter of different people’s opinions. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences, so why force it?
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