Well, one thing I'm learning is that there really isn't any easy way to get your self-published book to sell itself. You have to do the work or it doesn't happen. And part of what you need is reviews on sites like Amazon. People are more willing to buy books other people have read, and liked.
When I published the first Jute book, I sent the following email to about 20 people I know. Feel free to read it, but the gist is that I asked for a review on Amazon in exchange for a favor I'd owe as well as an offer to "pay it forward" - where I would volunteer one hour for each review over 10 that I received. I'm up to _7_ reviews, so maybe I will end up doing some community service soon. Fingers crossed!
As you may know, I've been writing novels for a while* as part of National Novel Writing Month - or nanowrimo. What you may not know is that I've finally gotten around to publishing one of them. And if you're reading this, you helped me at some point along the way. Maybe it was a kind word, maybe it was inspiration. Maybe you read a draft, offered advice, or wrote something that I found helpful. Maybe you replied to an email, answered the phone, visited my blog, or shot me a friendly smile when I needed one.
Yes, I finally published the first of the three Jute books I wrote for my daughters. It's aimed at kids in 4th - 8th grade, especially the smart ones.
I published it first for Kindle and in paperback up on Amazon.
BUT! I'm not writing to ask you to buy it.**
Rather, even though you've already done so much for me, I'm writing today to ask a favor.
A friend and self-published author gave me some advice. He said that the key to success at my level is to get as many reviews on Amazon as possible. That's what helps get the ball rolling. And a good first goal is ten reviews. They don't all have to be 5 stars but hopefully there aren't any at 1 star either...
So I'm writing to you to ask if you might want to review the book. No pressure! If you're busy or not interested, or didn't like the draft you read I completely understand. You're still awesome and I still thank you for everything you have done for me. Seriously, thank you so much!
And if you do have time to post a review at Amazon (or elsewhere!) I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you want a review copy, let me know and I'll send you one. This means so much to me. Also, you look great today!
But that's not all. How could it be? Your time and energy is valuable. It has weight and heft. It's not like you just go throwing that stuff about willy-nilly! And if you're willing to help me push forward... If you're willing to shove me out of the comfort of my nest, baby bird style, so I can learn to fly... If you're willing to lend me your hand, I will do my best to repay you.
I will owe you a favor.
Maybe you need a dog walked? Maybe you need a recommendation? Maybe you need help out in the yard. That lawn need mowin'? I'm your guy. Need someone to proofread something you're writing? You got it. Need a lift to work? Or home from a bar/restaurant/party/etc.? Done. And if I can't be there in person to help you, I'll do what I can from here via the magic of the Internet. Likes? Retweets? By the bucketload! Back your Kickstarter? Backed!
But wait. Sure, there's a little something in it for you and for me. But now you're thinking bigger. Now you're asking "What's in it for everyone else, Garrett? What's in it for humanity?"
Want me to pay it forward? I can do that!
I will donate one hour of my time to a charity (Second Harvest Food bank, for example) for each review I get. That's right, I'm putting my money where my mouth/Internet ravings is/are. I'll cap it at 40 hours (ha!) for now, and I'll post/blog/whatever about what I do so you can have a little extra bounce in your step knowing you helped the needy just by posting a quick review on Amazon.
So, let's recap. I published a book. You helped me before, somehow. I'm asking for a bit more help, and in return, I'm offering:
- My sincere thanks!
- A favor to be named by you and repaid later (but within reason/bounds of law/etc.)...
- Hours of my time donated to charity for the betterment of humankind!
* Since 2005
** I mean, I wouldn't try to talk you out of it or anything...