Category Archives: Tools

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.

Who are your key influencers?

key influencers

Who are the people who can help you sell more books?

I got thinking about this after interviewing an expert for a magazine article last week. My source mentioned that his company had recently acquired another firm that specialized in connecting brands with “influencers” — influential bloggers.

The companies or brands advertise on the blogs or pay the bloggers to write “sponsored” posts about the brand and its products or services.

There’s transparency, of course — the bloggers state that they’be been paid to try and/or write about the brands.  Ethics obligate the bloggers to be honest, but so do their relationships with their readers. They know that their fans count on them to provide information they can trust.

The guest blogging audience most novelists don’t know about

guest blogging

Guest blogging is one of my favorite book promotion tactics because it lets authors reach more of the right readers.

Problem is, many novelists don’t write guest posts. What’s more, those who are guest bloggers usually write only for their friends’ blogs or for bloggers who write about books in the author’s genre.

And that’s all good.

But you know what’s even better?

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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