A friend recently asked me what parameters I use to determine the success (or failure) of The Book Reviewers Club. His specific question was, are the results equal to the efforts?
After a great deal of evaluation, I must respond that the results far exceed the efforts.
My first evaluation was of the effort associated with establishing The Book Reviewers Club, and continued support of the club.
I started The Book Reviewers Club when I discovered reviewers are few and far between, or expensive. I could have joined several paid organizations, usually for an exorbitant fee. My solution was to start The Book Reviewers Club, initially on Blogger.com, but later moved to WordPress.com. I also started a website on several webhosts, but have migrated to Weebly.com. The club had a good start, and continues to grow nicely.
Somewhere between my sixth and seventh novels, I discovered a blog site that was looking for novels to syndicate. As I have previously blogged, I submitted The Alberta Connection, a Ryce Dalton novel. I still have the response from that submittal. Occasionally, I refer to it, and wonder how I managed to get through the depression it instigated.
That became one of the first steps in the efforts I have made to make The Book Reviewers Club the best that it can be.
Later, I became friends with a fellow author who had joined the club. The author was generous enough to offer to analyze one of my novels. Her efforts resulted in the most significant research project I have attempted to date, to learn to be a real writer.
When I first started writing, I came out of the chute with a full head of steam. I completed four novels within a few months, and then stumbled. I signed a contract with a vanity publisher before I did the required research into that vanity publisher. I am now stuck with four books that need to be rewritten, but I cannot get the rights back without a great deal of money. My answer? Write about something else.
I spend six to eight hours on my computer on an average day. If there is nothing worth watching on TV, that number might go up by three to four hours. What am I doing? Let’s see.
I finished Pegasus Rising, a Nixon French novel, and submitted it to my new publisher.
I started the Create-a-Novel Project on The Book Reviewers Club. The Create-a-Novel Project allows anyone to contribute his or her ideas to a novel called The Identity Project. (The project was removed from the blog while new features were added, but it will be returned soon.)
As soon as Pegasus Rising was complete, I resumed working on two novels I had started several months ago, The Brinkerford Incident, and a second installment of Ryce Dalton, called The Dakota Connection.
I am also working on a new website, called The Really Big Book Store. It is for authors looking for added exposure for their novels. It is a more detailed presentation of an author’s works, and included a little more information than available on The Book Reviewers Club blog.
And, I blog, tweet, and continue to research new and informative web or blog sites that may help the club membership. Infact, the club newsletter was sent out this morning with some new ideas, including a BlogTalkRadio program, and the addition of video interviews for members of The Book Reviewers Club and The Really Big Book Store websites. (If you would like a copy of The Book Reviewers Club Newsletter for February 2013, please send an email to email@example.com)
Those are just a few of the efforts to help The Book Reviewers Club be as successful as possible.
But, what are the results?
First, I learned I was not a good writer. Then, I learned some of the things I needed to know to become a better writer. I have learned about Search Engine Optimization. I have learned about blogging. I have learned a few things about marketing. I have gotten better on my computer keyboard. I have learned new things about Microsoft Word. I have become friends with several authors. I have learned some things that I should not have done with my first novels, but I am stuck with the publisher. At least until I can find the money to buy back my rights. I learned what I did wrong in my first four novels. I learned what makes a good blog. I learned what makes a bad blog. I learned that some people do not know what makes a bad blog. Or for that matter, a bad website. I learned there are two billion writers, who have written ten billion books, but there is only one reviewer, and he/she wants money.
Yes, The Book Reviewers Club has taken a lot of time and effort, but the benefits I have personally received are by far many times the effort I had to expend. Is it a ten-to-one ratio? Perhaps. But, it might have been a twenty-to-one ratio. Only time will tell.