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You wrote and published a book, spend weeks, months, maybe even years on it, so you get it right and it’s the best book you can create. But you have a hard time selling it. Sure once in a while you sell one, you get many downloaded when you offer it for free, but the moment your reader has to pay, it stagnates. It’s frustrating, annoying and sadly part of being an independent author.
One strong point in selling are reviews, and not just because they let other readers know what to think of your book. Amazon won’t promote you until you have some reviews, and it takes at least 50 reviews before they will help you promote.
The thing is, nobody leaves one. You have a few hundred books out, most of them during a free download campaign, but still, why is nobody saying anything? It makes you wonder.
Am I that bad? Does my writing suck that much? Do I do bad marketing? Can’t they even find my book? Did I put it in the wrong category, or maybe the whole thing isn’t working right?
I know, it’s not different for me. However, back in the day when I with a publisher back in Germany, my publisher hired people to write so called ice breaker reviews. Ice breaker reviews are not always good or bad, often they are neutral just pointing out some pro and cons for a book. Quite frankly I don’t think the people my publisher hire, ever read the books. Still, once there was one review, others followed.
I know that big publishing houses do the same, or at least I know they hire reviewers, so their books quickly have a few reviews, making it easier and more comfortable for the reader to say their own piece.
The thing is, big publishing houses have big budgets to buy those reviews, or at least the time of a reviewer. We as indie authors often don’t have that budget. We try to ask friends, other authors, and family even. However, most people either don’t feel like what they write sounds fair, or right and others don’t have the time to actually read your book. I had it more than once, that I handed a free copy over with the promise that they would write a review, and never heard of them again. I did swaps with other authors, finished mine within a few days and never got the review I was promised while I had posted mine already on Amazon.
So, yeah… been there, done that and it’s frustrating like hell. (To all of you who still owe me a review, hurry the hell up. I didn’t write War and Peace, my books aren’t that long, it does not take half a year or more to read them.)
Now, the thing with new indie authors is, and I belong it that category more than others, our books are rarely perfect. It’s called a learning curve, yet without reviews and response to what we wrote, we can’t get better. We need the response in order to grow and evolve, to make us better authors.
So, that brings me to what I am offering.
If you need an ice breaker review, I will help you by writing one.
How it works.
You send me a copy of your book in pdf (certain genres only) and I will read it. Why pdf? Two reasons, I can attach sticky notes, and unless I want to be mean, evil and destroy any reputation I have, can’t meddle with your text. While I read your book I will attach sticky notes, but not only for myself to help me write the review, if I find spelling mistakes, or typos I will point those out as well. When I’m done, I will write my review, even when I think your book sucked, I will find something that is good about it. My review will concentrate on those good points. Then I send you back your file, with the sticky notes and what I intend on writing in the review. It’s your call if I post it on Amazon and Goodreads or not, however I will post it on my own review blog.
If your book makes it in the three star and more category I will also add it to my own online bookstore.
Now, we all know thing are rarely free in these times. However, I am cheap (pun intended). When I send you back your file, I will attach a donation link to PayPal, you decide what my help is worth to you. In addition I will send you a collection of links to my website, blogs and bookstore to choose from. Please place one link to any of those sides on your website, blog or storefront.
I think that is a fair offer, and as I said if you think my help isn’t worth anything, you just don’t donate anything. I will still post the review on Amazon and Goodreads, unless you don’t want me to.
If you are interested feel free to contact me either by email at email@example.com or via Facebook messenger.
Genres I take on are:
Romance, erotica, fantasy, history, paranormal in any combination of those and their subgenres. Young adult is fine too, as long as it is within those combinations.
Before proofreading, editing or publishing there is beta reading. The beta reader is the one supposed to point out plotholes, when your characters are underdeveloped or simply not realistic. Beta readers are supposed to point out when something isn’t logical or doesn’t make sense. Yet finding beta readers is almost if not harder than writing the book itself.
The problem is that either beta readers are from a circle of family and friends, that will praise you even when it’s horrible. Or they take forever if they ever get around to reading it at all.
Many good books could be amazing books if the author would have found a beta reader that knows what to look for, what to point out and doesn’t take several months to do it.
Now, you might say, “Why pay someone for beta reading?” and you’re right to ask.
Several reasons…. because you pay for their time and discretion….. as well as for an honest opinion from the reader perspective, while at the same time having access to another author who might be able to point in the direction of how to improve it.
What I offer:
I offer to read you work in a timely manner (depending on size)
I will never breathe a word about your work in social media or any other means, neither will I publish, copy or steal your work in any way.
I will point out plotholes, inconsistencies, underdeveloped characters or when characters suddenly act out of character, or when the timeline isn’t clear or messy.
If you have a certain target audience I will point out if your story is inappropriate at times for that target audience.
I will point out parts that are high on impact and usable for promotion.
If there is something illogical or confusing, I will point it out so you can decide if it is on purpose or if you need to clarify it.
If I see spelling mistakes, I will point them out. However, I don’t do editing.
You can send me your manuscript as doc. (Microsoft Word) or pdf. I will use track changes and comment function or sticky notes in case of a pdf file. If you are interested in this service, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What I want in exchange
Now this is how it works.
I’ll charge you a basic fee depending on the size of your manuscript, anything above that is up to you. If I helped you, if what I pointed out makes your book better, then please use the donate button and pay me the amount you think my work was worth.
under 50.000 words $10 Cad (5 days or less)
50.000 – 80.000 words $15 Cad (8 days or less)
80.000 – 100.000 words $20 Cad (10 days or less)
100.000 – 120.000 words $25 Cad (12 days or less)
120.000 – 140.000 Words $30 Cad (14 days or less)
140.000+ by negotiation
Once you get the manuscript back you will also get a link with the email sending you back to this page where you can decide how much my work is worth to you, using this donate button.
It’s an old and well-known truth that a good writer is an avid reader, and most of the time an eclectic reader as well. Now, I have been asked on several occasions why I write if I have a goal or a message when writing. The answer to that is easy, yet complex.
When I write my goals are my expectations as a reader. I know sounds weird and complicated.
As a reader I like to read stories, no matter the genre that are emotionally deep and complex, that are well researched and hold facts within their fiction. I like characters like you and me, fashioned after people you could encounter on the street, in the subway or at work. I read books with a plot that has meaning, not just boy meets girl, falls in love, and they have sex and live happily ever after. I want plots that have the best and the worst of humanity, where tragedy and drama can be overcome and survived and where characters have to fight for what they want. That combined automatically produces a story with meaning, with a message and with a plot I can relate to at some level.
When writing, all that I expect to find in a book I want to read, are my goals in what I write. Do my books have a message? Yes, sometimes it’s a very simple one like, hang in there, don’t give up, fight for what you want. Sometimes it is more specific like, rape can be overcome, love deserves a second chance, disabilities are no reason not to fulfill your dreams or family is important.
Do I have a goal? Rarely at the beginning, simply because I let the story guide me, so ergo there is no goal when I start out. However, once I’m done with the first draft that often changes. The story might develop into one (like Waiting in the Wings) that raises awareness for domestic abuse victims, demonstrating that the victim can still love and trust, it just isn’t easy. It might make a statement against rape, theft, discrimination, racism and anything else. But I never plan in advance on such a goal.
I spend hours researching, communicating with a specialist when I can, talking to people who have lived through one tragedy or another, in order to make my story believable and bring even fantasy into the realm of possibility.
I study people, in simple settings like a restaurant, in the mall or on the street. What they do, how they move, or how they communicate.
Now, why do I write? Easy, because I can and because I love it. There are stories of me and I want to tell them, share them, and the easiest way is with a book. Those are the main reasons, however, there is also the fact that I can use the money, I would be a big liar if I wouldn’t admit that. The main reason still is because I want to share my stories, and if I were a millionaire I would share them for free, but I’m not, so I don’t.
Why do you write or read?
So… lately I have been asked how I deal with my Dyslexia, and how I teach myself to get better in spelling, grammar and such. So here it goes.
I say in my book, but if you haven’t read it you can’t know of course, that when I found out I was dyslexic with 18, I started to research it and tried several techniques I found in books. None of them worked for me. If that was because they were designed for children, or just not for me, I don’t know. After those first few tries I tried again from time to time, but just couldn’t find anything that would work for me. Maybe it was the German language that made it harder, I don’t know. Truth be told, I made my peace with being dyslexic a long time ago, and have stopped thinking of myself as stupid or incapable a long time ago. So basically for several years I didn’t try to better it, because it’s part of me and I don’t see why I have to change that part… well, I do know… but I didn’t care and in a way still don’t. I am me, and me is dyslexic… done.
However when it was evident that my Fibromyalgia would force me to stop working at some point in the future, my dyslexia became a problem again. Becoming unable to do physical labor, would mean I would need to take a job in an office, which in most cases includes writing, something not exactly easy for me. Well I can write, just not always right.
In Germany I was taught from the first day of school that words are spelled like they are spoken, and most therapies I could find were based on exactly that. With English that simply doesn’t work. The language has too many words that sound the same, but are written totally different, or slightly different. The way I had tried to improve my German spelling, was utterly useless now.
Yet at the same time I didn’t think that using anything I would find in books would help, so I tried to find out how to help myself.
Writing in Word and using the spellcheck I soon noticed that if I corrected wrong spelled words myself, instead of letting the computer do it, I started to remember how they are spelled right after a couple hundred times. So every time my spellcheck underlined something, I deleted it and wrote it again, until I got it right. That meant sometimes to write it five or ten times, and when I used that word again, I would repeat that procedure and at some point I started to write it right.
Yet spellcheck isn’t perfect, you can activate all its capabilities, but if you use the wrong word and spell it right, it won’t correct it. Or rather if you spell a word right, but it has a different meaning, but sounds like the word you were trying to use. For example… ruff and rough, it’s sounded out the same, but I would often write ruff when meaning rough. The same is with words like women and woman or men and man… Where and were….
This is where it gets often complicated for me. Because I actually need someone to point those out to me, in order to know I write or use them wrongly. Now sadly you don’t find many people who are nice enough to send you a PM saying… Hay, liked what you wrote, but did you know you used ruff on page soandso and it should be rough? Just wanted to let you know…. No sadly those are very rare…
However I figured out that using either Narrator or another app that will read my text to me, I sometimes can find some of those problem words. When I find them, and figure out how they are written right I put them down on a list I hang up beside my computer when writing. The list has all my word I have problems with on it, telling me their meaning… like this is plural, this is singular, or this is past tense… you get what I mean…
I know that I also make a lot of grammar mistakes and that my punctuation is horrible, but decided to work on those once I actually get along with the spelling. In most cases I will build my sentences the same way I speak or hear others speak. For punctuation I do the same as when searching for words spelled wrong, I use a narrator that read my text to me. That way I can often find where I need to place a comma or shorten or split a sentence.
If I look at texts written in the first two years after coming to Canada, and now, the difference is very obvious and easy to spot. If I had to put it in numbers I would say I improved by about 200%. My first tries wouldn’t even have matched a first grader.
I don’t know if what I do will help anyone out there, but if it does then I’m glad about it.