Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Article on Amazon Reviews

I recently posted a couple of ideas on how authors can increase the number of Amazon reviews for their books. Here’s an interesting article in The Economist about writing and reading reviews of products, such as books, on retail websites, such as Amazon. I found this link in the informative Dan Poynters’ Para Publishing newsletter.

Authors – continue to encourage people to post reviews of your book on Amazon. It's worth it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Encourage Amazon Reviews

I know I’ve said it before, but Amazon reviews are really important. Whenever I look up a new book that I am curious about on Amazon, the first thing I check is to see how many reviews it has. The more reviews (and good ones) your book has, the more important it looks.

Here’s something you can easily do to encourage readers to leave a review. Make up a sheet of copies of the same note thanking the reader for their purchase, and asking them to leave a review of the book on Amazon. Print off a bunch, cut them into strips, and tuck them into the front of each book before you do a book signing at a bookstore, museum, or rotary club.

You could also get this information printed on a bookmark or business card inexpensively at Kinkos.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Authors’ Blogs Pre Book Pub

Here’s a nice example of what an author can easily do to generate interest in his or her book pre-publication. The Complete Gettysburg Guide by J. David Petruzzi with maps by Steven Stanley is at the printer now. It is stunning, with more than 60 full color photos and 70 full color maps. J.D. Petruzzi recently posted a sample map from the book on his popular blog here. Check out the Comments section – 16 comments and counting. Posting brief excerpts, sample maps, and updates on your book before it is released is a great way to increase buzz around your book in advance.

If you are an author in the pre-publication stage and posting about your book on your blog, here are some questions you can ask yourself that should lead to plenty of posts, and good content for your readers!

- If you are still conducting research for your book, did you recently come across an obscure source or new material?

- Did you receive an update from your publisher regarding a release date?

- Do you have a sample cover for the book? (This is important because the minute people start seeing your book’s cover, it starts branding the book.)

- Did someone prominent in your field agree to write the Foreword? Did you just receive some nice advanced praise for the book from another author or expert that your publisher will be using in their promotional material?

- Do you have any material you can post from your book such as an excerpt, map, or new photo that readers will find of interest?

Monday, March 2, 2009


For those of you who maintain your own book’s website or blog, here’s a quick suggestion you can implement to keep readers on your website.

Whenever you link to another website from your website or blog, make sure it opens up in a new window in your browser. If you know basic html code, you can write it in like this:

<a target=_blank href="websitelinkurl">websitelinkurl</a>

instead of this:

<a target=_parent href="websitelinkurl">websitelinkurl</a>

In other words, “parent” opens the link in the same window and “blank” opens the link in a new window.

I always fear that when I post a link to a different website and it opens up in the same window, we might lose that viewer, and they won’t go back to our website. Of course they can use the “back” button, but every click they make poking around the new site takes them further away from our site. If they have two windows open, when they close the new window, ours is still accessible. If you have a webmaster who maintains your site, suggest this as well.

Help a Reporter Out, Help Yourself Out

We came across a great resource from an article in SPAN Connection, the newsletter of the Small Publishers Association of North America.

It’s an email list service titled Help a Reporter Out Pretty self explanatory, and a great concept. I registered to receive Peter Shankman’s emails three times a day listing requests from reporters who are looking for sources to complete their articles and producers looking for guests for their tv and radio shows. Each time an email comes in, I scroll through the list of requests. Each is just a short phrase. If I see a lead that one of our authors could potentially help with, I read the reporter’s full description of exactly what they are looking for. Each requests includes the reporter’s name, a paragraph of what they need, their deadline, and contact info.

We’ve been receiving the updates for a couple weeks now and have made some good connections. Ted Savas replied to a reporter who is working on an article about ghost writing. He is now working with her as a source. Today I came across a reporter who wanted stories about cigars for a piece he is working on. It just so happens, our Once a Marine author Nick Popaditch is in one of the most famous cigar photos around. I immediately replied to his request suggesting he might want to check out Once a Marine and interview Nick as a source. I heard from the reporter within the hour. Turns out his brother is a Marine and he’d like to interview our author for his piece.

This looks like it will be a great resource. I’ll keep you posted.