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Book Reviews: The Ultimate Word Of Mouth Promotion

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This article originally appeared on BookBaby.com

When planning your book promotion and marketing, remember this equation: more book reviews equals more sales.

Excerpted from BookBaby’s latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part V of our series addresses why book reviews should be the cornerstone of your book marketing plan.

Book reviews should be the cornerstone of your book marketing plan. Most authors agree that reviews – good or bad – are critical to promoting your book, and here’s why:

    • Readers use them. In a recent Kindle Board survey, over 85% of all Amazon Kindle readers report they rely heavily on book reviews before making an online order.
    • It’s the ultimate WOM (word of mouth) marketing. Friends don’t let friends read bad books. Everyone wants to know about the next great book and no one wants to waste their time on a terrible one.
    • Reviews count heavily in the booksellers’ algorithms. More reviews and sales page views can equal higher ranking, better inventory position, and exposure to more book buyers. Reviews also affect the “If you liked this, then you may like that” book recommendation features on many sites. This is particularly helpful for a debut novel or authors with a smaller following.

Bottom line: More reviews equal more sales for authors and more invested readers. In addition, authors gain exposure to other book review sites, blogging communities, and book clubs.

How to get reviews

The good news: There have never been more book reviewers available to the self-published author. But before you go hunting for reviewers, make sure you’ve got the essentials you’ll need to attract and engage with reviews. At the minimum you should have:

  • Your book (obviously!). Some reviewers prefer digital copies so you should have both eBook file types (.ePub, .mobi), print copies, and even a PDF version. All must have images of your book cover. (Note: Even if you have Print On Demand distribution, you should fulfill the requests from your own supply of books for the personal touch.)
  • Mailing supplies for printed copies. Don’t skimp here – it needs to look and feel professional.
  • A press release about the launch of your book.
  • A cover letter. This should be a short and sweet introduction to you and your book.
  • Author biography. This is a good place to show your qualifications, particularly if you’re a nonfiction author.

How to find and work with reviewers

There are literally thousands of book reviewers and bloggers online, and most of them review books even though they aren’t paid. A quick search online can provide you with plenty of links, directories, and lists. We recommend sites like Midwest Book Review, Indie Reader, and Self-Publishing Review as a starting point.

Just as important as the “who” is the “how” of working with reviewers. Here are some ideas of how to engage and work with these very important people in your literary career:

  • Choose carefully. If you pick the wrong reviewer – one who doesn’t review your genre, for example – it’s a tremendous waste of time. It’s critical to find out what kind of books the reviewer likes to review and only select appropriate reviewers.
  • Meet the requirements. Some want you to just send the printed book. Some review eBooks, many do not. Conforming to their requirements saves both of you time.
  • Send the book on a timely basis. You’ve got their attention – don’t waste even a moment to get your book out to them. Don’t let them lose interest in your book.
  • Follow-up… gently. Stalking or harassing won’t help your cause. The reviewer is very likely doing this in his or her spare time. If you haven’t heard anything after a few weeks, it’s very appropriate to follow up to see if they still intend to write the review.
  • Thank the reviewer. It’s common courtesy, but it also shows you appreciate the time and effort someone else took to help bring your book to the attention of more people. It’s also something they’ll remember when it’s time to review your next book!

This post was excerpted and adapted from 5 Steps To Self Publishing: All the essential information you need to go from manuscript to marketplace. Download your free copy today.

 

Find your way to self-publishing success in just 5 easy steps with this 62-page book. Yours absolutely free.

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.

 

 


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Book Launch Party Book marketing

How to plan a successful book launch party

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Book Launch Party Book marketingWhen your book is finished, you need to celebrate! Many authors want to host a launch party, and that can be a lot of fun. I’m talking about a launch PARTY– a major event with over one hundred guest, the media, and a lot of hoopla.

Fun? Yes. But it’s a lot of work, and it’s not for everybody.

When Is A Live Book Launch Event Feasible?

Not every book warrants a live book launch event. Before you plan yours, be sure you meet these critical success factors:

  1. You have an excellent product

how to publish a book how to write a book book launch partyThere are NO SHORTCUTS to producing an excellent product, so be sure that you took the proper amount of time and devoted attention to your book as a product. Is your writing compelling? Did you have a professional book editor? Was your work proofread, and is it mistake-free? Did you invest in a professional book cover and interior cover designer?

Here’s a rule of thumb: If it was cheap to produce your book, you produced a CHEAP BOOK!

  1. You have received favorable book reviews

Book reviews are important, but you won’t get them overnight. You have to work for them. You must coordinate with reviewers and respect their time. Be sure to allow four to six months to request and receive reviews!

A great way to solicit book reviews is to produce and distribute ARCs – Advance Reader Copies. ARCs are not only useful because they allow others to critique your book before it’s on the market, but if there are any errors you didn’t catch, those readers certainly will. You can make corrections as needed.

  1. You have credible book endorsements

how to get book reviews favorable book reviewsYou’ve seen those back cover and inside-the-front-flap endorsements. Are they important? You bet your boots they are! Endorsements are like a trusted friend’s advice, and the bigger the name, the more powerful the recommendation.

Who might write an endorsement for your book? I suggest you go to your target market and solicit experts in the field of your writing, other authors, organization or associations that are affiliated with your subject matter, and those who will be impacted by your book.

  1. You are connected to your Target Market

Just like the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, location, the three most important things that authors can do to promote their book is to connect, connect, connect. Be connected with your Target Market through all the available social media channels.

When Should I Start Planning my Book Launch Event?

Planning a launch event takes time, and you should begin when you have identified your primary audience and you know your release date.

Allow Six Months to Plan Your Book Launch

A Book Launch Event is similar to any other major event, such as a wedding or a bar mitzvah, and it requires the same attention to detail. It’s wise to work with professionals to get the job done right!

A good event planner can take care of all the details for you, which allows you to focus on your guests and your presentation at the event. Here’s a look at what an event planner can do for you:

book launch party planning book event planning

What if I Don’t Have Any Money for My Book Launch Party?

If you don’t have a budget, you can still have a party! You just have to get creative. An event planner can help you to seek donors, barter for services, and create a community for mutual benefit.

Planning Your Book Launch on a Budget

Event sponsors may contribute funds that offset the costs of your party, such as venue rental, food and beverage costs, and audio equipment rental. Sponsors are your angels, and they come in a few flavors.

You’ll be quite fortunate if you can get one or two Corporate Sponsors to contribute cash ($500 to $1000) for your event. For their high dollar contribution, you’ll want to thank them by asking them to speak at the event, by featuring them on your invitations and signage, and by promoting them in press releases.

You’ll receive a big boost if you have ten to fifteen Table Sponsors (Vendors) who pay  $100 each to be part of your event. You will provide them a six-foot table to display their products or services and to promote their business to your event guests. For their lower dollar contribution, they’ll be able to have a table at the event, connect with your audience, and sell their products or services.

When hosting a major event, volunteers are invaluable! You’re the host/hostess of this party, so you need to be available to your guests. But there’s a lot of coordinating to do if the event is going to flow well!

Volunteers can help you check in your guests, sell books, and direct the flow for your book signing – all of which all YOU to be free to mingle and celebrate your great accomplishment.

sponsorships for book launch partySponsoring Organizations can give you a big publicity boost if they are well-known and are connected to the material in your book. What charity can you invite and designate as a beneficiary of book sales? For example, if you book is about surviving cancer, you might invite the local chapter of the American Cancer Society to attend and receive 10% of that evening’s book sales. For lending their name to the event, they will be able to have a table at the event, connect with your audience, promote their organization and services, and benefit from book sales.

Some people will want to support your event by donating their services, such as printing, to your event. These are called In-Kind Donations and they are invaluable. For contributing their products or services, you will introduce them at the event and feature them on your invitations and signage.

Think and Plan Ahead

After all your hard work, a book launch party is warranted. Think big! If you want your book to change lives, save lives, or transform society, then make a big splash. Get people involved, get the word out, and get going!

You’re the only one who has your story. You’re the only one who can do it!

 


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7 Important Sources of Book Reviews for Indie Authors 3

7 Important Sources of Book Reviews for Indie Authors

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book readingWhen you’re looking for your next read, how do you shop? I don’t know about you, but one of the first things I do is to ask my friends for recommendations. They can’t all know my exacting tastes in the books that I read, but when I hear glowing reviews or repeat recommendations among my friends, I take note. If the book is available as an ebook, I will usually download the sample right away to see if the book is a good fit.

Future Importance of Book Reviews for Indie Authors

A recent article by the Huffington Post predicted that self published ebooks will achieve a 50% share of the book market by 2020, citing reasons such as the decline of brick and mortar stores and the increased publishing savvy of indie authors. However, with the meteoric rise of self publishing, we’ve seen as much poor writing in the marketplace as quality writing, and readers are seeking validation that a book is worth their time. Since there are no signs that this trend will change anytime soon, book reviews for indie authors are and will continue to be a critical and important cornerstone for your indie book marketing strategy.

How do you get the book reviews you need?

ebook reader book reviewer self publishing

Offer a generous number of ebooks to avid readers to increase the likelihood of getting your book reviewed..

Christine Nolfi (@christinenolfi), the author of Reviews Sell Books, recommends that you focus on getting 10 quality reviews for your book. Below, we’ve listed seven sources of reviews you should investigate first.

  • Friends & Family: One way to do that is to provide advance review copies (ARCs) to a list of trusted friends and family in your inner circle. If you’re publishing and promoting a second or third book, you likely have a short list in mind of people who have reviewed your other books. That is exactly where you should start. These people are going to be the most motivated and invested in your success. However, you should diversify your outreach to include others beyond your inner circle.
  • Bloggers: Regardless of the topic of your book, odds are that there are influential bloggers who have written about and have curated a following interested in the very same topic. One of my favorite sites for indie authors is Indie Review, which offers a frequently-updated list of book bloggers. At last count, this list contained 269 potential reviewers and even helps you to narrow down their areas of interest and book preferences so that you’ll be more likely to be a good match. BookBloggerList.com offers this list of non-fiction book reviewers as well.
  • Book Review Guilds: Traditional publishers have long worked with vanity reviewers to get the reviews and quotes needed to promote the books they will launch. Indie versions of this method are also starting to arise.
  • Book Grabbr: For $25 per month, authors can get their books in front of interested readers who sign up to receive free books in exchange for their reviews. Click here to learn more about BookGrabbr.
  • Amazon Meet Our Authors: Amazon provides a forum where authors can introduce themselves and their book, and can seek out reviews. The “Meet Our Authors” community offers a place for authors and reviewers to connect, but authors are advised to post only in their designated forums, and not to post in the forums specifically created for book reviewers.
  • LibraryThing Member Giveaway: Reach out early in your planning process and get your book in line for the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program, which allows you to offer a set number of books up to the LibraryThing members who are often active reviewers. While those who win your book are not obligated to review it, you’ll find this group of readers to be a rich opportunity. If you offer an ebook, give a generous number of copies, so you can increase the likelihood that you’ll see a return.
  • Social Media: Hopefully in advance of your launch, you’ve been curating a strong following on social media that spans beyond friends and family. Give away a few advance copies to your social connections —  the ones that you think are most likely to broadcast their take on your tome. Check out Bookarma, which allows authors broader social reach through shared promotion of other authors. This will help you expand your social reach while making friends and allies in the literary community.

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