On Using Story Cartel to Get Reviews for Your Self-Published Book

Story-Cartel-logo-300x284For self-published authors, establishing credibility with a substantial number of honest reviews is crucial in order to sell books. In an effort to get more reviews of the first book in The Conjurors Series, I tried a website called Story Cartel. For $30, you are allowed to list your book on the site, where readers can download your book for free. Readers who write reviews of the books they download are entered into contests for various prizes, like gift cards or a new Kindle. During my promotion and I received 8 reviews (four4-star, four 5-star).

Ultimately I’m happy that I decided to use Story Cartel. I kept my expectations reasonable. There are some folks who received 50 reviews using Story Cartel, but most of my research prepared me that I’d be lucky to get more than five. I now have seven more positive reviews of The Society of Imaginary Friends than I did before, which will hopefully make the next promotion of my book more powerful.

Pros:

  1. Story Cartel has a built-in network of readers who have probably never seen your book before, so you have the chance to get new, honest reviews. You are guaranteed to get at least one new review or you get a refund.
  2. After the promotion, Story Cartel gives you a list of the names and email addresses of everyone who downloaded your book. This provides you the ability to politely reach out after your promotion to see if they are interested in reading other work by you.
  3. It’s a great opportunity to get some honest feedback about your book. Especially if you’ve only had a friendly audience reviewing your story, even a few new reviews can help you understand if there are major changes that you need to make before you continue to promote your book.

Cons:

  1. It isn’t free, and you only get your money back if you get no reviews at all. Story Cartel charges $30 for their service, which is money they use for prizes that they give to readers who post reviews.
  2. It’s up to you to promote your giveaway on Story Cartel if you want more than a few reviews. I made a couple of posts on Twitter and Facebook, and that seemed to help get a few extra readers of my book.
  3. Some reviewers don’t post genuine reviews. I had one reviewer who writes generic reviews and posts them for a whole bunch of books in order to be entered into the Story Cartel prize drawing multiple times. She didn’t actually read my book and provide an honest review.

Has anyone else used Story Cartel? What was your experience like?

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Calling All Self-Published Authors: Book Review Exchange

shutterstock_108685118One of the most powerful marketing tools that your book can have is one that doesn’t cost anything at all – honest reviews. It’s one of the first things that readers look for when they’re deciding whether a book is worth checking out. In particular, self-published novels need good reviews, because readers are trying to sift through hundreds of cheap – or free – books, many of which aren’t high quality.

The other value that I’ve found equally important from reviews is that it is a great way to get honest feedback about your book. Friends, family, and even beta readers are biased. Strangers can often provide insights that you’d never get otherwise. For example, reviews of The Conjurors Series have alerted me to the fact that I may be targeting the wrong audience for my story. I’d considered it YA fantasy, but readers think it is more appropriate for a younger audience. In the future, I’m going to promote it more heavily to middle grade readers.

I’d also like to get more reviews for the books in The Conjurors Series. To that end, I’m asking anyone who is interested in exchanging books to read and honestly review to reach out to me in the form below. I’ll read yours and provide reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other sites where you’re promoting your book, if you’ll do the same for me.