How can we encourage more readers to leave reviews for our books?

Excellent idea from Sally on encouraging reviews. I think some people think leaving a review means writing a literary critique. A small reminder that it is just them leaving their opinion about the book is most excellent.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

I am very keen to make reviews a prominent feature of the book promotions and encourage readers to review the books that they buy and enjoy, or not as the case may be.

Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool that anyone who is selling a product benefits from. Authors are no different, and our books tend to be judged by the number and quality that they have received.

Part of the problem is that those who are not writers of books or blogs are uncomfortable in offering reviews and feel that what they have to say is not important. Many who do review a book, leave just one line after their star rating, simply saying that the reader enjoyed or disliked a book, but they do not elaborate.

That is obviously very welcome. But whilst a potential reader does not want to read three pages filled…

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Interracial Blog Feature – Interview Reminder for 10/15/2015

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Hey guys,

Just want to remind you to join me tomorrow for another interview on the topic of Interracial Relationships. As you know, for the rest of this month I will be posting interviews I have conducted with some individuals on their thoughts on the topic of Interracial Marriages and the role race plays in relationships in general. This feature was inspired by the release of book two in my Stella Trilogy, “Beyond The Colored Line” this summer and will post every Thursday. Join me tomorrow at 8:00a CST to meet a good friend of mine and fellow WordPress blogger. You don’t want to miss this one!

In Case You Missed It:

Click Here to read last weeks Interview.

Before and After Blog Awards Part 2: Pros, Cons

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So over a month ago I wrote a post on Blog Awards called Before and After Blog Awards. In this post, I speak on how I felt about them before and after I knew what they were, how they are distributed, and what I think will make them shine just a little bit more. Today, I am doing a follow up post on my thoughts concerning Before and After Blog Awards only this time from the perspective of someone who has received them.

In the first post, I had never before received a blog award so my perspective was based on my understanding of what they were, not so much my experience on what they were which makes a great difference (you can research a topic and discuss it with a group of people, but if you have lived that topic it’s a lot different). So now that I have received a few Blog Award nominations and have therefore become intimately part of the process, here are my thoughts.

The Pros:

Search anywhere in the blogosphere and you will find post after post of people’s thoughts on what they think makes for a successful blog. These posts, always insightful to read, talk about everything from follower count to blog views to dashboards and everything you can think of in order that you may gage (according to your personal ethics) what makes for a successful blog. But there’s no real way (aside from your personal ethics and stuff like that) to determine if you’re really reaching someone except for:

1). Well thought out comments, (I’m talking actual full commentary not short glossed over courtesy’s we all give to strangers we pretend to like),

2). Real time e-mails or blog post shout outs / support directly from followers 3). and Blog Awards

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I think Blog Awards are a great way to show appreciation for another blogger as well as inform that blog (s) that you are tuned into their content. When I received my first blog award I was ecstatic! It was the close of 2014 and I was excited to end on such a great note. I didn’t expect to be so happy about it, but I was because I’m just an appreciative kind of person. It feels good to know that someone’s thinking about you. When I received my 2nd Blog Award I noticed my level of excitement was a lot more calmed, but it was still an amazing feeling of appreciation nonetheless. It is for this reason that though given  my views about it, I will always accept my nominations; now whether or not I’ll follow the rules…. that’s another story and leads into my After Blog Award Cons:

The Cons:

As I’m sure I mentioned in the first post, I do have some thoughts I feel will increase the genuine appreciation of blog awards. One of which are the rules. So far I’ve been nominated for four total blog awards, however in all cases I noticed I did not exactly follow the rules although I accepted the award. I don’t know if that’s considered cheating or not (I hope not lol) but there were some valid reasons (in my opinion) for skipping out on some of the terms. Ironically, the one problem I have with Blog Awards is the nomination process of other blogs, even though this is the way I’m usually nominated. Perhaps you can consider me a rebel (with a cause) and for the record I really do love giving back, but I think the blog awards with the nomination of a set number of blogs attached to the rules takes away some of the edge. Everyone likes to win and I think that’s great, but in real life everyone does not win. In fact, I think one of the major downfalls to the American Public School System is the re-arranging of the curriculum so that answers are correct as long as they make the children feel better. But I digress…

 

blog-awards-vote-hereAwards bring to mind competition with the person who worked the hardest winning the competition. While I’m sure everyone works hard to come up with a list of the blogs they think qualifies for the award, you can never be sure that everyone puts forth the same lengthy thought process necessary to really consider those blogs. For this reason the requirement to nominate a set number of blogs is always kind of tedious for me and downgrades the experience a bit. I love giving back, but I always want to make sure the blogs I nominate are truly deserving and are not just byproducts of a chain reaction:

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Congratulations! You’re So Special!
“Thank You!”
“Now nominate someone just as special as you!”
“Oh, ok.”

Lol…I know it sounds like I’m hating but I really do love blog awards as my excitement shows when I receive them. Nomination Blog Award rules has gotten me Blog Award nominations but this can be somewhat tricky for three reasons:

a). To nominate a large number of blogs is to be in tune with those blogs enough to know that they qualify for those awards

 
b). Bloggers follow a variety of blogs themselves, some less than others.

 
c). Blog Nominations < Nomination being the key word

Let’s start by elaborating on point a). since I think it’s the most important:

DSC02030It is common knowledge in the blog world that with so many different blogs (and not to mention the lives we live outside of technology) it is possible to miss out on a lot of material even from blogs you enjoy. While someone may just follow your blog, it is possible that they will not get to read your every published post, or that they even want to. However, by requiring a number of blog nominations from recipients, it forces bloggers to dig around the blogosphere for blogs that in their opinion make the grade, this is great. As I stated, I’m all for giving back. The problem with this technique though is that the blogger may not necessarily nominate bloggers whose blogs meet the qualifications to be associated with that award. Sure, I may have a friend whose blog I really like, but if my nomination requires me to nominate 20 people for the “Keeping it Real–No Chaser” Blog Award and my friend’s blog is about Cats, technically I’m not supposed to nominate that blog if this cat blog does not keep it real. Technically I’m supposed to only list blogs I think are worthy of the award under that specific title. However, I just may throw this Cat woman in the pot of nominations because she’s such a good friend and I got one more nomination slot to fill. Naiveté does not want me to believe it, but common sense says that all Bloggers are not nominating people whose blogs fit the award; bloggers are nominating their friends and friends of their friends.

blog-awards-humbleThis is cool beans, but I think it will be a showcase of a much greater level of professionalism if we increased the competition by making sure our nominees actually deserve this particular award. Perhaps a process of elimination culminating in a final win to which that blogger posts something about themselves without the requirement to nominate others. I’m not saying its bad to nominate others, I’m saying this is how awards are given in the world. I recognize your writing with the presentation of an award. If someone else deserves the same award, they are given this by the overseeing officials not the award recipient. It is possible that the first 5-7 people nominated under a 15-20 nominee requirement truly deserves it, but what happens when you get down to the 17th person? Or the 20th and you’re all out of blogs that fit that criteria? At this point some of us are scratching the surface of people we follow for someone to fit these shoes. This can result in a disingenuous nomination. Did I get nominated because you really enjoy my blog? Or because you tune into a majority (don’t expect it to be all) of my material and found it enlightening? OR was I just a final attempt to fulfill a blog award quota?

I think Blog Awards are great and I am by no means saying my nominations were the result of this example, but I think taking certain changes into consideration will make them much more desirable and the recipient much more accepting. I know I know, “Where’s your Blog Award Mrs. Bright Ideas?” I’m actually working on that….on a slightly different level though.

Moving on….b):

It’s impossible for someone with only a handful of followers to seek the nomination of the same amount of bloggers or close to it honestly (meaning these people honestly fit this criteria, not just your favorites list). As stated this can result in a disingenuous nomination by someone who does not necessarily hate your blog, but who knows little to nothing about you but feels the need to jot down your name to fulfill the nomination. Have I done this? Of course not, this is why I break blog award rules because I’m not just going to write down anything, I’m going to make sure my nominees actually deserve the award.

Moving on…

c). And let’s not forget the most obvious typo of all: Nomination.

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Maybe I’m just a little slow here, but Nominations are part of the process of selecting a candidate for either election to an office, or the bestowing of an honor or award. These are Blog Nominations, but how does anyone win? Doesn’t it make sense to have blogs to nominate 15-20 of their favorite blogs under a specific category for the culminating of a final win? I do understand this happens in some part of the world, but as it relates to the steady chain of blog nomination awards here my question is this: I received the nomination along with a lot of other people, “Yay us!” Now, what must I do to be declared winner? 🙂

In closing I now know how it feels to receive a Blog Award, it is a great feeling. Even while knowing what they are and how they are circulated it’s still a reminder that someone in some quite part of the world is listening and that’s inspiration enough for anyone to keep writing. However, this very same system has the potential to be degraded if someone was to find out they weren’t nominated for an award because someone cared, but they were nominated only because the blog rules required it.For this reason I think it’s  a good idea to tweak the rules a bit to make Blog Awards more exciting and it’s recipients more willing to accept them (as a lot of people have decided not to take part in the process). Until then, I encourage all Blog Award Nominees to nominate Blogs you honestly feel are deserving of that Award, not just those who are your friends.