Expert: Claudia Jackson
You’re probably following tweeple that interest you. They might be fellow authors. The topics can be about anything and everything concerning books and book publishing. But have you thought about following your readers? Are you truly “hanging out” with your genre? If you are writing vampire books, are you surfing the night with the “right crowd?”
One tried and true method that has been used by new authors for decades has been to give away their books in exchange for book reviews. A lot of give away books can generate a lot of reviews! In the past, a new author who really wanted to succeed would give away a thousand or more books that he or she paid to have produced in a short run. Most probably this would be from the first run (a galley copy, usually hardback) and be very expensive.
Last year, I had a new author come to me for advice on how to get reviews for a new book. This author had never been on twitter and had no social networking avenues started. So I thought . . . “What is one of the best things about the Internet?” The answer — free information! We devour free information and content like a “Hot-Fudge Sunday” (with the sprinkles).
Instead of printing a short run at a very high dollar cost per book and then having to take the time to ship precious copies one at a time, hoping for a review, try something different and even more effective.
Research has shown that readers of eBooks are voracious readers! They buy and read a lot of books and then, most importantly, they talk about the books that they read. The population of eBook readers is huge and there will be an ample number of reviewers who are worth far more to you than casual acquaintances that you meet, your friends, your family or even those anonymous people who work as book reviewers for major newspapers and magazines. In today’s world, a reviewer (or tweeter) with a well-followed blog (or tweet) will do more for your book than a printed review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And, there are many more Internet reviewers than there are aging, failing newspapers with diminishing circulations.
One specific strategy that has worked well for example is to tweet: “Like Vampires? Will exchange free eBook for review!” (Also tweet a short-link to a page where a person can find out more about the book). Then you can tweet a bit, follow, etc. and send them a free copy of your book. But wait! There’s more!
Now you ask, what about my sales numbers? Or, I don’t want to send out PDFs of my book!
If you haven’t heard about Smashwords.com you need to visit their site. They provide a capability to make coupons for your book. And more importantly, coupons count as sales.
For example, you make a coupon for 100% off and then give your tweeter via a DM, your coupon number. Stay in touch with them, tweet, etc. And guess what?! I have found the Twitterverse to be not only kind, but tweeter readers love to give reviews!
Another very powerful strategy that has worked well for us that not only makes your book available to the most prolific Internet reviewers everywhere while also opening up an amazing side-effect promotional channel is to initially price your book on the Kindle at 99¢. This accomplishes two things: Your book is now available for review, and at 99¢, it’s basically free. As of this writing, Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) will not let you price a book for less than 99¢ so you can’t go any lower on the Kindle. You can tweet a link to those that you consider giving a book and ask them to download it. It’s 99¢. It’s the cost of an iTunes song downloaded to an iPod. If a prospective reader of your book won’t drop a buck on it, they won’t read it if you were to give it to them gift wrapped in gold. This is a great qualifying test that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Instead of thousands of dollars in printing and distribution costs with very dubious results – you’d be amazed at how many people will tell you that they will read your book and then never do so (or give you a review) – you can make your book instantly available to people around the world. Get out copies, build a buzz and get reviewed!!!
So my tweets, my advice for getting reviews? Tweet, chirp and peep about the book. Then, give it away, but qualify the person first. If you are giving away a vampire book to someone who has a vampire blog, you are probably on the “write” path.
And don’t forget after you get those reviews tweet about them and include them using the Author’s “Best Friend” — BookBuzzr.
With over 20 years of experience as a corporate computer trainer and consultant, Claudia now works with a Digital Private Press – Telemachus Press who have launched NovelHelp University this year as an inexpensive solution. This site offers all of what the do-it-yourselfer needs to know, including hands-on training and step-by-step guides. Follow Claudia – Twitter | Blog