Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sales Sell, Reviews Don't

When authors submit query letters to editors and agents, they are often told to show the success of your writing. This is so true. If you have written in the past, we want to know of those successes! We want to see that we are getting someone who not only knows the business, but has found a way to do well in the business. We do the same thing when we submit resumes and cover letters to potential employers. The goal is to demonstrate that new company is getting a winner.

When it comes to query letters though, many authors miss the mark. These authors rely on reviews and comments they have received for their novels and not sales. Now, why is this not going to work for us? For the simple reason that reviews are not only subjective, but can be written by anyone. Let me give you some examples.

Let's start first with Amazon. This is a known procedure that many companies have used around the world. To hype up the quality of their business, they write their own reviews. They have their friends write reviews. Yes, they get great reviews, and yes, they now show up as 5 star reviews, but it isn't really an accurate reflection of what the whole public is thinking about. Authors do the same thing. When their novel comes out, they "take to the streets!" They get their followers to hype up the quality of their book.

I am not saying those reviews are lies. Those followers love their books. They would buy anything that person puts out. But these are VERY subjective and don't give the editors or agents an accurate picture.

Another twist to this would be getting those advance reviews for your books. This is always a great way to add comments to those advertising campaigns. but again, this can be a bit subjective and still will not give the editors and agents an accurate picture. Why?  Because authors know which places to send their books and where to avoid. If they already know a particular review site tends to be extra critical, or is not a big fan of a particular genre, they avoid it. Smart move, but again, not an accurate

What gives us a true picture are sales. How many units have you sold? How much money have you brought in on that book that you now want to be represented? Give us an accurate picture.

Again, be accurate with this. Don't try to hide the fact that you sold a ton of books, but did so marking everything down to $.99 to hype up sales.

Here at Greyhaus, I am always willing to look at books that have been previously published, but I always ask for authors to send me sales figures. If you show us the last three months worth of sales, this gives us a great idea.

A couple of days ago, I posted something similar when it came to the Shark Tank concept. I mentioned one guy heading into pitch to the Sharks but only had $200 worth of sales. Despite the fact that the product sounded like it was amazing (note, this came from reviews), when he showed sales, he demonstrated that the product might not be as strong as he had hyped it.

I want to remind you of something you have all been told when it comes to your writing. SHOW DON'T TELL. The same holds true with your stories and the marketing!

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