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Sunday, September 11, 2016

What authors can learn from car salesmen

"This car could really use a new owner."

"I am in desperate need of a buyer for this car."

"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

"My book could really use a more reviews."

"I am in desperate need of reviews for my book."

"I know that you read (book title), so I thought you might like to read my book which is similar. 
 Car salesmen say things like,
 "... 6-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx described the R8 as "the best handling road car today"
 "... Design characteristics include a fastback profile and a lower-set grille..." 
 "... This vintage car' features include writing tables (for rear seats) and rear seat reading lamps..."

My advice: Be as specific as they are.  

What are your book's best "features?"


Gisela Hausmann is an Amazon ecommerce expert and US top reviewer. She coaches authors how to get featured in the media and also penned  
NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews
NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Product Reviews on 7 Insider Tips to Boost Sales


© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann
© Picture credit:

Friday, August 5, 2016

11 Wacky Review Requests that Don't Work

Considering that every day about 4,500 books get published, phrasing review requests to known reviewers and bloggers is more important than ever. Here are parts of eleven request emails that made me wonder.


I understand you are a reliable, experienced reviewer.

[Really? Who told you that?...]


You’ve  been  handpicked  as  a  qualified  and  highly  esteemed  reviewer  to  hopefully...

[Hand-picked? This wording sounds as if I had been selected for a dangerous clandestine operation... Thx, but no thanks...]


I wanted to drop you an email after coming across your thoughtful and sincere reviews on Amazon.

[Unspecific platitude! Flattery? ... If you want to score with this approach you have to be more specific.]


“...  I’ve decided to go ahead and put together a review crew and would love to offer you first dibs at joining!...”

[First dibs? ? ? Apparently you are looking for YA reviewers. Sorry, I am a bit older...]


If you’re not interested in reviewing ... (genre)..., just let me know! I will make sure you don’t receive any review requests from us.  By the way, sometimes e-mails get lost, so to make sure I know you’re not interested, feel free to fill this very brief form: ... It makes it a lot easier for me. :)

[Sorry! I don’t fill out any forms about things I don’t do...]


I noticed that you have reviewed a book in Amazon which the category is related to the book I have just published.

[Pleeease, take a few writing classes...]


My book is available right now on Amazon for only $0.99 for the Kindle version (will later raise to $7.99.)

[DON’T threaten me with a higher price...]


I would also be more than willing to send you my book as a gift so you don’t have to purchase it!

[Hmm... Come to think of it, I don’t HAVE TO purchase your book...]


You MUST post your review to Amazon and Goodreads. We’ll confirm your reviews and as long as you have posted them, you will be put on the list to receive the next upcoming release for review.

[Maybe you should read Amazon’s Reviewer Guidelines, again or for the first time...]


We’re looking for honest reviews from people who love books. Real reviews let other readers know what to expect. Our small company doesn’t have the same resources as the large publishing houses, so every review counts.

[As the marketing expert of your company, shouldn’t you know that your job is to make a case why a reviewer would want to read your author’s book, instead of explaining your business concept ...]


Our company specializes in helping the self-published and small print author maximize their marketing outreach to increase sales. As you know, book reviews are highly coveted when it comes to book marketing. We are committed to helping our authors succeed, and would love to elicit your help in doing so.

[BIG, big words!!! Did they teach you that in college? If I understand you correctly, you are charging your client for asking me to do your work for free. - What exactly is your specialty?]


Which one is the wackiest? 


Gisela Hausmann is an Amazon ecommerce expert and US top reviewer. She coaches authors how to get featured in the media and also penned 
NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews
NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Product Reviews on 7 Insider Tips to Boost Sales

© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann
© Picture credit:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

5 Important Email Lessons from the 2016 Election

[Please note that this blogger does not reference Mrs. Clinton's email server issues, 
because they are server and policy issues, not email issues.] 

A 2014 survey by Pew Research showed that online adults who also have full or part-time jobs in any capacity consider email their most important tool.

Because everybody needs to write emails, everybody also has an opinion about “issues with emails,” and even more so when presidential candidates’ teams cause those issues.  

So far, during this 2016 election, people wrote and blogged about “email” as often as about the topics “education”, “the economy”, and “immigration,” combined.

Here is what we have learned:

1) Think twice about what you write

Emails can get hacked, stolen, and leaked. In 2014, the SONY Pictures Entertainment Hack made it very clear that people “in high places” who write “improper” emails need to resign. It appears, DNC’s Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz did not pay attention.


2) Think twice before you hit that “send”-button

The GOP candidate’s team sent out an email “I just delivered my speech...” about 60 minutes before Donald Trump even took the stage. Since Mr. Trump also delivered the longest acceptance speech since 1972, this action perplexed subscribers.


3) Take care of your email list

In 2016 everybody needs to know what the term “SPAM” really means. 

As a result of then-candidate Barack Obama’s immensely successful 2008 campaign, all politicians from all parties learned the benefits of a great email list very quickly. Which is why it came as a surprise that one of team Trump’s email blasts raised “serious security and legal concerns” to the point that the GOP candidate’s email service provider suspended their service.


4) Don’t tailor templates
In contrast to lifting a part of a speech, tailoring an email template, which is offered for sale or for free, is not plagiarism. Still, the effect can be the same, because people remember well-chosen phrases. Using others’ words to make one’s own case most often does not work out too well.


5) Create authentic, branded messages 
Barack Obama did it in 2008. Bernie Sanders did it in 2016.

Senator Sanders raised 222 million dollars by sending authentic, branded emails about running his campaign without the help from a SuperPAC. 

Once again, the result proved that people love and share authentic messages.

Email has been pronounced dead many a times but the truth is – Email is such an important tool because all of us understand how it works. 

Do you agree?


Gisela Hausmann is an email evangelist,
the winner of the 2016 Sparky Award “Best Subject Line,” and the author of  
NAKED WORDS 2.0 The Effective 157-WordEmail” and  
NAKED TEXT Email WritingSkills for Teenagers.”

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, on Brian Burns' podcast “The Brutal Truths About Sales and Selling,” and in dozens of other publications.

© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

The ridiculously insane costs of “free advice”

What you get free costs too much.  
Jean Anouilh

Last week I posted a blog “The Five Most Common Mistakes When Seeking Book Reviews FromAmazon Top Reviewers” and received an astonishing amount of comments below the blog, on twitter and, of course, on Facebook. Most of the readers had never heard of what I wrote. 

The gist of the blog is that frequently many bloggers encourage indie authors to tailor a template when contacting Amazon top reviewers with the request to review their books. 

In short – This is incorrect advice!  (But – it was free.)

With roughly 4,500 books being published every day, authors need to write stand-out request emails that explain why their book is remarkable. In contrast, tailoring a template is the exact opposite; it leads to run-of-the-mill emails. 

So, why are bloggers publishing incorrect information?

They don’t know that it’s wrong.

The problem with the concept of giving free information

Ever since the concept of “attracting customers by giving them free information” became popular a few years ago, every week hundreds of thousands of people blog, worldwide. Occasionally, they may try to meet their deadline while the kids are having a fight in the living room and the spouse is shouting “I can’t find my striped shirt” from the bedroom. Under stress, some bloggers may try to get inspired by reading others blogs... Just – maybe? 

If they are not experts in the specific field they won't realize if the original blog’s content was flawed. 

Among indie author topics, the question “how to get book reviews” is hugely popular. Authors who google “how to get reviews” find 89 million blogs and articles, which proves that many bloggers’ articles are mere guesses or hearsay. 

Quite obviously, there aren’t 89 million experts on this specific topic. If indeed there were that many expert book reviewers, who have insider knowledge because they review lots of books, indie authors would have no problem finding book reviewers. 

The ridiculously insane costs for readers

Following flawed FREE advice leads to

  • loss of recreational time 
  • loss of time that could be spent making money
  • exponential build-up of frustration

Typically, authors spend ten, twenty, thirty or more hours trying to contact top reviewers. If you multiply that number by only $7.25 (minimum wage) you can estimate the loss in money. Certainly, spending ten, twenty, thirty or more hours with family and friends is much better than sitting frustrated in front of a computer and wondering why none of the hundreds of top reviewers requested the book for review. 

But, even worse than all of this is that some authors get so frustrated that

  • they give up!

I bet ten bucks that there are plenty of authors who penned a great book, but since their books never received enough starter reviews, they never took off. Eventually, the authors gave up. 

Other free content

Of course, blogs aren’t the only “free offerings.” There are also webinars, teleconferences, and video seminars. Almost always the ads promise that participating in a particular event will teach valuable skills. That’s true, but this type of offerings are really teasers. Usually, the organizers volunteer about 10-15% of the knowledge during the teaser – which makes sense. 

All of us know it anyway – Nothing in life is free!

Believing that one can get best information for free can be very costly. 

I have at least one friend, who got so frustrated trying to learn everything about book marketing for free, that finally she bought an expensive seminar for $4,500. Sadly, that did not lead to her book becoming a bestseller. 

The common thought is that if one pulls free information, one has to work harder because one has to figure out the missing information oneself. And, in many cases this is true. However, in the majority of situations, doing precisely that – working harder – is what leads to the build-up of frustration. Frustration makes people vulnerable and vulnerability leads to making bad decisions like buying a seminar that either won't work (for the “student”) or from somebody who isn't really an expert. 

So, how do you find out who you should believe? 

Investigate, on Google! 

Don’t confine yourself to looking for “words”; look for pictures and videos, too!

If you can’t find proof that the publisher/ host/ organizer can deliver what you need, you better head on. 

Also, check the dates! 

I see lots of people promising to teach how getting on radio shows will help book sales. Before you spend money on such a course, you should check the release dates of the mentioned books or the mentioned authors’ works. Radio shows have undergone great changes since the emergence of Sirius radio and podcasts. Therefore, you only want to take a course that is up-to-date. 

There are also lots of seminars about “learning how to get booked as a guest on Oprah’s show.” While the organizers may have experience doing that, you need to check if they booked guests for any of the OWN Network shows, or, for “The Oprah Winfrey Show”(which aired last on May 25, 2011).

Summing it up:

Nothing in life is completely free!

To get the best deal, you need to be your own agent and investigate. Ask yourself the same questions you would ask your (imaginary) literary agent or publicist and make your decision based on this information.


Gisela Hausmann publishes “naked (no-fluff) books.” 

She is an email evangelist, a PR coach, and Amazon top reviewer #3,454.

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine. 

© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

5 Superior Elements of the “Next Great Idea” to Boost Sales

Today it is hard to imagine that for thousands of years people did not advertise or market anything. There was no need. The old Egyptians, Greeks and Romans had slaves, who built their palaces, sewed their garbs, and provided all services. 

First advertisements appeared in the 18th century, then traveling salesmen, and radio ads.

The Sixties 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.

Each new marketing method evolved in a logical progression until 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 customers signaling “I don’t want to be disrupted. I’ll find what I want to buy and where I want to buy.”

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

The customer review was pioneered by Amazon. The genius element of this strategy is that they have “outsourced” the important element – giving unbiased and objective feedback – to others. That freed up their energy to focus solely on the tasks an ecommerce company has to do – shipping goods and providing the best possible service – and to perfect them.  

Other Fortune 500 companies that own brick-and-mortar stores followed the trend and came up with their own ideas. For instance, Home Depot offers codes on the beams of their shelves, which potential customers can punch into their smart phones to find other consumers’ product reviews on Home Depot’s website. If potential customers are happy with what they find, they can grab the item right off the shelf as soon as they have finished reading the reviews. 

This new “Next Great Idea to Boost Sales” has 5 distinct elements 

The Freedom to Choose
Customers do not have to believe an expert any longer, they now have the freedom to believe people they can identify with. For instance, a mother who is looking for a baby product does not have to adopt famous Dr. Spock’s or her mother-in-law’s viewpoint; she can embrace the opinion of a mother on the other side of the country or even on the other side of the world, and buy what worked for this mother’s child. The same goes for testimonials which may be authentic and heartfelt, or not. 

The Ease of Buying
Inevitably, customer reviews featured on a website where the customer can “click to buy” or “add to the shopping cart” yield better sales results than book and product reviews in newspapers or magazines, or TV and radio ads.

The Additional Bonus – Consumer Research
Often costumer reviews also deliver authentic consumer research. While this type of consumer research is somewhat flawed, it can give valuable information, which in the past vendors could not obtain. Only twenty years ago conducting consumer research used to be one of the most expensive elements of product launches. 

The Middleman is Gone
Of course, even a few decades ago consumers could call manufacturers and vendors and articulate their opinions via an 1-800 number. Then again, that process did not assure consumers that their ideas were really heard. By posting online reviews consumers know that somebody is listening: the vendor, the manufacturer, fellow shoppers, or even – the manufacturer’s competition. 

Gifts that Keep on Giving
Online reviews are also gifts that keep on giving. While search engine optimization and other marketing tricks have to be maintained at all times, which can be costly, trying to acquire authentic and honest reviews brings results that will sell products from the day they got posted to the day the product is taken off the market. 

Clearly, the “Next Great Idea to Boost Sales” is to encourage customers to leave reviews because reviews sell goods and services.

For the first time in history the “Next Great Idea to Boost Sales” works for the consumers just like it does for the sellers.

Gisela Hausmann is Amazon Top Reviewer #3,509 She coaches authors how to get featured in the media and runs an email service.

She is also the author of

Naked Truths About Getting Product Reviews 7 Insider Tips to Boost Sales and

Naked Truths About Getting Book Reviews

© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann

Pic credit © Ollyy via Shutterstock - Photo of a smiling salesman advertising a product at the television


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