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11/22/2009

Do Book Reviews Sell Books?

There's been a lot of debate on the subject of book reviews and whether or not they help sell books. What I've discovered since Where the Dreams End was published in August is, yes they do, and no they don't.

I'll try to explain. Positive publicity can help sell books. Hey, maybe negative publicity does as well, but I haven't been arrested or publicly humiliated since I had a book to sell, so I can speak to that, but the positive publicity I've received so far has sold books. I had an outstanding write up in my local paper the weekend of my book launch and mentioned the local stores that were carrying the book. They sold out and ordered more. I had friends and acquaintances call after they read the story and ask where they could purchase copies. Over the course of the week that the story appeared in the Fulton Sun. I sold over fifty copies. 

I had a book signing at the West Feliciana Parish Library in St. Francisville, LA. Milly Morgan and the library did a wonderful job promoting the event. There were articles in the local newspaper both before and after the signing. Over the course of that week I sold over fifty copies.

Okay, you say, so positive publicity sells books, but you started off this blog by talking about book reviews. So do book reviews sell books? 

Like I said at the beginning, yes, and no at least so far.

I had a wonderful book review at Red Adept's Kindle Book Review Blog. Since that review posted I've sold almost forty copies of the kindle edition of Where the Dreams End and two copies of my short story collection Nine Kinds of Trouble. So, yes, book reviews do sell books. But, since that review, I haven't sold any paper copies. So, no, book reviews do not sell books. I would imagine if I could land a review in the NY Times or one of the other giant book review sites, I would see sales that I could track back to those reviews, but right now, I don't have any print reviews to compare to the internet type.

For a new author, especially one with a small publisher, getting your name out there is the hardest thing to do. I've had very little time to devote to promotion since my book came out in August, but Dreams is starting to grow legs and take some baby steps. I can say with all honesty that I no longer have family ties or close relationships to everyone that has bought my book. Isn't that cool? People I don't know, have never met, may never meet, have purchase my book and read it. I think that may be the most awesome thing of all. 

Within the next couple of weeks, my time will once again become my own and I can devote my resources to promoting Where the Dreams End. In book promotion, you kind of throw out the ideas and hope something sticks. I'll keep track of my ideas, track my sales and report back on the results. If you have any great ideas, or cool ideas that you've used successfully and would like to share, drop a line in the comments section. I'll draw a name from the comments and the lucky winner will get a signed and numbered limited edition hardback copy of Where the Dreams End, so jump in with your ideas. I'll announce the winner on Monday November 30th. If you already have a copy of Dreams, go ahead and enter, books make lovely Christmas gifts.

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Wow! Sounds like you don't need any advice, just more free time to do book signings! Where the Dreams End is a great mystery and will do well on its own. But I've noticed at the library that often the first book in a series becomes a new hit, when readers discover the second or the third featuring the same character...

I hope you're right, Carolyn. I think Dreams will grow as the series grows. I hope so anyway.

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