You’re an Indie author, you just finished a new book and you know the only way to sell it is to promote it. But you’re also told by successful authors that without 10 – 15 reviews promotion is a waste of time and money, as most readers won’t buy a book with few reviews. But how can you get 15 reviews, without promotion and sales? It’s a circular and exasperating predicament.
Here are a few tips to building those prized reviews quickly (what I suggest for Amazon can be replicated on most other ebook retail sites):
1. Give your book away for free to boost readership and reviews.
I know it sounds counterintuitive but you have to start somewhere and you need to build a following. Offer a free pre-publication edition of your book to family and friends in return for a review. Make the offer 1-2 months before publication – the moment it appears, your readers can post reviews. Also, whatever your book’s final price, launch it at something like 99 cents. Offer to gift your book for 1 week to those in your social networks in return for a review (Email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc). The Gift A Copy button is under the Click To Buy button on Amazon. Yes, you pay for each book you gift, but that sale registers in Amazon’s algorithms, increasing your book’s ranking. The resultant reviews aren’t Verified Purchase Reviews, but way better than nothing. Never demand a review, request one politely AND ask for an honest review – the whole purpose is to increase the number of genuine reviews for your book.
Giveaways are another way to get your book out there to readers quickly for free in the hope they will post a review. Ask any reputable author/reader website to work with you on a giveaway or contact sites like Freebooksy, BookGoodies, Free Book Dude, The Frugal eReader.
2. Request reviews through the author community.
Established author/reader websites are great places to request a review including: Author Marketing Club; World Literary Café; Book Tweeting Service; BookGoodies; GoodReads; Zwoodle Books; The Kindle Book Review; Facebook; Kindleboards.
3. Create a virtual blog tour.
Well-known bloggers reach thousands of readers that you could never reach alone. You can slowly cultivate relationships with bloggers by participating on their sites and providing constructive, interesting comments to their blogs. Then ask them if you can post a guest blog or have them review your book on their blog. But if you’re like many authors with little time, then you might need help. Reputable websites like Orangeberry Book Tours (OB) offer an amazing selection of virtual book tours through their extensive blogger network. I found the cost very reasonable and the service excellent. Search the web for others, many sites will help with book tours. The key is to keep working with people/service providers who can help you go viral – to leverage what you do, expand your promotion efforts exponentially and get you out to thousands of readers.
4. Ready to promote?
Once you have a decent number of reviews I recommend you read the Author Resources section of The Kindle Book Review and follow Jeff Bennington’s tips for effective marketing. Also read Jim F. Kukral’s The Ultimate Digital Promotion Handbook at the Author Marketing Club. And read every page of this site – BookGoodies provide all sorts of great information and opportunities for authors. Start promoting using their recommendations and slowly build your own expertise. Don’t try doing it all at once – it’s like building a house, one brick at a time.
5. Track your results
Before you do any of the above, enroll your book(s) in Kindle Nation Daily’s eBookTracker and track your Amazon pricing data and sales ranking. Note when your sales ranking rises – in response to reviews? Advertising? Specific promotions? Price changes? It’s a great way to determine what works and what doesn’t. So every dollar you spend you can maximize!
May you win the “gold” and have the greatest of success!
About the Author:
AFN CLARKE is the son of a British MI6 operative, pilot, sailor, screenwriter, father of four who’s lived all over the world, served in the British Army and recovered from the physical/emotional traumas of war. His bestselling memoir CONTACT was serialized in a British newspaper and made into an award winning BBCTV film. He’s insatiably curious, loves heated discussions and has a rascally sense of humor. He now writes fiction of various genres – thrillers (The Orange Moon Affair and An Unquiet American); human drama (Dry Tortugas), humor/satire (Dreams from the Death Age; Armageddon), horror (Collisions) with more coming soon. For more information visit http://www.afnclarke.com, connect on Facebook or Twitter (@AFN Clarke).