Category Archives: Book Reviews

Getting and Receiving Book Reviews/Pay it Forward

John Locke Didn’t Do It This Way!

Don’t even compare this to John Locke’s, “Hey, I sold over a million books in five months this way!”

Click on Image!

Click on Image!

What’s different? He said nothing about the main ingredient in his plan: buying reviews! I’m not saying it’s wrong to buy reviews. I’d say it’s wrong if you’re buying positive reviews, fabricated reviews from folks who didn’t even read your book, left out the fact that you bought reviews when you go around bragging to other writers how you became so successful and left this very critical piece of the puzzle out.  And then Mr. Locke sells us indies a guide-book about how we can do what he did with the most important part–the real key to his success–left out!Anyway, check this out, fellow indies! For $67.00 BookRooster will distribute your book to a genre-targeted portion of their 3,000 plus reviewers, and keep working at it until you get ten reviews. They don’t promise those reviews will be positive. What are you paying for? Distribution of your book to reviewers (for free). If you need reviews, this might just be the way to go.

Don’t Start Your EBook Promotions with Twitter—Start on Your Amazon Book Page!

Don’t Start Your EBook Promotions with Twitter—Start on Your Amazon Book Page!
(From a guest post I did earlier on Write Brain Trust)

I’ve been amazed to discover how many well-established eBook authors have left out this very important first step out. After all, you’ve written a great book, but who’s going to be compelled to take a good look at it without an attractive package.

First of all, understand that while there are a number of other big online booksellers out there (like Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, etc.), Amazon is the big dog. Your Amazon sales are likely to be as great as ten times what the others’ sales are combined.

With that a given, we need to understand how Amazon’s online store works, especially its eBook department.

  • Amazon uses algorithms, compilations of variable factors, to come up with eBook sales rankings and bestseller status. Although the actual formula is secret and seems to change from time to time, its basic makeup is believed to include:
    • Number of recent sales (past 24-48 hours);
    • EBook price (giving greater value to eBooks priced near $9.99 and less value to eBooks priced at $.99—much less for those downloaded for free);
    • Number of sales in the past month (a lesser value on this than more recent sales);
    • Whether an eBook has been “indie” or traditionally published (my teeth grind on this one!).
  • The lower the ranking, the more visibility your eBook will have, which means the higher the potential for sales.
  • The more your eBook sells, the more likely it will be listed on other eBooks’ pages under headings like: “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought,” “Customers Who Bought Items in Your Recent History Also Bought” and “What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?”
  • When an eBook shopper searches Amazon, its search engine looks for keywords, and it gives value to multiple use of those keywords (estimated to be up to three times).

For the most part, the above concerns are out of eBook authors’ control. So let’s now take a look at the many things the eBook author/publisher does control on their book’s page on Amazon.

  • Overall, all the information that the author submits for their eBook should contain pertinent keywords in order to optimize the potential for Amazon’s search engine to find their eBook page (search engine optimization, a.k.a. SEO).
  • Cover—critical!
    • Should look professional
    • Images should be clear even in thumbnail
    • Title and author name should be clear even in thumbnail
    • Cover image file name should contain pertinent keywords (SEO)
  • Title: Did you know you can add a subtitle to your main title, even though that subtitle doesn’t show up on the eBook’s cover, for example: KNIGHT’S BIG EASY—a Men’s Action Adventure Thriller (SEO).
  • Once your book is listed on Amazon, add images below the cover by uploading them with “Share your own customer images”. These images can be alternate covers, pictures of places, characters—just about anything you want that you feel might help sell your eBook.
  • Price: Consider this very carefully. The price of your eBook will put it into certain undefined buying groups, where lower price may be more important than perceived value or vice versa.
  • “Likes”: Ensure that not only you click the “thumbs up” like button, but all your friends, relatives and associates do as well. It’s believed that Amazon’s algorithm include likes, although at a lesser value than other factors. Besides, the more likes your eBook has, the more perceived credibility it may have.
  • Reviews: Although you can’t control this very well, you can solicit reviews. They are considered super important to many eBook shoppers. And, when you do get some favorable ones, be sure you and your friends find those favorable reviews and click on “yes” where it asks “Was this review helpful to you?” Why? Because the most helpful reviews are listed first. You can also comment on reviews, but be very careful, and never be negative or argumentative with a reviewer. Also, remember that reviews will stay with your book … forever! So ensure it’s in great shape before you ePublish it.
  • “Formats”: Other versions of your eBook, such as paperback, might actually help sell your eBook. When a paperback version is listed with that formats higher list price, Amazon adds the comment “You Save $XX” on the eBook version’s page. This makes it appear to be a bargain since your print book will generally be considerably higher [i.e., “Print List Price $12.95, Kindle Price $.99, You Save $11.96 (92%)”].
  • “Book Description”: Basically, this is your book jacket synopsis. Also, very critical to sales, ensure you edit this sales aid carefully. It should start with a pitch that includes a good hook, and it should read like a movie trailer. Don’t forget to include those keywords (SEO)!
  • “Book Description” Plus: Make your book description stand out from the rest. Did you know you can use colors (like Amazon orange), and format text to at least a limited degree using some of the html language accepted by Amazon?
  • The “Customers Who Bought …” and similar sections: Although mostly beyond your control, how about if you purchase your own book (I recommend purchasing your own book once right after it’s listed), and then go to the list of bestselling free eBooks in your eBook’s category (genre) and download several of those? Why? Because your eBook might just show up on these other eBooks’ pages which gives you added visibility.
  • “Editorial Reviews”: if you have a CreateSpace POD version (paperback) of your eBook, when you give CS the book information, they have a spot for you to include editorial reviews. Try not to leave this blank! Be sure to include any reviews you’ve been given in the past. Include keywords where you can for SEO.
  • “More About the Author” Bio: Be sure to set yourself up with an Author Central page (https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile). On Author Central you can add information such as your bio. Again, think SEO!
  • “Book Extras from the Shelfari Community”: Get a free membership with Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/. With it you’ll be able to list character bios and other neat info about your story that will appear on its eBook page (SEO).
  • “Tags”: These are keywords—and you can actually add up to fifteen to your eBook’s page. Ask your friends, relatives and associates to either agree with the ones you’ve listed or make up their own. The more, the better: again, think SEO. When you list these keywords, consider which ones readers might use to search for a story like yours.
  • “Categories” or genres: You’ll decide these when you upload your eBook to be listed. Amazon now limits your listing to two, however, they might list your eBook under more categories, themselves. This is another decision you should consider carefully, even though you can change your categories at any time and as many times as you wish.
  • Listmania: This is a category grouping you can make on your own, and it is then offered for other Amazon shoppers to use. Although not as popular as a plain old keyword search, I understand many eBook buyers rely at least occasionally on Listmania lists. You can find out more at:

There you go indies! I’m sure I forgot a few little tips, and I certainly didn’t explain many in great detail. But I think you get the picture. You can do all the social networking, tweeting and Facebooking you want, but if you lead potential customers to your eBook page and what they see doesn’t stand out and isn’t professionally done, it’s likely they’ll pass on by. And for the eBook shoppers already hunting on Amazon for their next great read, you need to ensure their keyword search is likely to find your eBook.

I’ll bet you’ve got a lot to do, so let’s get busy! And don’t forget to pay it forward—help other indie author friends in making their eBook pages more attractive and more visible to readers: review, “like”, “tag” and “find helpful” their best reviews. Together we can attain greater success!

BIG NEWS for Indies!

What’s Happening for IWA Members

  • Kessler and IWA Are Working On The Definitive Marketing and Promotions EBook for EBook Authors:

THE MASTER PLAN: What John Locke Conveniently Left Out and Much More!
The Guide to Promoting and Marketing Your EBook Novel

—you can add your $.02-worth in the book with a linked byline (upon approval), and it will be free! For the working outline: Click Here!

  • Start your MASTER PLAN Promo for everyone  now and get your books in front of thousands (and it’s free, of course): Click Here!
  • Kessler’s Hanging His Editing/Mentoring and Cover Art Producing Shingle Out Again—need help? (No, it’s not free, silly!) Click Here!
  • Coming to Kansas City and to Wichita—the IWA Seminar and Discussion Forum—don’t miss out (it’s fre-ee): Click Here!

We’ll discuss everything on THE MASTER PLAN outline, including:

1. Ten things you can control on your Amazon book’s page that will optimize its visibility and its reader attractability;

2. How to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and not use up valuable writing/family time;

3. What’s the best price point for your work;

4. How to get reviews;

5. So very much more!

John Locke, You Suck!

or

Breaking News: Kate Beckinsale and Tim McGraw are being considered to star in the new film version of my men’s action/adventure thriller series “The E Z Knight Reports”

Yes, it’s true … John Locke sucks! And, yes, it’s true also that two major names in the entertainment industry are being considered to be in “The E Z Knight Reports” film version.

Addressing the second topic first: Oh, yeah … I left out who is considering these two fine actors for the movie — me! So, I didn’t really lie, did I? I just left out a very small part of the truth. Oh, yeah, there isn’t a movie, either (not yet, anyway — wake up Hollywood!). Wait a minute, you say omission is lying? Since when? Politicians do it all the time. Historians had done it for centuries (many still are?). Even religious leaders do it to make themselves and what they represent look better. Enter John Locke as revealed in this post taken from the New York Times: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-book-reviews-money-buy-131408538.html?page=1. There are four pages to this article and Mr. Locke’s involvement is mentioned starting at the bottom of page three and ending on page four: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-book-reviews-money-buy-131408538.html?page=3.

John, I respect you. You are a ground-breaker. You accomplished an incredible thing with your Donovan Creed novels, and then you shared how you did it with How I sold 1,000,000 EBooks in 5 Months. That little how-to book of yours set the Kindle world ablaze and sparked to life the fire in tens of thousands of writers and writer wannabes.

You blazed the trail with your sales and lit up the way explaining your successful plan. This book elevated you from a million-eBook-selling author to a pedestalled saint for all us writers to look up to, admire and wish to emulate. And why not? You showed us it wasn’t that complex — there might have been a little luck involved, but mostly our success was dependent on following the same plan you had only months before. The plan starts out insisting we write a great book and, after that, we needed to get the word out about it. Getting the word out started with our image — we needed the reading public to know we’re real people and not just names on a byline. Your plan was about persistence. It was about buying 300 reviews, it was about … oops, you didn’t mention that part, did you? I’m sure you meant to, right? I mean, when you purchased these 300 reviews (how much were they, $6,000?), you did tell GettingBookReviews.com that you wanted honest reviews. I’m certainly good with that. After all, even Kirkus will do indie book reviews if you pay them. Really, I think that was an excellent idea, and, like you say, as long as they’re honest reviews, why wouldn’t it be all right?

Let’s get back to that in a minute. I want to ask why you implemented this part of your strategy and left it out of your book? If it was legit, why would you leave it out? Didn’t it help you sell books? Okay, quit laughing — of course three hundred reviews will help you sell books. Reviews are a major influence in an eBook shopper’s decision process. Even a few negative reviews add an air of credibility to the rest. Oh, yeah, then there’s that other thing. These reviewers were paid to review your book … so they had to buy it to read it, correct? Wow. Back when I was only selling a dozen or so eBooks a month, and seldom landing in even the top 100,000 in sales rank, I would have loved to have gotten 300 sales within a week or so. I can’t imagine the difference that made in your sales rankings. I can’t imagine how that propelled more sales by making your eBook more visible. How cool is that? Very … unless you claim it had nothing to do with your success — which is exactly what you’re doing when you leave that little tidbit out when you reveal your wonderful plan and ask us to pay $2.99 for it.

So we’ve established that buying reviews, while they’re requested to be honest, is not an underhanded thing. This takes us back to why you’d leave out that major factor in your successful plan that made your eBooks sell like popcorn in a theater. Was it because your HIS1,000,000EI5M eBook would not have sold as well had that info been included? You know, I doubt it would have affected sales that much. I mean, the excitement was already there. People were desperate to find that magic formula, and you, John, had found it: E=MC, right? Oh, yeah … forgot the squared, didn’t I? Such a small thing. Still works as good, right? Wrong!

I go along with everything in your book, and I think most other eBook authors do, as well. All those great tips are extremely valuable, especially to a new eBook author. And that alone makes your book worth the price. But, John, really — it’s what you left out that grates on my nerves.

Okay, here’s another thought about purchasing reviews. Did you know that Amazon really frowns on the bulk purchasing of reviews and will take many of them down if they find out about it? That’s why the company that you, Mr. Locke, hired is no longer in business. I’ve got to tell you, if I had the money to buy that many so-called legitimate reviews, and I had the opportunity, I’d probably do it. But, would they really be legit? I mean, some most definitely would be. But don’t you think a few of those reviewers, knowing that they’re getting paid to give a review, might lean toward the positive? After all, you’ve become part of their livelihood. They want to be nice. If they turn in too many negative reviews, their employer/aggregator, or whatever you want to call them, might not send them more work. I’m throwing in a half-star bet for this point, at least.

Let me sum this up for you, Mr. Locke.

I admire you. I thank you for your great tips; they’re mostly what everyone else is saying these days, anyway. But you got the ball rolling and the enthusiasm skyrocketing. Thanks. You’ve influenced me. I’m having a blast writing and selling eBooks, even though I haven’t been nearly as successful. And I, like you, only on a smaller scale, have been trying to help motivate other writers to do the same. I’ve been telling them the first thing they must do is to write a great story. Then, I tell them how important it is to have the image of a real person and not just be a name on a book cover, and how important social networking can be once you have that human image. I’ve even told eBook author wannabes that there are a handful of really important books they should read on promoting their eBooks, but the most important one is Mr. John Locke’s. I’ve been telling them that with a smile and a wink like I know something about it.

That’s what I’d been telling them, but not anymore.

My challenge to you, Mr. Locke, is to not only address this to your thousands of eBook writing followers, but to revise this book that discloses your wonderful, but incomplete, plan. At least put in a mention about the paid reviews and how it “could have” affected your sales, that it cost you upwards of $6,000, and that this practice is now frowned upon.

Will you do that, Mr. Locke?

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-book-reviews-money-buy-131408538.html?page=3

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-book-reviews-money-buy-131408538.html?page=4

EBook Writing Made Simple! is now available!

EBooks Vs Print — is there a difference?

Amazon for Kindle!

NOTE: Among the many books published concerning eBooks, none are about the actual writing of an eBook novel–until now!

THIS EBOOK FOCUSES SOLEY ON THE ACTUAL WRITING OF NOVELS INTENDED FOR THE EBOOK-READING PUBLIC. It does not deal with the ePublishing or marketing of such work–there are literally dozens of great eBooks out there already to help you with that.

IS WRITING AN EBOOK NOVEL the same as writing a novel intended for the traditional publishing industry? It doesn’t have to be–it can be much better. Why? When writing an eBook novel, you’re writing for the reader and not the uptight, rutted, NYC publishing industry. Find out how, and have fun writing again!

This eBook is especially designed for the beginning eBook writer, but it is also a great guide for the novelist who wants to think out of the box. With the huge new market writers have discovered in writing eBooks, opportunities abound for authors who take a different tack and understand this new venue from a clearer perspective. Writing for reader entertainment by bending and even breaking the uptight traditional publishing industry’s stiff and restrictive guidelines frees the author’s creativity.

Come take a look at the fiction-writing craft from a whole new angle and discover the innovative and effective ways to reach your readers.

From the basics of fiction writing and the strict unbudging conventions of a steadfast traditional publishing industry to how to break the rules for pure entertainment value, this book encompasses it all. A 500+ word lexicon of terms every writer should know is included.

Pay it Forward/Reviews

A. /Read : One of the most important things you’ll do is to read other indie writers work, and review it in a very positive manner—if you can do so in good conscience. Why that last caveat? Because the only way you’ll truly help a fellow indie writer with a review is with a five-star review. A four star would be considered neutral, in most cases. Reviews, as much as anything else is what will sell books. If you want good reviews on your work, pay it forward: give good reviews to other indie writers.

B. /Promote: when asked what you’re reading—or just to pop off on a blog what you’re reading (a novel by I M Indie) and how good it is—is also a very good way to pay it forward, and you should receive the same from other indie authors.