Getting Effective Book Reviews

July 1, 2013 by  
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Every book sells better with good book reviews, but who do you know who will provide you a great review? Do you know anyone who has the clout to raise eyebrows and gain you the level of attention your book deserves?

When people are browsing Amazon, Barnes and Noble or other online bookstores, they pay attention to what others have said about a book. The choices they have to purchase a book are insurmountable to make a simple choice, so how will you compete with all of the other books available and stand out in the crowd?

I did a brief search for Law of Attraction books and the results on Amazon are 8,893. How to Start a Business has more than 64 thousand results and diet books more than 77 thousand! Any category you choose will show you the competition is stiff.

Book reviews have proven to gain attention of those searching for a book, especially from online resources. Often authors will trade reviews to build up a stockpile of reviews, but the real gems are those reviews written by well know authors and experts in the same field as the book’s topic.

One of my friends sent a request to 25 well known speakers and authors requesting a testimonial for their book and sent along a copy of the book so they would know it was not just a fishing expedition. They received two generic comments about their book, but the names on the comments were priceless.

Another author I met while I was in Arizona told me he sent out 50 review and testimonial requests to well known individuals and received 12 in return. What was the difference? He actually looked through their books, used words they had written and wrote out the testimonial for them. He told them in his request what he had done and if they agreed all they had to do was send the suggested testimonial back signed or with the changes they preferred. He only requested reviews from people who were in the same field he is in and not just random authorities.

The difference in the response was impressive to say the least. Well known people are busy people, often with too much on their plates to read anyone else’s books or to write out a review and put their reputation on the line for someone they’ve never met. When you make it easy for them the results you achieve will be much greater.

There are many other resources for great review results. Newspaper, magazine and periodical editors and reviewers can make an impact on the perception of their subscribers and sway them to purchase your book with a positive review. They are often overlooked in today’s marketplace. One of the best reasons to have them do the reviews is they have the built in audience who already trusts their opinion.

Good book reviews impact Amazon algorithms drastically. It is one area of marketing however most authors shy away from. One method of gaining reviews is to write reviews for other books listed on the online bookstores which are in your genre and you will more than likely receive a reciprocal review in return.

Then, there are paid reviews. You can pay as much as $400 for a well known and respected reviewer. It doesn’t mean your book sales will sore overnight either. You might see an increase, but there are no guarantees. The reviewer will provide their honest take on your book and based on their reaction, it might not be what you are expecting from a paid review.

There are other sources such as Google’s “15 minute book reviews”, “San Francisco Book Review” or even “Pacific Book Review.” They can be fairly expensive but they will guarantee the will review your book for around $150.

The best place to start however is Midwest Book Review. They don’t charge for reviews and they are well respected and make their reviews available to libraries as well as posting the reviews on their website.

There are a few more suggestions such as Reader Views, The Book Reporter, and for ebook reviews, Kindle Obsessed, The Kindle Book Review and Red Adept Reviews.

But don’t overlook the book obsessed blogger who scours the world for their next favorite book of the week. Yes, they’re out there and all you have to do is ask them for a review and send them a copy of your book if they agree to read it. But don’t expect an immediate return on your requests, everyone seems to have more to handle than they have time to accomplish their tasks. So be patient!

Developing an Effective Book Launch

July 1, 2013 by  
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You’re just about to finish your book. It’s going through the final stages of editing and now your focus has shifted to getting your book out into the world. But where do you start? If this is your first book, it might seem a bit frightening, but if you lay out your plan in a timeline, you’ll find it’s going to be much easier for you to accomplish your goals and the vision you have for your launch. What is your ideal outcome? Most authors plan their book launch to cover at least a week, but a few will continue throughout the first month of the release.
It is important you get your website up and your blog propagated, meaning you should probably start your site as you begin to write your book and begin to market the site to your social media contacts. Your site should be the same name, but not more than three or four words, as your book title. I recommend writing a blog post every day for the first three months to get your site ranked highly and gain the traffic you deserve. Consider offering at least one chapter free on your site to let your audience get a preview of what they can expect as well as including the table of contents. Another great technique to entice your audience to purchase your book is to give away a free related product such as an audio they can download.
If you know of authors who have been successful and ask them what worked for them. I have found most authors are more than willing to share their experiences. I have learned just as much about what didn’t work for them as what did work. I approach authors from social media sites, Amazon and other online bookstores.
You can do a soft launch online for an ebook or audio edition or the tradition printed book format. Most authors today will choose to do all three simultaneously even though it takes quite a bit more managing.
If you look at all of the steps you see there is logic to the process, Start with building the website, creating your blog, request book reviews, create marketing, publicity, book trailer and social media.
Book Reviews take the longest and they will go a long way to persuade your fans to purchasing your book. They serve as a vote of confidence in making a good decision. There are many bloggers who will provide a review of your book on their site and their followers are always looking for the next great book! Reviews are how you build your reputation with your potential fans and it will make the difference in how readily they choose to purchase your book.
I found by approaching reviewers who provided reviews for books similar to mine, I get a much better return. While I’m writing my book I will glance through books listed on Amazon to see who reviewed their books. You can also find fairly inexpensive paid resources for book reviews by searching online.
Book trailers are an important component to your book marketing. You can use a high definition flip video in front of your bookcase or even a blank white wall and have a video expert from a site such as fiverr convert your five minute video background to nearly any background you choose. One of my authors had her book trailer scenery located in downtown New York with the street signs being changed to her book title and she lives in Wisconsin.
You want to cover, what is the problem people might have without your book, what you are going to do to solve the problem and what the viewers might expect after reading your book. Be sure to smile and be engaging. It should be less than five minutes in length.
When it comes to marketing your book it will be fairly straight forward. Think about who your target audience would be. Where will you find your largest target audience in social media environments? You might want to give your book away to those who are influential and have a large following.
You might find bulk sales more to your liking because it takes less effort to sell in volumes than selling the same number of books one at a time. Who would benefit from buying your book in bulk? Is there a particular industry you can identify? You should offer to print their name on the front cover of your book as an enticement.
One of my favorite methods of marketing my books is to create joint ventures with other authors who have the same target audience. I usually contact the authors I find on Amazon and Selfgrowth and ask if they would be interested in setting up a teleseminar or webinar and cross promote each other’s books. I have them send out a notice to their database to invite their followers to a free session and half way through we change it up from being the interviewer to the interviewee. When I edit the audio program I’ll cut out their interview and post my section on my site as a free download. People love free material, so it is a very effective method of getting fans to return to your site regularly.
Your activity on social media is as important as any other marketing process you might use. You need a fan page on Facebook and you’ll want to join groups on LinkedIn where you might find potential buyers. Of course you will want a dedicated Twitter account and to use as many social media sites as you can make the time to use effectively. Set aside a budget to place ads on social media sites and track the results to make sure you are getting results from advertising.
Once the book is printed, the fun begins! You’ll want to schedule a launch party or book signing event where you’ll invite all of your friends, family, colleagues and even the media. Plan out the event with an agenda and be sure to record portions in five minute segments to include on your site. People love videos! You might event want to start your own YouTube channel to put your videos and spend time marketing your channel to your target audience, but make sure you have links going back to your site.
And if all of this seems overwhelming, don’t despair! There are more than enough experts you will be able to hire virtually to take over the areas you are not comfortable with or you can’t make the time to do the tasks well. The name of the game is to be everywhere all at once and create a buzz around your book.

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