Launch Day is supposed to be a joyous event for an author.
Authors spend months writing and editing a single book. We spend weeks crafting Launch Day campaigns to spread the word, harnessing a complicated network of advertisements and announcements from friends. We spend days counting down to the actual launch. We spend hours refreshing our computer screens, trying to gauge our launch’s success.
One essential part of the launch process is getting reviews—”social proof” to reassure prospective readers that a book is worth their time and money. Many advertising services won’t let authors purchase ads unless a book has a certain number of reviews. Reviews are so important that authors give away copies of their book—Advance Readers Copies (“ARCs”)—in exchange for honest reviews.
But the entire book launch process is derailed when Amazon—the single largest seller of ebooks in the world—refuses to allow readers to post reviews. That’s what happened to me when I launched my contemporary romantic comedy, The B Word. By July 17, 2022, Amazon was blocking reviews of the paperback edition. On July 19, 2022 (release day for the ebook), that block was extended to the electronic edition. Reviewers who tried to post were usually told that the book was not eligible for reviews. Some reviewers were told that their individual reviews could not be posted. In addition, potential buyers couldn’t find my book if they searched for “b word mindy klasky” (although, oddly, they could find it if they didn’t include my first name.) Amazon also failed to provide a “Look Inside” sample for potential purchasers who checked out the ebook.
So—prospective buyers couldn’t find my book unless they had a direct link to its page on Amazon. They couldn’t preview the book to see if it was their cup of tea. And they couldn’t read reviews to help them make a purchasing decision.
I spent the better part of the past week trying to fix these problems with Amazon. I was passed from one customer service division to another. I was told I had to submit a “Plan of Action.” (It took me days to find another author who knew what a “Plan of Action” was—no one at Amazon could or would tell me. Ultimately, I learned that it’s a document that only applies when a merchant’s account has been terminated which—minor silver lining—was not my case.)
By the end of launch week, The B Word had seven ratings. (Amazon’s search engine was finally updated, and Look Inside was finally added.) Approximately five percent of my dedicated ARC-team members persisted through multiple rejections to get their reviews posted. The others are still unable to post, as of this writing. Without enough reviews, I can’t buy most advertising to support my book. Even if I spent money on ads, I’d be asking people to take a risk on a book with negligible social proof.
My book launch has failed.
Or has it?
Survey after survey, readers report that the number one factor influencing their buying a book is a recommendation from a friend or family member.** That means The B Word has a chance.
If you’ve read The B Word, can you tell one person that you liked the book?
And because The B Word certainly isn’t the only book cut down before its chance to shine, why don’t you make this a habit? Spread the word about books you love. Tell one friend. Because if you tell one person, and they tell one person, and so on and so on and so on, authors can see a real difference.
So do it today. If you love a book, tell one friend.
** These results have been reported by the Pew Research Center, PenguinPutnam Publishing, and Forbes, to name only a few sources.
My short story, “Changing of the Guard” is available in the brand-new anthology Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day, which releases TODAY!
The “back of the book” blurb for the anthology says:
2020 wasn’t kind to any of us, was it? (And 2021 is off to a shaky start at best!) Pandemic, economic collapse, out-of-control wildfires the world ’round, ice storms, murder hornets…and that’s without even discussing politics.It’s time to send some good energy out there into the world. Good luck, good wishes, good magic, talismans and rituals and lucky charms—you name it, we’ve got it here.
BLACK-EYED PEAS ON NEW YEAR’S DAY is a multi-genre anthology focused on hope. Here you’ll find more than a double dozen tales—fantasy, science fiction, literary, even nonfiction—that will bring a smile to your face and some optimism to your heart.
After all, we’re all in this together. (Except the murder hornets. They’re not welcome here.)
“Changing of the Guard” is a fantasy story about hope and healing. It rose out of a writing prompt to tell a story from an unexpected narrator (in my case, a tree) — and I think it’s my very favorite, among all the short stories I’ve ever written.
You can buy BLACK-EYED PEAS ON NEW YEAR’S DAY directly from Book View Cafe (and, as always, your purchases there support a vibrant community of authors, providing the editor with the highest-percentage royalty anywhere):
or as an ebook from Amazon:
or as a print book from Amazon:
Bounce, bounce, bounce!
I am thrilled to announce that Apple Books has included Harmony Christmas in their Holiday Romance collection! That means *my* name is right next to Maggie Shayne, Christine Feehan, Lauren Royal and many, many more!
Harmony Christmas is on sale for $0.99 — but only until December 30, and only at Apple Books.
Get your copy today!
I am thrilled to announce that my anthology, Eight Kisses, is available in print and as an ebook, wherever you buy books! (If you go to a bricks and mortar store, and they don’t have it, ask them to order it from Ingram!)
What is Eight Kisses all about?
It contains eight — EIGHT — all-new Hanukkah romances. Every one of them has a happy ever after. Every one of them has a unique take on Judaism, holidays, and true love.
My story, “Harmony Lights” is set in Harmony Springs, my (imaginary) small town in the Shenandoah Valley (home to Harmony Christmas, Harmony Hearts, and Harmony Hero. “Lights” is about one woman’s struggle to find the balance between family, work, and, um, special friends.
Want to know about the other stories? Here’s the “back of the book” blurb:
Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, celebrating an ancient miracle with candles, fried foods, and family gatherings. What better time to find true love?
From Regency Scotland to contemporary New York City, from sweet short stories to super-spicy novellas, Eight Kisses spreads a feast of love. Interfaith opposites attract. A small-town reunion offers a second chance. An interracial couple rises above initial misunderstandings. Online dating yields unexpected foodie dreams. A Jewish mourner discovers solace at a Catholic feast. A hometown visit heals old wounds. The girl next door is something more. Seasoned lovers reaffirm true love.
Move over Christmas movies! Spin the dreidel, gobble the gelt, and devour a tower of latkes as you read these tales of Hanukkah love!
Eight Kisses includes the following stories by USA Today bestselling authors, award-winning authors, and exciting debut authors:
Lori Ann Bailey – “A Highlander for Hanukkah”
Mindy Klasky – “Harmony Lights”
Rose Grey – “Can’t Help Falling”
Michelle Mars – “Frisky Connections”
JT Silver – “Love and Latkes”
Erin Eisenberg – “Hanukkah Kisses”
Lavinia Klein – “Bubbe Linda’s Menorah”
Lynne Silver – “Rededication”
Sound interesting? Buy your copy today!