Category Archives: News

3 Amazon reader review myths: What you need to know

reader review myths

Authors are asking for and receiving advice from other authors about how to get reader reviews.

Much of the advice is excellent. Some of the most helpful information comes from the “here’s how I did it” stories that many are willing to share in online discussions and in person.

Not all of the advice rings true, though. That’s understandable, because it seems like the “facts” do change regularly. Still, repeating information without verifying it first sometimes adds to the confusion.

On the other hand, some of it is hard to verify. For example, there’s a lot of discussion around reader reviews being removed from Amazon. People speculate that it happens when Amazon identifies social media connections between a reviewer and the book’s author, but I have yet to see Amazon verify that, even though it seems likely to be true.

Other specifics can be confirmed or refuted, though. Here are three Amazon review “myths” and what you need to know about them.

Get a better author photo without spending a fortune

author photo

Raise your hand if you’ve seen a bad author photo on an author’s website or used in a social media profile recently.

My hand is up.

I’ve seen photos where the author is just staring into a webcam. No smile. No warmth. Just a stare.

Then there are the smartphone selfies. (What adult has actually mastered the art of the selfie?)

Sometimes you can tell that another person standing next to the author has been cropped out.

Other times, the author is joined in the photo by someone else — usually a spouse — who isn’t cropped out.

6 book publishing models in 2017

book publishing models

There was an interesting discussion about book publishing models in a Facebook group for self-published authors that I co-moderate.

It started with a member asking for feedback about the fees a publisher was going to charge him. He thought it would be smart to ask around before signing a contract.

He got good advice — some in the group with relevant experience told him they thought the price was too high for what he was getting — but he also received advice that was just plain wrong.

Are you confusing your readers?

confused readers

Last week, a friend sent me an Amazon link for a relative’s self-published book. The author was running a classic “buy my book within this window on this specific day” Amazon best-seller campaign; the relative was helping him find potential book buyers and readers.

I clicked on the link, expecting to see a motivational nonfiction book because that’s his thing.

What I saw, though, was a business book title superimposed over an image of a man in a suit. Underneath the title were two words: “A Novel.”


Authors and Facebook Live

Facebook Live book promotion ideas

Remember all the buzz about video app Periscope in early 2015? Marketing gurus were bombarding us on social media with videos they created with the new tool from Twitter. In my late 2015 blog post, “Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome,” I warned about investing a lot of time and energy into using new tools  until you were confident they could help you reach your book’s target audience.

We might finally have a video app that can do that in Facebook Live. In fact, authors and Facebook Live could be quite compatible.

You’re not familiar with Facebook Live? You are if you saw this May 2016 video of Candace Payne trying on her Chewbacca mask. This epic video by the woman who has become known as “Chewbacca mom” has been viewed 185 million times and shared by more than 3.3 million people. (I dare you not to laugh along with you as you watch.)

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