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Friday, July 1, 2016

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


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 storyline/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. 

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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 Amazon Top Reviewer #3,409.  Publisher of “naked (no-fluff)books.” 

Author of “Naked Truths About GettingBook Reviews and 

“Naked Truths About Getting Product Reviews.”  

http://www.giselahausmann.com/books.html

https://twitter.com/Naked_Determina

© 2015 by Gisela Hausmann
picture credit: Vladimir Kolen's/Shutterstock

Monday, June 27, 2016

3 ways how you can help others when writing an ebook





Writing means sharing. It's part of the human condition to want to share things - thoughts, ideas, opinions. - Paulo Coelho




Do you know something, which could help the world, or at least a lot of people?

Hundreds of thousands of people do, worldwide. In fact, all of us know something, which might help somebody else, we only have to sort out what it is: stories, recipes, how-to manuals, ideas....

The good news is: These days lots of us are already sharing our thoughts in blogs, online forums, and – ebooks.
Ebook publishing is cheap and easy to do. Most people can do it without too much professional help, which explains this industry's boom. It has freed all of us of having to find somebody, who will take the risk and pay for printing our thoughts and writings. Additionally, the worldwide web gives all of us the opportunity to market our books ourselves and not be dependent on marketing services. We have come a far way since Gutenberg has invented the printing press in 1450.

Now that
  • People have discovered the opportunity to empower others, share their solutions and ideas, and 
  • Consumers pay anywhere between 99 cents and $9.99 to find solutions, which they can carry around on their tablets and/or smartphones; is there 
  • MORE GOOD, that we can do with these new opportunities?  
YES, every ebook author can help in three ways:
  1. Help people, who look for the answers you already found
  2. Donate money to a charitable organization, which impressed you with their work
  3. Keep telling the stories of good deeds to inspire others and help to make the world a better place.
If you think about publishing an ebook you might consider if there is way to give back for you. This option is not limited to non-fiction books. 

The author of a cookbook could donate to an organization, which feeds the hungry, the author of a Sci-fi novel could donate to an organization protecting the environment, and a children's book author could donate to a local organization or UNICEF. Please also find a way to tell how the organization of your choice has impressed you because by getting published your thoughts will live forever. 



Each of us finds his unique vehicle for sharing with others his bit of wisdom. - Ram Dass


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Gisela Hausmann is the multi-award-winning author of 
“NAKED DETERMINATION, 41 Stories About Overcoming Fear” and 

She is also an email evangelist, whose work was featured in the SUCCESS magazine and the winner of the 2016 Sparky Award “Best Subject Line.”

http://www.giselahausmann.com/

https://twitter.com/Naked_Determina

© 2015/16 by Gisela Hausmann


Picture credit: Frank Fiedler via Shutterstock

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The “Next Great Idea” to Boost Sales


 
 
My children never waited for a Sears catalog to be delivered in the mail. Like most millennials they cannot even conceptualize that a paper catalog’s arrival awakened wishes and desires in millions of people.

Of course, my siblings and I drooled over catalog pictures when we were young; but, my father, an avid reader of the Consumer Reports, always cautioned, “We cannot buy these items just because they look good. We need to get unbiased, objective information!

The Sixties also marked the beginning of what famed marketing guru Seth Godin calls the TV industrial complex – meaning TV-ads started “disrupting” viewers’ recreation time by showing them the same product over and again until, hopefully, customers bought the featured products.


While the evolution of the “Next Great Idea to Boost Sales” from traveling salesmen to mail order catalogs to TV and radio ads to sales phone calls was a natural progression, the arrival of the Internet changed everything.

Within a relatively short time period, the marketing and sales process changed from “we’ll find you and tell you about our products” to “I don’t want to be disrupted. I’ll find what I want to buy and where I want to buy.”

This topic was even discussed during the question-and-answer session of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting on April 30. Warren Buffet called Amazon’s (and others) accomplishments remarkable. And, that “the full effect of Amazon (and others) is a big force that already “disrupted” plenty of people and will disrupt more...”

A big part of this disruption is online reviews; however, they are not disrupting the customers!

While previously consumers had to query their family and friends as well as rely on objective journalists’ reviews, today, everybody with an Internet connection can find out how others feel about a particular product the very moment they want to find out. If a product has not received any reviews that tells a story, too. 

Study over study proves that almost 8 out of 10 people consult online reviews when making the decision to buy.



Amazon pioneered the customer review. Even though some of its Hall-of-Fame reviewers have been stripped of their reviewer privileges and their reviews have been deleted, Amazon’s 134 Hall-of-Fame reviewers have penned an astonishing 386,818 reviews; and, more than 38 million people have reviewed at least one product on Amazon’s US site.


The genius element of Amazon’s strategy is that they have “outsourced” the important element – “giving unbiased and objective feedback” – to others. Unbiased and objective feedback was exactly what customers have always cared about, even when this information was difficult to obtain.

Other Fortune 500 companies have followed the trend. For instance, Home Depot offers codes on sales racks, which potential customers can punch into their smartphones to find other consumers’ product reviews on Home Depot’s website.

***

However, not every review will have a positive effect on every customer. Different types of reviews appeal to different types of customers.

Here is my classification of reviews:

1) The “I just want to say ’I love this’” review

More or less useless by itself, in the company of plenty of all other types of reviews, this kind of review reinforces customers’ beliefs that “everybody likes this product.”

2) The Typical Customer Review

It is between four and six lines long and states how much the buyer liked or disliked the product. Every single one should be read by the product’s manufacturer to address customers’ needs in the future. If customers invest even more time by sharing their opinions in an even longer review, most certainly their thoughts should be taken very seriously.

3) The Technical Review

Typically unemotional, this type of review stands out by featuring measurements, dimensions, and specifications. Often, the reviewer quotes the product’s manual and/or elaborates if the manual is instructive or not. While many customers prefer to find out how they will “feel” if they buy a certain product, some customers (for instance really tall or short persons or people with an engineer’s mind) look specifically for technical reviews.

4) The Venting Review

While most manufacturers and vendors will be disappointed to find negative reviews, it is obvious that not every product will make every consumer happy. Since customers know that too, they get irritated if a product does not receive any negative reviews. The effects of the “fake review scandal” of the last few years is still lingering. Therefore, the presence of “venting reviews” proves that a certain product’s reviews are authentic. Less than two percent of negative reviews for a product will help boost sales.

5) The Funny Review

The funny review will do one thing better than all other types of reviews – it gets people talking, at the water cooler! Funny reviews get blogged about and recommended; most certainly any product featured in an exceptionally funny review will get lots of exposure.

6) The Short Story Review

Generally speaking, the short story review is the most powerful selling tool to get a majority of potential buyers to buy, if they can relate to the presented story.
A “short story review” that describes a situation the potential buyer can relate to, and also offers information on how the specific product helped, will keep selling products for years to come. Of all reviews, the short story review is the hardest one to obtain. Consumers either have a story to offer, or not.

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Obviously, the more reviews a product receives, the higher the chance that customers find the review which presents the argument they want to hear.

Today's customers who can buy ad-free entertainment, block contacts and websites, and customize what information they want to receive and when, also want to decide whose opinion they are going to believe.

The “Next Great Idea to Boost Sales” is to actively seek authentic reviews!

Authentic online reviews generate the highest ROI, because customers will read them for months and years to come (as long as the reviews/products are online). 
Reviews are the gifts that keeps on giving. 

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Gisela Hausmann is the author of “NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Product Reviews on Amazon.com: 7 Insider tips to boost Sales” and “NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews.” 

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine and on Brian Burn's Podcast "The Brutal Truth about Sales & Selling." She is a frequent guest on WYFF-TV4, her local TV-station. 



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© 2015 by Gisela Hausmann
© Africa Studio via Shutterstock - Line of lighted matches on black background 
© Ollyy via Shutterstock - Photo of a smiling salesman advertising a product at the television

© Rawpixel.com - Online Reviews

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

The “author elevator pitch” or why authors should never use the term “my book”



[Gisela Hausmann is an Amazon eCommerce expert, Amazon Top Reviewer #3,446, and a multi-award-winning author.]

“... I’ll be releasing my new novel in May and I am hoping you’ll review my book,” the author said.

No, I did not know the author, I have no idea what type of books this author writes... fiction, nonfiction, religious or hard core erotica... I am just as clueless as you are, who is reading this blog.

So, guess what I said?

“Sorry, I am busy.” (Which happened to be true.)

Still, every author knows that reviews are an essential to selling books (or products). That’s why Amazon pioneered the online customer book review long before they even sold products; and, all other eCommerce sites followed suit. The data proves beyond the shadow of a doubt: Reviews sell stuff!

However, just asking anybody (including me) for a review won’t help. The key to success is to ask people, who will enjoy reading “your book.”

How do you find out?

You ask!

That includes that you never ever refer to your book as “my book.” The words “my book” are as unspecific as “my child.”

“What child?

Your only child?
Your oldest child?
Your baby?
Your boy or your girl?”



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To get a meaningful answer you have to be specific! 

Here is how:

Contrary to the people who believe in the greatness of the elevator pitch, I have always believed in the power of email
Presenting or rattling off an elevator pitch forces the other person to say something – right then! Still, even if that answer is “yes,” it does really not mean success. I’d be willing to bet that at least 50% of successfully pitched elevator pitches have not led to the desired outcome. 

A much better approach than saying “I am hoping you will review my book” would have been to say, “I’ll be releasing my new (fill in genre) novel in May. Can I email you some information?

This question is polite, non-threatening, and can build a foundation for interest by defining the genre. Also, the majority of people will volunteer their email address. (Don’t believe that? – People give out their email address all the time. Almost every clerk, at every store, asks for it. Rarely ever do I observe people saying, “Heck, no!” ) 

An effective email has about 150 words. That gives an author ample opportunity to pitch their book and explain what is special about it. Additionally, the author can include links and thereby offer more valuable information. Any recipient can make an educated decision whether they are interested in reading and reviewing “this specific book.” And, that’s how authors get great reviews for their books.
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Gisela Hausmann is the author of

NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews
 
and
NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Product Reviews on Amazon.com: 7 Insider tips to boost Sales

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine. She is also a frequent guest on her local TV-station WYFF4-TV.


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© 2015 by Gisela Hausmann

If you enjoyed reading this blog, please share.