I've also thought about voting because two of my books were in the top 10 books of 2013 at the Smile Somebody Loves You review blog. I sent out a blast asking friends, both real-life and internet-based, for some votes. I got a few, but not nearly as many as the books that won. Do I have less friends? Less motivated friends? Or just less reader-fans? Years ago I nominated my own books (everyone does it, so don't laugh) in the Preditors and Editors website's yearly book contest. I got quite a few votes then, but also not enough to be a winner. Does any of that reflect on my books, on my skill as a weaver of fictional tales that allow the reader to temporarily escape mundane reality? Or just on my ability to get enough enough folks galvanized to click on the link and vote? Yet imagine my surprise and my joy when I clicked on the link to Harlie's review site to discover that she had chosen For The Love Of His Life as her top pick in contemporary romance in 2013! For free!
How can one convince readers to give an unknown author's books a chance? I've tried most of the free and low-cost options that I can find, and paid for a few more expensive ones in the misguided belief that if I pay more for the promotional effort, it should be more effective. But my experience was that the two review tours that I paid for had little to no effect on readers. I got a few reviews, but with both organizers there were sites that never bothered to put up anything about my books, so I didn't get what I paid for:terribly sorry, don't know what happened, they are always so reliable, there was a death/illness, etc. But at the sites where my review request catches someone's attention, where someone actually reads my books, I usually get at least a 4 out of 5 rating, and sometimes I get 5s. Should I value those votes more because I didn't pay for them?
What do you think? Does paying for promotions get you better results? Or is it all just a matter of luck? Just as most of us will toil for our entire lives at boring and tedious jobs that, as George Carlin said, "pay us just enough so we won't quit," will most of us writers spend our time feverishly producing stories that few will read? Is is a part of the publishing zeitgeist, that quality is no requirement for or prediction of popularity? What's your vote?
For links to reviews and other information about any of my contemporary erotic romances, please visit my website: http://www.fionamcgier.com