Holding my readers to ransom: the first six months

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It’s now nearly six months since the publication of ‘AFK, in Pursuit of Avengement‘ and the start of my little experiment to see if writing a fifth title in the AFK series contingent on getting 100 reviews on Amazon for it is effective.  Time to report back.

At the time of writing, the book has 10 reviews, so we’re at 10 per cent of the required number.  Whilst this might not sound very many, it does make AFK #4 the second most highly reviewed out of all my novels (the highest is the original AFK – at 20 reviews – which is free).  What’s more, about half of these reviewers, when you look at their normal review patterns, don’t normally leave book reviews on Amazon.

In terms of feedback, AFK #4 has done very well, achieving 5 stars for eight of these reviews and 4 for the remaining two.  A huge thank you to all these people for this feedback, which sets my mind at rest that I at least haven’t written something terrible.  It’s sometimes very difficult to tell when you’ve spent such an intense period of time immersed in something.

Plenty more than ten people have so far read AFK #4 (or, at least, bought a copy from Amazon), so the message at the end of the book is being ignored far more frequently than it’s being followed.  One reason for this might be that those readers simply didn’t like the book.  It’s harder to write a critical review than it is to write a complimentary one, because most people feel the need to justify criticisms and that necessitates a much longer piece of work.  I’ve been in this position myself as a reader and ended up not writing anything.

Some people might not leave a review because it’s not an anonymous process.  You have to be logged in to Amazon to do it and your ID gets displayed above the text.  Many of us have special gmail accounts set up for our SL identity, but I doubt that many have gone to the same trouble for their Amazon accounts.  It can be done, but it’s a faff.  Of course, your Amazon ID won’t identify your SL name unless you actually write it in your review, so to all extents and purposes it’s as anonymous as you want it to be.

I think, though, that most people don’t leave a review because they’re just not in the habit of doing this.  I’m hopeful that this will change over time and I encourage fellow indie authors to consider adopting a strategy similar to mine.  It’s possible that I set the bar too high at 100.  Time will tell.

I do have the outline of a plot for AFK #5.  I think I might write it in November, because I like that period of intense writing activity and my other writing projects are things I want to spend more time on.  But the 100 review target for its publication will remain, for the time being.

If you want to leave a review, you can do so here.

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