How do we get readers to rate our books?

19 posts / 0 new
Last post
How do we get readers to rate our books?

A friend found someone yesterday on Twitter who’d posted, "Just finished ...GRIT - The Banter and Brutality of the Late-Night Cab Driver by Karl Wiggins a really entertaining read made me laugh a lot."


Now I don’t know this person, I’m not following her and she’s not following me, but I’m obviously grateful to her for spreading the word.


But it just goes to show that there are people out there who enjoy our books, but unfortunately with a lot of them that's as far as it goes. They're good people but it just never crosses their mind how important reviews are to a struggling scribbler.


And, of course, how important the Star rating is.


You can’t really blame them either, can you? I get fed up when I purchase something on eBay and am then expected to give feedback on the transaction. The other day I bought a basketball net for Kai’s hoop. Just the net, not the whole mast and hoop, just the net. It cost £2.50 plus £1 postage. And as far as I was concerned that’s as far as our friendship should go. But I keep getting reminders to leave feedback. What am I supposed to say? I sent £3.50, they sent me a basketball net. That’s it.


I don’t get this elsewhere. I don’t buy a Chinese takeaway from Wok’s Cooking in Mill End and have a little man come round a day or two later to ask for feedback on the meal and the service. I don’t buy a bag of crisps from the newsagents and have to fill out forms on how difficult I found the bag to open but once inside the crisps were kind of crisp flavoured. So why should I do it with eBay?


So I do understand why people can’t be arsed to leave a review, and particularly with a book why they may be reluctant because it involves writing and that can perhaps be viewed as intimidating, although it doesn’t need to be. Let’s face it, we’re all grateful when someone who can throw a sentence together gives us a glowing review, but a 4 or 5 Star rating is far more important. Here’s one of my best reviews from my book ‘Calico Jack in your Garden’


“Brilliant. very good book. is a book for everybody which have or not sense of humor. it imposible to dont laugh. i like it!!!”


Now how authentic is that! I love it!


Obviously the lady at the top of this posting took advantage of the section at the end of every kindle book that says, “Before you go Tweet / share that you finished this book – Rate this book,” and I’m very grateful to her, but how do we get more people to do that?

Shameless self-promotion. The biggest turn off to reader ratings


Hahaha, Davey, LOL,


You may even be on the button there, but in a supportive community like this, where we all delight in the minor successes of fellow Abctalers – be it a new book release, a book signing, author spotlight, no. 1 rating in a particular genre, book tours, guest blogs, or even just being ‘cherried’ – I’m pretty sure I can be forgiven.


At least I hope so; otherwise I’ve misjudged the whole way ABCtales is moving as a community …... Nah, I couldn’t even begin to imagine that. I work about an hour every night, sometimes more, promoting other writer’s books or blogs, and for the most part it’s reciprocated. Discussions like this on other author/writer websites always prove very fruitful. I can’t see ABCtales shifting away from that movement.  


Indie authors, indie bands, artists, DJ gigs, Ann Summers parties, anyone who’s out there pushing against the machine; it’s all about spreading the word and helping each other.


What I take issue with, Karl, is that this topic purports to be of general interest but is really about how 'good' your book is. Like one of those free council magazines about how well things are going in Middle Honing while it slides off the cliff. Nothing wrong with helping each other, by critiquing tales, by posting writing, by announcing good news but when the forum is hijacked for purely marketing  purposes I react as I do to spam selling me female viagra...  more effective marketing might be a summary of what your book is about, a hilarious extract showcasing your comic skills . ABC is a writing not a marketing site.


Davey, I'm not going to fall out with you over this. I take on board that you have an issue with me using personal examples to get a point across in a forum thread on a topic that affects most of us, and you have every right to take issue. That's your preogative.

I also take on board that ABCtales is a writer's website and not a site for marketing books. And I'm also grateful for your advise on how to market my books here - even though it's not a marketing site - with a summary of what a book is about and by "showcasing my comic skills."

So many thanks for that advice. I'm struggling with the contradictions, but then I wasn't born bright and won't worry too much over it.

But don't get mad, otherwise you'll end up taking issue with every ABCtaler who mentions a book of theirs in the forums.

Have a great weekend.


I agree that the reader feels intimidated about posting reviews. Maybe they feel humbled and not comfortable with their literary skills. As for self promotion on this site, I do post when I've published a new novel. Isn't there a forum topic for newly published books? How can we sell our books if we don't advertise? I have been with ABC Tales a long time now and respect and admire so many talented writers on here, including Karl and Blackjack. I feel obligated to share my publications with you all and I'd be lying if I said I don't welcome extra sales. If the admins objected, then I would certainly cease to share my good news. No problem.


The only thing I can suggest is to put a page after the end of your book saying how important reviews are etc... some do it better than others. Mine isn't too great at the moment, so need to revise it, I've seen a better one that I'm stealing! Other than that, I have my email at the back of my books as well. I get a the odd fan mail, and if I'm feeling comfortable, I don't just thank them but also ask that they leave a short review. Every single time I have asked they have done so.

Even so, I find I have a huge amount of reviews on Plague (which is my best seller, so that would answer why) but very few on any of the other books. Most that have been left on two of them were arc reviews (advanced reader copy) or me sending copies out to prolific reader/bloggers. You take your chances as they are supposed to give an honest review, and they will!

Karl, I suspect your answer as to how to get reviews is find a good supply of fairy dust. You have, however, reminded me that I have 14 read books on my kindle that need to be reviewed!

Oh and last words, aimed at Davey. I like my books to be read, I don't earn a lot from them, so I'm not missing anything by giving away copies and asking nicely if a review can be posted afterwards, also not going to hound anyone if a review never appears, saying that, any ABC talers who want a Kindle copy of one of my books, just message me. :)

Lisa, I thought you only 'gift' copies of your book in America. I know a number of Americans who've tried that, not always successfully, but unless they've actually purchased it then the review doesn't carry the 'Amazon verified purchase,' so tends not to be taken seriously.

I think you're correct about requesting a review at the end of the book, but itdoes have to phrased right, making it clear there's no pressure on the reader, just a "Would you mind doing a little bit of a blurb for me? It's a huge help."  

I'll talk privately about giving books away for free.


Lisa, just picked up Plague, stalking you on Twitter and left a tweet there for you on my thoughts concerning free giveaways. Have a great weekend.   


You're correct, you can only gift books if you're in the US. I send out a file to someone's email. :)

As for the subject of freebies, I've read your article, it's a good one. Interesting in the fact that you hit the indie market three years after me. You were aiming for 2000 downloads, back before Amazon Select was set up the way you made them free was to make them free on Smashwords (which then filtered to the shops it supplies) and after a few weeks of pestering them, Amazon would make your book free. Like your Algarve analogy there were few people doing this, I when I'd get a book free I'd get 20,000+ downloads. The sales afterwards were phenomenal. These days it's not worth it. They've altered the algorithms so even if you have a decent amount downloaded it doesn't impact the paid charts much once your book is back to paid.

Oh, and two small world points, I lived in Portugal for four years as well, but in Lisboa. And the blog you guested on just reviewed That Elusive Cure. :)

Thank you for picking up Plague. Hope you enjoy it!

Hi Lisa - I actually bought Elusive Cure and really liked the story - I shall actually try and get round to giving you a rating/review. I'm a bit lazy when it comes to doing things, though!



Thank you, Kevin! Must admit, I'm surprised as you followed the first draft here on ABC as I wrote it. smiley

As for a review, not everyone feels up for it. Don't do it if you're feeling peer pressured into it!

It was a learning experience to see if much changes between drafts and I thought for such a good novel, it was worth paying the small amount it cost.

I plan on getting another of your novels, but my reading list is huge at the moment! I think we write similiar genres which is cool.



If you spend a week wearing a pink dress I'll rate your books Karl.



I'm impressed at how many novels you've managed to write, Lisa. I'd love to learn about your writing process, i.e. how many rewrites and time lengths for each draft. Do you know the end when you start, or is it all a surprise?

Perhaps you could write an article on that and post it on ABC? 

What if there was a call for all authors on here to write something like that, then post the link into a forum post. Could include how long you've been writing, how you write, what your secrets are? Interesting collection for an ABCtales book? I'd buy that - reading how others work normally inspires me. 



I think you're right, our writing styles and subjects are very similar. The story about super light speed has stuck with me, btw. Have you tried to find it a home?

I'd be happy to write about my writing process. Some of the questions are answered on various blogs on my website. Here's one post that helps a little:

As for rewrites, these days none. I like to think I'm getting better and am past that now. Coombe's Wood was rewritten completely. I have another couple of novels I'd like to get out there, but they also need complete rewrites. Rewrites suck. Hence me working on something completely new, hehe. I usually have the beginning and the ending very clear in my mind when I start a book. I know the ending of Stolen, but won't tell, I want it to be a surprise! It's the middle part that once I start writing takes on a life of its own. I will have a basic idea of what will happen, but I let the plot be character driven, and they do what they want, sometimes almost to spite me!

I'll do a longer article at some point, but am up to me ears in Stolen right now. And it feels so good to be writing I don't want to distract myself away from it. smiley


I tend to get a little bored of the same old Author Interviews where the blogger or interviewer asks the same tired and decrepit questions – What inspired you to write your first book? Do you have a specific writing style? What book are you reading now? Is there a message in your novel? Can you share a little of your current work with us? – so whenever I do an author interview I try and suggest to the interviewer that we approach it in a different manner. I was recently interviewed and I wanted to use it as an opportunity to tell the 'writer's' story.

I requested I be given the opportunity to talk about the self-publishing industry in general, but I also wanted to discuss family issues and how the lonely occupation of the writer fits in with family values. This is something too often neglected in Author Interviews where the author is literally saying, “Hey, I’m an author, pleased to meet you. Read my new book.”

Very few people understand the mind of the ‘writer.'  I've had a guy chasing me for a few weeks for an interview - I recently guest blogged on his website - and I've promised him that I'll do it very, very soon. But it's going to be different.

Fortunately he's a good guy, a fellow writer who understands my priorities and is content to wait. 


I understand where you're coming from re interviews. They can be a bit tedious, but they do get read - stats on my website show this. I like your idea of trying something a bit different. Please add some links, I'd love to have a read of them.

It seems we have similar writing traits, Lisa. The plot comes easily to me and I have the ending and the beginning in my mind, but invariably change them. With the majority of my books, there is an intricate twist, so I find it easier to write the story around this. As I write, I go with the flow, and usually surprise myself. As for rewrites; I have actually republished the majority of my books. I am never satisfied, but I suppose this in the norm for a writer. It's the editing I hate.