So, this is something that I wish I had known when I first started out.
Reviews are one of the vital things in getting your story out there. They help bring your story up in the rankings and even onto the popular and trending page - even the new stories page. Not only are reviews vital but also hearts and comments. Reader engagement in its entirety. But, more on reader engagement later.
Review swaps are a common practice here on Inkitt. There is a whole group here devoted to reviews and review swaps. @Alessabarnes here on Inkitt is one of the moderators of the group, and she can help answer any questions you have about review swaps. Anyways, you can post your story into the group and then people can comment as to whether they'd just read your book - which is rarer than seeing Donald Trump concede the election - or if they'd like to do a review swap with you.
One thing to note about posting your story, try to have a short description about your story and also try to add your cover so people get a better idea what they'd be looking for and reading. Sometimes the chat glitches and won't add your cover - which happens to me all time - and I've tried letting support know but it's still broke. You can also add a link to your story but I don't usually because I have issues with it, but totally do it if you can't.
If I were to do a post about my story Never Ending Bootycall, it would have the cover at the top followed by something like this. . .
Hey, guys. I just posted a new story recently and would like some feedback. Open to review swaps.
Brinley Carter never saw her living through someone's history class. Much less a year where each day was new chapter in the textbook. From racial protests to a pandemic to the wildest election ever, no one could predict 2020.
Much less did she expect to be locked in with someone she was supposed to leave come the following morning. Her mother and grandmother warned her. But did she listen? Nope.
Nathan Adams, or Nate as he liked to be called, was a self proclaimed Adonis. An Adonis to end all. But, then he stopped. He grew bored with it all until Brinley showed up at his favorite record store. And the rest was history.
Bootycalls were supposed to end the next morning. What happens when a global pandemic blurs the line to where tomorrow never comes?
Okay, totally didn't just create a better description for my story then I already had. And I totally didn't leave the edit chapter box to go and copy and paste the new description in. You funny.
After you post your story, you wait. You can wait idle by or you can scroll through the group and comment on people's stories and see if any of them would be up to a review swap.
My word of caution about review swaps: look through their reviews/history before hand. One thing Inkitt does is let others look through other's reviews and see what they've said/given other people. Some people here on Inkitt give fraudulent reviews. Sometimes through review swaps, others do it outright.
How do I know this? Not only have I seen others post about it in the Review Me group and even seen it on other people's books. But I've experienced it first hand. When I was starting out, I would thank everyone who added my books to their reading list. Back then, I had Fanfictionalized, a young adult rom-com, Paradise Island, a foul-mouthed mystery/thriller through the viewpoint of an eighteen year old girl on summer break, and How to Love, a dramatic teen fiction story set in the late seventies about a rebel girl and her group of friends. Since then, I've added a few more stories, but those were the original ones.
A lot of these thank you messages are still up, and I've gotten notifications about people liking those posts to this day, but I stopped it after someone ruined it for everyone.
Somebody added my book How to Love to their reading list back when it was first starting out, and I thanked them. They liked my post, and a few minutes later, I was in the car with my family when I got a notification about someone reviewing the story. It was the first time someone reviewed my story outside of a review swap and I was so beyond ecstatic, though I still held my breath. When I saw the review, my heart dropped.
They gave me trash stars and barely explained everything. The review sent my story from a 4.9 to a 4.6, which isn't bad but it only happened because of their review.
From there, I decided to question them. I know my stories are unedited until I look over them whether it be I finished it, someone pointed something out to me or I entered it in a contest here on Inkitt, but they are carefully written with punctuation, grammar and spelling kept in mind because it's me. I've been more careful about it as I got older. When I talked to them, I never got a straight answer. They even tried to say they were new and after I explained everything to them - even that they can edit their reviews - nothing happened. They ghosted my final comment and I never heard from them again. Even though they were "invested" in Scott and Corrina's possible relationship and the gang's lives.
My point is, like any app, trolls and haters reside on here too. They're just given a bigger platform since only the reviewer can delete reviews. Also, Inkitt Support doesn't do jackshit about these hateful reviewers or take down the reviews. Trust me, I've tried. It took forever for me to get ahold of them to fix a simple function on their writing app and they still haven't fixed one of them.
I always look over someone's reviews before I accept a swap or even ask for one. I usually go for those who give insightful advice and feedback - quite like my own style of review - or those who are just nice and tell you what you do good. The ones who just seem to take off stars for no reason, I try to avoid because you don't know if they truly read the story or not or even know their intentions.
Also, try and see if there are more reviews on their stories than actual reviews done. It can be an indication they don't usually follow through with their reviews. Some people, like C.L Brierley, ask for the other person to go first. A way to ensure your story is read and your deal is followed through on both ends. Sometimes, you can see on their message board if they follow through or not because there's no way to PM someone on here, so if someone needs to tell someone something, they go to their messagw board. And people will contact you if you take too long on following through.
Some people will go on other's boards to promote their books and ask for follows/likes/comments/reviews on their story(s). Some of those people will actually follow through. Others won't. I usually don't entertain those unless either I have some free time and want to help sans compensation or it looks like they will follow through with a review swap. I got burned one time and even let them know, but I still to this day don't have that review on Paradise Island. I'm not salty, ha ha, I just have a good memory. Some of those that broadcast on your message board will respond and others won't. It can tell you what they're really after. Hint, hint.
If you don't want people to broadcast on your message board, you can put it in your bio, but not everyone listens or respects others' wishes.
I've also had a lot of good experiences with review swaps. I've read some great stories like Calypso by @Shadowpet and also Expedition of Love by @Gwenthames. All of my favorite books can be found in my Awesome AF reading list. I've also talked to great people and gotten some very insightful advice and praise. There is a lot of good and upside to it all, but that doesn't mean don't ve careful.
My big thing I want y'all to take away from this is be careful when you do a review swap. You don't know if those people truly want to help or just want to tear you down/get more reviews on their book.
I hope this helps, and I want to thank you guys for all your support on this book and on my others. I really appreciate it. And thank you for over 100 followers at the time of writing this. You guys are awesome. Don't forget, if you have any writing or Inkitt related topics you want covered, let me know in the comments below or on my message board, just let me know you're coming from my book or I'll answer it on my board and might forget to write the chapter ha ha. Have a good day/night. Happy Tuesday!