Beginning Book Marketing Tips for Authors – How to Get Book Reviews

So you’ve got your book up on Amazon and you’ve noticed you have no reviews. But other books have reviews, and some of them have a lot of reviews.

Frustrated? Here are 5 popular tips about how to get more book reviews.

  1. Don’t worry about it. Reviews don’t necessarily correlate to sales. Some authors have books with low sales but they’ve elicited a high number of reviews. Other authors sell lots of a book but have very few reviews. Depending on your genre, your sales may very well not be dependent on the number of reviews you get.
  1. But remember that more sales generally lead to more reviews. Focus on getting your sales numbers up, and the reviews will follow. If one out of 100 readers leave a review, then get 1000 readers, etc.
  1. Hit up the book bloggers. Find the bloggers in your genre, contact them by email, and arrange to send receptive ones a copy of your book to review. This can be time consuming, but it usually does result in more reviews. Check out bookreviewdirectory.com for links to bloggers in your genre.
  1. Use a service like BookRazor.com. Book Razor scours public email addresses of people who have posted reviews for books like yours. You send Book Razor links to books like yours, they send you back hundreds of contacts (the fee varies based on the number of contacts, and hence reviews, you are shooting for). You send a polite inquiry to these people. A percentage respond favorably and you send them a review copy of your book. In a week or two, hopefully, they post a review.
  1. Cultivate your review team. Over time, as your mailing list grows, you can send out a request for reviews to your followers in exchange for a free copy of your latest book. This is one of the reasons developing an email list is beneficial. It’s easy to elicit reviews when you have a group of fans to ask.

Here are 5 “don’ts” you should be aware of when following Amazon’s rules:

  1. Don’t let friends and relatives review your books. This is one of Amazon’s first rules about reviews.
  2. Don’t do review swaps with other authors. This includes “review clubs” or by making one-on-one arrangements.
  3. Don’t ever use a pay service to receive reviews. These will have offers like, “Send us some money and we will guarantee you x number of reviews.” Services like BookRazor are different because they send you public email addresses of reviewers in your genre, and it’s up to you to reach out to them. But services that offer to get you reviews directly if you send them money, where you are essentially buying reviews, are verboten.
  4. Don’t offer to pay or reward anyone for reviewing your book. You can send them a free copy of your book, but it should not be in exchange for the review. It should be in the hope they offer a review. Amazon says, “Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.”
  5. Don’t forget to keep abreast of Amazon’s rules. Here’s their FAQ on reviews for authors.

Ghostsuit: An Empathic Detective Novel Debuts

Longtime subscribers to my newsletter and readers have been waiting patiently for this day, and it’s finally here! Ghostsuit: An Empathic Detective Novel makes its debut today on Amazon.

I’d be honored if you downloaded it. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it free. Click here to try Kindle Unlimited free for 30 days and Amazon will send my free and reduced books blog a few bucks for using the link.

If you don’t want to fool with Kindle Unlimited, it’s only three bucks on Amazon.

Epic Worlds Fantasy & Sci-Fi Giveaway

Shout out to Brian Ference for hosting the Epic Worlds Fantasy & Sci-Fi Group Giveaway on his site through March 19. Redwood: Servant of the State is there, along with 75 other books you can download free from Instafreebie. Check it out.

Beginning Book Marketing Tips for Authors – Email Lists


There are several email list enhancement services out there, many highly rated. But this blog post will focus on cheap and simple things an author who is just starting out can use right away. Book marketing need not be daunting, and initially need not be expensive, either. Listed below are some basic book marketing tips for setting up and enhancing email lists.

Email Lists
You wouldn’t think it, but time and again when talking with successful authors, their email list is a major driver of sales. Once developed, it’s a very powerful form of advertising.

It’s a numbers game. If an author has 10,000 subscribers, and 30 percent open her email, she is effectively promoting to 3,000 people. If ten percent who opened her email buy the book she pitches, she sells 300 copies with little effort and no additional ad purchase.

In this hypothetical situation, we see that even with as little as three percent of the total list buying her book, our author sells quite a few in one fell swoop. So if the list is large enough, she’s looking at decent sales from practically every email she sends out. And besides sales, she has the opportunity to interact with readers directly and keep them involved and interested in her work.

Email Marketing Services
You don’t want to send mail to your list using your own email address. You’ll want to use a professional email marketing service. They know how to avoid getting labeled as spam. If you send out tons of email from your own address, it will soon get blacklisted by major internet providers. So, stick with the pros to send out your newsletter.

The biggest and most popular email marketing service is Mailchimp. Some people hate the interface. Others don’t mind it so much. Either way, once you use it to send out a few newsletters, you get used to it.

Mailchimp is free for your first 2,000 subscribers. After that, it gets rather expensive. About that time, authors start looking for cheaper options. Many go to Mailerlite. A few go to Sendinblue. Both provide less expensive options for authors with large subscriber lists. Some people pony up the money to Mailchimp to avoid the hassle of moving their list.

Again, marketing is a numbers game, so in general, the more email addresses on your newsletter the better. However, you’ll spend more money on a bigger list. This often involves a monthly fee to your email marketing service based on the size of your list. So it may be prudent to prune names for inactivity after a while. Your provider will show who opens your mail and who clicks on the links. If you see someone who hasn’t opened your emails in months, maybe it’s time to take them off your list.

Developing an Email List
You can’t just send out a bunch of unsolicited emails saying “Buy my book.” That would be spam. But you can send your newsletter with news and information about your books to people who have opted in to receiving emails from you. So the question is, how do you get people to accept your newsletter in their inbox?

You should have a link to the opt in form on your website in every book. Many authors place the link in the front and back of their books. This will generate some addresses for you. You should also have the link in prominent places on your website. A pop-up form, with an offer for a free book or short story in exchange for visitors’ email addresses, is popular. Many email marketing services provide code you can add to your website that will send the info to your list as soon as someone fills it in on your site.

You can also use Instafreebie, and offer a book, short story, or sample of a book that is free to download. Readers give Instafreebie their address, Instafreebie emails them a copy of your work and then gives you the address. If you use Mailchimp, Instafreebie can send the addresses straight to that account.

Once your product is on Instafreebie, you need to get the word out to readers so they will know to download it. One of the best ways to do this is join a group giveaway.

Instafreebie Group Giveaway
Authors set up group giveaways all the time. Find somebody who is doing a giveaway in your genre, and ask to be included. Often, they will use a Google form where you enter the Instafreebie address and a brief description of your book. The host will take this info and add it to their giveaway page.

Instafreebie often features group giveaways on their home page. During the time it’s featured, participants agree to promote the giveaway on their social media, websites, and existing lists. People flock to the landing page, download the books they want, and everybody’s email lists grow accordingly.

One of the best places to network with authors hosting giveaways across multiple genres is the Facebook group Instafreebie Promos run by Dean Wilson. It’s a closed group and he has to invite you. But once there, you will find people running giveaways in a variety of genres. Find yours and jump in. Your list will grow dramatically.

Conclusion
There are other promotional services out there that will organize giveaways. Some of them involve participation fees that go toward rewarding readers with prizes or swag. Others promise to pitch your book to select groups who are very responsive to your genre. As you get comfortable in developing your list, these services are certainly worth investigating and can be very useful. But for just starting out, using Mailchimp, Instafreebie, and networking through Facebook should suffice.

Addendum
I want to add a great post recently written by Brian Ference that expands on some of the things discussed here, and better than I put it. Click over to his Step by Step Guide to Starting An Author Platform Mailing List.

First Friday Free Fiction

I want to shout out to J. Philip Horne for hosting a link to Redwood: Servant of the State, and The Redwood Trilogy Box Set on his First Friday Free Fiction page. This month he features science fiction and fantasy young adult titles on both Instafreebie and Kindle Unlimited.

Click on over and check out the books.

The Redwood Trilogy Box Set released

I’m happy to announce The Redwood Trilogy Box Set is released. This science fiction bundle features all three Redwood books at a bargain price. As always, you can also read the entire thing (several hundred pages) free through Kindle Unlimited.

 

Many thanks to NerdGirl for reviewing Thieves & Wizards

I appreciate the thoughtful review written by Shelley C – #NerdGirlRed over at nerdgirlofficial.com. Browse through their other content, too. It’s impressive.

 

Redwood: Battle Cry is released

I am happy to announce the third and final book in the Redwood Trilogy is published today. Redwood: Battle Cry marks the conclusion to my first science fiction series.

It has been a long ride. I released the first Redwood book, Servant of the State in 2014. Redwood: Twelver came out in 2015.

You can start the trilogy and read Servant of the State for 99 cents on Amazon, or better yet download it free off Instafreebie as a thank you for subscribing to my newsletter.

I hope you enjoy finding out what happens to Marcus and Dee Dee, their friends and family. I certainly enjoyed creating their world.

Introducing readper

readpergreetings

 

A fun little side project I’m doing is another blog called readper. The blog focuses on showcasing books in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. It’s a service to other authors, and a way to get the word out about their books.

Also, for the month of December, subscribers to the blog’s mailing list are eligible for a $100 gift certificate from Amazon just for signing up.

Head over there and find something interesting to read!

Ghostsuit to be published by Kindle Press!

Amazon’s digital imprint, Kindle Press, has decided to publish the second Empathic Detective novel, Ghostsuit!

Thanks to everybody who nominated it for publication through Kindle Scout. You’ll get your free copy from Amazon when it’s released in a few weeks.

Ghostsuit