THE DRAGON IN THE DRAIN was released yesterday, and has had more sales than I could have hoped for, so I’m very happy. Many thanks to everyone who has already bought a copy. And those of you who haven’t, what are you waiting for? The price goes up next week. Get thee to Amazon, quickly. Go on, NOW. You can read this later.
If you have bought a copy, I’m now after something else from you. What the heck? But I’ve already given you 99 whole pence! you might think, or even exclaim aloud if you are that kind of person. What more could an author want from me? Blood?
Fortunately for us both, blood doesn’t come into it. What I want from you now is … a review.
Oh. One of those. Well, they’re a bit tedious to write, aren’t they? And they don’t really make any difference, do they?
Ah! But for independent authors, they do.
Once upon a time, publishers were the ones who decided what people read. Now it’s readers. YOU HAVE THE POWER! But with great power comes great responsibility.
What an independent author needs more than anything – even more than KitKats to fuel their creative genius or lovely new pens with which to perfect their author signature – is eyeballs. Not their own eyeballs (although they’re pretty useful as well) but yours. People’s. EVERYONE’S. They need people to know they exist and be able to SEE their work. Otherwise no-one can buy it. And if no-one can buy it: no KitKats.
Reviews can help visibility and push sales. They give prospective buyers confidence to purchase a book. And many of the great promotional sites that independent authors can use to boost their visibility and reach more readers require a certain number of reviews before they’ll consider promoting your book.
And as well as helping authors, you’d be helping your fellow readers. There are millions of books out there. How do you find the great ones? Word of mouth? Recommendations from your friends? That’s just another type of review.
So if you’ve read THE DRAGON IN THE DRAIN and you enjoyed it – or even if you didn’t – if you can spare a few moments to leave a review on Amazon, I will be eternally grateful. And so will all the other people who might never have found the book without you. OK, that’s not strictly true – they’ll never give you another thought. But you’ll know you did something nice.
And just to make you feel like you got something out of it too, I wrote this post for you twice. Once in the way you just read, and again below – but this time in story form. So don’t say I never give you anything.
Once upon a time there was a kingdom that was famous for its beautiful formal gardens. People loved to walk in them, admiring the flowers and foliage, enjoying the scents on the breeze and listening to the insects and birds. The gardens were meticulously landscaped. They were designed and maintained by the Head Gardener, who tended the garden and chose which plants would be grown in the garden for the people to enjoy.
One day, as the Head Gardener was planting some more blue flowers, a young boy approached him. “Excuse me,” said the boy, politely. “The blue flowers are very beautiful, but all the flowers are blue. But could we have some red flowers in the garden as well?”
The Head Gardener chuckled and shook his head. “No,” he replied. “The people are not interested in red flowers. They prefer blue.”
The boy frowned. “But I am one of the people. And I prefer red.”
A woman who had been passing with her husband overheard the conversation and joined in. “Actually, I prefer orange flowers,” she said.
“No,” said the Head Gardener. “You may think you would prefer orange flowers if there were any, but the orange flowers are of inferior quality. I know more about gardening than you and so I have chosen the best flowers for you to enjoy. And the best flowers are blue.”
“Perhaps you do know more about gardening,” said the woman “but you don’t know which flowers I prefer to look at. And I prefer orange.”
“And I prefer red,” said the boy.
“And I prefer yellow,” said the woman’s husband.
The Head Gardener began to get frustrated. “But I am giving you the best flowers there are!” he said. “And not only are they the best quality, but they are the colour that people prefer to look at. I know this because there is are market stalls at the corners of the gardens, and the only flowers people buy are blue ones.”
“Do you sell red ones?” asked the boy, his face eager with hope.
“Well … no,” said the Head Gardener. “Because no-one wants to buy them.”
“How do you know if you don’t sell them?” asked the woman.
“Because I know that people prefer blue flowers,” said the Head Gardener.
The woman tutted. “Are there no orange flowers to be bought anywhere, then?” she asked.
“”Well, people do sometimes send me trays of orange flowers,” conceded the Head Gardener. “Or yellow. Or red. But I don’t plant them, or sell them. Because no-one likes them, you see.” And with that, he turned back to his work.
“I like them,” said the boy to the woman and her husband. “Maybe we should plant some seeds and grow our own orange, red, and yellow flowers.”
“But if we did that,” said the woman, “when we came to buy the seeds, how would we know which flowers were beautiful and which to avoid? What if some of the flowers turned out to be weeds?”
“Some people might like the flowers that you regard as weeds,” said her husband, and the woman realised he was right.
“But if no-one knew which seeds were the ones they might like and which were the ones they wouldn’t, it would be too confusing,” said the woman. “And no-one would be able to find the good seeds amongst the rest.”
The boy thought for a moment. “But what if we were to tell each other? We would buy the seeds and then, when we found the flowers we liked best, whatever colour they were, we would tell our friends how lovely the scent is and how pretty the petals are. Then they would be able to buy the same seeds and enjoy the flowers too. And our friends would do the same for us if they bought good seeds. And if the flowers were poor, we would warn each other to avoid them.”
So that was what they did. The Head Gardener never did agree to plant or sell red or orange or yellow flowers. So while the people of the kingdom still often stroll through the formal gardens and admire the blue flowers, they have also created gardens of their own. And when they find a flower they love, they tell their friends.
And the sellers of good seeds and the people who grew the colourful flowers all lived happily ever after.