Should author’s purchase fake Amazon reviews for their books?

author in bookstoreA quick and easy PR fix that has been used by many self-published and indie authors is purchasing a mass amount of Amazon reviews. It is a guaranteed way to get positive reviews for your book which may draw readers and improve your book sales drastically. However, is it worth it in the long run?
This method of publicity was recently popularized by John Locke and his book How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months. In his book, Locke explains a few basic PR methods in brief detail, leaving out the one practice that really brought in his sales: buying reviews. Scanning though Locke’s Amazon reviews, it is clear that the first few hundred reviews are bought, as the most recent posts tell a very different story than those first positive reviews.
Many say that what he did is unethical and took advantage of many buyers…we even fell for it! Many would also say that it worked; Locke made millions off of a throw away PR book just by spending a few hundred dollars on reviews. Both sides are correct, and ultimately the decision is up to each author.
It is important to be weary of buying reviews if this is the route you take. A lot of authors buy fake Amazon reviews from sites like Fiverr. We’ll admit that we have even tried purchasing reviews on Fiverr as an experiment… We wanted to learn how the process worked and be knowledgable so that if any of our clients asked about buying reviews on Fiverr, we would be able to tell them about our experience. We do not use Fiverr whatsoever any more and believe that purchasing fake reviews is completely unethical. Purchasing fake reviews also affects your reputation with your fans and could cause many to post damaging reviews. Not to mention, Amazon is quickly catching on to this scheme, so if you decide to purchase fake reviews, they will most likely end up getting deleted.
The most effective way of getting those first few positive reviews up on your page is to ask your friends and family! Give them talking points about your book, encourage them to help you out. They are your most reliable resource and should be able to write you a few quick words of recommendation.
Once you have reviews from friends and family, we recommend reaching out to book bloggers and reviewers and offering them a complimentary copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. It may take time and work, but getting honest reviews from real readers is always better in the long run. If you do not have the time for that, hire a book publicist! It is their job to get you those reviews and peak interest in your book.
Increasing your Amazon reviews can be a slow process. It takes time for people to read your book and write their review, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort to have honest reviews rather than fake ones.

The Perfect Writing Soundtrack by Iain Reading

laptop, writingWhat makes the perfect writing soundtrack? To my mind it should consist of music that is as familiar to you as possible so as to create a minimum of distraction. In other words, instead of really listening to it you know the songs so well that they become a sort of mantra that repeats over and over again in your ears. In this sense the music becomes almost like white noise, blocking out all other potential distractions and allowing you to immerse yourself as far into the story as possible. (This principle also applies equally to when you’re on a long flight and are trying to sleep. In fact, in both situations I sometimes simply put on a short playlist of songs or even just ONE song and put it on repeat. Under normal circumstances that would become annoying, but as mantra-like background noise I find that this works incredibly well.)
But music has something that simple white noise and mantras don’t have. Music carries with it emotions and feeling and energy and power. (Everyone who’s been for a run with their headphones on and some high-energy track playing at high volume knows what I am talking about.)
So my goal is often to try and match emotions in the music to those that I am trying to bring out in whatever story I am currently working on. Stories are usually a tapestry of very specific emotional and energetic moments, each one leading to the next. The trick is finding the music that compliments that.
Maybe it’s something from the soundtrack of your own life? Perhaps your characters in writing are going through something that you yourself once experienced and you put on the music that brings those memories rushing back. Or maybe something a bit less close to home, something happy, something sad, something that makes you feel uneasy or slightly off-kilter? Somewhere out there in your music library there is the perfect song to match whatever it is you are writing.
As for me? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly (and definitely narcissistically) I find that quite often my own songs that I’ve written and recorded can match the moods and emotions that I am looking for. I am, after all, writing those feelings and emotions from within. Check out www.secretworldonline.com for free downloads. Maybe there’s a perfect song in there for your writing too?

 

author Iain ReadingAbout Iain Reading:
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.
Iain has published 4 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4).  He is currently working on the fifth book in the series. For more information on the Kitty Hawk series, go to http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/.
Iain is also the author of The Wizards of Waterfire Series. The first book in the series The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire was published in April 2014.
Connect with Iain on Twitter and Goodreads.

 

Ali Maier’s Award-Winning Children’s Book Captures the Essence of Sibling Relationships

Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer bookSeptember 19, 2014 (CLEVELAND, OH) – Ali Maier’s new children’s book Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer inspires kids to read and journal and highlights the importance of sibling relationships. The title just received the 2014 International Book Awards recognition as the winner in Children’s Fiction and is already highly regarded in its genre. Maier dives into the minds of ten-year-old twins Max and Maggie as they document their summer and try to get along in this candid, journal-style book.
Synopsis:
A sister and brother, forced to write in the summer, and share ONE journal? Ugh.
This is exactly what happens to 10-year-old twins Maggie and Max Pruitt. When Mom comes up with a plan for them to keep a summer journal, Maggie and Max can’t believe it. Worse yet, they have to share!
Through their writing, Maggie and Max find out they have very different (and hilarious) views about growing up, family and life – a conclusion they only discovered because, as Max and Maggie say, “Mom Made Us Write This.”
“Funny, tell-all journal entries of ten-year-old twins reveals the inner workings of sibling and family relationships as can only be seen through the eyes of children. Mom Made Us Write This In the Summer offers affectionate and amusing stories as Max and Maggie reveal a greater understanding on one another.” – Maya Fleischmann, Foreword Reviews
Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The series also includes Mom Made Us Write This: Write Your Own Shared Journal and Mom Made Us Write This Family Quiz Book.
About the Author:
Ali Maier went to John Carroll University and earned a BA in Elementary Education. She lives in a Cleveland suburb with her husband and two children. She loves to read, write and spend time with her family.
Ali chose to write the Mom Made Us Write This series to encourage young readers to do something she loves – to read and write! Ali wanted to write a book series that would allow readers to laugh and encourage them to write and share their own stories.
To learn more, visit http://mommadeuswritethis.com/
For further information, to request a review copy of Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer, or to interview Ali Maier, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at info@bookpublicityservices.com or 805.807.9027.
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Should you try to sell your book in stores?

bookstoreMost bookstores do not typically want self-published authors on their shelves, and in our opinion, the fight for your spot is probably not worth the effort. Putting your book beside the latest release from a major publishing house is not going to attract the sales you want, so we have advice for you on focusing your efforts online.
Nowadays, most people are buying their books online, so having your book available for sale at a bookstore should not be a priority. With online self-publishing being as easy as it is, this is also a great way to launch your book at a low cost and with the best results. Furthermore, your audience is much more likely to invest a smaller amount of money on an ebook and rely on online reviews to make their decision than to spend more on a paperback novel by an unknown author. Focusing on online sales allows you to reach more potential customers and market yourself to a specific audience that you know will be interested in your book, rather than waiting for the right person to stumble upon it in a bookstore.
If your book is regional, like ‘Dining Guide for New Orleans’ or ‘Hiking Trails in San Diego’ it might be a worthwhile investment to sell your book in local bookstores or coffee shops. This market tends to shop for physical copies and seeks a local’s advice on travel, hotspots and eateries. Bookstores may accept your book on consignment, depending on how your book compliments their inventory and how well it sells. To have your book in a store on consignment, you must pitch your book to the bookstore and be willing to surrender copies that will not be paid for until they are sold. It is a bit of a different process than is typical of professionally published books, but it could be a great way to draw attention from locals.
Whether or not you should sell your book in a bookstore is ultimately your decision and definitely depends on your target market; for example, older readers may be more likely to invest in a paperback copy of your self-published book if they are not familiar or comfortable with ebooks. However, it is often more practical to invest your time in online sales to begin with and build an audience that way, targeting a specific market and allowing your audience to grow through online sales and reviews. In either case, publicity is the common thread in gaining sales and is key in building an audience for your self-published book.

3 Simple Strategies to Get Your Book Noticed

Getting Your Work Out ThereThe biggest struggle for self-published authors is getting your work out there, building an audience. Without a large publishing house marketing your work, you need a serious game plan to get your book noticed.  While this may seem daunting at first, there are several simple strategies that will help you gain an audience and build your career as an author:
1. Join a writing group
Teaming up with other authors can be extremely beneficial for several reasons. Not only do you have peers to read and edit your work, but you also make friends who can help you market your book to their friends and audience. These groups can be found through Facebook and Meetup, or you could even contact independent authors directly if you wish to work with them. Chances are, they could use some extra help with their work, too.
2. Give your book away
Yes, this does seem like a step backward in your budding career as a best-seller, but this can be a great way for new authors to draw readers.  Give everyone the opportunity to read your book, especially while your name is not familiar. Listing a book for free allows readers to get to know your work without any financial commitment. More people are likely to read a book of an independent author for free and very likely to share a good read with their friends. This step can take you very quickly from “unknown” to “favorite” on their wish list and then give you the leeway to raise prices on your next release. See Amazon’s step-by-step instructions for self-publishing with Kindle to get started, and see our post to learn more about these book giveaways!
3.  Become a local celebrity
Contact your local bookstores to arrange signings and meet-and-greets. Often a reader will pause to look at your work just because you are there, and it is always beneficial to gain support from your own community. 

Listing Your Book for Free on Amazon

Listing Books for FreeThere are many benefits to listing your ebook for free, especially as a first-time author or self-published. It gives your readers the opportunity to check you out without a financial commitment, widening your audience instantly and sparking a greater interest in your ebook. Though it may seem like a setback on your path to the best-sellers list, making your book available to anyone on the internet is a great tool to use while you are kicking off your career. Amazon makes it very easy for authors to list books for free while keeping in mind that you need to make money. Here is some valuable information you need to know about publishing your book through the Kindle Marketplace and utilizing Amazon’s free sale period to launch your book to success.
Amazon’s Free Sale Policy
Amazon does not allow for ebooks to be permanently free; only 5 of every 90 days are allowed for book giveaways. As a part of this service, Amazon requires that authors who wish to list for free enroll in their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select program. This means that your book will only be sold through Amazon, and you cannot list it through Barnes & Noble, Netgalley, iBooks or Smashwords. This could be a great resource, as Amazon is a top seller of ebooks and Kindle is the preferred ebook reader, but it is important to know your options and that entering this program is making Amazon your only outlet for book sales.
Sales Rankings
It is extremely lucrative to post your book for free, because this will temporarily remove your book from the Top 100 Paid list and drop you into a category with other free books. Most of the time, this pens you up against other self-published authors and people with similar goals to your own. It is very difficult to draw viewers on a Top 100 list that features famous authors and New York Times best-sellers; you are now able to join a ranking that is less daunting for a first-time author.
Hard Data
Amazon keeps track of all of your sales, whether during your free promotion days or full-priced sales. This is a good resource to track your progress and note whether or not listing your book for free is helping or hurting your book.
For more information, visit Amazon’s FAQ page or the KDP site to sign up!

Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer by Ali Maier

Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer bookMom Made Us Write This In The Summer is a children’s book by Ali Maier, written for ages 8 – 12.
A sister and brother, forced to write in the summer, and share ONE journal? Ugh.
This is exactly what happens to 10-year-old twins Maggie and Max Pruitt. When Mom comes up with a plan for them to keep a summer journal, Maggie and Max can’t believe it. Worse yet, they have to share!
Through their writing, Maggie and Max find out they have very different (and hilarious) views about growing up, family and life – a conclusion they only discovered because, as Max and Maggie say, “Mom Made Us Write This.”
Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is a journal-style book for children that captures the essence of sibling relationships. Anyone with a brother or sister will identify with the fun and struggles that Max and Maggie experience this summer! From a trip to the zoo to the annual check-up at the docs – read all about the life adventures of Maggie & Max.
Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The series also includes Mom Made Us Write This: Write Your Own Shared Journal and Mom Made Us Write This Family Quiz Book.

 

About the Author:
Ali Maier was born in Johnstown, PA. In high school she spent a lot of time with children, working as a summer camp counselor for many years, volunteering to teach Sunday school at church, working in the local day-care center, and working as a kindergarten aide.
She went to John Carroll University and earned a BA in Elementary Education. Throughout college, Ali worked at a local toy store then worked in product development at a company making art and craft kits for kids.
Eventually Ali left her job to work full time with her husband, Mark, at their marketing company. When her children were born, she worked from home.
Ali lives in a Cleveland suburb with her husband and two children. She loves to read, write and spend time with her family.
Ali chose to write the Mom Made Us Write This series to encourage young readers to do something she loves – to read! Ali wanted to write a book series that would allow readers to laugh and encourage them to write and share their own stories.
Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is on Facebook and Goodreads. To learn more, go to http://mommadeuswritethis.com/.

 

For further information, to request a review copy of Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer, or to interview Ali Maier, please contact Kelsey McBride at info@bookpublicityservices.com or 805.807.9027.

 

Earn Money Online by Selling eBooks

Online PublishingEarning money online with ebooks is very possible if you know how to choose the right market. People are always hunting for information, and coining yourself as an expert by publishing a short e-book can be the most lucrative way to use your knowledge.
Here are a few simple steps for getting started:
1. Find your area of expertise
Writing your own original ebook to sell can be quite profitable if you choose a good niche. 
Before you decide on anything, think about what you know, what you love, what you can help people with specifically. Find a topic, research it and figure out how your knowledge can separate you from the rest of the experts in the field. Maybe you have come up with a unique way to potty train your dog, or you have a fool-proof strategy for resume writing. Figure out why people need your book and not another one on the same subject.
2. Look for a needy market
There are several factors to consider when choosing your topic, particularly if your audience needs an e-book. People looking for a computer chair, for example, are not likely to buy an info packet on chairs; they just want back support.
Look for a hungry market. Think: first-time moms or recent graduates. Find a niche within the bounds of your own expertise and capitalize on their need for your help.  Any ‘how-to’ book will usually sell well. For example, ‘how to become gluten free’ or ‘how to build a website’ are specific topics that will draw attention from a large audience. It is also important to choose a topic that is current and relevant in mainstream media; that’s the best way to be sure your book sells. 
3. WRITE
Creating your own ebook is not as difficult as it might sound. All you need is a good idea, a bit of research and some discipline to sit down and put all of your ideas down on paper…or word processor. The main advantage of ebooks over paperback books is that they don’t have to be huge in order to sell. It’s the information you have that is worth the money. If telling someone how to stop their dog from chasing cars takes only 15 pages, that’s fine, and you can still sell the ebook for a nice chunk of change. 15 pages is like a college essay – one all-nighter and you could be on your way to being a ‘how-to’ celebrity!
4. Become a published author
Publishing your e-book is as simple as uploading a file to Kindle. There is no charge, and your book will be available for sale immediately. Just visit the Kindle website to get started!
**Side Note: Every book needs a great cover for potential buyers to judge, and most writers are not graphic designers. If you need help creating a book cover, Fiverr is a great resource to check out. You can pay as low as $5 to have a professional cover created for you, and you are supporting freelancers!