Saturday, December 27, 2014

To Pay or Not to Pay… Should you pay for book reviews?


Should you pay for book reviews?

James Ventrillo is the president of, the fastest growing book review and book award contest on the internet:

"I have read and heard many arguments regarding paid reviews, most of which revolve around the honesty of the review. But that argument does not belong in this debate. Paying or not paying for a review is about turnaround time and name recognition, integrity is not relevant to the discussion. Why, you ask? Because you should not be dealing with a disreputable review company in the first place. If you can’t definitively say the company is reputable then there is no point in getting any review from them, paid or otherwise. So once you pass this hurdle then paying for a review is no longer about the integrity of the review, just its cost/value ratio: how much you are paying for the review vs. the value it will have to you and your marketing.
"Remember, negative reviews can be just as beneficial to an author as a positive one, as long as they are not posted publicly. So before you request any review, make sure you can decide if it will be made public, or at the very least, whether the reviewer will post negative reviews. Reputable review companies who offer review services for a fee fall into two categories: companies that provide free reviews but offer to expedite those reviews for a fee, and companies who only provide their reviews for a fee. With the first company you are not paying for a review, you are paying to expedite it (although some companies offer added features for expedited reviews). In most cases, the same reviewer who would be reviewing your book for free will also be the one reviewing it for a fee, only faster. So your only decision should be if you really need the review back quickly. 
"I always recommend you try for free reviews whenever possible. For those instances when you must have reviews back quickly for a launch or book cover, etc, then the issue is simply the cost/value ratio. 
"In regards to companies that only have fee-based reviews, you are essentially paying a premium for their name. The best example is Kirkus, in my opinion the big Kahuna of book review names. I say names, because although Kirkus writes good reviews, their highly recognizable name is what really commands their $400 price tag. Due to that high cost I recommend you DO NOT go straight to Kirkus, no matter how much confidence you have in your book. Instead, you should get as many reviews as you can first (free if possible). If all of your reviews come back great, then you can be reasonably sure your Kirkus review will be positive as well. Used correctly, a positive Kirkus review should be worth far more than its $400 cost. I am often asked why I recommend Kirkus or other competing review and book contest companies. 
"The simple answer is that book reviews and book award contests should not be a competitive industry. You should be getting as many reviews and entering as many contests as you can, ours is just one potential stop on that journey. I hope this article is of some help to you in your pursuit of reviews and whether to include paid reviews in your marketing budget."
James Ventrillo,

Dear readers,

It is so difficult for Indie writers to get those important first reviews! When I wrote Relative Malice I used Book Rooster and paid them to submit my reviews to thier reviewers. I got at least ten reviews in the following month and was happy with their service. My latest book, Trespass, was not so fortunate. This time, for my fee of $67, I only got one review from Book Rooster, and they would not compensate me because they do not promise you reviews, just promise to submit your book to their reviewers. So be careful when you pay. Be sure you know exactly what you are paying for.

Be aware that Amazon does not allow professional review companies to post to the Customer Reviews section on their site. Instead, they have created an Editorial Reviews section in your Amazon Author Central account where you can post excerpts from your professional reviews. This section appears before all your other reviews because they are considered more valuable. In addition, you can control what part of the review you post.

Readers Favorites, will, for a fee, guarantee you a defined number of expedited reviews and if you aren't in a hurry, free reviews. I have found them to have excellent service. Check out the website, they have a lot of services for authors.

Mr. Ventrillo has great advice about paid reviews. Hope you found his words helpful!

Have a wonderful and successful new year!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My New Book Trailer and Its Creator, Kathy Golden

Dear Readers,
My guest today is Kathy Golden. Kathy creates persuasive and engaging book trailers at affordable prices. I was fortunate to meet her through Goodreads and she has produced my new trailer for Trespass. Today I’m introducing the new trailer and the woman who created it.
To find out more about Kathy and her work, visit: for complete details. In addition, her new services include Paid Book Reviews, and soon she’ll offer Manuscript Evaluations.
Kathy writes in multiple genres: family dramas, romance, and Christian fiction. She also writes non-fiction articles and reviews. For more articles and information, visit her website at Don’t forget to subscribe for updates. Email her at 
Thanks for stopping by, 


Book Trailers

- and Reasons to Have One

If ever there were a time to have a book trailer, that time is now. Video-infos and video-advertisements are everywhere. When I visit sites looking for information, more and more, I find myself expecting to acquire that knowledge through video.  I don’t mind saying, I avoid any sites where the videos are auto-start, but even those kinds of sites abound. I don’t think anyone surfing the net today can deny the prevalence of YouTubes and Vimeos sharing practically anything that’s worth investigating.

How does this video-hunger affect authors?  It conditions readers to be on the lookout for your book trailer: for that mini-glimpse that will draw them into your book in about 90 seconds or less.

A big question concerning trailers used to be: where am I going to post it, so that people will see it?  Your first stops would be YouTube, of course; Vimeo; your Amazon Author Page and your Goodreads Author page.  Regarding YouTube, search for channels focusing on books in your genre; then contact the owners to see if they would be interested in adding your book trailer. The owners you’d contact are those whose channels have a variety of trailers by different authors and different creators.

In addition, I did a Google-search using the keywords: upload your book trailer. The search returned some good ideas and suggestions for promoting your trailer, as well as sites that let you upload and promote your trailer for free. Another good keyword search is: share your book trailer. There are Facebook groups out there that only want book trailers. 

Plus don’t miss out on uploading your trailer on Book Reels at You must have a trailer to submit your book to this site because readers view your trailer as part of their method of evaluating your book. The site is totally free. What makes it exceptional is that subscribers can view trailers by genre. Make no mistake: the best kind of promotion for your book is when you are showing it to your targeted audience. Book Reels lets you include a book blurb, and a large cover of your book is a must. This targeted-promotion is completely free.

Indie author, G.M. Barlean, has started a site that only accepts trailers featuring books by indie authors Her site is new but will grow as more indies add their trailers. Most importantly, as her site’s popularity grows, it will rank higher in the search engines, thus providing more exposure for the trailers on it.    

Another option is Pinterest, which allows viewers to search for trailers by genre.  For romance writers, The Romance Novel Center lets you create a profile and upload your books and your trailers. I also came across a site that featured mystery-book trailers. Plus there’s room for you to hunt for other places that accept trailers in your book’s genre. If you are invited to give interviews on your book, ask the host about sharing your trailer on his/her site.

I also like what Amazon has done to author’s profile pages. Amazon has all the books and videos at the top of the page as well as in a column below. Your trailer looms large and entices viewers to click on it.

The question of whether or not book trailers sell books has no definite answer. What is the trigger that prompts a person to buy a book? It’s varied and hard to pinpoint. But exposure is key in helping to sell your book. Books never or seldom seen are books never or seldom purchased. A book trailer gives you another way to make people aware of your novel, and it takes advantage of this current wave of searchers who would rather consume their information through a video as opposed to just reading.

You can buy your trailer or make one yourself. If you opt to make it, you can find video tutorials on YouTube that will teach you how to create a trailer using Windows Movie Maker, or you can use software by Adobe or Sony Vegas.
If you’d like to buy one, I sell book trailers at what I consider to be a great price for the product delivered. My trailers start at $15 for a 15-second teaser; next up is The Spotlight-On-Your-Cover-Trailer for $45, and then the Your Story in Pictures  trailer that sells for $65. Marla’s book-cover trailer has some extras and would costs $50. I’ve seen some of the trailers that sell for several hundred dollars or more.  My product is easily competitive with those.

Whichever route you choose, I encourage you to take advantage of this tool as a way to promote your book. Most sites accepting book trailers charge authors nothing to add their trailer. Don’t miss this opportunity to expose your book and possible garner new followers.

To thank Marla for featuring me on her blog, I’m offering a 15% discount off the regular price of my trailer-creations. In addition, I also provide paid book reviews for $35, and you’ll receive a 15% discount off your review. Purchase both a trailer and a book review and receive a 20% discount off each item. This early Black Friday special is good through December 10th. I generally create trailers in two to three weeks. If I’m not able to meet this schedule, I’ll let you know when you submit your order. 

If you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift for fellow authors, a book trailer is a great choice I’m sure will take them by surprise. I do need authors’ involvement in creating a trailer, so if you want to purchase some as gifts, after you pay for the trailers, I’ll present you with vouchers that you give as your gifts. When the authors are ready, they contact me, and we begin creating their trailers.To get your discount, just visit my website at; let me know that Marla’s site referred you, place your order, and I’ll send you an invoice with the appropriate discount applied.
 Even if you’re not ready to order, stop by my site and opt in for updates on the addition of new trailers and other informative news. My site is new, and Marla’s trailer has absolute reign right now, but other trailers are on the way.
Feel free to ask questions and offer comments. My thanks to Marla for sharing this post, and thanks to you all for reading it.  Happy Holidays.