#indiechat Getting Better Reviews On Your Books

Every author faces the challenge of getting reviews on their books, preferably good ones ( 4 and above). They have a direct impact on sales. The more favorable, more sales and better exposure of the book on Amazon.

However, getting reviews can be a daunting task. Trust me, I know. I sent blind emails to bloggers and Amazon top reviewers. I filled out countless book review blog requests. I begged family and friends for their help (Which ended up being a waste of time, because Amazon blocks those reviews). I bartered with other authors (I review your book, if you review mine.). None of it worked. I got a few reviews that was it.

I finally resorted to using review services like Story Cartel and Netgalley, but several of the reviews I received weren’t that great. Like most writers I internalized and assumed my book sucked. But after I had time to think and put on my User researcher hat and re-read the reviews, I realized the bad reviews had nothing to do with my writing, rather the reviewer.

Majority of the reviewers who gave my book bad reviews weren’t my target audience. They liked to read paranormal romances not dark fantasy’s packed with action and mystery. No wonder why they hated the book. I would feel the same toward most literary fiction. I have no patience for slow paced, overly descriptive stories.

The rest of the bad reviews came from reviewers who like to bash books. You know them. The shock jocks who like to stir up others emotions to increase their blog readers, the pissed off reader who got irked about something in the book or in some cases, life, and take it out on the review.  Lastly, there were the reviewers who just wanted to add another blog article and didn’t bother to read the book at all. (i.e. a reviewer of my book The Zeuorian Awakening talked about how my lead character, Lexi, threw herself on all the boys. If she read the story, she would’ve known Lexi avoided everyone to keep them from figuring out about her powers.)

So I realized in order to get better reviews, I needed to think like a marketer. I needed to request reviews from my target audience. Unfortunately the pay for review services don’t give you the choice to be picky about who reads your books.

But How, you maybe thinking?

First of all you need to know what is your book genre and who is your real audience, because I promise you it’s not everyone.

When I say know your audience, I mean a general profile:

  • What is their age range
  • Are they male or female, if a mix what is the percentage (i.e 25% male and 75% female)
  • Do they have a blog, Twitter, Facebook and/or Goodreads accounts
  • Do they actively socialize online, if so where, how many posts per week and on what days?
  • What genre’s do they predominately read and give good reviews too. (Make sure your book Genre is on their list, specifically close to the top.)
  • Have they reviewed several books? (A must, if you want them to review your book)

The best way to figure out who are your audience without guessing and filling in the blanks, is to do a little competitive research. See who is reading similar books as yours on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and Blogs. (at least 25, but I suggest doing more to get a clear picture). Then list their answers in a spreadsheet and average them out.

For instance:

  • Ages were 25, 36, 29, 45, so the age range is 25 to 45.
  • There were 2 men and 18 women. So the audience makes up mostly women readers with a small percentage of men.
  • 10 readers had blogs, 18 had Twitter accounts, 5 had Facebook accounts and 16 had Goodreads accounts. So the audience predominately has Twitter and Goodreads accounts.
  • 5 readers tweeted 10 posts twice a week on Twitter, 12 tweeted 20 posts every other day of the week and 3 tweeted 1 post on Friday. So the audience is moderately active on Twitter, posting 10 to 20 tweets on M, W, F and Sun.

Next you need to find potential reviewers who match your audience using your research and solicit them. It doesn’t have to be a direct email. It could be:

  • A blog article, a tweet, a Facebook posting targeting them by using meta and hashtags.
  • An article written and posted on someone else’s blog that your audience views.
  • Join a discussion group who discuss your genre, but don’t hound them to review your book. Instead mention it briefly in a related thread.

If you can think of any other way to connect to your audience please share by posting a comment.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

Use Samsung GS7 to design a #Bookcover

I was playing around with my new Samsung Galaxy S7 camera and took some pictures of my roses.

Flower2

With a little Photoshop magic, I created this book cover with the photo I took.

flower cover


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

My Watcher: The Zeuorian On Sale #Fantasy #Ebook

My Watcher: The Zeuorian is now on sale.

Book Overview

For the past two years Lexi avoided everyone at her high school so no one would discover she could read minds and sense danger. She didn’t want another psycho trying to kill her, because they got it in their head she was a monster.

But all that changed on her 17th birthday when she transformed into a total hottie and started developing powers beyond her control.

If that isn’t bad enough, a stranger is following her. She doesn’t know who he is or what he wants, yet he knows all about her abilities and that she’s developing more. And . . . he’s her only hope of understanding why she’s changing and others are after her.

One problem, he could be anyone at her school. With her new appearance, it’ll be a miracle to weed him out amongst her admirers. Still sometimes the truth is worth risking everything to uncover–even your life.

“My Watcher (extended version of Awakening) is a suspenseful, thrilling, fast pace, dark fantasy (paranormal), coming of age, mystery that will take you on a ride. When you think you know who is her Watcher, the author throws you a curve ball. For you romance fanatics, there is a little bit of that in the story too.”

You can purchase it at:

Amazon
Nook
ITunes
Kobo
Smashwords

#fantasychat What’s Your Writing Style?

Every writer has their own style of writing. Some take you down a leisure road through the characters life where you know everything about them, in some cases a little too much. Others go from 0 to 60, spending little time on character background. While the majority are a mix of the two.

Personally I lean more toward the thrillers. I hate reading pages of details or useless backstory. That’s why I wrote My Watcher {The Zeuorian Series) as a dark fantasy thriller.

I wanted the story like one of those crazy roller coasters at a theme park. It starts slow with a straight track. When it’s just about to begin the loop, the car switches direction and it heads down a dark tunnel. As it continues, it switch tracks, thoroughly confusing the riders as to what direction they’ll go until the very end the car swerves and travels up the loop at the beginning of the ride. When the car finally stops, the riders are out of breath and a little dizzy, but they can’t wait to get on it again.

So what is your writing style?


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

Fifty Shades Darker Review

I figure with the pending release of Fifty Shades Darker movie February 2017, I would finally read the book. I bought it after reading the first one, but it didn’t grab me right away so I put it down.

Official Book Overview

Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven, and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront her anger and envy of the women who came before her and make the most important decision of her life.

Erotic, sparkling and suspenseful, Fifty Shades Darker is the irresistibly addictive second part of the Fifty Shades trilogy.

Review

The story begins with Anastasia starting her new job at a small publishing firm. She works under Jack Hyde, who is a little too friendly. She spends most of her time crying since she is a total wreck over her break up with Christian. But it doesn’t last too long. Christian is back in her life and eager to rekindle their romance–a real romance this time: dates and all and away from the red room. Ana is all for it.

However, they are far from a their fairy tale love story. They have to workout their differences sexually and personally.

Christian is hesitant to go back into the red room, because he is terrified Ana will leave him again despite her reassurance it won’t happen. Ana is overwhelmed by Christian’s personal demons of being abused, his distaste for being touched and being bossy. One of Christian’s ex subs gone off the deep end. She bought a gun and sneaking around his house and Ana. Then there is Mrs. Robinson who Ana despises and doesn’t want in Christian’s life, but she won’t leave and Christian won’t let her go either. If that wasn’t bad enough, Jack Hyde tries to force her to have sex with him.

Overall the book wasn’t as good as the first one and rated it 3 out of 5 stars.

There were too many things happening at once, distracting me from the story. Some of it was a little unrealistic and felt as if thrown in the story just to spice it up. With that said, I still enjoyed the chemistry between Ana and Christian. If it wasn’t for that part of the story, I wouldn’t have read past chapter 1.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

Mind Readers Book Review

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Cameron Winters is a freak. Fortunately, no one but her family knows the truth… that Cameron can read minds. For years Cameron has hidden behind a facade of normalcy, warned that there are those who would do her harm. When gorgeous and mysterious Lewis Douglas arrives he destroys everything Cameron has ever believed and tempts her with possibilities of freedom. Determined to embrace her hidden talents, Cameron heads to a secret haven with Lewis; a place where she meets others like her, Mind Readers.

But as Cameron soon finds out some things are too good to be true. When the Mind Readers realize the extent of Cameron’s abilities, they want to use her powers for their own needs. Cameron suddenly finds herself involved in a war in which her idea of what is right and wrong is greatly tested. In the end she’ll be forced to make a choice that will not only threaten her relationship with Lewis, but her very life.


Review

Similar to my book My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) Cameron is gifted with the power of telepathy and people are after her, except she isn’t an alien, but a special human. So you can tell why I read the book: a little research and I like these kind of stories.

The story kept you interested from the very start after the coffee shop blows up. I like how she is struggling with trying to stay hidden and using her power to help others.

However I thought it was a little abrupt and unrealistic Cameron abandon her grandmother and to live with a group of other mind readers. But I understand why she chose that path, because her desire to do good won out.

Overall I liked the story and rate it 4 out of 5 stars.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

Difference between My Watcher and Awakening

If you have been following the Zeuorian Series, you probably noticed I just released two free short stories and My Watcher while Awakening has been pulled from the online book stores.

As part of the up coming launch of the next book Control this fall, I’m offering prequel free short stories and an extended version of Awakening (book 1) to re-spark interest in the series, because it has been a while since the first book has been launched. (Sorry life got in the way. The past year I’ve been sick and so has my 3 year-old son. I swear getting old sucks.)

The Short Stories
Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson and Grim Awakening are the two combined stories in Monster broken out into their own books. (Actually Dangerous Lesson had been published prior to Monster and pulled from the stores for a limited time.)

In addition to those two free stories there will be several other free prequel short stories being posted in the next month. The stories will lead up to book 1 with short scenes from other characters (i.e. Tyler, Everett and others) in the book. However, none of the scenes will spill as to who is her real Watcher, which was still up in the air at the end of book 1 (intentionally).

Upcoming Short Stories Teaser:

Its seems danger is everywhere Lexi discovered after being forced to attend high school, but is it random or because they believe she is a monster for having telepathy.

Awakening Extended Version (My Watcher)

If you read book 1, you are probably wondering what has changed in the book and do I need to buy it?

Well if you don’t have the time or money to pay 2.99, you can skip buying this book and won’t be lost reading Control. For one I plan on briefly explaining story facts in the next book to bring new readers up to speed, if by chance they buy it before My Watcher. (And yes it happens.) However several new scenes have been added to the book and facts that will be referenced throughout the series that might be worth reading. But if you’re not sure, here is a brief list of what had been added to the story:

  • Scenes to explain further Zeuorian history and Lexi’s powers.
  • Scenes to deepen the love story
  • Scenes to deepen secondary characters and give them more backstory as well as make them sound unique and not cliche or flat.
  • Scenes to deepen Angie’s love interest.
  • Final scene with Tyler and his father to introduce his character for Book Hunted and explain in detail Tyler’s actions in book Control.

If you decide to buy the next book great. It will be released on April 8th. You can preorder here:

Amazon
Nook
ITunes
Kobo
Smashwords

Update 4/5/16

Awakening will be exclusively available on Amazon Kindle for those of you who want to read the shorter version.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.