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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

5 quick-fixes for common author grievances

Copyright: Gisela Hausmann

Those of us who spend a lot of time in indie author groups may have heard these complaints before. Here are five suggestions to avoid these common grievances.

Show, don’t tell

“... So, I went to this networking party and I told everybody about my book, and everybody said, ‘How cool is that... ’  but nobody bought it.”  

Don’t overrun people you meet randomly, by telling them, “I just published this fantasy novel called... xyz... My protagonist... yadayada...”  

Most likely, the people you meet will feel overwhelmed and will not buy your book. 

Instead, have double-sided or folded, hot-looking business cards printed. This allows you to put twice the content, including a picture of your book and a quote from your book, or an excerpt of a review, on the card. Studies prove that visuals are among the most popular shared content on social media. Put simply: People like looking at pictures. Make it work for you. 

Thinking ahead

“...This reader gave me a 1* star review but in his review he wrote that he didn’t even finish my book. Writing a book is hard work. I think the reader should have at least finished my book...”  

Who has time to finish a book they don’t enjoy reading?

Whether we like it or not, once we make our work available to the public, they are entitled to have an opinion about our books. It’s the same as with all other products and services. Have you ever read cell phone service reviews? Well, then you know.

The only way you can counter potential negative reviews is to offer a telling book description. Also, run promotions only after your book has received a few thoughtful reviews so readers know what to expect when they buy your book. If the reviews your book received are honest and authentic, people who probably won’t like your book won’t even buy it.

Asking basics

“... My book has 5* reviews on, but these reviews do not show on How I can I get my UK reviews to show on the US site?” 

Never ask a question to which you haven’t tried to find an answer on the Internet first. The Amazon KDP support files offer the answer to this question and much more.

If you ask too many basic questions, like this one, you’ll create a “don’t cry wolf”-effect. Eventually, people will stop tutoring you. Publishing books is a business like every other. Consequently, you need to learn basics before you start publishing. 

In contrast to asking basic questions, asking sophisticated questions which can’t be researched on the Internet, will make you look like a savvy author who is working on an advanced level.

Test – test – test

“... I did a Twitter promotion and did not sell a single book/recover my costs...” 

To run a successful twitter campaign, you need to test your tweets first. The cheapest way to do this is to run the tests yourself. Post various tweets, collect the data on which ones gets shared most often, and run a campaign only once you have these insights.

Give before you expect to receive

“I gave away x number of ebooks and did not receive a single review. Readers don’t know how important reviews are...”

Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated! 

Many other professionals will benefit from reviews, too. For instance, tens of thousands of employees work for $8.50 per hour in the retail industry. These employees’ advancements may depend on your “review.”  

Start paying it forward! Ask these excellent employees if you can deposit a review on their company’s website. 

Occasionally, an opportunity may arise, where you can mention that you are an author. With a bit of luck, people will ask you what kind of books you write, especially if you are nice and show concern for their needs. Hopefully, you’ll  have one of the cards I mentioned earlier, at hand.

In the words of Mark Twain: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” 


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.

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann