Search This Blog

To never miss a blog follow via email:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

An 800 lbs Gorilla Question for Indie Authors

When Amazon set up their review platform they gave their top reviewers the opportunity to list their email addresses so they could accept indie authors' books for review.

Amazon top reviewers are 10,000 reviewers (out of 50+ million) whose reviews have been "found most helpful" by Amazon consumers (the people who actually buy on Amazon).

About 5,000 of these top reviewers, including me, reviewed indie author books.

In 2015, I published an award-winning comprehensive guide advising indie authors how to present their books best to top reviewers. Then, in the days before review clubs, the book turned into a smash hit. 

In 2016, Amazon changed their community guidelines and required that reviewers who received a free book in exchange for an objective review shared this information in their reviews.

Promptly, I updated my book, added another 30+ pages and advised proper procedures. 

In 2016, many authors decided not to buy the book, save $4.25 and, instead, join one or more review clubs.

And, as in 2015, authors who wanted to learn from a real expert purchased the book which turned out to be an extremely smart move. 

The authors who bought my book followed the advice from a real top reviewer who reviews herself and writes naked (no-fluff) books/information. 

Consequently, buyers received authentic information that helped them to gain the reviews their books needed. 

The one author who worked the hardest on achieving his goal acquired 15 top reviewers' reviews in 4 weeks. 

15 top reviewer reviews in 4 weeks! 
Let that sink in! 

Mind you, these reviews were written by the best of the best reviewers whose reviews Amazon consumers like the best.


Best of all, though my book was not free the top reviewers' reviews were free!


While I provided quality information based on yearlong, thorough research non qualified book marketers founded review clubs. 

These clubs produced millions of, in part, completely bogus reviews; I myself saw books on middle school level receiving more than two dozen five star reviews. 

Did the organizers really think that Amazon was going to hire more people to sift through these millions of reviews (as required by the FTC) though the authors exchanged books and Amazon did not make a dime of these transactions?


Other non qualified book promoters advised to send review requests tailored from templates. 

Such Nonsense! 

An author who tailors a template suggests that they don't like to write their own material. That does not look promising. (In reality, a review request is considered a writing sample.)

These 2 bits of advice produced a flood of fake reviews and also flooded top reviewers' Inboxes with same sounding, improper emails. 

Can you imagine receiving between 1,000-5,000 same sounding emails per year? 
(That's what happened.)

The problem was that non experts advised on matters they themselves didn't and don't do. Consequently, they have no data. They repeat what they read in a blog  that was probably penned by somebody who also did not do the task. 

In contrast, I who do the task, research, and sift through data, cannot give my advice for free because I work for it. Researching and collecting data are laborious, time consuming tasks. 


Though the non experts' advice was free indie authors paid a steep price

Amazon made millions of non verified reviews non visible by default and nobody is looking at them anymore; Amazon also removed the top reviewers' email addresses; probably, to ensure that they could not be accused of enabling SPAM. 


It turned out that the authors who invested $4.25 got the best advice because like they say, "You get what you pay for." 
Their books still have dozens of top reviewer reviews. 


And I? 

I went on to look for a new and better way and  I found it. 

"Goodreads is the NEW Amazon!" (Amazon also owns it.)

Then, I researched five months, sifted through thousands of data bits, and finally published NAKED GOOD READS How to Find Readers

There are 55 million readers on Goodreads. 


Now, it's your turn! 

You have a choice to believe free non experts' advice or to believe an expert who has a history delivering of information that works. 

Buy "NAKED GOOD READS How to Find Readers" on Amazon,, Smashwords or iTunes.
Amazon offers a money back guarantee

~~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988. 

Gisela's website:

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

Gisela's work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (biz 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


© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann


  1. Gisela, as always, your post is interesting. I always learn something, and I have no doubt that it's because you write REAL articles, rather than regurgitated fluff that is simply repeated from one unsubstantiated source to the next. As you pointed out, research takes time. The effort is well worth it, and I'm glad for those who invested in your book and learned the right way, rather than the free/quick/ineffective way. I hadn't realized why Amazon was now defaulting to hiding the unverified reviews, but now I know, and I like it.

  2. Yep, Lynda. The FTC requires that ecommerce stores keep their platforms "clean." Obviously, that costs money. Hence, when getting flooded with non verified reviews, Amazon probably decided to leave it up to the consumer to decide whether they wanted to (a) look at these reviews and (b) believe them.

  3. I'm excited to read your new book. While I enjoy Goodreads as a reader, I'm interested to learn how to use it to find readers.

  4. Thank you @Toi, indeed a lot has happened since I joined Goodreads in 2013. The site is so much more user-friendly and offers so many new opportunities. Can't wait to hear how you like my book. I did a lot of research and testing for this book :))