Guest Blog by Author Theresa Braun
So, your book is posted on Amazon, but your page is a ghost town when it comes to reviews. How do you get people to read and review?
Derek Haines wrote an eye opening blog post called “How to Get Amazon Book Reviews.” He spells out many stark realities—like waiting for paying readers to post reviews can literally take years.
Good things come to those who wait, but most of us want to get results a bit quicker. I mean, if it’s taken us a year or more to write the book in the first place, we want the word to get out there yesterday.
And, if you are like me, you want to get on with writing your next book instead of spending hours and days on end soliciting reviews.
Haines suggests that relying on friends or family members to write reviews is a great place to start. If you think that is “cheating,” Haines says that it isn’t much different than a publishing company paying employees to review it. Obviously that employee will put a positive spin on the book, since the publishing company wants to sell
it. The same thing your friends and family will want for you. If you can, get people you know to read and review. I know this might seem obvious, but I suggest not having them advertise that they are friends or relatives in their review.
You don’t want it to scream, “I’m reviewing this because I know the author.” I hope you have more luck with this than I’ve had. Not one of my friends or family members has reviewed my book yet. And, it’s not because they haven’t read the book. They just haven’t gotten around to it. That’s okay. They have lives and I’m grateful they at least took the time to read it. It just might not work for you either.
What about hooking up with other authors and trading reviews?
This can be beneficial to both parties. There are places to post such as www.worldliterarycafe.com, which has a page where you can seek reviews and put up a link to your book. I got one excellent response from an author who was willing to trade—and we legitimately enjoyed each other’s book. You can also ask some of the other authors on Twitter if they are open to trading reviews. The worst thing that could happen is that they say no. I think you have to sometimes be open to doing a trade, but this can be a problem if you work full-time like I do and don’t necessarily have the time to read and review other books.
There are some pitfalls with exchanging reviews.
A writer friend of mine calls them “incestuous” reviews. He’s actually refused to review my book based on how strongly he feels about review trading. One of the biggest problems with trading reviews is that the other person may not be expecting a “real” review, but a flat out five star rating. And this person is reading your book! You don’t want them to give you two stars just out of spite. You can’t take down reviews from Amazon, so you are stuck with it posted on your book page.
Blogs as other avenues for reviews?
Haines says he finds book bloggers useful, but “a bit hit and miss and often too genre specific.” Most bloggers are willing to not only post a review of your book on their blog, but also will post it on Amazon and Goodreads. You really need to look at their sites and where they will post. Some will even do author interviews which can be tweeted or linked to your own blog or website.
Paying for reviews is another option.
They can range from $5 to $100, depending on what comes with the review. Joey Pinkney will read and review and make a trailer for you, for example. The World Literary Café discourages paying for reviews and I suppose there are pros and cons. The pro is that you get a review done and the con is that some readers might find out you paid for the review. Is this really worse than relying on friends and family to review? That’s up you to decide.
Read Part 2 in tomorrows blog… and get lots of useful links for reviewers.
Guest Blogger Theresa Braun always been intrigued by authors and writing, which led her to an almost obsessive study of literature. Spontaneous poems, story ideas, and observational rants were always scrawled in her notebooks. She started a few novels; but it wasn’t until her Greek wedding that her passion and focus
produced her first finished novel, Groom and Doom: A Greek Love Story, based on a true story and self-published on Amazon in 2012. Now she’s squirreling time away to pen her second novel set in Renaissance England, the first in a series. Twitter:
Will Your Book Stand Out Against Millions of Others?
Next year an estimated ten to fifteen million books will be published. How will you make your book standing out among them? Plus, authors are more and more under pressure from their publishers to promote their own books.
The good news: Help is on the way – and it doesn’t even cost you anything, other than your time. Nowadays authors have more opportunities to promote their book’s sales than ever before. Social media and the Internet allow authors to communicate directly with their audience.
5 Tips for Non-Fiction Authors to Sell More Books:
Start Planning Publicity for Your Book Nine Months in Advance
Just like preparing for a child, the birth of a book needs preparation time. Some authors tend not to think about marketing their book until it’s on Amazon already or in store shelves, which is way too late. Speak about your book, build awareness and excitement; start blogging about it or mention it in your newsletters.
Smart writers are sharing sample content months in advance, collecting testimonials and getting blurbs from other writers and authorities in your field. Don’t assume any publisher will come up with a great marketing strategy. If you are not self-publishing your book, approach your publisher’s marketing team with lots of your own marketing ideas. Think and plan what you can bring to your publishers’ table.
Never tell someone what your book is about
Rather tell your potential readers what’s in it for them and how it will help them to resolve problems and also overcome obstacles. Non-fiction book authors often get caught up in their idea, but customers only care about the results the book will produce for them. When talking about your book, tell them what is in it for them, share some tid bits from the book and explain: “if you are interested in the rest of this and in other stories, just read my new book.”
Create a Book Trailer
Any smartphone these days has a built-in high definition video camera, so you don’t have to hire a professional company. You can bring in extra lights, put your smartphone on a tripod, and you can have a video running on YouTube, TubeMogul and other video sharing sites the same day. Create a powerful marketing tool on a budget with a good quality book trailer, and it can go viral really fast. Engage viewers by explaining the reason why the book is an important help for them, explain why they should trust your expertise and which results your book can create for your readers. Video content in web pages or in emails increases click-through rates by NINETY-SIX (96) percent! Find links to tutorials and listings of video sharing sites.
Don’t Over-Estimate Social Media
Finally, resist the urge to go crazy with social media. Though it provides a good opportunity to reach readers, balance social media with public speaking e.g. at writers conferences, publishing lots of articles or being quoted in the media, or sending out regular newsletters. Sure, to get 5,000 followers or 25,000 email addresses, social media is invaluable. However, when you’re searching for a core group of committed partners for your book launch, a co-author for your next project, or in-depth feedback on your manuscript, your online followers are not your only best bet. Even “shy” or “introverted” authors are often naturals at networking, when placed in the right environment, such as writers conferences.
Leverage the Power of Free
Giving resources away allows skeptical readers to get enough content to talk about your book – and to make it easy for them to share content with their friends. Sample chapters, quizzes, special reports, and how-to articles are all good giveaway possibilities. If you haven’t yet landed on the radar of most people, you need an entirely different strategy. If this is your first work, give away as many books as you can – but let your readers “pay-with-a-tweet”. Ask your publisher for a lower price on promotional copies and get your words out there.
As an author of hopefully soon, several books, you are a brand. Start thinking and acting like one, and create a serious marketing strategy.
If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months! Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars
Or visit http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/ to advertise your new book, specials, your KDP Select Free Days or the new Kindle Countdown Deals.
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Posted by ebooksinternational on August 28, 2012 in comment on posts, e-publishing, googling social, join the conversation, Marketing, Publishing, Self-Publishing, Social Networks
Tags: authors promote their books, book trailer, Bowker estimates, create a book trailer, Marketing Strategy, non-fiction authors, promotional book copies, publisher’s marketing team, Publishing estimates, TubeMogul, video content, Video Tutorials, YouTube