Tuesday Tirade: ROI

Angry cats are funnier than angry dogs…

So this is not really going to be a tirade, but I wanted to use the cat because he/she/it makes me chuckle.

My mailing list has two groups, regular readers who have downloaded one of my sample books, and reviewers. The main body is the same, but the reviewers get reminders and review links.

Of the two, the reviewer group has the lower open rate. Much lower. With no new reviews coming in I decided to merge the two.

I had a good email conversation with the owner of one of the review platform that I had used, inquiring about the typical review rates of the participants. He was forthright about it and said it usually runs between 5-10%.

So, that’s what I have been experiencing, and I’m glad he was honest. I put my participation on hold, while I re-thought my strategy. I decided that the rate was too low because it means that 90% of readers who receive a free book from me do it for the free book.

Authors want a ROI (return on investment) on their marketing budget which I wrote about here:
Book Marketing: Spend money, make money?  and here:
Amazon Ads: Here, Mr. Bezos, take my money and run.

When if comes to free books, whether short sample copies or review copies, getting the book into the hands of new readers is good exposure, if – and it’s a big if, they write a review, tell someone else, share their opinion on social media, or in the case of sample copies, buy the full book.

I stated in my review expectations, the I was hoping for a 4 week time frame, and always appreciated when reviewers informed me that they were done, needed more time, or decided that they were not going to leave a review.  

On the plus-side, I cut down how much I have to write each week.


Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.

Book Two the The View from Here trilogy is now available: The Second View

4 thoughts on “Tuesday Tirade: ROI

  1. Getting reviews are challenging, I think. It must be hard as an author to send free books and then not get a review in return. Especially that was the condition of getting the free book anyway. Apart from that, how do u get persons to open and then respond to your emails?

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Especially that was the condition of getting the free book anyway.” – Most review platforms tell authors that reviews are not guaranteed. Some will send out reminders, but they are not going to do much beyond that.
      “…how do u get persons to open and then respond to your emails?” – Good question. Answer: You can’t. They either do or don’t, but you can entice them. I have a 40% open rate for my weekly newsletter. For my reviewer newsletter (I include new reviews and links to make it easier) it’s about 25%, which tells me that most download the book because it is free.
      I’ve added “book sale” in the subject line, but without much change. When I purge my mailing list, the subject is “final email and unsubscribe info”. In that case, I had more opens, and those readers were kept and the rest archived.
      Bottom line, You have to make your newsletter interesting enough on a regular basis to keep people wanting to open. I try to keep my marketing to a minimum because that can turn off readers. The drawback of that is that the email list is a good way to keep readers informed about your books and hopefully the purchase them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Everything is a competition. From getting people to read your books, to persons to subscribe to your email list to opening, reading and engaging with your newsletter or blog. It is a lot of enticement. There are so many content out there that we are constantly bombarded with information. Getting into some one’s inbox is a challenge and opportunity to be grateful for.
        All this is making me realise how important it is to learn to write copy effectively and the need to provide great value to your followers.
        It is can be frustrating though.
        I hope your mailing list grows and you get more reviews in the future, Leon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “All this is making me realise how important it is to learn to write copy effectively and the need to provide great value to your followers.” – Exactly. We as writers need to provide value.


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