Back to London, And Back to Work

Now that we are back in gray, damp, rainy, Londony London after two weeks in the sunny USA – and my mind has had time to recuperate from all the activity and time changes – it is time to get back to work. Which means getting back to promoting my new novel, “Voodoo Hideaway” (now on sale!).

This is not something I particularly missed while on vacation, promoting my book. In fact, it took me roughly 36 hours after landing in London before I could even bring myself to sit down at the laptop and start into the promotional grind again. Ask any writer what they like least about publishing a book, and I’m betting 9 out of 10 will say promoting and marketing said book.

But, we must do what we must do, so without further ado…..

For those who have purchased and read “Voodoo Hideaway,” or plan to, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. It really helps, because the more reviews a book has, the better its chances of reaching more potential readers. It’s an algorithm thing I don’t really understand. Even a less-than-stellar review is better than no review at all – but since you are guaranteed to love this fine work of crime fiction, that won’t even come into play!

Anyway, thanks to those who have left reviews so far, and thanks in advance to those who plan to. It is greatly appreciated. I am trying to get to at least 20 Amazon reviews, and we are nearly halfway there. I expect the pace to pick up over the next month-and-a-half, when summer winds down and more people have more time to read (and review!) and review (and review!).

If you are a writer (or reader), and you want to know why reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are important for authors like me, here’s a quick primer:

My book’s publisher, Atmosphere Press, is a small, independent company out of Austin, Texas, made up of writers, editors, and other literary/book professionals. They operate on a fairly slim budget, part of which is funded by the writers themselves. They are not a household name, and don’t carry nearly the weight of a big publisher like Simon & Schuster or Penguin Random House.

A big publisher can pour millions of dollars into promoting books, buying ads, and paying off large bookstore chains to display their books at the front of the store. They have the clout to get books recommended by Oprah, get their authors reviewed in The New York Times, The Guardian or Publisher’s Weekly, get their authors interviewed on “Good Morning America,” and generally monopolize the entire industry.

That monopoly is getting stronger, BTW, with so many big houses gobbling up smaller ones, which means the Alpha Publishers have even more clout now than they did before. This is not an encouraging trend.

There are a bunch of smaller publishers out there fighting for the pieces of the market that the big ones don’t control. But it ain’t easy. Small publishers can try to do all the things the big publishers do, like get their authors some kind of national or international attention. Some even succeed every so often.

But for the most part, small publishers mainly reach out to reviewers, podcasts, influencers, bookstores, etc., and simply hope for the best. Thus far, one book review site has reviewed my book – Readers Favorite – and it gave “Voodoo Hideaway” five stars. So I’m pleased about that. Beyond that, much of the promotional work is left to authors through social media, blogs, cold calls, and the like.

Unless you have a huge social media or blog following (which I don’t), or have the know-how to build a large social media or blog following (which I don’t), you can expect a long, hard slog getting sales to where you want them to be. I’ve been advised to hire a millennial to handle my social media. It’s probably good advice. We’ll see.

What I do know is that it’s a marathon and not a sprint, at least for me. Well-known, established authors might be able to sell tens of thousands of books right out of the gate, aided by the push they get from their well-known, established publishers. But Vance Cariaga, author of “Voodoo Hideaway” from Atmosphere Press? He has to take the long view – and that view includes figuring out a way to get a well-known book reviewer to give “Voodoo Hideaway” a read. That’s all I ask, you well-known book reviewers. Just give it a read.

So, if you see me on here frequently trying to drum up interest – and encouraging you to leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads – now you know why.

Thanks for your support!

Oh, and here are links to buy “Voodoo Hideaway:”

Atmosphere Press


Barnes & Noble



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