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Sunday, March 5, 2017

What does Jell-O have to do with your success as an indie author?

la-fontaine via PixaBay

Over the last six months I’ve noticed hundreds of blogs cropping up, telling aspiring indie authors that Americans read “more ebooks than ever.” Hence, it’s time to publish that manuscript!

Most of these blogs refer to Pew Research Center’s September 2016 study, which announced that the number of people who read ebooks has increased by 11% since 2011. Unfortunately, most of the blogs fail to mention the study’s claim that during the same time period the number of people who read at least one book—in any format—declined by 6%.

Though the Pew Research Center’s study does not offer any explanations why 6% of people have stopped reading books, I am guessing that this number includes people who may have read one or more nonfiction books to learn important professional skills; now they’ve switched to blogs.

Blogging is not only a respected art form, it is also a content marketing tool. Blogging at least once per week helps content marketers to stay in touch with their existing clients, win new clients, and sell product or services.

But it’s only effective when the blogger cares enough about the reader to research the topic and provide valuable information.

Example: The Jell-O campaign benefited both American housewives and the company.

Blogging is new, but content marketing has been around for more than 100 years; one of the early examples is the Jell-O marketing campaign of 1904.

Even though Jell-O has been sold since 1899, it didn’t sell well in stores. American housewives didn’t know what to do with it. Finally, the Genesee Food Company who owned and distributed Jell-O placed an ad in Ladies’ Home Journal offering free “best-seller” recipes. The campaign was an instant hit. The fact that housewives didn’t have to figure out how to prepare delicious Jell-O desserts did the trick.


Public domain, the first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.


More recently, content marketing is being used by experts like lawyers, cover designers, and editors to explain to potential customers how they will benefit from using their more expensive services.

For instance, though most authors have at least some working knowledge about the copyright, very few know how to proceed if their copyright is being infringed. The blog of a lawyer who has handled actual copyright infringement cases will deliver helpful information.

Content marketing should be beneficial for both the blogger and the reader. The problem begins when bloggers choose topics they don’t know too much about and also have no vested interest in.

What this means for indie authors and author-bloggers.

Whereas a copyright lawyer’s blog is being written by the lawyer or a law student who interns at their firm and the Jell-O recipes were created by cooks employed at the  Genesee Food Company, there are hundreds of non-experts blogging about indie author topics.

Most recently, I saw an indie author’s blog about how to get book reviews from Amazon top reviewers. The blog contained two traps that will most likely lead to all top reviewers ignoring their request.

The author-blogger suggested to begin the request email by stating something like “I found your name on the list of Amazon top reviewers.”

Problem #1: These are useless filler words.

How do I know? I really am an Amazon top reviewer. Since it takes at least two to three years of steady reviewing to become a top reviewer, it is wasted words telling a top reviewer how indie authors find us. We know.

Problem #2: Too many authors don’t edit their emails for personal appeal.

Many emails seem to suggest between the lines, “I don’t really care what books you like. Since you are a top reviewer I hope you will read and review my book.” Making this error is detrimental to authors’ efforts. Top reviewers read books because they enjoy reading and reviewing books, not because they want  be used as unpaid marketers.   

Obviously, this second problem only arises because the blogger suggests mentioning the top reviewer’s status. It is difficult to mention somebody’s special status and then pretend that this status has nothing to do with why one person contacted the other. As a result, too many emails sound like bad flattery. If, in this case, the indie author would focus only on presenting their book to a person who is known to enjoy reading this particular genre the problem would not even come up.

Hence, following this blog’s advice hinders indie authors in succeeding instead of helping them. Since this blog was shared more than 1,000 times I don’t even want to speculate how many indie authors wasted hours and hours writing and sending emails that won’t lead to positive results. 

The rise of false information.

During the outgoing 19th century no hobby cook who used Jell-O would have published a book or an article about Jell-O recipes; today, even people who have no insider knowledge about a certain topic write blogs about it.

The hundreds of bloggers who advise to use hollow phrases and silly templates have no idea how annoying these emails are—especially when one receives dozens of emails like that every month.

The simple truth is that to write good content the blogger has to be invested in a positive outcome for the reader and for themselves.

The cook who created the Jell-O recipes in 1904 had a vested interest that their recipes come out perfect every time.

A lawyer who blogs about their field of expertise has a vested interest that they present arguments which help potential clients to make the best decisions.

In contrast, author-bloggers who just want clicks couldn’t care less if their blogs prompt thousands of other authors to send emails to top reviewers; since they themselves aren’t top reviewers, they won’t receive this flood of annoying emails.

Equally, the bloggers who encourage others to write a book because Americans read “more ebooks than ever” without mentioning that the number of people who read at least one book—in any format—declined by 6% don’t have to face the consequences because they are not publishing the books. They just want to hook aspiring writers.

Don’t be that blogger. Don’t be that blog reader.

How to find great blogs.

Though at this point it may not be obvious, I really love blogs—great blogs that is. As an author I am aware that books cannot be updated every six months to include interesting new information. Writing a blog gives indie authors the opportunity to present additional information whenever an opportunity arises.

The fact that I love blogs is also the reason why I call out bloggers who write wishy-washy blogs just to make sales, instead of writing blogs that create value.

So, what can blog readers do to avoid acting upon incorrect information?

1) Remember the First Amendment

When reading a blog always remember that in the United States the First Amendment guarantees people the right to write, even about things they know nothing about or can’t prove to be true. Therefore:

2) Check the blogger’s background!

Every blogger features a short resume at the beginning or the end of their blog. Always study it; if need be—verify it. Don’t hesitate to ask poignant questions. If anybody asks me why I give advice on how to contact top reviewers, I will be happy to provide them with a link to my top reviewer profile.

3) Check the date!

If a blog is older than six months, chances are at least some parts may be outdated. Things change quickly these days.

4) Do the math!

Add the number of shares the blog received on all social media platforms. Because not everybody shares blogs, multiply that number by 30. Since probably no more than half of the blog readers acted on the blog’s recommendation divide that number again by 2. Then, evaluate if the presented concept will work if this number of people do what is being suggested or recommended.

As a practical example: A blog suggests that authors should contact all reviewers who read their book’s genre with an email that begins with the words, “Hi, I saw that you reviewed (title of book). I just recently published a book that is similar...” The blog was shared 450 times on all social media platforms.

450 x 30 = 13,500 : 2 = 6,750. Of the 6,750 indie authors who may have contacted reviewers and bloggers, about 30% may write romance novels. That means that a reviewer who reviews this popular genre might have received already between 750 and 1,500 emails stating the same silly sentence.

Do you believe that if you do the same, the reviewer will reply, “Sure, please send your book”?

5) Get some Jell-O

Then—sit down in your favorite chair and ponder the blog you read while slowly eating the Jell-O dessert.

Kids will tell you that the best thing about Jell-O is that you can see through it.

It’s the same for blogs. A great blog has a see-through concept. The blogger explains why their idea will work and list facts and sources. A great blog can be sliced and diced and each part will be good. A great blog will be revelatory even without any decor.


If you evaluate all blogs by this standard, you won’t waste time and you’ll achieve much better, sweeter results.


~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is the multi-award winning author of "BOOK MARKETING: The Funnel Factor: Including 100 Media Pitches" and "NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews."

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, in Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg (podcast), on NBCNews, and in other fine publications.

Gisela is a mass media expert who graduated from the University of Vienna, which, founded in 1365, is the 22nd oldest university in the world. She also worked in the industry for six years.

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


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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

10 Quotes that help indie authors to succeed




Quotes are meant to inspire us and to help us focus on our goals. Indie authors are no exception. Considering the stiff competition, we need to focus on our goals more than others. Here are 10 quotes that impressed my author friends. I am also inviting you to share your favorite quote in the comments. 


"Be yourself. Avoid self-censorship. Love your failures."  Clive Barker


I can't think of any better advice to people starting their career in writing. Certainly, worrying about what others may think or fear of failure is a specter that haunts many an author, but to impose your own morality on your characters will do them (and your readers) a disservice.

Ed Ryder, author of 'In Vitro Lottery'  @Ed_Ryder7




“Any work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art, should carry its justification in every line.”  – Joseph Conrad  


Conrad was talking about writing. If every line carries a striking image, a key phrase, an important kernel of meaning, and each line links well to the next, then strong paragraphs form. Paragraphs become pages, chapters, stories – then memories in the reader’s mind. To place those memories there, is why we write.

Paul Toolan, author of ‘A January Killing’ – @ptoolan1




“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come yet. We have only today. Let us begin.”   Mother Teresa


Past is past, learn what you have to with it and let it go, otherwise you’re not going to enjoy the beautiful things that are happening right in front of you. Live is too short for you to get stuck in your past. 

Don’t let what you want to do or what you want to say to someone for tomorrow, do it now. Live today as if there isn’t tomorrow. We never know what is going to happen.

Marcia Weber Martins, author of “Perfect Match” – @marcia_w_m 




“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” Elmore Leonard


I admit it. I skip sections even in best selling novels. I love fast-paced reads: mystery, adventure, espionage, and action. If there’s too much ‘filler’ I skip paragraphs. I write what I want to read. This quote reminds me to be ruthless when editing my own works of fiction ultimately creating a better experience for the reader. 

Lynda Filler, author of 'TARGET in the SUN' - @LyndaMFiller 




'It's not about who I'm like, it's about who I am.' - Francis Cabrel


Discovering your own voice as a writer is often talked about but not so easy to do. This quote inspires me to develop my own style and my own genres. I want readers to say, ‘That’s a Jean Gill original’, not feel they’ve bought a cheap copy.

Jean Gill, author of 'Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence (The Troubadours Quartet)' @writerjeangill





Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass - Anton Chekhov

I treasure this quote - in epic fantasy immersing the reader in the setting you create is paramount. It illustrates how to “show, don’t tell” in writing - don’t tell the reader what is happening, use words to show them the scene and leave their imagination to render it in their mind.

Adrian G Hilder, author of 'The General’s Legacy' - @AdrianGHilder





Shut up, he explained. - Ring Lardner

It’s an astonishing use of language for the word juxtaposition and meanings--a wild use of rudeness and consideration for the reader’s intelligence.
It reminds me to write judiciously but not overlook the improbable and perhaps weird. It is also unforgettable and startlingly funny!

Frank Daley, author of 'WHAT's YOUR PROBLEM? No Really, What IS Your Problem?' - @TheFrankDaley




“We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.” Tim Robbins


This has been one of my favorite quotes since I began publishing a few years ago. It sums up the entire journey to success for anyone. We are our own worst enemies and our harshest critics, and we must learn to love ourselves, accept ourselves, and believe in ourselves in order to find true success and happiness.

Traci Sanders, author of - "Living The Write Life" @tmsanders2014





"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Maya Angelou


Angelou confirms my belief in the power of stories. Whether we are fiction or nonfiction authors or family members recalling memories for reminiscences or ethical wills, each of our stories enlightens the reader and gives new meaning to life and empowers the storyteller.


Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D., author of "Color Your Life Happy:Create Your Unique Path and Claim the Joy You Deserve" - @florabrown




"Don't wait. The time will never be just right."-Napoleon Hill


The quote reminds me to take action every day. When J. Canfield promoted his first Chicken Soup book, he pitched five radio stations per day; even after it was a bestseller. Eventually, he had seven books on the NYT bestseller list at the same time.  


Gisela Hausmann, author of 'BOOK MARKETING The Funnel Factor - @Naked_Determina




Please share your own favorite quote in the comments section. 
Inspire us! Then, share with others!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The time to get read is NOW – Students, are you looking for an internship?



In South Carolina the trees are starting to flower, Spring is on its way.

Soon, students will think about: learning for standardized tests, researching and visiting colleges; and, seniors will be filling out college admissions applications and financial aid forms. Parents will advise and guide them and hope that their child will make best decisions for a successful career, which will also make them happy.

There are two more actions that will have a major impact on students' success; luckily, they are relatively easy to do.

1) Set up a Linkedin profile 

Opposite to setting up other social media profiles, creating a Linkedin profile will take some time. Also, if possible, students should try to get recommendations, which again will take time. Having a Linkedin profile demonstrates a professional attitude; additionally, the profile can serve as an extended resume.

2) Learn how to write effective emails with personal appeal

Never mind how popular texting is among teenagers, nobody can text their way to a job. Since unfortunately, email writing skills are not taught in most schools, and not even in most colleges, learning how to write effective emails with personal appeal will help any student get noticed. Here is why.
***

Students will need to write emails to apply for internships (and jobs) 

Studies show that 7 out of 10 internships turn into full-time employment. Internships are the fastest way to college credits, work experience, and making money.  Plus, internships are cool. Even Malia Obama interned last summer on the set of HBO’s “Girls.”

Excellent planners may be able to shortcut their way to earnings

Students who plan ahead and make contacts on Linkedin, for instance in Linkedin groups, will be able to contact influencers directly, via email. This may enable them to get their foot through the door of a company before a certain position is even advertised.

Eventually, everyone who works in an office needs to write emails

A 2014 survey about the role of digital technology in online adults' work lives by Pew Research showed that the target group, online adults who also have full- or part-time jobs in any capacity, considered email their most important tool.

This skill is even more important if a student wants to start his/her own business or a start-up for additional income.

One-in-ten U.S. workers is self-employed and this number may be rising very quickly. Millennials are embracing entrepreneurism. Then again, three -in-four of all self-employed workers don't have any employees. That implies that they personally handle all business tasks, including writing business and marketing emails.

The need for best communication skills won't go away

If we have learned anything over the last decade then it is that we don't know what is going to happen. The two things we do know is that the need for best communication skills as well as for expressing who we are and what we represent won't go away.

Students, who set up their Linkedin profile and work on their email writing skills right now, may be able to score an internship for summer 2017.

The time to act is now.

~*~

Gisela Hausmann is an award-winning email evangelist, the winner of the 2016 Sparky Award "Best Subject Line,"  and the author of "NAKED TEXT: Email Writing Skills for Teenagers" and "NAKED WORDS 2.0 The Effective 157-Word Email."

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, in Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg (podcast), on NBCNews, and other publications.


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

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Does Twitter still work for authors?



This morning I looked through the tweet feeds of a few book promoters and checked how often individual tweets got retweeted and liked.

Please note that this was not a scientific study; I just looked at some feeds I know and follow. Personally, I stopped buying Twitter-book promotions a while ago.

The tweet that received the most attention got shared 7 times and was "liked" 3 times. The book is a multiple award winner AND also #free.

Not much else is happening, but – why?

In reality, Twitter does not reach tremendously huge numbers of Americans.

Pew Research reports that 21% of all online U.S. adults use Twitter.

Pew Research also reports that only 18% of the U.S. adults who used Twitter logged in daily, that's only 12.4 million people, many of whom are not avid readers...

... but, many are – news junkies!

Today's reality is that many thousands of the 12.4 million US Twitter users are sharing their good and bad opinions about President Trump, the GOP, the DEMs, Obamacare, illigal immigrants, Syrian refugees, and other issues.



In my blog from February 1, I detailed the problem the first time. Not much has changed since then. Even on a day "when nothing extraordinary happened" 4 out of 10 trending topics are related to President Trump and his policy issues and topics.

*

So, what's a solution?

One way how authors will find themselves in the news is if they become "part of the news."

Lt. Gen. McMaster, President Trump's new pick for National Security adviser is also an author.

His book "Dereliction of Duty : Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam," published in 1997 (twenty years ago), is currently listed #54 Paid in Kindle Store (overall)
even though the Vietnam War ended 42 years ago.

The top tweets about Lt. Gen. McMaster's book were retweeted 77 times, on average, and liked 196 times, on average (that's where the sales numbers are originating).

Often, when I mention this fact/situation to an author they tell me, "Well, they (or you) have it easy. He/she/you/they write nonfiction."

But, getting media coverage is really doable – for authors of all genres!



At my local Barnes & Noble store, there are half as many poetry magazines, an equal number of Sci-Fi and gizmos magazines, and twice as many women's magazines as business publications; and all women's magazines feature at least one love story.
Somebody is pitching these magazines.

*

Instead of spending  $20-$50  on Twitter book promotions, indie authors can pitch media outlets for #free, thereby gaining tweet-worthy news!

Indie authors can also "RE-USE" the media coverage. It's the #1 marketing tool to get self-published books in public libraries.

Librarians are experts on media coverage because libraries also collect magazines, newspapers, trade publications etc. Hence, librarians know how important it is to "get seen" in the news.

Does Twitter still work for authors? – YES & NO!

What's your experience?


~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is the multi-award winning author of "BOOK MARKETING: The Funnel Factor: Including 100 Media Pitches" and "NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews."

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, in Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg (podcast), on NBCNews, and in other fine publications.

Gisela is a mass media expert who graduated from the University of Vienna, which, founded in 1365, is the 22nd oldest university in the world. She also worked in the industry for six years.

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

RYX6ZF8QT9YW

© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann

If you think that reading this blog will help your friends, please share. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Insights, facts, & numbers from an Amazon top reviewer




It is a common myth that indie authors just need to get a few/some/many reviews from friends and acquaintances, then buy an online promotion and their book will (probably) take off.

I am an Amazon reviewer since 2012 and a top reviewer since 2014, hence I can contribute some factual information.

In 2014, I reviewed 75 items on Amazon, including 45 books penned by self-publishing authors.

***
Combined, these 45 books received 5,448 reviews.

I know you are raising your eye-brows right now, but it's true.

***

4 books received only one single review (mine),

6 / 45 books received more than 100 reviews.

11 / 45 books (including the previously mentioned 4 books) received less than half a dozen reviews since 2014.

Ponder this fact for a second: Almost 25% of all indie author books I read and reviewed in 2014 received less than half a dozen reviews since then – in more than two years.

28 / 45 books received a dozen or more reviews but less than 100.

The 6 books with more than 100 reviews received 186, 217, 234, 375, 419, and 872 reviews, respectively.

The astonishing surprise:
The book that received the most reviews is a book that I awarded with only a 2-star review. Obviously, the secret to success is not all about a book being a best book.

I decided to check out this book after I read about it in an online article. Then, in 2014, the book had barely more than 100 reviews. I really thought posting my review would make a difference and encourage others to think twice about spending $2.99 for this particular book.

Still, it is listed an Amazon bestseller with 2,329 reviews.

How does the author do it?

Probably, he has a huge email list. Occasionally, he runs promotions (I personally have seen one 99 cents promo and three promos at full price). Most importantly, he succeeds in getting influential journalists and top bloggers to talk about his book. Not only did I learn about the book from an article, he has been "in the news"  getting featured in seven articles  since January 2017, in only six weeks. Even now, he does not stop promoting his book in media outlets. Altogether, he and his book have been featured in 86 articles.

What is to be learned from this information?

Getting reviews from friends, acquaintances, and colleagues does NOT do the trick.

Remember, four of the books I reviewed did not get reviewed by anybody else, in more than 2 years...

even though ... all four authors networked in FB groups and tweeted their heart out.


According to Pew Research, in 2016:

68% of all online U.S. adults used Facebook, (What about the other 32%?)
32% of all online U.S. adults used Instagram,
29% of all online U.S. adults used Linkedin,
26% of all online U.S. adults used Pinterest,
21% of all online U.S. adults used Twitter.

Only 76% of the U.S. adults who used Facebook logged in daily
(that's only 51% of all online U.S. adults)

only 51% of the U.S. adults who used Instagram logged in daily,
only 42% of the U.S. adults who used Linkedin logged in daily,
only 25% of the U.S. adults who used Pinterest logged in daily,
only 18% of the U.S. adults who used Twitter logged in daily.

Therefore, to really get your book out you and your book need to have a presence in many venues.

*

Routinely, financial advisers preach, "Diversify your portfolio!"

The same advice applies to book marketing,

Here are 10 ways to get your book seen, bought, and reviewed:

  1. Join a real "live" book club, e.g. a Meet-up group or book club at your local library,
  2. Join online book groups (FB, Goodreads, etc.), 
  3. Arrange for book signings at independent book stores,
  4. Try to get gigs at local library events (about 20% of all US libraries host local author events once or twice per year),
  5. Offer to guest blog,
  6. Pitch your local TV-station,
  7. Pitch magazines (print and online), 
  8. Pitch bloggers who don't blog about books. Remember – you want to get found and noticed by new and different audiences, 
  9. Pitch radio hosts and podcasters,
  10. Throw a private book party (at a bar or a coffee house) or team up with other local authors to throw a party, together.
Naturally, pursuing a minimum of 5 or 6 of these options requires more work than networking on Facebook (in your pajamas), but it helps to reach many tens of thousands of people who otherwise would have never heard about you and your book, as shown by Pew Research's data.

Many indie authors spend so much time on Facebook that they could pitch two or three publications every day, in half that of the time they spend networking on Facebook.

BEST OF ALL, media coverage doesn't go away. In contrast to online promotions media coverage stays "live" and will promote you and your book – forever!

When during the research for this article I looked up this bestselling author's name I found the 7 articles that had been written about him and his book on Google, in less than 2 seconds. Even potential readers who have never heard of the author and search for different search terms on Google will find the book, by accident, just like I did, too.

Summing it up: Every author needs starter reviews, but the majority of reviews will come by themselves once you expose your book to many audiences.


~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is the multi-award winning author of "BOOK MARKETING: The Funnel Factor: Including 100 Media Pitches" and "NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews."

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, in Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg (podcast), on NBCNews, and in other fine publications.

Gisela is a mass media expert who graduated from the University of Vienna, which, founded in 1365, is the 22nd oldest university in the world. She also worked in the industry for six years.

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

RYX6ZF8QT9YW

© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann 


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Can't you give me just 1 tip (for getting book reviews)?" she asked



The other day a newly published author who had befriended me 5 minutes earlier asked me if I could give her just one tip how to get book reviews from Amazon top reviewers.

I told her to read my book.

She came back with, "Can't you give me just 1 tip?"

Hmm... Apparently this author was not aware how much in demand these reviews are; on average Hall-of-Fame reviewers get 250+ review requests per month.   

So, I told her that getting a book reviewed by an Amazon top reviewer isn't a "1-tip thing, " especially if the book did not have any reviews yet. Getting reviews is a challenging task that encompasses many steps; which is why my book has 100 pages.

She immediately un-friended me. 

I guess that says it all. Just another wannabe author who does not really want to learn the trade. The indie author industry is overrun with people like that. The sooner they get out and make room for the people who really hone their craft and all skills, the better for all.

Of course, from experience I know that most indie authors work a lot harder than this one.
So, here is one tip for authors whose books received already a few reviews (including from top reviewers).

"Like/find helpful" the reviewers' reviews!!!
"Chapter: One Last Advice Regarding Reviews"  (page 92 of my book "NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews")

Whenever I mention this item in author groups somebody jumps at me and says, "Amazon doesn't allow authors to like reviews of their books."

My reply is always the same, "I liked every single review of the more than 400 reviews my books have received and nothing bad happened." As it is their standard procedure, Amazon does not like any coordinated or organized efforts to boost a book's scores; their algorithm can measure this data input. Hence, if you tell all your friends to like your books' reviews chances are the reviews will disappear."

However, I have never heard that Amazon retaliated against a single liking of a review.

*

So, what happens if authors themselves don't even acknowledge reviewers' efforts by liking the reviews? (Disregard any friends' activities.) 

I have written dozens of reviews of indie author books whose authors did not like my review even though – or because – they know me.

Let's assume that these indie authors are also trying to get reviews from other top reviewers, but they either didn't read my book or they ignore this specific advice.

Especially the top-top reviewers (top 1000) are very interested in keeping their ranks. The more people like their reviews the better the reviewers' rankings will be. Most of these top-top reviewers aren't authors, they are happy with being a top reviewer.
  1. If an author they don't know approaches them with a good request email, they'll check out the book and read some of its reviews.
  2. They'll check how often the reviews were liked.
  3. If they see that most reviews did not receive a single helpful vote they know that not even the author liked any of the reviews, let alone any other reader.
  4. This implies that the author will also not like their review if they decide to write one. In other words, reviewing this book won't help their ranking. In a world where 3,000-4,500 books get published daily there is always an author who will do better. 
  5. Furthermore, the top reviewer will notice that (apparently) this book did not get exposed to too many other people who could have liked any of the reviews.
That's NOT a good thing!


Here are three examples of reviews of traditionally published, "controversial" books I penned.


2** for Jeb Bush's book. As it can be expected, a few fans of Jeb Bush disliked my review but the majority of people liked it. 11/14 likes.

5***** for an interview with Mike Tyson, who was a controversial boxer. 4/4 likes.

5***** for a highly recommended biography of Saudi Arabia's first king. This book's author is dead and the translator is an elderly lady who probably doesn't promote anything. 23/23 likes.

I discovered all three books because I read about them in an article or a blog. 

Clearly, though none of these books is famous even these reviews of controversial books scored with "the public." 

If I only reviewed these types of books my reviewer rank would be a lot better. 

Of course, the same thing happens to all top reviewers. 

Though I personally am fine with my own ranking #4,533 out of 41 million, other top reviewers might be working on improving their rank. Hence, they may think twice about reviewing a book from an author who doesn't value reviewers' activities enough to click "found helpful," a task that takes less than 1 second.

They might also wonder how much this author will do to expose their book and the reviewer's review to the public. 

Summing it up: Even though a particular book gets a top reviewer's attention they might decline this book just because in the same time they could read another book whose author seems to appreciate getting reviews more. 

~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is the multi-award winning author of "BOOK MARKETING: The Funnel Factor: Including 100 Media Pitches""NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews""NAKED WORDS 2.0: The Effective 157-Word Email" and other fine books.

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, in Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg (podcast), in NBCNews, and other fine publications.


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

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The biggest problem the indie author industry faces today and – what to do about it

A glance at Twitter February 1, 2017 6:30 pm EST


Being a member of a dozen author Facebook groups, I noticed that many indie authors aren't all happy; they are not selling as many books as they used to. Here is why:

Social Media has been hijacked

For years, book promoters told indie authors "Online marketing is the way to go," which was true at the time. But, since November 2015, President Trump is trending on Twitter and on Facebook, all day long, every day.

As I am writing this blog (1/31/17), the following topics are trending on Twitter:

#London – 296K Tweets

#TuesdayMotivation

The Republican Fausts – 4,212 Tweets
responding to an article in the NYT about the GOP's relationship with President Trump

#GeneralStrike – 21.8K Tweets
About Googlers walking out to protest President Trump's immigration ban

Barkley – 19.1K Tweets

#RoastofSteveBannon
About Steve Bannon

#BackwardsThinkingIs – 2,974 Tweets
Different topics including US policies

#Legalweek17

We're Falling For It – 4,675 Tweets
An article on Medium.com titled "The Immigration Ban is a Headfake, and We’re Falling For It"

Sam Waterston – 1,889 Tweets
Sam Waterston's opinion article in the Washington Post: "The danger of Trump’s constant lying"

(for February 1, 2017 results please see the blog header)

Six of ten topics trending on Twitter are about the US president's new policies. Even on a day the White House doesn't take any dramatic action, journalists are analyzing and weighing in on the new policies, as is their job.  

On days when the White House actually issues new policies, as many as eight or nine trending topics will circle around these events.  Grassroots movements for and against Trump have been tweeting nonstop for longer than a year. In short, Twitter as a marketing tool for authors is greatly diminished, if not dead.

How can indie authors overcome this problem?

1) Start by being a realist! – Regardless of what's going to happen, this situation won't change anytime soon.
In fact, since the new US president as well as journalists love tweeting, American indie authors may see years of politics taking over social media.
Even overseas authors aren't immune, because the US reader market is the biggest English reader market in the world.
Also, as I write this blog, 1.5 million Brits are outraged about a potential President Trump visit to Great Britain, and they are sharing their opinions.
If in fact President Trump is going to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, the social media marketing problem could move farther east.

2) Stop listening to promoters who tell you that online marketing is the answer to everything. – They may not  be paying attention to what's going on.
Having worked in marketing for more than twenty years, I noticed the Trump-tweets-problem first in January 2016 and began working on my book about offline book marketing. Even though I thought that Hillary Clinton would win the election handily, I was sure that Donald Trump would not disappear from Twitter but would use it to challenge the results. For sure he wasn't going to retreat like other former presidential candidates.

3) Invest in your education! To prevail in this market, you need to learn as much as possible. More authors, more books, more sensational news reduce your chances to be successful if you don't get solid information.

4) Check out your sources ! – A promoter who promises you to get you on TV needs to show that recently (not ten years ago) he got another unknown author on TV (not a celebrity); the same goes for promoters who tell you that they'll get your book in libraries. Also, though there are thousands of book marketing blogs recommending social media book marketing, I haven't seen a single blog that addresses the "politics has taken over social media"-issue.

5) Market your book offline! 
47% of people who watch the news on TV watch local news. If you pitch and get featured on local TV, at least 5,000 to 10,000 people will get to see you, even in a smaller city. It's doubtful that any of your tweets get actually read by that many people. Also, people who see you and your book on TV are more likely to buy print books.

Does this kind of exposure work? YES – Please see my BookScan.



If you pitch magazines and get featured in one or more publications, your work will be introduced to people who actually spend money (on the publication) instead of scanning the Internet for free stuff. 

People who learn about your book offline are also more likely to read your book sooner. Readers who have gotten accustomed to downloading free books every day can't read everything they acquire; they might get to read your book only in a few months, or – never.

Additionally, Amazon is less likely to delete the reviews from readers who review paperback books because they know that people who engage in review-exchanges favor ebooks.

Use the media coverage your book receives to get your book in public libraries, then tweet the news. Having researched Twitter for a long time, I noticed that library tweets get retweeted regardless of what's going on in politics.


Offline marketing is the way to go!

What's online marketing been like for you, this last year?

~***~


Gisela Hausmann is the multi-award winning author of "BOOK MARKETING: The Funnel Factor: Including 100 Media Pitches", "NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews", "NAKED WORDS 2.0: The Effective 157-Word Email" and other fine books.

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine, in Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg (podcast), in NBCNews, and other publications.


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

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann