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When I planned the launch of my new novel – The Point of Escape – I lined up several dozen advance readers. Each received a free e-copy of the book in exchange for posting a review on launch day.
Problem was, a good percentage of these folks ran into trouble when trying to post their reviews on Amazon. Either they were told they couldn’t post without buying the book (this isn’t true) or the link didn’t work for them. Many have called and emailed to say, “I tried but I can’t!” Bummer. Maybe you’ve had the same experience. This post will explain the best process.
So, the first thing is to have an Amazon account (if you already have one, then scroll down to “BUT WAIT!”). Setting up an account costs nothing, but is necessary to post a review (so is making a purchase of some kind; more on this below). Go to the Amazon homepage (www.Amazon.com) and scroll your mouse over the “Your Account” dropdown menu, and click on the “New customer? Start here” hyperlink that appears beneath the yellow “Sign in” button:
Fill in the information and click on the “Create Account” button.
You’ll be taken back to the Amazon homepage, but this time you’ll be recognized:
Now, at this point, you will need to buy something in order to be able to post a review. It can be a $0.99 ebook, or a $0.01 paperback, anything. Hey, it could be my book (the ebook version will only set you back $2.99). Amazon just requires that reviewers be customers.
Now, from any Amazon screen, type the book title into the search field, and click “Go”…
…which will take you to the search results page. The Point of Escape will be listed first:
If you look to the right of the ratings stars (note the 5-star rating for The Point of Escape, folks), you’ll see a hyperlinked number indicating the number of reviews posted, 17 in this case. Click on the link, and you will be taken to the Customer Reviews page:
Click on the “Create your own review” button, and you land here:
Scroll over the stars to select the rating you’d like to give the book, and then type up your review in the “Write your review here” box. Amazon will require a paragraph (sorry, I was wrong about one-word reviews), but not a lengthy one:
Yes, I deleted this “review” and hit the “Clear” link to erase the rating after I took this screen shot. For demonstration purposes only, folks.
Note that when you place your cursor in the review-drafting box, a title box opens and a “Submit” button appears. When you are done, click on this button, and Amazon will tell you that…
Within a day you will receive an email telling you that your review is live, and I will be eternally grateful.
“BUT WAIT!” you say. “I ALREADY HAVE AN ACCOUNT, AND I DOWNLOADED YOUR BOOK, JUST LIKE YOU ASKED!”
Yup. Some folks have had problems posting reviews by the above method. So…..here’s the work-around.
When signed into Amazon, you will see on the Amazon banner the “Hello [your name]/Your Account” link:
Click it, and it takes you here:
If you scroll down, then you will find:
Note the third and fourth links under “Community.” “Product Reviews Written by You” takes you to…well, to a list of reviews written by you. But “Your Reviews” (oddly enough) takes you to a reverse chronological list of all the products you’ve purchased (or downloaded for free) from Amazon for which you haven’t yet written reviews:
From here you know the drill: rating, review, heading for your review and “Submit” button.
So, I hope this clears up the process, and enables you to post reviews for all manner of products on Amazon.
Wow! What a launch day!
After spending the day posting to dozens of sites, sending dozens of messages on Goodreads and Twitter (and getting politely asked to stop by the former and suspended by the latter!), and clicking on the “Refresh” buttons on the Kindle Direct Publishing sales report and the Amazon book page, I called it quits around 6:30 pm. I was happy with the results. Sales stood at 125, breaking the triple-digit goal I’d set. Comfortable in that this metric had been met, I headed out for a local concert with some friends.
A good time was had by all.
By the time I got home and checked One Last Time, though, sales were over 200! That’s twice the goal I’d set. And, the book stood at #25 in the General Humor category for free Kindle books, just under 2,000 overall. Not too shabby for first novel.
And then, this morning, this greeted me:
That’s right. Almost 300 downloads, three times my goal. Whoot!
Curious, I headed over to the book’s Amazon page and saw this:
#13?! That’s above the fold. And teetering on the top 900 overall! [And the news is even better. In the time it’s taken me to compose this post, the book has climbed to #12 in General Humor and #863 overall.]
I share all this with you, well, because I’m so excited. But more so to say thank you to all those who lent their support and spread the word. Writing the book is only part of the process, and I owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have helped make this launch a success.
And the launch goes on. Today is The Point of Escape‘s second “promo” day (i.e. it’s free!), so keep spreading the good word, and I’ll keep you posted on how things shake out.
Any author worth his salt writes with a genre in mind. I’ll make no claims about my saltiness either way, but The Point of Escape was written with a couple genres in mind, one of which I’ll discuss today: suburban fiction.
Conversely, the Goodreads shelf for the genre that pops up as the third link in our Google search includes a majority of young adult lit. OK, teen girls’ lit. Judy Bloom and the like. Angst, adultery and ennui writ young. Not exactly what I’m going for here.
“So,” you ask, “just what are you about?”
Glad you asked. There are actually several flavors of suburban lit, all of which – unsurprisingly – draw thematic elements from those ubiquitous sprawling subdivisions and side streets. As you can tell from the brief descriptions above, this can be a fairly dark mode of writing, inevitably contrasting with the cheery stereotype of white picket fences and 2.5 kids. The darkness can become pervasive, as in subgenres like suburban gothic – which introduces elements of the supernatural and science fiction – or suburban noir – which slides into psychosis and horror.
My current project (yes, I’m writing The Next One even as I steer This One toward launch day) edges into these subgenres. It’s a three-part series that takes a rather dark look at what the world of cookie-cutter houses and conspicuous consumption can do to your soul. I hope to have the first installment in beta form by the fall, and to market before Christmas. Weary food for cheery souls. Ho. Ho. Ho.
Not so much The Point of Escape. I wrote it with beach reading in mind, and so – though not uncritical of suburban life – its themes are far more uplifting, its trajectory more hopeful. Jerrod Beams experiences all the aimless ennui of any suburban fiction hero. But although the ‘burbs in some ways embody the Faustian bargain he has struck with the Federal Mephistopheles – they and the life they promise are the false fruits of his soul-crushing labor – Jerrod is largely happy with what he has provided for his family. Just not how he has provided it. That’s what he hopes to change.
The great source of that hope – the ability to take stock and the courage to change – was inspired by a non-fiction work, and places the novel itself into a new genre, something I call entrepreneurial fiction. Defining this new genre will be the focus of my next post.