Getting Reviews: Voracious Readers Only (Part 2)

voracious reading books woman-1852907_960_720Back in May, I reported on my first trial with Voracious Readers Only, a site that makes connections between readers and authors in a promising new way. As you’ll remember, my first experiment was to allow VRO to give away 20-25 free copies of my book Ghost Walk, Book 1 of my paranormal mystery series. Out of those, I did realize a few reviews, and according to site owner Larry Froncek, my results were in the high normal range.

Larry thought my book would be a good fit for their Evergreen Program, which offers my book free to any new subscribers who opt for the thriller/mystery genre. The program is $20 a month and I can cancel at any time. I decided it was worth the chance to connect with lots of new readers, and after 30 days, I have the results. Larry was kind enough to give me his insider stats so I could have a better understanding of how it all shook out.voracious readers only logoVRO sent 619 new mystery/thriller opt-in emails. Of those, 214 were opened, or 35%. Of those, I had 43 clicks (or 7%). In addition to that, there were also 45 other requests for Ghost Walk from bonus promotions to the rest of the subscriber list, something that went beyond the Evergreen plan.

I have 5 confirmed reviews in the last 30 days, but there are probably more as Larry can’t always match up the reviewer’s screen name to the name on his list. In addition, I can’t see Amazon’s UK page, so I’m unable to check there to see how many new reviews might be listed, but I do know my own sales results (see below) include many more UK readers than before. The reviews are unequally divided between Amazon and Goodreads with the small majority going to Goodreads.

The number of reviews might seem small, but we all know how tough it is to get readers to leave any at all. I’m heartened by the fact that they continue to dribble in, and I do believe that the more good reviews a book has, the more reviews will come. People seem to like to be part of a group, and may be hesitant to leave that first review that hangs out there all alone. In any event, I do see this as a process, and it is continuing and growing.

Now the really good news is that sales for all my books in the series have improved, and my best-seller in the past 30 days has been the second book in the series, followed by all the rest. I have done a couple of promos within this period, and the tough part about doing multiple promos is that you can never be exactly sure which one is producing the most results. However, my overall book sales are holding, and holding at a higher rate than before this time. I attribute much of this to VRO and the constant and ongoing exposure to new readers.

What’s interesting to me, too, is the distribution around the globe. According to my BookReport stats for the same period, my books have an increased sales presence in the UK, Canada, Australia, and … Denmark! Prior to using VRO, my sales were 95% US.

Going over my numbers here, I got curious about VRO’s readership. I asked Larry to share his subscriber numbers with me, and he reported that he has 7,832 total readers on his list. In the past 30 days, he’s added 942 new names to that list (and of that, 619 opted for mystery/thriller, good news for me). At the present time, he doesn’t break opt-in choices down into sub-genres, but does include the major hitters:

Fantasy, Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction, Horror, Inspirational, and Western.

While Larry doesn’t have numbers on country of origin for all subscribers, he was kind enough to supply me with his Google analytics for visitors to VRO in the last 30 days:

United States    34.85%
United Kingdom    33.91%
Canada        13.62%
Australia    10.84%
India        2.05%
New Zealand    1.38%
Other/Unknown    3.35%

It’s obvious that VRO is introducing authors to a global community. What’s not to like about that?

So what’s my takeaway on this? I haven’t gotten as many new reviews as I might have (naively) believed I would, but the number is growing, and has the potential to grow more moving forward as long as I’m enrolled in the Evergreen Program. The real benefit is the constant exposure to new readers. Every day I get a couple of opt-ins to my author newsletter, which means every day a couple more people are looking at my book AND opting to be on my mailing list: 88 out of the last 30 days. If those numbers hold even partially over the next weeks and months, and if Larry continues to grow his list the way he has been, I see nothing but good news on the horizon.

Author: Melissa Bowersock

Melissa Bowersock is an eclectic, award-winning author who writes in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. She has been both traditionally and independently published and lives in a small community in northern Arizona. Learn more about Melissa from her Amazon author page and her blog.

17 thoughts on “Getting Reviews: Voracious Readers Only (Part 2)”

    1. Ha! Maybe because I typed in the wrong URL? I just got on there and love the reviews I’m seeing. Only 8 reviews so far, but 7 of those are 5-star, so I certainly won’t kick about that. Thanks for the nudge, Malcolm.

  1. Nice summary of VRO. Have you looked into LibraryThing? One of the things that is appealing in LT is that, for their Early Reviewer program, winners of the giveaways are not random… there is an algorithm in place that – among other factors – gives ‘credit’ for reviews posted (regardless of content).. which means that those who post reviews are more likely to be the ones who get their hands on the giveaway copies.
    I’d love to see a comparison of VRO and LT.

  2. Thanks Melissa!
    I’ve improved my list building since I gave you those stats. Right now, I have 11,263 total readers and in the last 30 days, I added 1,673 to the list, of which 1,271 read mysteries/thrillers.

    1. Wow, that’s a nice jump. I’m certainly seeing more opt-ins for my newsletter every day. I just released Book 13 of the series and it’s been selling well. I believe a lot of that is to your credit. Thanks!

  3. I also took part in this promo and got a short list to send books to. However Larry was honest enough to say that there was not a large response to my title
    (I can’t remember which one it was now) that he would not recommend I go for the Evergreen Scheme. I appreciate him being so fair.

    1. Lucinda, yes, that is nice. It’s not often we run into someone honest enough to NOT take our money. For whatever reason, my title seems to be a good fit. Perhaps your book was more of a niche than mine. Thanks for sharing that.

  4. I also gave VRO a trial and then signed up for the evergreen programme. I was a bit disappointed with the results, and was thinking of cancelling, but before I did, Larry got in touch to say that he was concerned as well. He did a bit of investigating and then offered me a deal which meant I was effectively paying a bit less to be part of the scheme given that I wasn’t getting that many sign ups. All of this was unprompted and I think it is great customer service. As it is I get a trickle of sign ups and a few reviews and I am happy with that.

  5. I find VRO’s list of genres both too broad and too limited to be helpful for me as a reader (much less as a writer). No historical category? (Or am I missing something?)

  6. Hello Sean,
    I write serious historical fiction too, we all do in my co-op, but we’ve had great results from Voracious Readers.

    Two of us joined up, thanks to Melissa’s first report. We wanted reviews which are hard to get for serious historical fiction. All our books pulled in 20 downloads in the free trial and have continued to do so in the paid section. Reviews have been 4 and 5 star, at least ten per book, and, because of this Amazon business about not letting us post reviews unless we have bought $50 of stuff from them, we have a lot more on Goodreads than Amazon. We too have noticed a rise in sales especially non-American sales. There see to be a lot of UK readers on the VR list who like historical fiction.

    We have used Librarything and found it most unsatisfactory. We didn’t even have a full take up of our 20 ebooks we offered and netted only 2 reviews.

    Larry and his team have been excellent and helpful. Larry know well that he must have books readers want and is fair with authors. He trialled our historical novels and as they went well he was happy to put us onto his regular paid system. I have been in the system for four months, and in my inbox this weekend are 13 requests for my books.

    My email list of readers, which was about ten, is now growing in a healthy way, over 100 for each novel, and some of the Voracious Readers have written to me. We’ve established a relationship and some want to be Beta readers of my new novel.

    I can’t remember all the ways we’ve tried to get numbers on our email lists and good reviews for our prize winning novels. Voracious Readers has really worked for us.

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