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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Hatrack Groups » E-Publishing Support Group (Page 1)

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Author Topic: E-Publishing Support Group
Meredith
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There are several of us now taking the plunge into e-publishing our stories.

There's a lot of work to getting a story ready to e-publish. but getting the stories--novels or short stories--up on Amazon, etc. is just the beginning. The real work is in trying to get readers to notice--and hopefully buy--them.

Is there any interest out there in an e-publishing support group here?

We can help each other with ideas about cover art, etc. Also with ideas for "marketing"--getting reviews, etc. Share what works for us and what doesn't. Maybe we could even help each other out with announcements for each other on our blogs--cover reveals, publication announcements, interview each other on our blogs, etc. All the things other e-published authors out there are doing.

Anybody?

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MartinV
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I'm in.

So far, I published a steampunk novella that is not selling very well. Willing to discuss and share knowledge. Will travel too.

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Owasm
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I'll join in. I've got seven novels and a short story published. Not much in the way of sales this year and I've got to get some marketing together in 2013.
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rabirch
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I'm not sure how helpful I'll be. I've published three short stories, not doing much in the way of business. I've been following the "put them up and hope someone finds/buys them" method of marketing. It's not working very well. [Big Grin]
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thomaskcarpenter
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I've got a bunch of stuff out and the best thing that sells is putting more stuff out for your readers to buy. Marketing isn't advised until you've got a significant number of books or stories for your readers to purchase, so you can leverage your marketing time. If you're trying to promote a single novel or story, you'd be better off writing.

Now having said that, if you've got a significant number of products out (twenty or more, or a good long series) then I can give some advice, but the best bet is to write more books.

--Tom

PS - And think long term, like five plus years. [Smile]

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by thomaskcarpenter:
I've got a bunch of stuff out and the best thing that sells is putting more stuff out for your readers to buy. Marketing isn't advised until you've got a significant number of books or stories for your readers to purchase, so you can leverage your marketing time. If you're trying to promote a single novel or story, you'd be better off writing.

Now having said that, if you've got a significant number of products out (twenty or more, or a good long series) then I can give some advice, but the best bet is to write more books.

--Tom

PS - And think long term, like five plus years. [Smile]

Thanks, Tom. I agree that we need to look long term and that the most important thing is to write. I disagree that we shouldn't try to do at least some reasonable things to get readers' notice. I'm sure there are some things we can try that don't cost too much in money or time. That's what I'd like to explore in marketing, myself. And tossing around ideas or reporting on what worked--and what didn't--never hurt anybody.
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Meredith
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Hopefully, we'll have a few more join us. A lot of people are still busy with NaNo, I'm sure. [Smile]

In the meantime, how do we want to run this group? What do we want to get out of it?

I have a couple of ideas, but I'd like to hear yours, too.

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rcmann
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Got room for one more? I have three short stories and a novelette up right now, and a bucketful more that are on the verge - ranging from three novellas to a full novel.

I will gladly swap blog links, etc.

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rcmann
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To answer your question Meredith, one thing we could do is provide each other with reviews. Maybe?
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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by rcmann:
Got room for one more? I have three short stories and a novelette up right now, and a bucketful more that are on the verge - ranging from three novellas to a full novel.

I will gladly swap blog links, etc.

There's lots more room. Like the Novel Support Group, everyone's welcome. [Smile]
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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by rcmann:
To answer your question Meredith, one thing we could do is provide each other with reviews. Maybe?

Reviews are certainly one possiblity, although I hope this group will do more than just that.
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rcmann
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Just tossing out one thought at a time. Putting together a blog circle, sharing reviews, mentioning each other's new books whenever a new release comes out, sharing news about free advertisement options... maybe inviting each other to do guest blog posts?

I have no idea how deep anyone wants to get into this. I mentioned reviews because I know Amazon at least rates books on the stars they get from reviews. And a lot of people buy or not based at least in part on the number of favorable reviews.

Of course, if one of us gets a long list of unfavorable reviews from the group, it might be a sign that we need to to yank a title and re-write it:) Maybe we could add mutual QA/QC to the function. Editorial swapping?

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mbwood
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rcmann -

yes, I believe reviews can raise status and notice in Amazon (the biggest e-market). I am willing to 'swap' reviews, if you're willing to read mainstream (suspense) novels rather than SF or Fantasy. My novel has received a number of five star reviews and a couple of four stars.

I'm about to put up a second novel on Amazon (another suspense novel) and contemplating putting up my five-novel SF series (currently in a publisher's slush pile) if nothing else happens.

A mutual help society? Why not?

mbwood

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rcmann
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I would be delighted. And I like suspense. In fact, I like almost any type of fiction, with the possible exception of... hm. I can't think of anything I don't like.

What format do you prefer? And would you prefer an email copy, or a free coupon to Smashwords so you can download your own copy? Either is fine with me.

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mbwood
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recmann - send me an e-mail & we'll work out the details. Look forward to working on helping each other out.

mbwood

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LDWriter2
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Missed this one last night but boy, has it gotten busy.


I want to E-publish a novel that is being looked over by a couple of people and there might be one or two more soon. I will be needing someone to do a cover and back cover if I go with POD also. I have a couple of links to artists who do covers but a review of their work would be nice.

The swapping of reviews sounds good

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Crank
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The review exchange sounds good. In fact, I would be more than willing to draw additional attention to the story I've reviewed by linking to it on my sites.

I have more than enough extracurricular activities going on right now, but, when the time comes, this is a kindness I'd like to exchange with one of my fellow Hatrackers.

S!

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rcmann
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I will be happy to put links on my blog to anyone else's blog or website that is not shamed to be seen in my company. Fire me off an email and I'll put up the link immediately. I use blogger, which also provides a widget that shows recent updates and the start of your most recent post.
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Meredith
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Okay. I just sucked in a deep breath and sent off an email to a book review blog asking for a review of BLOOD WILL TELL. [Eek!] I'll let you all know how that goes.
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axeminister
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Without having researched the details, a story on Every Day Fiction can be sponsored for $4.
I don't know if you need to buy a week or whatever, but if you have a fantasy story, maybe they'll pair you with a fantasy story of the day and you can get some sales that way.

Axe

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rcmann
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I have tried sending requests into the Kindle Review. So far no luck.
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mbwood
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rcmann;

I've gone direct e-mail to you. What's the 'Kindle Review?'

mbwood

p.s. Axe - are you interested in the mutual review support group?

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rcmann
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mbwood, copies on the way. Review any or all at your convenience. Send yours in any format that pleases you.
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rcmann
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http://www.thekindlebookreview.net/get-reviewed/
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thomaskcarpenter
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A caution on doing author review swaps. Amazon has been wiping those from many authors' book pages. Basically, they feel it's "gaming the system". A better way to get reviews is to send requests to the thousands of review sites on the Internet. This link is only a partial list. There are other ways to find them, but this is a good start for you all:

http://www.stepbystepselfpublishing.net/reviewer-list.html

The other way to legitimately get reviews is to search through the comments on popular books that are similar to yours and find reviewers with a listed email addy and then send them a note asking if they would like to review your book. I started doing that with one of my trilogies and after a month I've gotten about 60 acceptances (out of 200 requests). So far, about twelve have posted their reviews but I expect them to keep coming in for the next 1-4 months. Of course, I'm not done finding them (actually, my wife finds them and I send the request).

Hope this helps.

--Tom

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Meredith
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Great resource! Thanks, Tom.

Yeah, I'd heard that about Amazon. It was apparently a misguided reaction to the story about paid reviews. They don't seem to have gotten as far as any of the reviews I've given or recieved yet.

Smashwords and Goodreads don't have that policy. In fact, Smashwords actively encourages authors to review for each other.

I'm also looking into the book-review bloggers.

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axeminister
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MBwood, I was merely stopping by to offer advice on the inexpensive advertising by EDF.
Not that I wouldn't join in, but I have no stories self-pubbed.

Axe

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rcmann
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Meredith

Posted a review for Blood Will Tell on Smashwords and Amazon. Not eloquent, but sincere.

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Meredith
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I'm working on it. I WILL get reviews up soon. It's just, this is a busy weekend for me.

Thanks for the reviews that you've given me.

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rcmann
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No hurry. It's Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

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rcmann
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mbwood

Review is live.

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Meredith
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Review of "Lili's Justice" up on Amazon.

BTW, if your books are on Goodreads, I'll review them there, too.

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Grumpy old guy
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I'm happy to give my opinion on anyone's story, if they want it. Having made that offer, consider some implications of what's proposed.

Is this in danger of becoming a 'mutual admiration society'?

What if you totally hate someone's story, should you write a review?

If you don't, isn't that a form of censorship?

Your reputation is on the line with the reviews you write. If you 'say' a story is, "a good, compelling read and delivers a sucker-punch finale." and it's a dud, people considering buying your book, may reconsider.

If I ever *bash* Book One of my trilogy into something I'm totally happy with, I'll pay a professional editor in the genre to run their eye over it. I may end up doing that a number of times as I make mistakes trying to correct mistakes. Then, I'll try the *traditional* publishing route. If it isn't good enough to be published commercially, perhaps it isn't good enough to self-publish.

The dream is to be published, the need is to write.

I can live with not being published, I don't think I want to live in a world where I can't write, despite coming to it 'late in life'.

Phil.

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thomaskcarpenter
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Phil--

I wouldn't worry too much individual reviews. Lots of studies have shown that a couple of reviews don't make people buy or not buy books. Even negative reviews can have the opposite effect if people think the reviewer was being a jerk, or the reasons they didn't like it were not things that particular reader cared about.

Reviews matter when someone is thinking about a book that someone recommended and they see that generally, they've had good reviews (3+ stars). Honestly, I start to wonder if I see a book that is ALL five stars. At that point, I figure the author just paid people or got all his friends and family to review him, or sock-puppeted his reviews.

The nice thing about reviews is they give you an idea if your stuff is good enough for the market (or not good enough). And if you're really unsure, publish under a pen name. I have a book like that and I published it under a pen name and it's gotten good reviews, so I learned that how I feel about the book doesn't affect what readers think.

Anyway, this has gotten long and I'm rambling. My point is that reviews are good, but they don't mean that much. The #1 reason why people buy books is it's an author they know. The #2 reason is a recommendation from friends and family. Those first two reasons account for 80% of buying habits. Reviews are way down the list. That being said, I still work on getting reviews, but it's not a priority.

Good luck! [Smile]

Tom

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rcmann
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Thanks Meredith. I appreciate the quick response.

I'm not on Goodreads, although I have thought seriously about joining. I suppose I should.

As far as reviews, I don't mind if someone gives me less then five stars. But if they really hate it, I would just as soon they refrain from bashing it. Otherwise an honest appraisal is all I ever asked for.

Grumpy old guy. Have you *looked* at the quality of some of what is being published today? I have regretfully come to believe that quality is low on the list when it comes to commercial publishing considerations. Alas.

As self-publishers, we are in good company. Wasn't Martin Luther self-published? I believe Beatrice Potter self-published Peter Rabbit because none of the commercial publishers were willing to touch it. The list goes on.

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Crank
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If I'm reviewing a published story by one of my fellow Hatrackers that I absolutely cannot stomach, I will not post a negative review, but will instead contact the author first. I will not bother to tear the story apart (which would be a stupid and wasteful move anyway, considering it is already published), but I will be honest about not being able to give it a good rating, with a tactful explanation as to why.

I'm sure those Hatrackers who cannot stomach one of my published works would show me the same consideration.

S!

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Grumpy old guy
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Crank, I think most people would adopt the courtesy you mentioned if they hated a story by someone in a forum they were also a member of, unless they're trolls.

I think a polite, "I can't give you a rating," would be enough for me. If I was really anxious to know the 'frightening' details of why, I can always ask.

Phil.

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Utahute72
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I'd be interested after I tried the NoNoWrMo thing and it kicked my butt, I'd be willing to learn how to put stuff up on Amazon. I've read and critiqued several stories on there, and if I've done that to anyone here my profound apologies for what I've said.
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Utahute72
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Crank, I think you owe it to the community to at least give us a broadbrush critique. You don't need to rip it to pieces in public, but at least let us know so we don't purchase and wade through something we will end up hating, because I assure you I will not be happy when I read it and it will get rated.
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History
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I find there are two types of reviews: visceral and structural. The first is subjective and the latter comparatively objective.

It's okay to have both, recognizing we all have individual likes and dislikes (e.g. I've had the highest praise and the worst rejection for the exact same story [Wink] ). The adage is true: There is no accounting for taste.

There are stories, and novels, I critique that I find simply marvelous for any number of reasons: love of plot, character, setting, voice, mastery of prose (descriptive and/or dialog). The best stories are those that leave this aging gent with a sense of time well-spent.

There are stories I find tedious, confusing, and poorly written that I dutifully trudge through, searching for gems and making suggestions for improvement with the clear understanding the "this is just my humble opinion."

While few of us will "make a living" as writers, I believe we all share the desire to tell stories that people will find enjoyable and, perhaps, meaningful to them. Hatrack permits us an opportunity to help each other achieve this for the variety of tastes prevalent in the reading public.

There is a reader out there for all of us. The challenge is reaching them.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Meredith
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I'm wondering what anyone else's experience is. I've checked my Amazon rankings and what I see is a spike right about the time of the reviews and then the ranking drops right back down to where it was before--or even a little lower.

There's a lot of discussion right now about what kind of games Amazon is playing with the self-published e-books.

On the basis of limited data, it looks like reviews may not make that much difference.

Is your experience the same?

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Owasm
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Most of my later stuff is un-reviewed (and unsold). However I don't mind. They all need more editing (woe is me). My big problem is coming up with the bucks to buy editing services.

Someone said you can start with a pen name. That's what I did. I don't know if I'll use my real name for my fantasy novels. I've got a number still to come.

I've decided to write a book on Accounting. (I'm an Accounting Faculty member for an online university) It's not a text book as much as my own take on Accounting for Dummies and will use my real name on that. It will be self-published using my own publishing imprint.

I've gone through Brandon Sanderson's Write About Dragons - 2012 online lectures. ( http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/home/brandon_w2012/ ) He says that by far the largest segment of publishing is non-fiction, so I thought I'd tap into that for a book or two.

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Owasm
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@ UtahUte72 - I'd be happy to give you all the information you need to get up and running. Email me your phone number and we can either meet for lunch or have a good phone call on the subject. I've got eight publications under my belt and that includes both e-books and paperbacks (under Guy Antibes).
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Utahute72
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Thanks Owasm, I'll get in touch when I get back in town next week.
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mbwood
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Just a quick note - My novel 'Superheat' been accepted by the 'KindleBookReview' and will be reviewed somewhere around the end of this month (December), or so the reviewer said.

I've got another novel being prepped for Amazon, and it will go up as soon as I get all the loose ends tied up... (Mercy! when will that be?)

mbwood

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by mbwood:
Just a quick note - My novel 'Superheat' been accepted by the 'KindleBookReview' and will be reviewed somewhere around the end of this month (December), or so the reviewer said.

I've got another novel being prepped for Amazon, and it will go up as soon as I get all the loose ends tied up... (Mercy! when will that be?)

mbwood

Congrats on the review!
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Meredith
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Here's something of interest coming up in February:

IndieReCon patterned after the very successful WriteOnCon.

Pointers on all sorts of things, including book launches and marketing. For Free. Online.

Edited to fix the link. [Embarrassed]

[ December 11, 2012, 06:22 PM: Message edited by: Meredith ]

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rcmann
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Thanks for the link.
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MartinV
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Thank you, Meredith. Definitely looking it up.
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Meredith
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Well, based on my admittedly limited experience, reviews had very little and only temporary effect on my rankings. Publishing something new had a much more dramatic effect.

Of course, I have a suspicion that Amazon is cooking the rankings in the background, somehow.

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