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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Beginner's Guide: How Amazon Finds Authors' Friends' Book Reviews



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http://www.giselahausmann.com/free-creative-ideas.html




~*~

Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988. Her work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur.



To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries http://www.giselahausmann.com/free-creative-ideas.html

Gisela's website: http://www.giselahausmann.com/

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann


Friday, July 21, 2017

What authors can learn from car salesmen


  1. "This car could really use a new owner."
  2. "I am in desperate need of a buyer for this car."
  3. "I know that you drive a Honda, so I thought you might like to buy my Honda."


Can you imagine a car sales man saying any of these things? 

Probably not.

Therefore, avoid phrases like
  1. "My book could really use a more reviews."
  2. "I am in desperate need of reviews for my book."
  3. "I know that you read ...xyz... (book title), so I thought you might like to read my book which is similar. 


 Car salesmen say things like,
  1.  "... 6-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx described the Audi R8 as "the best handling road car today"
  2.  "... This Ford Mustang's design characteristics include a fastback profile and a lower-set grille..." 
  3.  "... This 1967 Thunderbird Apollo's features include writing tables (for rear seats) and rear seat reading lamps..."

Be as specific as car salesmen are.  

What are your book's best "features?"

Please comment in the comment section. 

Think like a car salesman before you post!

Feel free to mention your book title. 
Please do not post a link because if blog readers do that I have to delete the blog.- I write #NakedBooks; hence you can believe that I do what I say. 

~*~



Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988. Her work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur.


To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries http://www.giselahausmann.com/free-creative-ideas.html

Gisela's website: http://www.giselahausmann.com/

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

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© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann
© Picture credit: Pexels.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

No! I It Does Not Look as if Amazon Spies on Indie Authors in Facebook Groups


(Excerpt from NAKED REVIEW How to get Book Reviews )

ONE OF THE MOST PERSISTENT RUMORS


Though it is one of the most persistent rumors that Amazon tracks authors’ social media feeds and spies on Facebook groups I do not believe this to be true.


The #1 reason is that filtering out relevant data on Facebook would be extremely complicated. Most authors are members of at least eight Facebook groups. 


The #2 reason is that occasionally I read articles about algorithms “infused with A.I. (artificial intelligence).” To sum it  up: Not only are these algorithms already great in identifying “common denominators,” they get better every day.   


Reason #3: In 2015, the cybersecurity company Avast made their case who spies on whom, and Amazon is not on this list but Google, WhatsApp, and Facebook were. 


Hence the following scenario is much more plausible than the rumor that Amazon spies on authors on Facebook.  

Many authors join Facebook groups to find reviewers. Though all Facebook author groups I know stick by Amazon’s guidelines and advise against direct review exchanges, typically authors who DO NOT seek reviews elsewhere run into problems at some point.  They lose reviews. 


The following simplified illustration depicts a potential scenario for “reviewing and seeking reviews” in a Facebook group. 


In stage 1 some authors read and review another author’s book. Clearly, the scenario is completely random.



(Still, if Amazon would really “spy” on Facebook they’d know that

authors A – Q are in the same Facebook group and apparently know each other

A read N’s book,

B read C’s book,

D read G’s book,

H read B’s book,

I read J’s book, and

L read Q’s book.

 

In stage 2, a pattern begins to emerge. 

In stage 3, the pattern is completely clear. Probably, Amazon’s algorithm can identify it.

 

The authors who do NOT also read books from other authors who are not represented in this group, have just self-identified themselves as authors who engage in some kind of review exchange. 


What if the group is larger and has 1,000+ members? 

It does not matter how large the group is, the deciding factor is how many members are actively reading and reviewing.

 

In the past, I noticed author friends reading as many as five books from other authors in the same group. Occasionally, I stumble over a book which features eight to ten reviews, all from authors who I know are in the same author groups. It is a reasonable conclusion that after churning enough data Amazon’ algorithm can see the previously illustrated pattern and deletes some reviews.   


Summing it up: Seeking reviews from “peripheral friends” can be a good idea to get “starter”-reviews, but if you want your book to become a bestseller, inevitably, you need to make an effort to get your book known to many more people than you could know personally or on any social media platform.

~*~

Excerpt from NAKED REVIEW: How to Get Book Reviews - To be released July 20th - Moon Landing Day).

Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988. Her work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur.



To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries http://www.giselahausmann.com/free-creative-ideas.html

Gisela's website: http://www.giselahausmann.com/

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann


Saturday, July 15, 2017

3 Ways how Indie Authors Deal with the "Non Verified Reviews" Issue

THE ISSUE: Non verified reviews (book & products) are not shown by default any longer.

In February 2017, Amazon began hiding non verified reviews by default. Now, customers have to change the default setting from “see all verified purchases” to “see all reviews” to also see non verified reviews.


This change is retro active. By default, non verified reviews that were posted in the past are also "invisible."

Exploring the specifics of this new rule, I found that as long as verified and non verified reviews fit on the book’s first book page, all reviews (verified and non verified) will be shown. Only once reviews need more space than what is provided on the (first) book page, the non verified reviews disappear.

EXAMPLE: 

The book page of a book that received 3 reviews, 2 verified reviews and 1 non verified review of medium length (about six lines) shows all 3 reviews.

After this book received an additional 5 non verified reviews, only the 2 verified reviews will be visible by default because combined all 8 reviews take up more space than is available on first book page. To also see the six non verified reviews, customers have to change the settings.

ENSUING PROBLEMS:

a) Unfortunately, not every review reader checks out non verified reviews

b) Non verified reviews look a tiny bit suspicious simply because Amazon does not volunteer to show them.

c) Some review readers don't trust non verified reviews; after all, everybody from The New York Times to Forbes reported about Amazon's various fake review scandals.

SOLUTIONS:

1) Don't ask for too many reviews in "review clubs." They won't get you as far as they used to. If your book's sales rank does not correspond with the number of reviews they'll look "suspicious."

INSTEAD: Make contact with your old friends. Amazon does not know who your high school buddies were.

2) Because Amazon reviewers expect author-supplied review copies, ask them early, when your book has only few reviews. That increases the chance that their non verified reviews get seen; hence, they are more likely to accept your book.


3) Carefully consider if you want to enroll your book in KDP. The reviews of Kindle Unlimited readers who read your book "free with Kindle Unlimited" will be non verified reviews too.

INSTEAD: consider promoting your book with 99 cents promotions. You can schedule the promotions yourself; all readers will be able to post verified reviews.


~~*~~

Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988. Her work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur.

Her book NAKED REVIEW: How to Get Book Reviews is available for Preorder at the introductory price of $1.99 (till July 20th - Moon Landing Day).


To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries http://www.giselahausmann.com/free-creative-ideas.html

Gisela's website: http://www.giselahausmann.com/

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This will make you believe in indie authors' work



Image by Stokpic/Pexels

In the summer of 2016, I had a discussion with an editor of a publishing magazine, who we'll call Jane. As Jane and I were talking about my books, she asked, "So, who is your books' target audience?"

I replied, "Small business owners and dedicated indie authors."

Jane started to chuckle but stopped abruptly when she noticed my silence.

After clearing her throat she quickly said, "Please define the term 'dedicated indie author'."

"Well, believe it or not - some of us don't even consider seeking a traditional publisher. Many authors self-publish because they want to have complete control over the entire process."

Perhaps still wondering how embarrassing her laugh was on a scale of one to ten, Jane asked absentmindedly, "And, why is that?"

Somewhat surprised, I explained, "Working with a traditional publisher offers very little wiggle-room. They may not be prepared to give a niche book a longer start time. Also, they never want to make any changes. Once they publish a book it's published."

Jane pondered her answer. It was obvious that she tried to phrase it as careful as possible. "Traditional publishers try to publish a book only once it is the best it can be."

Learning from Woody Allen

"Certainly." I said, "But, having studied film and mass media I can tell you that for instance four-time Academy Award winner and more-times-than-we-count Academy Award nominee Woody Allen test screens all of his movies in a small town far from Hollywood and New York.
And, all of his actors have to sign a contract that they'll be available for re-shooting or shooting new scenes after the initial audience testing.
And, let's not even talk about the testing of commercials. Many of the commercials you see during the Superbowl have been chosen from three or more different versions."

Now I had given Jane some food for thought. "Hmm," she sort of agreed.

I continued. "Woody Allen and these marketing agencies produce successful products again and again because they insist on testing their products.
Also, software companies conduct public beta testing, routinely. Making changes to a product after it's been released is not unusual at all."

*

Unfortunately, my answer was incomplete because I wasn't prepared for the question. Even though Microsoft had been on my mind because at the time they were testing their Windows 10, I had forgotten to mention Bill Gates' famous quote:
Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana. – Bill Gates
In fact, Microsoft  now calls their Windows 10 a "service that receives ongoing feature updates."

That concept should probably apply to books too.

Over the last few years I read many dozens of nonfiction books that are plainly outdated. For instance, books explaining marketing techniques on social media platforms become antiquated very quickly. That includes books from traditional publishers.

Being one of the mentioned dedicated indie authors I learned from this situation. Since Amazon changes their community guidelines regularly my book about getting reviews on Amazon has to change too.


Most recently, I also counseled an author of fiction books. The author confided in me that though readers liked his/her book series many did not like a new persona he/she introduced in the latest book.

Readers thought that this new character was "too mean."

I see this kind of reaction as similar to Windows users telling Microsoft that they were upset with Windows 8 not having the traditional start button. Sometimes, many consumers agree that they do not like certain elements of an overall great product.

"So, change it!" I said to the author."Edit the book and upload it again."

*
If you create open technology that people can use, adapt and play with, it builds capability and they teach themselves. – Charles Leadbeater

Image by Melpomene/Shutterstock

Today's audiences enjoy communicating with authors who choose to listen.

There is no telling how far this trend will go but for sure indie authors (not traditional publishers) will be at the forefront of it all. 

~~*~~

Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988. Her work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur.

Her book NAKED REVIEW: How to Get Book Reviews is available for Preorder at the introductory price of $1.99 (till July 20th - Moon Landing Day).


To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries http://www.giselahausmann.com/free-creative-ideas.html

Gisela's website: http://www.giselahausmann.com/

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The 5 Most Common Mistakes When Seeking Book Reviews From Amazon Top Reviewers

VLADIMIR KOLEN’S/SHUTTERSTOCK - WOMAN TYPING

(Reblogged upon request)

The day before yesterday, I received an email asking me to review an indie author’s book. Somewhat ironically, this request email stated, “... as you liked... (title of book)... you might also love my newest book,... (title)..., because it’s in the same category as the book you already reviewed...”

I remembered the book I supposedly “liked.” I didn’t like it at all; I had awarded it with a negative review.

Obviously, this indie author made a mistake; most likely, because he rushed trying to find as many top reviewers as possible to whom he could offer his book “in return for an objective and unbiased review.”

Seeking reviews from Amazon top reviewers is a common practice among indie authors. Since only about one percent of readers review the books they read, indie authors, who don’t have a huge marketing budget, try to build up the number of reviews their books receive by asking top reviewers like me to read and review their books.

In doing so, indie authors’ marketing skills are ahead of Fortune 500 companies’. Today, eight out of ten customers consult online reviews when making the decision to buy. Trying to get as many reviews as possible is the “Next Great Thing” to boost sales.

As a result, Amazon top reviewers’ Inboxes are flooded with request emails. On average, the crème de la crème, Amazon’s Hall-of-Reviewers, receive more than 200 requests per week. Consequently, indie authors need to put in extra effort to make their case.

For instance, if this indie author would have written, “while checking out reviews at Amazon, I noticed that you weren’t quite happy with … ( the competitor’s book)… My own book takes a different approach; it …” he would have had a much better chance at succeeding.

Here are five major mistakes to avoid:

Never Tailor a Template – Use Your Own Words!

You are a writer! Most likely you want to make a living off writing! So, use your own words to show off! Tailoring a template is the direct opposite of making something look interesting and remarkable. Since almost all reviewers receive dozens of request emails per week they are able to spot a template faster than you can say “template.”

Make Your Case For Your Book!

Book reviewers enjoy reading outstanding books! Therefore, avoid worn-out phrases like “my book is similar to a book you have reviewed.” Instead, dazzle potential reviewers by telling them why your book is different from any other book they have read.

Avoid writing a me-mail!

Always remember that your request email is about your book. Writing “I have written a book about…”, “I was wondering…”, and “so that I can get some feedback...” suggests that your email is about your needs rather than about your book. Instead, rephrase and write “you’ll love my book’s story-line/ protagonist/ setting because...”

Don’t waste words!

An effective email is about 150 words long. To make your case convincing, don’t waste words. There is no need to write “I found your name on the list of top reviewers.” All top reviewers know that their name is on this list.

Don’t give up & Don’t ignore the bottom line!

Without a question authors’ worst mistake is giving up. They stop contacting reviewers and they don’t interpret rejections as signals to improve their emails. The bottom-line of the whole process is: Top reviewers cannot read and review all books they get offered. Therefore they see request emails as writing samples.

*

The most effective request emails are personalized emails which demonstrate that the author has done his homework. They will almost always get a reply, even from Hall-of-Fame reviewers.

Sometimes it helps to look at a reviewer’s profile for clues to personalize the request. Relatively recently, I contacted a top reviewer myself and wrote, “Saw that you write lyrics for operas. I certainly appreciate that; I was born in Vienna...”

This is not flattery. The Vienna State Opera is one of the most famous opera houses in the world, where stars like Maria Callas, José Carreras, and Luciano Pavarotti sang. Certainly this reviewer would know that.

The reviewer took well to that approach and replied in less than thirty minutes. He began his email with the words, “... I appreciate your taking the trouble...”

All of us open our Inboxes in the hope that we receive unexpected, awesome or interesting news. We want to be surprised by emails from people who tell us that they can deliver what we want or need. The people who send us such emails receive our undivided attention.

~~*~~

Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988. Her work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur. She is also a frequent guest, speaking about communications topics, on WYFF-4, her local NBC TV-station.

Her book NAKED REVIEW: How to Get Book Reviews is available for Preorder at the introductory price of $1.99 (till July 20th - Moon Landing Day).

To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries http://www.giselahausmann.com/free-creative-ideas.html

Gisela's website: http://www.giselahausmann.com/

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann


Monday, June 5, 2017

How to build nerves of steel



Feel you might need nerves like steel ropes?

Maybe?
Yes!
More than ever !
I don’t know how to develop them…
? What type of nerves ?

From the dictionary:

nerves of steel
Fig. very steady nerves; great patience and courage.

(author’s annotation: a person with nerves of steel must have a deep-rooted belief in his cause or at least have hope that s/he will succeed)

According to a report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) about 27 million working-age Americans--nearly 14 percent--started or run new businesses, in 2015. These 27 million Americans are going out on their own; some of them deeply believing that they will succeed and others hoping that they will.

So, what if they don't really believe in themselves, if hope is their biggest asset?

Anybody who has ever been in real trouble knows how mere hope can stimulate us to keep going.

Hope isn’t just hope. There are different kind of hopes like ‘last hope’, ‘mere hope’ and also ‘well-founded hope’. The latter is particularly interesting, because we may know for sure that a certain deal will happen, finances can be raised, or some other important step will take place, and it may only be a matter of time.

Very often, our problem is that we cannot control the speed at which others proceed. We can ask, plead, remind, push… but inevitably, we have to wait till others are as ready as we are.

The savviest of us work so many options at the same time that they have reason for well-founded hope, any day. While a savvy person’s options A, B, C may be on hold, options D, H, and M could materialize that very day.

Have you ever looked closely at a steel rope?



A steel rope is comprised out of many thin steel threads, which are bundled into groups, which form thin steel ropes. These thin steel ropes are woven into the final product.

Of course, the obvious analogy is that the thin steel ropes represent the many opportunities we create for ourselves.

By developing lots of chances and opportunities, we simultaneously create nerves like steel ropes. They come from knowing that indeed we have reason for ‘well-founded hope’, that sooner or later one or another option will materialize.

Additional strength comes from knowing that even if a few of the thin steel ropes break, others or at least one of them will hold up.

This is how we build nerves of steel.

~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is an email evangelist, a PR expert and an author. Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, in Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg (podcast), on NBCNews, and in other fine publications. 

Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Naked_Determina

Subscribe here for updates and blog summaries.


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© 2015 and 2017 by Gisela Hausmann