How important is a review? In today’s publishing world, especially on Amazon.com and its international sites, a good review (four or five stars) is worth quite a bit. Dozens of them are priceless.
Shock Totem does most of its sales—nearly 400 a month and rising—through Amazon. The bulk of which are digital sales. That’s a great thing, particularly for our authors. Readers are their lifeblood. Ours as well, but while readers keep us afloat on a pride level, we need revenue to sustain us for years to come. Priced at $0.99 (the magazine) and $2.99 (The Wicked), four hundred digital sales comes out to, roughly, $150 a month. We’ll take it. There was a time, after all, when we were making much less.
But each of our issues costs around $1,500 to produce. Upfront, out of pocket. As any business owner will tell you, we’d love to pay for an entire issue using profit from sales. Self-sustaining. That’s the goal.
Now, this post isn’t intended to come off so oh-woe-is-me. We knew all of this going in, and we’re committed to continuing to produce quality fiction in our magazine and other products. But you can help us. Greatly, in fact.
The debut issue of Shock Totem is our biggest seller. Thus far in August, it’s outselling all of our other releases three to one. This is typical for every month. On Amazon, where it matters most, our debut has 21 reviews. That’s twelve more than the closest second, which is issue #2, with nine reviews.
Why does this matter? Because Amazon has a ranking algorithm, among other things, that helps authors sell books. One of the biggest theories, and it’s a good one, is that the more four- and five-star reviews a book has, the more it is shown to potential buyers.
Again, our debut issue has at least a dozen more reviews than any of our other books. Signs point to Yes, the algorithm is real.
So how can you help? By posting reviews of our work. They don’t have to be long or have literary flair; they just need to be honest. (And preferably four or five stars.)
The more our sales increase, the longer we’ll be around. When so many publications are using Kickstarter to fund their projects, we’d like to earn people’s money. So if you’d be so kind, please consider reviewing anything of ours that you have read. We’d be very grateful.
In parting, and this applies to not just our books but any book, please note the difference in ratings between sites.
Three stars on Goodreads is not the same as three stars on Amazon. (There is another theory that any review given with less than four stars on Amazon seriously impacts a book’s rankings—kicks it right into the gutter, in fact. Again, this is a theory, but based on authors’ experience, it’s a good one.) For instance, a two-star review on Goodreads should be a three-star review on Amazon, as both mean it was “okay.” Therefore, a three-star review on Goodreads should be a four-star review on Amazon, which helps the author quite a deal more. Again, in theory.
And finally, thank you! This month marks the four-year anniversary of when John, Nick, and I started Shock Totem. It’s been a hell of a ride so far. Help us keep the wheels on!