Simple Ways to Get Book Reviews

AmazonAs many authors know, one great way to improve book sales is to have a large number of positive reviews for your book. The advantage of having reviews demonstrates to potential buyers and readers that they can have confidence in taking a chance on purchasing and reading your book. This is especially true for authors that are just starting out since your name is unknown. Getting book reviews can be a challenge though, so here are some ways you can get more reviews for your book.
Ask Personal Networks Directly
It doesn’t hurt to ask! Some authors don’t feel as though they can reach out to friends and family, or social networking acquaintances, but the truth is, most of the people you’re connected to will want to see you succeed as an author. This is especially true when you release your first book. If you give them clear and easy to follow directions on how to write a review for your book, there’s a good chance that you’ll get a significant number of free book reviews.
To make this strategy work well, email a group of people and offer free copies to each person who is willing to read the book and post a review. Follow up with those that agree to write a review by sending a gentle reminder. Also, if you intend to keep writing, make a note of the people you know who have reviewed your book and contact them when you release your next book.
Ask for a Review in the Back 
This seems fairly obvious, but many authors don’t add a request at the end of the book asking for a review if the reader enjoyed it. This is a great time to share that you’re a new author and tell them that reviews go a long way towards supporting your work. Many readers don’t understand how important a good review can be, but are usually willing to leave a positive review if asked. Be sure to ad a link to make it easy for your readers to find and review your book.
Build a Group with Similar Authors
Create or join a group for writers and authors. Forming a group with other authors is a great way to be successful and form important networks. There are even many author groups available that you can be a part of, either online or in person. Ask for reviews and ensure that you provide reviews for other authors in the group as well. By participating in a group with like-minded authors, you will join forces to create improved results for everyone.
Reach Out to the Top Reviewers
If you’re selling your book through a website, they probably have a list or category of their top reviewers. These are people who have reviewed a large number of products and their reviews have been voted as being helpful. A small set of these people commonly read and review books. One of the advantages of reaching out to this group is that they’re much more likely to write a review than others. Find this list through your site and narrow down the profiles to find those who review books in your genre. Contact them and offer a free copy of your book in exchange for leaving a review. Similarly to asking friends and family, make a note of anyone who follows through and contact them when you release a new book.
These are some key ways to get reviews for your books. If you’ve been struggling to get reviews and get noticed, use these tips to start putting your work out there and gaining more attention.
 
This article was contributed by Tanisha Williams. Tanisha is the author of two non-profit e-books “501c3 In 12-Steps” and “Simple Internal Controls That Protect Your Assets”. Her desire for more interaction with readers was the key inspiration behind the development of her latest business venture ChatEbooks (https://www.chatebooks.com/). ChatEbooks, launched in October 2014, harnesses the strengths of social media in order to help authors and their readers engage and connect within the context of the selling/reading experience.
 

2015 Author & Reader Convention in New Orleans

BTS eMagNovember 19, 2014 (NEW ORLEANS, LA) – BTS eMag, the publisher of BTS Book Reviews Magazine, announced today that they, with Vickie Dold of ARC Conventions, will be hosting the 2nd annual Author & Reader Convention in New Orleans. The event will take place July 30 through August 1, 2015 at the Holiday Inn New Orleans – Downtown Superdome.
“Our goal is to bring book lovers and writers together for a fun and educational event,” says Myra Nour, CEO of BTS eMag. “This convention promises to be even bigger and better than the 2014 Author & Reader Convention in Phoenix. We have a wonderful line-up of talented authors and a growing number of readers attending the 2015 convention.”
Authors attending include Abbi Glines, Robyn Peterman Zahn, V.A. Dolds, Myra Nour, Sandy Sullivan, Julia Mills, Quinn Loftis, and many more. To see the full list of authors attending, go to http://www.authorreadercon.com/nola-2015-authors.html
Abbi Glines will be the Keynote Speaker for the 2015 Author & Reader Convention. Abbi Glines is a New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her works include the Rosemary Beach series, the Sea Breeze series, the Vincent Boys series, and the Existence trilogy.
The first annual BTS eMag Red Carpet Book Awards will be presented at the 2015 Author & Reader Convention. The awards will honor the best in literary and genre fiction. Robyn Peterman Zahn, author and actress, will be the Master of Ceremony at the Awards. Award categories include Readers Choice, Reviewers Choice, Best Book of Year, Best Cover, Rising Star, and Best Short Story. All genres covered in the BTSemag will be considered: Contemporary & Romance, Historical & Western, Erotic, Mystery & Suspense, S/F, Fantasy & Paranormal, Young and New Adult. Awards for 2014 will end with the November/December 2014 issue of BTS Book Reviews magazine.
The convention also includes a variety of fun activities including author & reader meet and greets, book signings, workshops, speed dating, games, carriage rides, the 2nd annual Mr. BTS contest, and more.
It is $125 for authors to register for the 2015 Author & Reader Con, which includes access to the event all weekend and a 1/2 table for book signing. For readers it is only $15 for access to the event all weekend.
For more information and to purchase a registration ticket, go to http://www.authorreadercon.com/
For media inquiries, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at info@bookpublicityservices.com or 805.807.9027.
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2015 NOLA Author & Reader Convention

7 Tips to Boost your eBook Sales

ebookMore and more publishing success stories these days are coming from eBook publishers as compared to those who deal in print books. As a result, the number of eBook writers has gone up drastically. Though it may seem lucrative to write your own eBook and sell it, making enough sales to earn good money is not as easy as it seems. You need to learn and implement the right techniques and methods to promote your eBook. Here are some tips you should remember when seeking to boost your eBook sales.
1. Have a professional cover design:
Hopefully, you have used the right tools to format and edit your eBook. The next step now is ensuring that the cover itself captures a prospective buyer’s attention immediately. The cover design is a very big factor in determining how well you sell your eBook.
The first thing is to have a professional create the design (unless you are one yourself). Look online for some of the best eBook cover designs and then use these ideas to help an expert create what you want.
Of course a professional designer will cost money but do not compromise on this. It is an investment you have to make if at all you want to earn from your work.
2. Sell your eBook on different stores:
Amazon may have a lot of prospective customers, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Submit your eBook to multiple stores to make sure that it gets as much exposure as possible. Even small online stores will substantially add to your total revenue.
3. Give it away for free:
For a writer, it is extremely important to have a loyal following. If you are writing your first book, getting this audience is a big challenge. One way of going about it is by giving the eBook away for free for a limited period of time. Even better, you can give your first book away for free and then use the gained following to make huge sales with your subsequent books.
Free giveaways can also help you gauge the success of the eBook and give you an idea of how much you can earn from it.
4. Get it reviewed:
A good review can make all the difference in terms of eBook sales. There are sites that provide eBook reviews. Submit your work here. In addition, get satisfied readers and eBook stores to give their testimonials about the eBook.
If it is possible, find a well known author to also write a short review. This will give you a lot more exposure and more people will trust you.
5. Optimize your sales pages:
Whether you are selling your eBook on Amazon or anywhere else, make sure that your sales page is highly appealing. Fill it with quotes from your eBook, reviews from customers and testimonials. Tell people what to expect and make them anticipate reading your work.
It is advisable to incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) into your sales page to make it easier for people to find it online.
6. Interact with your readers:
It is very important to connect with your readers, both current and prospective. The best way to do this is through forums and social media networks. This interaction will also attract other people and multiply your following.
7. Be careful about the pricing:
You may have done everything perfectly well up to this point but then mess up when it comes to putting a price on your eBook. Generally EBooks are priced much lower than printed books due to the lower production cost. In fact, the low prices have been instrumental in driving up the popularity and success of eBooks.
So be careful not to overprice it such that people don’t buy it. Ideally, eBooks are sold under $10. For fiction, it should be under $7. The most favorably price range especially for new writers is between $0.99 and $2.99. This way, you will sell enough books to get good returns.
Once your first eBook becomes a success, don’t stop there, publish another one. The more quality work you have the easier it will be to find you and the bigger the following you will have. Most importantly, don’t forget to always communicate and interact with your readers. Create a community within which people can share and even spread word about your books.
This article was contributed by Tanisha Williams, Founder of ChatEbooks.

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.

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!

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!