Topic: Ideas for increasing number of reviews/reciprocation
I thought I would start a new thread for this topic since it keeps coming up in threads intended for other purposes. Some of these suggestions have appeared before, but here's a starter list:
(EDIT: This was the initial post on this topic. However, I'm maintaining a copy of this post in the Writing Tips & Site Help group, so be sure to check there for the most recent version.)
- Review, review, review. It's the best way to find reciprocal reviewers.
- Respond to reviews in a timely manner, otherwise reviewers will just move on.
- Read stories in your own genre. You're more likely to get reciprocal reviewers if they share your interests.
- Post clean chapters to the extent you know how. That means proper punctuation, grammar, and proofreading. If you're still new to writing, ask for help in the Writing Tips & Site Help group. Google for articles on punctuation and grammar, or buy a good book on the subject. You want your reviewers focused on your story, not your writing mechanics.
- Use a picture as a cover page, not just the default red cover. If default covers worked, then there would be no need for real covers on Amazon either. When I look at the home page, it's the pictures that stand out first/most. Free pictures are available from numerous online sites, including from pixabay.com.
- Have a content summary for your book so people know what it's about. This seems like common sense, but I still see books without a summary. Who buys books when they don't know what it's about?
- Try to come up with an interesting book title.
- Keep a clean portfolio. When members go looking for something new to read, if an author has multiple versions of the same book up with the same or similar titles, how is anyone supposed to know which one to read?
- Don't post massive chapters that take six to eight times as long to review as a regular post. If a member has to choose between reviewing the chapters of six people they regularly review vs. reviewing one massive chapter, the former will usually win out since we're trying to maintain as many reciprocal relationships as possible with only a limited amount of time. A good chapter length for the site is perhaps 1500 - 3000 words (costs about 5 to 10 points to post). If you have a much longer chapter, break it up and post it in parts, and clearly identify in the chapter names and chapter notes that it is a multi-part chapter, otherwise you'll get repeated comments about how a chapter seems to end abruptly or has a lousy hook.
- Be patient while waiting for reciprocal reviews. Expect to wait a few days up to a few weeks for people to reciprocate. Most authors write part-time. In my case, I write about one chapter a month, post it, and then catch up on reviews I owe. Some of my reciprocal reviewers do the same thing. If someone has never reviewed you before, try to recip with them more quickly, since it's a chance to acquire a new reviewer.
- If you're not going to reciprocate because the other author's book doesn't interest you, thank them and tell them that it's not something you normally read and/or probably can't be of much help with. The other author can then move on. And don't be offended if someone doesn't want to read your stuff. For example, I don't usually read romance or poetry unless asked to.
- Read the works of new members. There's a points bonus, they'll probably be grateful to you and may read your stuff, and they'll be more likely to join the site permanently if they see they're getting helpful reviews.
- Ask other members about who else is most likely to review your chapters, then check out the posted works of those authors. If someone doesn't reciprocate after two or three attempts, move on. When you review someone new, suggest who else the new member should review in order to increase their chance of gaining more reciprocal reviewers.
- Post in Premium if you have a new work and you're having trouble finding reviewers, but do so in a positive way, asking for reviewers, not by complaining that you can't get any. Be prepared to recip.
- If you don't know how to do some of the things mentioned in this thread, ask in the newly revived Writing Tips & Site Help group (formerly Writing Tips & Advice). For those who can help, join the aforementioned group and help out. You may make a friend or two, and friends are more likely to review each other.
Please add to this list with anything I've forgotten.