I have a friend who I see on a regular basis. Our eight-year-old girls play together and stuff, but the friend also performs a service that I use on occasion. (Nothing sinister; it’s more often than you go to the dentist but less often than you probably go to a fast food restaurant. I am being evasive on purpose because the friend does not know I’m writing this and identifying the service would 100% identify the friend. And that’s not important anyway.)
My friend has an older child who is about fourteen and is a VERY avid reader. Let’s call that kid “Michael.”
So when our kids attended dance class this past week, the friend also brought Michael.
I’m sure Michael doesn’t have any interest in watching seven and eight-year-old girls dance, but he got dragged along for some reason and I don’t tend to question these things. Moms know best. Maybe it was time he realized his younger sister has good balance or rhythm or something. Maybe he’s too young to be home alone. It’s not important. Stop getting hung up on these unimportant details!!
Anyway, Michael had read my book The Navigators and finished it a week or two ago, so he was gushing about what a good story was.
This, I was happy to let him do.
And we talked about the possible sequel and everything… (which is totally happening.)
As always, I said he should write a review – and he said he would.
Then it occurred to me.
As an avid reader and only being14 years old, he is spending a lot of his very limited money on books, and if he were to post reviews for the books he wrote and let people know they can send him books and he would review them, he might save himself a lot of money and also be getting free books.
I suggested to him that he should consider starting a blog and reviewing his books there (with a follow up review posted on Amazon) and then a bunch of authors would probably start sending him books for him to read. Some would be e-books, some would be PDFs, but some would be actual paperbacks.
The thought of getting free paperbacks made him smile from ear to ear.
I’m not sure you get a lot of 14-year-old kids that happy that quick.
He reads between one and two books a week, every week, so over the course of the year that might be 50 to 75 books. Spending an average of $10 per book, that would save him between $500 and $700 annually – a lot of money for 14-year-old!
And I don’t know about you, but I don’t write 75 books a year, so I’m not gonna be able to keep him busy.
But together we could.
And that got the wheels turning.
If I go to this kid’s house and set him up up with a free WordPress blog and then feature him here to get him launched, would you subscribe to his blog and follow his submission policies – which I would probably write for him with your input – and send him a copy of your book/books for him to review on Amazon?
This is hypothetical, but it’s also very possible.
Kinda like our very own in-house reviewer.
I like that idea.
Think about a bookworm being inundated with free paperbacks from all around the world for him to read. It’s probably as close to heaven as a 14-year-old gets.
Not counting internet stuff. And video games. And girls. And – well, you get the idea.
Think about every one of your books getting a review right out of the box from a friendly source. And older books getting a fresh review.
What if we eventually got several kids to do this?
Most of the time when I get paperback copies of a book made, it costs me between three and five dollars per book, and to send one via media mail to a reviewer costs another two or three dollars, so you’re talking less than eight dollars to get a review.
Less for ebooks and PDF copies, obviously.
I also told him if his review will less than three stars he could simply email his review to the author and ask if they want it published, but for 3 stars to 5 stars, most authors would be happy to have that review and have that kind of exposure. Eventually, after he built a following, he could charge for advertising on the site and have them self a nice little “business.”
As a 14-year-old, that’s a pretty big deal.
What are YOUR thoughts?
If “Michael” starts a review website, would you be interested in sending him your books for him to read and review?