There's a lot said about self-publishing. Much of it is derisory, as if self-published books are inherently inferior to those conventionally published. I suppose it's because the vast majority of them are.
I've already referred to the plethora of titles that have been released by the relative ease of self-publishing and the way in which the sheer numbers make it difficult to be seen and purchased. Most of the self-published work is really awful, that's true. This makes the half-decent or even quite good stuff hard to distinguish.
One of the ways to boost visibility and sales is through reviews. However, it drives me mad that unscrupulous authors are using fake reviews to boost sales. If you're willing to pay, there are people out there who will provide them.
I see reviewers on Goodreads giving five stars and a long positive review to a dozen books a day. You can buy fifty 5* reviews for about $1200 at www.buyamazonreviews.com.
If you want to make sure they're good, you can write them yourself then send them to http://buyreviewsnow.com/ who will post fifty of them for $250.
I'm not recommending you do this, only pointing out what we're up against. Don't make the mistake of thinking that your book is inferior just because you have fewer reviews.
To the honest author, reviews are gained with difficulty one at a time.
My experience is that a good book will get its fair share of reviews eventually, there's no need to panic. People are busy, even if they absolutely love your book it's not often they will take the time to put up a review.
There's nothing wrong with encouraging readers to review your book. Many authors provide free copies in the hope of more reviews. It's never worked for me, though. Begging is my preferred option.
There's another side to reviews, though. Some people may take exception to what you've written and leave a really bad review. It's hard to take at first. When I received my first negative review, I forgot all the good ones and believed my book was as bad as this person was saying. I considered giving up writing altogether. It's human nature to be hard on ourselves.
I've been fortunate, I suppose, I've only had a couple of real stinkers. My advice is to welcome any review, good or bad, but never enter into a dialogue with the reviewer. I've seen experienced household name writers answer critical Amazon reviews and I don't believe they achieved anything other than to give added exposure to the review. When I see a negative review I can make up my own mind about the person who wrote it and whether they have been reasonable and fair.
So come along to this, share your experiences and get that essential publishing strategy sorted out.
It's being held on 18 January 2015 in Chorley, Lancashire. It's a one day workshop to give you a head start on the publishing road. Even if you've self published loads of books, I'm sure that it will be a day well spent with professionals in every aspect of writing and publishing.