Page Turners: Finding out more about the Reviewing Community
The tables have turned – this time the author’s asking the questions.
Everyone’s heard a version of the adage about a tree falling in a forest. The concept is simple, the answer, (if there is one), rather complex. The challenge hinges on the definition of sound, in that a sound is something that must be heard. Therefore, if a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it (or can it) make a sound?
Books are a lot like trees. And not just because traditional ones are made out of them. For most authors—whether published traditionally, through a small press, or the “indie” route—there’s no guarantee that when their tree falls, it will be heard.
Marketing can help, and some publishers or authors have mastered the “how to sell a book” perhaps even better than the “how to write a book,” but that’s an argument for another article. Yet when writing a novel can take months or sometimes years to complete, an author should want to maximize the reach of their potential audience.
So how can authors make sure that when their tree falls, it makes a noise? That when that release date rolls around, there are readers lining up to breathe life into their work?
That’s where reviewers come into play.
Some of the most successful authors working today—Hugh Howey, Blake Crouch, Andy Weir, Jeff Strand—were thrust into the public eye not by a publisher or agent picking their lotto ticket out of the masses, but by the masses raising their voices and shouting they wanted more. Word of mouth. The ever-longed for power of “viral” marketing. And it all starts by those heroes who read something they enjoy and then take a moment to spread the word.
For me, my appreciation for book reviewers is quite personal. All my life I had always wanted to be an author until somewhere along life’s path I realized I wasn’t writing. I had a job I enjoyed, but—let’s face it—was still work. I had a wife and kids and a mortgage and all the things you think you need to check in that list of life’s achievements, but I felt lacking. That creative aspect that I had always envisioned being a part of my life was missing.
Now I grew up working in the film industry and starred in TV shows like Dynasty and Highway to Heaven, so naturally turned to screenwriting as a way to flex my creative muscles. Drawers full of unproduced scripts later, I wasn’t sure where to turn. I owe my fiction writing career to my brother, who asked, “Have you ever thought of writing a novel?” I hadn’t, or more accurately I had my entire life, I just didn’t know where to start. Who even gives permission to do that sort of thing?
It turned out all the countless books and seminars and study I had put into the craft of screenwriting transferred directly over to writing fiction, though with more creative freedom than when you’re drafting something tied to a budget. I’m not a terribly fast writer, but once I finished my novel, I realized I was back at the drawing board, because what do you do now?
Thankfully, there were some heroes along my path that pointed me in great directions, authors I admired and had read that were open to answering questions or helping a lost-in-the-woods starry-eyed newbie to do more than he ever could have done on his own. Joe Hart and Kealan Patrick Burke are just two of those individuals, and though their insight and advice may not have seemed like much to them, it was everything to this fresh-faced pup.
Now at the time, a little publisher called Amazon created a new program called Kindle Scout, a “reader-powered” publishing platform. My debut novel was chosen as one of the first books published under their program and, thankfully, went on to find some great success.
But here’s where my appreciation for reviewers comes in because marketing alone can’t do it. (And these days most marketing platforms seem to have diminishing returns). The book reviewers I connected with through this process were absolutely amazing. First, to give an unknown author a shot at reading his debut, but even more than that, because they taught me the ropes of publishing more than any book or workshop ever has.
Many of these reviewers I’ve kept in contact with over the years and have developed friendships with. ALL of these reviewers have turned me on to authors I wasn’t familiar with at the time, many of which I’ve also developed friendships with. And every one of these heroes—and I don’t use that term lightly—takes time out of their lives to put together their thoughts on a book and post their reviews, not for monetary gain or notoriety, but to share their love of fiction and what they consider noteworthy reads. Books that deserve to be read and have their audience enlarged.
Outside of writing the next book, sending out advanced reader copies or occasional goodies, and being present socially through our perverse infatuation with social media platforms, there is not a lot authors can do to thank reviewers. I wrote a short story that I dedicated to book reviewers called One Star and made it available as a free download, but I’m always wishing there was more we could do.
That’s when an idea struck, that I’m proud to present will be a new feature on Kendall Reviews—and I couldn’t think of a better place to host it than with a site selflessly dedicated to promoting and supporting so many in the horror genre.
The idea is simple: conduct an interview, but turn the tables. Instead of a review site interviewing an author, what you’re going to find in this feature is an author interviewing book reviewers.
We’re going to learn about those reviewing in the genre, find out what makes them tick. We’ll dig into how they’ve built their reviewing platforms, how they prefer authors make contact, what they wish they had known when they started out, and what keeps them in the game doing what they do. We won’t shy away from the hard questions either, and each interview will be a little different, following the path our guests choose to take. Our aim in this interview series is to highlight those who promote the genre so well, while often staying outside of the limelight themselves. But their stories—YOUR stories—deserve to be told.
So welcome to Page Turners. I hope you’ll enjoy learning about these amazing heroes, and I can guarantee you’ll learn something new—whether you’re a book reviewer, an author, or someone on the sidelines thinking of doing either or both.
As for whether that tree makes a sound? It’s entirely up to you.
A former child actor turned wanna-be rockstar, The Behrg is the author of the Internationally best-selling novel Housebroken and the thrilling Creation Series. His short work can be found in anthologies from Bloodshot Books, Comet Press, Omnium Gatherum, and Cemetery Dance. A mental health advocate, Behrg often explores the themes of mental illness within his work, albeit within a horror backdrop.
Behrg lives in Southern California with his wife and four kids where he still plays in a band, plays in fictional worlds of his own creating, and plays—quite poorly, he might add—at being an adult.
When coloring, he does not stay within the lines.
Stalk him at www.thebehrg.com
Check out The Behrg’s GoodReads page HERE
The Behrg’s Amazon author page can be found HERE
Follow The Behrg on Twitter @TheBehrg
Facebook: Do people still use that thing?
The Behrg Free Fiction: HERE