I posted stories to free fiction sites on the net for years before I took the plunge and wrote my first novel for monetary gain. On average I've received about one reader review for each hundred accesses of my free stories. From what I've heard that was a pretty good return. I know that my first efforts weren't great, which is why I used a variety of pen names for my early stories. But hey, we all have to learn, and the critiques were invaluable. Still, I've never received a 'bad' review; I'm referring to one where the reviewer suggests you have no talent, or comes right out and tells you the work is god-awful. And it was the laudatory comments that convinced me I might 'make it' in the professional market. Although I've been unable to capture the eye of an agent or publisher, I've pushed ahead and produced nine novels to date. Print versions of my first two books will be distributed soon by a POD publisher, but at present Amazon only sells the Kindle versions.
Okay, that's the history. Here's the substance of this posting. Only one of my two Kindle stories has received a reader review. That review appeared several weeks ago. Since then I've sold two more copies, bringing the total sales for that book (available since August) to nine. Both my novels sell here for $9.99, so I'm certainly not giving my work away. Since the reviewer gave me five stars, I tend to believe that it may have been a deciding factor in the selection by other purchasers, although word-of-mouth recommendations may have been responsible. I'm certain that good reviews increase sales, but I've been wondering what the experiences of other Kindle novelists have been regarding reviews. I'm referring to novelists who have only published electronic versions of their work. Since people are paying cash money for the book, there is probably less motivation to post a comment than there would be for a free story where some people consider it part of the price for reading the story.
So how many reviews do you receive per X Kindle sales of a book? Please, no comments by authors of non-fiction, people who publish the work of others, including reprints of public-domain works, or authors who have had books in print for a considerable time and so have a fan following even if they are new to Kindle. Because of the limitations that I'm placing on the respondents, I may not garner a single response, but curiosity dictates that I post the question.
I received many negative reviews when I first started posting, mainly from people who hadn't actually read my work but hoped to discourage me and make me feel as miserable as they did. Not one comment was of use. I've also noted on these author's groups that even the most poorly written crap will garner positive reviews.
Any road, back to your original query. I publish both fiction and non-fiction. The non-fiction (from major publishers) gathers about one review per 1000 copies sold. The novella/novel fiction (over 100 copies sold)at prices from $1.99 to $7.99 has so far yielded only a single review as part of an exchange program.
I don't know how to market without spending big money. I had to pay for Kirkus Discoveries to review Roll Call by Glenn Langohr. They are a New York Review known as the toughest book critic and they are highly respected. Some other big names like Steven Banks the creator of Sponge Bob Square Pants and the American Media have given me great reviews for free...How can I market this effectively and garner more reviews faster and free? Thank you! http://www.lockdownpublishing.com
I remember writing that post, but just barely. (lol) That was a long time ago. The Kindle program was still in its infancy in 2008.
The rules here on Amazon have changed since I got my start, but it's still possible to do much of what I did. I would join conversations in the reader forums and after a few posts I would let it drop that I was an author. Since I was an unknown, someone would invariably ask what I had written. That was my opening to offer a two or three sentence reply about my work. Since the information was requested, and I kept my reply short, no one ever complained about the brief selling effort. But keep the reply PITHY. If no one asked, I didn't press the issue. I would simply move to another forum discussion and join in. This is not the shotgun approach that some authors employ and the reason that author announcements have been banned from the reader area, but it was highly effective for me.
You can also join other web sites that cater to your genre. Everybody joins the author sites, and that's not a bad thing. I've picked up a lot of valuable information at author sites, but they never seemed to result in any sales. Join the discussions at the sites where they discuss your type of books.
Make sure that you have a website. If you don't, you're missing a great and inexpensive means to reach readers. It's like Amazon in that it works for you 24 hours a day. A website can be had for less than ten dollars a month. There are even sites that offer free websites. You'll have to set it up yourself, but many sites offer templates where all you do is fill in the information. Or for a custom site, you can hire someone to set it up. There are probably kids in your neighborhood who will do it on the cheap.
Send out press releases; it doesn't cost a penny. Or put up flyers at your local library. Buy a few dozen books printed through Create Space and offer local stores an opportunity to host a signing. Do the same thing at flea markets. You'll be surprised how much attention you'll get at a flea market where folks are expecting to spend hours just perusing the offering.
There's a lot you can do without spending much money, but it all involves work. I've established my name now, and I don't even glance at the reviews anymore except when I publish a new book, but I make myself available to readers through my website. My readers are an unpaid sales force and I cultivate that avenue constantly.
There are a LOT of special-interest email and Facebook groups. If you are writing a book, you may come across them in the course of your research (I write mostly non-fiction, so there IS research). Join them. Ask questions, post excerpts and images if there are any.
I have just discovered, and am flailing at, a Facebook Page--not the personal profile, which I've had for a while, but a professional Page which can be viewed by anyone. A profile has Friends, but a Page has Fans. Get 25 Fans (or Likes) and you can get a catchy name for your author Page. Tie this in with your website and your email list / Facebook memberships.
I've even got people correcting my excerpts! Now that's a great asset, free and knowledgeable proofreaders!
I only have 13 Likes. The gal who posted here and who drew my attention to Pages has something like 13,000. Stephen King has like 13 million. Well, we start small and work up. Thirteen is better than none
I'm flailing around on that facebook also...my email is firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.lockdownpublishing.com I like the idea of helping each other with the likes and other experience. Good marketing...