Just like the fiery, female characters she writes about, Sandra Lopez is also strong and independent; she isn’t afraid to get a bad review or write one herself.
“Reviews are the life blood of any book. More reviews equal a greater online exposure and a higher sales ranking. Any review is better than no review.”
She admitted that in her early blogging days, authors who received a bad review from her would ‘scream’ about her honest thoughts posted online for all the world to see.
“They were worried about ruining their sales on Amazon. What authors don’t realize is that even a bad review can improve your sale-ability. Those reviews – good and bad – are all part of that magical algorithm that increases your exposure and improves your sales ranking. The more reviews a book has, the better. So, yes, even a bad review is good.”
The author of Single Chicas, a book of short stories published just over ten years ago, is still receiving reviews praising Lopez as a ‘fresh voice in Latina fiction’.
But staying fresh means work.
The art of selling her books has meant trying out all kinds of things for the YA author, freelance artist and world traveler. She describes her foray into the world of book marketing as both a bumpy and windy road.
“Like every published author, I was emailing book bloggers, asking them to please review my book. But, just like querying to publishers, most of them were unresponsive and some weren’t interested,” admitted Lopez.
She said she used to rely on paid services that would list her book in their newsletters, reaching potential readers that may or may not review her.
“That worked out okay. But let’s face it, getting reviews is tough. It’s hard when your book isn’t well publicized and no one is willing to give it chance.”
Lopez said she turned a negative into a positive by starting her own book club blog, explaining its evolution through the years.
“Initially, it started as just a blog for my own personal reviews on books I read. At that point, I started taking requests from authors and publishers. My own personal review would be free, but, of course, like every other blogger, I only chose the ones that I wanted,” she explained.
But, eventually, Lopez found a way to give all writers a fair shake, except she jokes, the ones writing dull westerns, sports or political stuff.
Her end goal was simply to create a review program that supplies authors with more reviews besides the one she gave them.
Describing it as simple, easy, and convenient, Lopez offers authors a three-month stint in her review program.
“In the program, your book can reach a growing list of reviewers that actively post on Amazon and/or Goodreads. It works – and here’s the best thing: While most review services charge to list your book in their program, I offer a free option for those with limited budgets.”
Lopez said about 85% of participating authors have received at least 1-2 reviews on Amazon.
As to the books that do the best in her program, or anywhere for that matter, she chalks this up to two simple things: a great story and an even better cover.
“These are HONEST and LEGIT reviews, my program provides. There is no buying reviews here. Readers are free to choose any book and reserve the right in whether or not a review gets posted. It’s all strictly voluntary and 100% honest,” she said, adding writers can sign up online.
In addition to reading and reviewing books, Lopez offers various promo and graphic design services. A three-day social media boost is $10, a Facebook header design is $35, a bookmark design is $50, and a video trailer is $100.
All of Swallow Publishing’s titles by Jennifer Russon are currently part of Sandra’s author review program.