Languishing without comments . . .

According to and the kind advice proffered there as to the best way to market and promote one’s novelistic efforts, I’m doing everything right.

But I sense that I’m stuck, rather. It’s been quite a delight to receive 10 copies of Prequel from Amazon press, all nicely printed and presented, as a final package that you can hold in your hand. Super! All the editing attention seems to have paid off well, in terms of the finished product, the look and heft of it.

My foray into reviewer recruitment via BookSprout had elicited two readers, who however have demurred by inaction on posting their comments/reviews on Amazon. So that’s a bust. Maybe I’d get more by paying, but my experience is not salutary there so far.

The problem is that I can’t promote without reviews, and I can’t seem to elicit reviews!, for example, the pre-eminent promotions site, won’t even look at a novel unless it’s garnered at least two dozen 4* reviews on Amazon.

I’d hoped to elicit comment from local readers, by offering free copies to my initial subscription list of some 74 souls, and download statistics indicate that about 20 folks have taken on the offer. I’ve eagerly accommodated the feedback received, for which I’m deeply grateful, and I’m confident the book is much improved thereby. But no public comment. I’m thinking, people are perplexed, nonplussed, maybe even gobsmacked, and there’s nothing positive that they can say.

I think that the only way to move forward must be to pay for better exposure on BookSprout, to garner more external comment, which might then encourage local readers to add their own. I’m trying, still, to believe in my work! The challenge is, however, that if I now offer free ARCs (advance reviewer copies) out to BookSprout readers, that will effectively invalidate the exclusive contract I have with Kindle Select, which I took out so as to offer free promotions on that platform. Going around in circles here, and I don’t want to be blacklisted by Kindle, now that I’ve got so far along down the road.

Perhaps I shall have to see if I can get out of the Kindle Select contract by terminating that, for the time being, and then pay BookSprout to elicit more (ie, some!) reviews. I can’t see how else to move forward. I’ll check this out, and maybe wait until after the weekend, before I make another move.

This indie trail is not easy, that’s for sure.

[Note on progress: no, it seems I’ve signed up for a Kindle Select term of 90 days, and I can’t see that Kindle will countenance a distribution out to 100 new readers or so during that term, to elicit reviews that aren’t from bona fide validated readers via the Kindle platform. Hmmm, the plot thickens. If I could synch a free offering on Amazon with a BookSprout reader recruitment, that would be very handy. I’ll try to investigate this.. . . but no again, BookSprout is very clear: Kindle Select’s 90 day terms are absolutely exclusive arrangements. I can only recruit readers/reviewers through BookSprout outside of the Kindle Select contract period, which is now set in stone until 29th August.

An alternative would be, I guess, to pay for an advertising campaign on Amazon. I’ll have to investigate this. Live and learn, eh?!]

By Larry Winger

Retired scientist, devoted diarist (, community-minded aspirant novelist, I've lived on a smallholding in the East Allen Valley for the past 30 years, delighting in watching our family grow up, in experiencing the development of our grandsons, and in taking care of our small flock of chickens and garden.

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