amazon reviews

How to Get Amazon Reviews For Your Book: Top Strategies for Targeting Quality Reviewers

As a self-published author, getting Amazon reviews for your book is the hardest part of any book launch. After writing, publishing, and launching your book, all of it can be for nothing if you fail to get a healthy volume of Amazon reviews to drive traffic and sales towards your book.

But where do we start to get Amazon reviews? Who do we ask? How many people should we have on our launch team to guarantee a certain number of reviews for setting up promotional sites? How many reviews is enough?

In this post, I am going to take you through the step-by-step process for getting loads of Amazon reviews on your next book launch and, to continue to get reviews from readers and organic traffic. We will look at the ways to get legitimate Amazon reviews for your book so that you can reap the benefits of turning your book into a thriving business.

Amazon Reviews and the Review Process

When you publish a book, there are essentially 6 things that score at making your book a bestseller.

They are:

  1. A killer book cover
  2. An irresistible book title
  3. An amazing book description
  4. Stealthy keywords
  5. Targeted book categories

And…

  1. Book Reviews

When Amazon ranks your book, the ranking is based on the volume of downloads your book gets and, the amount of reviews stacked on the book’s review page . Amazon’s system is designed to take notice of books that are getting steady traction when reviews get posted.

This is why it is critical that, when you launch your book you set everything up to get as many reviews as possible to get momentum going, increase organic traffic, and drive your rankings in the search engines. This means a higher percentage of people writing reviews for your book, not just at launch but for months [and years] down the road.

The bottom line is, reviews carry big weight in the form of social proof that can drive your book to a bestseller and continue to bring in healthy passive income every month.

Why do reviews matter?

  1. The more reviews you get, the more visibility your book gets. This means more sales and potential organic reviews.
  2. You create a stronger relationship with your readers.
  3. A boatload of reviews adds credibility to your book and brand.

Book reviews for your book on Amazon are one of the defining factors that determine if a potential reader will click the BUY NOW button…or not. In fact, if your book has less than 10 reviews, there is a strong chance that your book will get passed over. People want validation before purchasing, and the best way to make that decision is on the front of the product page…reviews.

Amazon Reviewer Guidelines

You can find everything you need to know about posting reviews on Amazon right here under the Community Guidelines. Amazon has tightened the ropes on reviews and as an author, you have to be aware of the tactics that are prohibited.

Here is what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Pay someone to leave a review. This not only goes against Amazon policy but, it could get your book removed from the shelf and your account banned.
  2.  Offer a free ‘gift’ in exchange for a review. No gifts allowed. This is still considered payment for a review.
  3. Join Facebook communities offering book review swaps. These sites are bad news. Amazon prohibits review swapping and is considered gaming the system. The Amazon algorithm can easily trace reviews back to these sources.
  4. Offer an Amazon gift card after a review has been published. It works like this: “You download the book and leave a review, and I will send you a gift card.” Again, this is against policy and is considered paying for a review.
  5. Leave a review for another author, and then contact that person requesting they leave a review in return. This would be a form blackmail or trapping the other author into guilt. But this doesn’t work and if you receive any such email, inform the other author that you don’t work that way. I did this once and they just removed the review.

Verified or Unverified Book Reviews

There are two kinds of Amazon reviews: verified and unverified. What is the difference?

According to Amazon:

An “Amazon Verified Purchase” review means we’ve verified that the person writing the review purchased the product at Amazon and didn’t receive the product at a deep discount.

Amazon reviews that are not marked “Amazon Verified Purchase” are valuable as well, but we either can’t confirm that the product was purchased at Amazon or the customer did not pay a price available to most Amazon shoppers.

Verified reviews are favorable and It is social proof that the reader did in fact buy the book and has potentially read through it before posting a review. A verified review shows up as a yellow banner that says “Verified Purchase.”

For unverified reviews, in most cases the reviewer received an advance copy of the book, and was possibly on a launch team to support the book’s release. While this is still a legit practice for garnering reviews for your book, if the majority of reviews are non-verified this could affect your potential customer’s decision to buy or not.

Strategies for Scoring a Boatload of Reviews

There are many ways to get reviews and, hunting for reviewers to review your book is a time consuming process. You could waste precious time chasing bad leads and end up with nothing for your effort. So where do you get reviews without spending hordes of time?

No matter how you do it, remember that it isn’t just about quantity you want but quality as well. While we can’t control what reviewers will say about our work, we can stay focused on writing great content that adds value in order to increase our chances of getting positive reviews.

To get Amazon reviews for your next book launch, or to add reviews to an existing book, consider taking action on these following strategies:

1. The Launch Team [Advance Review team]

There are many ways to hunt down reviewers for your book. As we have seen you can contact the top reviewers, target free book review sites, or reach out to book bloggers. These methods, while they may get you a handful of reviews, is time intensive and a lot of work.

I have found, after running over two dozen book launches, that the most effective way to get reviews fast on launch is through setting up a launch team. These are the people who have agreed to read your book in advance, and follow up with a review immediately after the book is live.

When it comes to building a launch team, it is about building relationships. This is why, in order to run an effective launch team, you should focus on the relationship with your early-bird reviewers.

Here is a step-by-step process for organizing your team:

Step-by-Step Process for Setting Up a Launch Team

  1. Start building your relationships early. Launch teams don’t just happen. They take work, months of outreaching, and asking the right people if they want to help launch your book when the time is right. You can generate interest by posting snippets of the book on Social media, sharing chapters of your work with your list, and promoting your cover to people.

Share your content and advertise your brand. Communicate with people in person and through online channels about your writing. Keep in mind the purpose for this is to make genuine relationships with people and not to just add them to your launch.

  1. Create your list of potential reviewers. As you build these relationships with your fanbase, start making a list of people who express interest in joining your launch. If you have multiple books and have been through the publishing process already, take note of the readers who have left reviews already.

Contact them closer towards launch of your next book to get them on board. Set up an excel spreadsheet and keep track of the names of people who sign up.

Action Step: Contact people directly and invite them to the launch team. Keep track of early-bird reviewers in excel.

  1. Set up an email template through your email server. Add everyone to the list. If you aren’t using an email server yet you can check out Mailchimp, Convert Kit or Mailerlite. Make it as easy as possible so you aren’t wasting time searching for contact information.

Send out a welcome email with a link to your book in PDF or/and Mobi form. You can create a folder in Dropbox and just include the link to a shared folder. Make it easy for them to access the material.

Action Step: Import your list of emails onto an email server list.

  1. Send out the Welcome email. Ideally you want to send out your book at least two weeks before launch. This gives people enough time to read it through. In the welcome email I include details for the launch date and any other expectations. At this stage the book isn’t live yet so you will send another email on that day with the link.

For the book delivery, you can upload a PDF version as well as a Mobi version of the book. To create a MOBI, PDF or EPUB file you can check out the Calibre ebook management software. After you have all the files ready, you can create a shared folder in Dropbox and share the link with your team.

If any top reviewers agreed to leave a review, you absolutely want to message them to follow up.

Action Step: Create a welcome email template. Send out your welcome message to the team. Include a link to your book content.

  1. Send out your ‘Take Action’ email on launch day. Your book is live and it is time for people to step up. Contact the team on launch day as soon as the book is live. After hitting publish it should take 12-24 hours for Amazon to get it posted. In the email, include a link to your book. More specifically, a link to the review page so that team members can go straight to the page with one click.
  2. Day 3: Reminder email. I wait 3 days and send out a reminder email. In this email I thank everyone who has left a review, and thank people in advance who are still working on the book and haven’t posted yet.
  3. Final Call: This is the last email I will send out. Similar to the previous email, reminding people the book is live and is ready for a review whenever you are. You can remind your team that book is at a special discounted price if you are launching it at 0.99 or it’s free.
  4. Contact Your List: If you have a list, this is gold for getting paid downloads and possible reviews. You should contact your list on the first day the book is live and let people know that the book has just launched. Then, several days later, email them again asking if they had a chance to get into the material. You could add something of value here just to show subscribers how much you value their support. This is the email where I include a ‘leave a review’ invite.

It reads like this:

Hi there…

I have a quick favor to ask you…  

Amazon uses reviews to rank books AND many readers evaluate the quality of a title based solely on this feedback from others.

To put it simply:

Reviews are very important to an author like me!

So, if you’ve enjoyed [Book title here] ,or even if you’re still working through it, could you take a minute or two to leave a review? Even a sentence or two about what you like really helps! 🙂

Here’s a link of where you can leave a review:

[My Book Title] Book Review

I really appreciate you taking the time to check out the book and I look forward to seeing any feedback you may have in the review section.

That is it!

These are the steps I use to communicate with my launch team. Generally speaking, if you want 100 reviews for your book, you should aim for at least 200 people. That is a lot of emails but, what I have experienced is that, on average, you are batting a 50% success rate. What happens to those other 50% who don’t review?

They…

  1. Didn’t like the book.
  2. Forgot to review altogether.
  3. Didn’t read the book.
  4. Couldn’t be bothered to review.

If you can get 30+ reviews on launch after one week you are looking very good. This is enough to get momentum moving and the Amazon algorithm will see that your book is doing well.

2. Contact Amazon Top Reviewers

There is a list of top 1000 reviewers on Amazon. These people review everything, although certain reviewers target books specifically. If you can get an Amazon Top Reviewer to look at your book, this is well worth it. Check out the Amazon Top Customer Reviewers list. This is  time consuming process but, if you can get 2-3 reviewers to agree to a book review, you’re all set.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Go into the reviewers profile and check the books they have reviewed. To be specific, you want to check for books in your genre. If you wrote a book on weight loss and the reviewer has written most of their reviews for romance novels, it’s a good indication what they favor. Target the reviewers interested in your topic.
  2. Check for contact information. Due to the large volume of spam and requests for reviews, most top reviewers have removed their personal email. If they have a website set up, you can send a direct email to request a review.
  3. Wait for a reply. Most reviewers, from my own experience, did not reply. I would recommend targeting 20 reviewers and wait one week. You can then resend the request again.

This is a time consuming process but, if you get a top reviewer to agree to a review, keep that person’s contact information in an excel file. Then, when you launch your next book, you can reach out to them again and again.

3. Book Review Sites

There are a number of sites out there that will find reviewers for your book. This is not the same as buying reviews for your book which, I’ll restate again, goes against Amazon’s review policy and should be avoided. In fact, Amazon has taken action against over 1000 sites on Fiverr that were selling fake review services. Yes, avoid.

Review services however can speed up the process and find reviewers for your book. One of my favorites is BookRazor. It is a paid site but they promote a system of honest reviewers for your book by providing a contact list of potential readers.

There are many other sites you can check out as well, and many of them are free while some are paid:

Kindle Book Review

Rainbow Book Reviews

KO’s Stuffed Shelf

The Kindle Book Review

4. Include a Kindle Book Review Request Page

Here is a tactic that works well. Did you know that you can include insert a request in your book for readers to leave a review? It’s a great way to invite people to review your book. I have a page at the back of my books that looks like this:

What Did You Think of [Your Book Title Here]?

First of all, thank you for purchasing this book [Your Book Title Here]. I know you could have picked any number of books to read, but you picked this book and for that I am extremely grateful.

I hope that it added at value and quality to your everyday life. If so, it would be really nice if you could share this book with your friends and family by posting to Facebook and Twitter.

If you enjoyed this book and found some benefit in reading this, I’d like to hear from you and hope that you could take some time to post a review on Amazon. Your feedback and support will help this author to greatly improve his writing craft for future projects and make this book even better.

You can follow this link to [Book link here] now.

I want you, the reader, to know that your review is very important and so, if you’d like to leave a review, all you have to do is click here and away you go. I wish you all the best in your future success!

When you do this, you want to have a link directing customers right back to the review page on Amazon. Make it so easy for them that it requires as little effort as possible. Many authors will include a cute ‘cat photo’ or even pictures of their kids begging asking for a review. This strategy can work well if you sell a large volume of books during the initial launch phase. But remember it takes readers time to go through your book and so, if you don’t see the reviews appear in the first week, you might get them trickling in weeks or even months later.

4. Relaunch Your Book

You can relaunch your book if book sales drop and the reviews stop coming in. When you relaunch your book, you can put together a new launch team, and even add a new chapter to the book to generate a renewed interest in your book.

I have tried this strategy several times in the past year and, by relaunching the book, adding new value to the content, I put together another small launch team of 30-40 people. This brought in another 20+ reviews for a book that was suffering from lack of sales and poor rankings. It happens, so we have to stay on top of keeping the book active.

Dealing With Negative Reviews

Getting positive reviews on your book is a great feeling. In a perfect world, we all want to have just the good stuff when it comes to our review platform. But alas, there will always be that dissatisfied reader that was expecting something much different than what your book was offering. Readers will leave a negative review for various reasons, and in most cases, there is nothing we can do.

But first of all, receiving a negative review isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can lend to a book’s credibility. Look at it from a reader’s perspective. If a book has 100 positive 5-star reviews, although the reviews may be legitimate, we know that not every book is perfect. Having a load of positive reviews and nothing that is under three stars could create doubt for the browser, just as having a book with only a handful of reviews turns browsers the other way.

While negative reviews aren’t all bad, there are steps we can take to reduce the amount.

So how can we prevent our book from getting a lot of negative reviews and turning away potential book sales?

Here are four areas to pay attention to:

  1. Book quality: the single biggest reason a book will get panned by negative reviews is poor quality. This is credited to sloppy editing. A book that is not up to the quality expected by readers will get hit with a high amount of bad reviews. Then, it could get pulled off the shelf by Amazon until the author upgrades to better quality. Make sure your book is up the high standards people expect. Always respect your readers.
  2. Inaccurate description of the book: make sure that your book description, title and cover all point towards the theme of the book. If your book is titles “How to become rich in 21 days” and, after reading through the book the reader isn’t rich, well, they bought the book because of the promise you made. So, if reading a book delivers a negative outcome for your audience, someone is going to shout about it in a review.
  3. Your book is a sales pitch for your other products. If there is one thing readers don’t like, it is being hit up with offers and the push to check out other services or products in the book. This could come across as spammy and devalues the content that the readers paid for. While your goal may be to use the book to attract customers for your online business, you want to avoid any sales pitches in the book.

Writing and Submitting a Review

Writing a review for a book you like is a great way to drive potential readers to the title. If you read a great book recently and you want to tell people about it, you can take a few minutes to write up a positive review.

Writing a review is easy. Just go to the book’s front page and, under the heading Customer Reviews, you will see a button for write a customer review. Click on that and you will be taken to a page set up for ‘Your Reviews’ where you can write reviews for your purchases. What you do is:

  1. Select the rating of the book from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the best score.
  2. Write your book description in the box provided. Keep in mind that if you leave this page before submitting your review, you’ll have to start over again. I would recommend writing the review first in Word or Evernote and then copy and paste.
  3. Create a headline for the review.
  4. Hit submit. Your review will go live within a couple of hours, although it could take up to 24 hours.

One point to note here is that, with Amazon’s policy for posting reviews, you have to have an account that has made a purchase of at least $50 using a valid credit or debit card.

Your Checklist for Getting Reviews

  1. Set up a launch team for your book. Send your team a PDF/MOBI file and follow up with email right up until launch. Follow up with several reminders after the launch.
  2. Include a ‘Review Request’ page at the back of your book. Insert the link taking customers directly to the review page. Make it so easy they don’t have to search around for the book on Amazon.
  3. Contact Amazon Top Reviewers. Send a personalized email to each, targeting the people who review books similar to your genre. Wait at least two weeks before following up.
  4. Contact people in your business. This doesn’t include friends and family. Contact professionals in your field who would be willing to read the book with the possibility of leaving an honest review.
  5. Hire a site that specializes in finding honest reviewers for your book. I recommend BookRazor.
  6. Relaunch your book. Add more content, a new book cover, or make it appealing for people to join your relaunch of an existing book. You can relaunch a book as many times as you want.

There are a lot of strategies out there to get reviews for your books, most are legit, and some are not. As an author, make sure you are aware of what Amazon considers to be authentic reviews when it comes to gathering reviews for your next book. Keep review hunting and adding more to your book. This increases value and credibility for your work, boosting sales and making your book stick as a bestseller.

kindle advertising

Kindle Advertising 101: Get Your Book in Front of Amazon Shoppers at Will!

Publishing your book on Amazon is only the first step.

The next part, and usually the hardest, is getting that book in front of the right book shoppers at the right time.

There are many ways to market your book, but there’s none easier and better than advertising your book on Amazon – where the shoppers already are.

Thanks to Amazon’s own advertising platform, authors can now create ads that show their book to the right people either in search results, or on the sales page of another book. 

It might sound difficult, but once you’ve read this article, you’ll be able to setup your very own Kindle advertisements in less than 10 minutes.

And the best part is that this book-marketing tactic can not only help you with your initial book launch, but can also help to revive book sales of previously published books as well. 

What are AMS Book Advertisements?

Amazon Marketing Services, or AMS, is a platform where you can tell Amazon you want your book to show up in certain search results, or on the sales page of another book, and that you’re willing to pay them some money for every person who clicks on your ad.

Yup, that’s right.  You only pay Amazon if someone clicks on your ad.  The best part is that you can set your own price which is usually somewhere between .02 cents to .35 cents per click.

And that’s it.  After setting it up with Amazon, AMS will start showing your book to their shoppers on your terms.

What Type Of AMS Ads Can I Create?

AMS offers two types of ad. This allows you to choose where exactly your ad will be displayed to Amazon customers.

Sponsored Product Ads

If you want to show up in the Amazon search results for a particular keyword, you should choose a sponsored product ad. If, for example, you choose the keyword ‘gardening book’, and someone searches for this phrase, they will see your ad alongside the other search results.

This type of ad is a great way of attracting the attention of people who your book would be suitable for, but who wouldn’t otherwise come across it.

Product Display Ads

If you’d rather your ad shows up for a particular product, rather than in the search results for a keyword, you should choose a product display ad.

Amazon allows you to specify particular products, or particular types of products, that your ad will show up alongside. If you know you offer a superior version of a competing book, you can advertise in this way to persuade buyers to choose your title instead of, or along with, their original search.

Now that you know the way that AMS operates, and the basic types of ads you can choose, let’s take a look at how to get started by creating your first campaign.

Let’s Create an Kindle Advertisement

The only basic requirement for advertising with AMS is to have a book published through KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. The book doesn’t need to be a part of the KDP Select program.

To get going, log into your KDP dashboard. Choose the book that you wish to create an ad for, and click ‘advertise’.

The exact steps you need to follow differ depending on whether you choose a sponsored product ad, or a product display ad, as you will now see.

How To Set Up A Sponsored Product Ad

kindle advertising

  1. Choose a name for your ad campaign. It can help with tracking and monitoring, particularly if you have multiple campaigns, to choose a unique and specific campaign title.kindle advertising
  2. Select your daily budget. This is the maximum amount are willing to pay on any given day. Generally, it’s better to start small and scale up based on results.
  3. Choose whether you want your campaign to run for a fixed time, or to carry on indefinitely.
  4. Select between ‘manual’ and ‘automatic’ targeting. It’s better to pick the manual option, as you can choose the exact way to advertise on your work, rather than relying on Amazon’s automated choices.kindle advertising
  5. Choose the keywords you wish your ad to show up for. A lot of authors make the mistake of choosing a low number of keywords. To have the most success possible, the higher the number of relevant keywords, the better. You can pick from Amazon’s suggestions of keywords to target, or enter your own.kindle advertising
  6. Select the default amount someone will pay when they click on your ad, known as ‘cost per click’, or CPC. This amount will apply to all keywords initially, but you can make adjustments later on.
  7. Pick an effective 150 character elevator pitch for your ad. You need to write something that is attractive and engaging in order to have the best possible chance of someone clicking on your ad.kindle advertising
  8. Select an existing credit card linked to your account. If you haven’t already done this, you need to add one at this stage.kindle advertising
  9. The final step is to click on ‘Launch Campaign’. Amazon will review your ad to ensure it complies with their requirements, and get back to you in 1-3 days. As soon as Amazon approves, your campaign goes live!

How To Set Up A Product Display Ad

  1. After clicking the ‘advertise’ option on the book you wish to create a campaign for, select the ‘Product Display Ad’ option.kindle advertising
  2. Amazon offers two choices for Product Display Ads – ‘by product’ or ‘by interest’. ‘By product’ allows you to choose the exact products you want your ad to show up for, whereas choosing ‘by interest’ allows Amazon to select products for you on the basis of a theme or topic.kindle advertising
  3. Decide whether to allow Amazon to associate your ad with similar products to the ones you have specifically selected. This is a good way of associating your ad with products you haven’t specifically heard of, but that have been bought by customers of those you have.kindle advertising
  4. Title your campaign
  5. Select an overall budget as well as a CPC (cost per click) amount.kindle advertising
  6. Produce the copy for your ad. The 50 character limit for the headline and 150 character limit for the body necessitates succinct, impactful copy. 
  7. Select ‘Submit Your Campaign For Review’. Amazon will get back to you within 1-3 days depending upon whether your campaign meets their guidelines. 

If you want to watch me carry out the above processes, check out my free Kindle advertising course. You will see a screen capture video of the exact steps you need to follow as well as my advice.

How To Get The Most From AMS

You can skillfully use AMS to reap benefits beyond increased book sales alone (although they are, of course, awesome). There are three advanced approaches to AMS that allow you to get a lot more bang for your buck.

Promote Other Versions Of Your Work

Offering multiple formats of your book effectively allows you to get several adverts for the price of one. When someone clicks on your ad, they are taken to your book’s Amazon sales page. If you offer various formats, such as a paperback from CreateSpace or an audiobook for Audible, browsers will be exposed to those options and this leads to more sales.

Introduce Readers To A Series

If you’ve ever become hooked on a book series, such as Harry Potter, you know that reading the first book alone is never enough. Readers who love the story and characters in the initial installment can’t wait to get their hands on the next editions.

If you use AMS ads to draw a browser’s attention to the first book in a series, you stand a great chance of creating a fan who will willingly buy the other books in your series without further prompting.

Nathan Van Coops even goes as far to use AMS to promote the first book of his series In Times Like These, which is permafree.  The amount of money he ends up making from the subsequent book sales, and other forms of book, outweighs the ad cost for the free book. 

Get More Email Subscriptions

If your book offers a content upgrade like a free book, or checklist, then AMS can help to increase your email optins by increasing the number of people who get your book.

Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income, used his book ‘Will It Fly?’ to generate email optins.  By offering a free course to go along with his book, Pat saw 33% optin rate.  Although Pat has a large following, AMS has allowed him to increase his reach, create continuous sales, and grow his email list daily. 

Market Other Products & Build Blog Traffic

You can use AMS to create funnels towards other products and services you offer apart from your books alone.

Some books encourage readers to visit the website or blog of their author. If you advertise a book which has this purpose, you can drive relevant customers to your external work that may never have otherwise found it.

Ryan Cleckner’s  Long Range Shooting Handbook’ is a perfect example of this concept in action. By advertising it through AMS, he drives more people to his book, which inturn drives traffic to his post on how to get an FFL. This results in increased sales for his courses – all for the price of an AMS click.

How to Improve Your AMS Ad Skills

AMS book advertising can be a wonderful skill for authors to use in order to sell their previous, current and even future books.

And while I strongly believe that AMS is a great opportunity, the more you know, the better your ads can be.  The better the ads, the more profit you’ll gain. 

So, to help you improve your AMS book ad skills, here’s a completely free course on AMS that will not only show you what we discussed above, but will also go deeper into creating profitable long term ads, that will continuously bring you book sales.

Kindle Advertising Summary

Hopefully by now you understand the immense potential of AMS and why I love it so much. After all –

  • Only AMS lets you advertise to the most relevant and profitable people possible – interested Amazon customers
  • Setting up a campaign is quick, easy and affordable
  • You can show your ad in Amazon search results through Sponsored Product Ads
  • Product Display Ads allow you to reach people interested in particular products
  • AMS can generate income through more than just book sales. You can increase traffic to your external offerings and generate additional revenue as a result

As with all advertising platforms, earlier adopters often have better results. If you delay getting started, you will have increased competition and a tougher time when you finally do.

If you want to delve deeper into the best strategies and tactics for Amazon advertising, check out my free Kindle advertising course. It contains hours of high-quality video, as well as notes and quizzes, to help you understand the full potential of AMS and put the best ideas and strategies to work for your books.

I’d love to hear your experience with Amazon Marketing Services in the comments!

Write a Book That Sells

Find a Book Idea That Sells: 3 Things You Must Check Before You Write Your Book

If you’re about to write a book, and you want a book idea that sells, there are three things you absolutely must check before you spend a minute writing your book.

Researching these three things will help you write your book more confidently because you’ll have firm reason to believe readers will love and buy your book.

Once you have your book idea, and before you begin writing, you need to check that there’s:

  1. People looking for your book idea
  2. People willing to pay for your book idea
  3. Competition you can beat

There are two ways to complete each of the following steps: an easy, low-cost way and a time-consuming, free way. I’ll explain both. No matter which method you choose, just choose one of them so you can embark on your book writing journey with confidence.

1. Are there people looking for your book idea?

Before you spend weeks, months, or years laboring to create your book, smart authors validate that there are people searching for your book idea on the internet first.

The free method is to type in www.KWFinder.com and use their free tool that currently allows you 3 searches per day, and type in your book idea. One piece of information this site gives you is the average times per month people type and search for your term. The higher the number, the more people actively are looking for the information you’re thinking of writing about.

This tool does not tell you how many people are searching for your idea on Amazon, however, which can make your results a little dicey. Sometimes people are just looking to learn free or quick information, and not actually looking to read an entire book.

When people search for a topic on Amazon, however, they are there to buy something. That’s why doing this research using a software that specifically gives you Amazon data is the best option.

Enter KDP Rocket. When you search for a book idea using KDP Rocket, it gives you the estimated number of times people search for your idea on Google and on Amazon each month. And there’s no limit to how many ideas you can search per day.

Here’s the results for my fictitious book idea about ‘habits’:

Once you’ve verified people are searching for your book idea, the next step is to make sure they’re willing to pay for the information.

2. Are there people willing to pay for your book idea?

Unless you’re planning to give your book away for free, this step is crucial.

If you don’t have KDP Rocket, you’ll want to head over to Amazon.com and search in the Kindle Store for your writing idea. Look at the search results that appear on the first page. For each book, scroll down to find the Amazon Best Seller Rank. You’ll probably want to create a spreadsheet now if you haven’t already to keep track of the numbers.

Once you have the Best Seller Rank for each, you should put each number into the Amazon Best Seller Rank Calculator. The calculator will tell you how many books are selling each day. If you multiply this number by 30, you’ll get the estimated money per month that book makes.

Kindle Best Seller Calculator

If you do this for all 14 of the books that show up on the first page of your search, you can find the average your book idea makes per month. This will give you an idea if it’s profitable enough for you to pursue.  

If you’re looking for the fast and easy way, you’d already have this information right at your fingertips from doing step 1 (verifying people are looking for your book). By clicking ‘Analyze’ on KDP Rocket, you can immediately learn the average earnings per month.

Book Idea Rank

Wow, ‘habits’ is a money-maker! Look at that second column!

So people are looking for your idea and they are willing to pay for your idea, but can you compete with the big dogs?

3. Can you beat the competition for your book idea?

Terms like ‘habits’ are popular and profitable, but the competition is intense. You may have noticed the column called “Competitive Score.” This gives you a score between 1-100 on how hard it would be to get your book to appear when people search for your term. A 1 is easy-peasy and 100 is near-impossible.

I’m guessing like me, you’re not a famous author, so you’ll want to find book ideas that have lower competition. Scores in the 20s or below are my usual target.

This doesn’t mean you can’t write a book about habits. This just means you might have to keep searching to refine your idea to be more specific so you can better compete.

When you search in the Kindle Store for your idea, you’ll want to take note of the number of results that appear.

KDP3

This tells us there are 8,055 other books that rank for the term “habits” on Amazon.

Next, click on the top 3 results and write down their Amazon Best Seller Rank. Find the average of these 3 numbers to find the average Best Seller Rank of the top 3 books. You should aim to get your book to rank #1 since it gets the most clicks, and definitely be able to compete with the top 3.

Then, look at the book covers, book descriptions, and reviews. Give each book a score 1-100 based on your opinion of its professionalism, design, clarity, and happiness of reviewers. If it looks like a book you could easily beat, it’s a 1. If it’s perfect and virtually unbeatable, give it 100.

Having all these numbers in an excel spreadsheet will help you analyze the competition of your book idea.

If that seems like a lot of work, or you don’t know how to score the competition, you’ll love what KDP Rocket can do for you.

When you click on the ‘Analyze’ button to discover how much money the book idea makes, a Competitive Score was also automatically generated.

Book Idea Research

For ‘habits,’ the competition is 73…pretty tough.

Rocket will also give you a bunch of other recommended terms to consider, so by simply scrolling down, I found ‘healthy eating habits.’

KDP Rocket Results

Lower competition…but people aren’t paying for that idea.

How about ‘how to break bad habits’:

KDP6

See how you can still write about what you’re interested in, but simply checking the popularity, profitability, and competition can help you refine your idea from an “I hope this works idea” to “Let’s write this book already idea!”

Book Idea Validated

Once your book idea passes these three checkpoints, then you’re on your way to confidently writing your book. Now you have reason to believe it won’t be a waste of your time and you can proceed with more assurance that you’re writing a book that will sell.

To learn more about how this product can help you profitably launch your book to success, check out KDP Rocket here!

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

List building

List Building Tricks to Get 10,000 Subscribers Fast (Bryan Harris Interview)

We’ve all been there. One minute we’re sitting at our desk (or shower or in our car) when we’re struck by a genius idea that HAS to get out. We start to write and create without any thought to things like marketing or list building.

Bryan Harris, serial entrepreneur and founder of Videofruit.com, calls this “writing in a cave.” He says writers/entrepreneurs need to avoid the “cycle of guaranteed failure” by really thinking about what needs to be done leading up to your book. If your book is something that only your mom and grandma know about, then your book launch is in trouble.

Bryan stumbled upon his professional passion when he discovered the world of video editing and fell in love with the industry. Since then, he says that he’s been going crazy growing his new business.

Through his business trials and tribulations, Bryan has gained valuable insight on how to grow an audience and launch your first book. Bryan learned that a lot of strategies don’t work, but he’s developed some time-tested list building tricks that do work.

Bryan says you should “Think of your list as a group of people eagerly waiting to buy from you. If you build it and nurture it right, you will have lifelong fans.”

 


Debunking 3 Popular Myths

Bryan debunks three popular myths about growing your list and number of subscribers.

Myth 1:You have to have the perfect idea.

There’s the myth of waiting until everything is perfect to take action. The problem with this is that perfection is unattainable. If you wait for everything to be perfect to start a project, you’ll never start anything.

You don’t find customers for your product, instead find products for your customers. Get people and an audience first, then the rest will follow.

Myth 2: You have to be an expert in something before you can build your list and launch your book.

A second common myth is that you need to establish yourself as an expert before you launch your book. Don’t fall prey to this myth. We caution you about attempting to play the part of guru.

It’s far more effective to take a learn out loud approach. Take a topic and ask, “Are you curious about the topic? Can you share what you learn? Are you able to be humble, kind, and giving?” You can then share this information by phrasing it as, “Here are lessons you learned …” and your audience will respond.

Myth 3: You don’t have to have a lot of extra time.

Extra time is an imaginary construct. There will never be enough of it. Don’t lose the chance to achieve your dreams by waiting for the elusive moment when you have plenty of time.

Rather than waiting for an excess of time (which will never happen!), make an effort to do what you can, when you can. Commit to doing the right things in the right order, and little by little, you’ll make headway.

4 Tricks to Grow Your List (Plus a Bonus!)

Trick 1: Upside Down Homepage

An upside down homepage is the first step to getting your first 100 subscribers. Allocate at least five hours for this update.

What is the single obvious thing you want people to do when they come to your page? It’s not what you may think. It’s not the sidebar, not the social media buttons, not the menu — it’s the above-the-fold call to action!

Use this space to encourage people to subscribe, not to go to other pages. With this tactic, you can boost your subscriber rate from 1% (with a traditional homepage) to 13-15% (with an upside down homepage).

Trick 2: Pick Your List Goal

The single most important strategy to boost your list is to select your list goal. This will take you just two minutes to do, but it’s crucial. You have to focus on this to be successful!

Here’s what you do: Pick your number goal, then write this goal down on paper. Next, tape this on your wall to keep you accountable. Visual reminders help keep you on track.

Even if you’re a writer, ultimately you’re still an entrepreneur. Don’t forget what you are working toward! Don’t get distracted and you’ll later reap the rewards of your efforts.

Trick 3: Launch Team Strategy

Another key component to your success is your launch team strategy. You have 24 hours to implement this strategy.

Here’s how you tackle building a launch team. First, start with a group of people. You should make a list of five people you know. Then, personally invite these five people to join your list.

Next, you’ll then reach out to everyone you know. You want to make this process personal, so people will feel as though they are invited to something special. Personally invite each and every person who’s on your list.

Continue to write names and email addresses down on paper. Start simple and repeat until you run out of people to ask. Your goal is to get to 100 invitees.

Trick 4: Poster Boy Formula

The Poster Boy Formula should take just 30 minutes per week, but can yield huge results toward boosting your list.

Step one is to make a list of five products you purchase, blogs you read, or podcasts you follow. Write down one big win you’ve experienced from using their product. Let them know about your results and thank them. Also, share testimonials and link back to your shares.

The Poster Boy Formula can get you shout outs, inclusion on emails, social media sites, and guest posts. Ultimately, all of this goodwill can earn you subscribers.

Bonus Trick: Create a Smartbribe

A final trick to consider is to offer a “Smartbribe.” This tactic is simple to implement. Just install smartbribe.com as an enhancement to your current opt-in service. This easy to use feature asks people to share on social media in exchange for a bonus offer you create and “bribe” them with. This simple step can help grow your list even faster.

Bryan Harris offers his best list building tips and tactics to help you grow your list and earn subscribers. Before you know it, you’ll on your way to earning 10,000 subscribers FAST!

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

PR for authors

PR for Authors—How to Promote Yourself & Your Books

Writing your book is just the beginning of your journey as an author. The next step you need to take is learning how to promote yourself and your book. We’re talking about Public Relations (PR) for authors. From TV to radio to print interviews, PR can help you build exposure and increase book sales. You may not see overnight results, but if you keep at it—getting as many people to hear about your book as possible—book sales will rise!

Here are our actionable tips on how to promote yourself, earn publicity, and drive books sales through TV, radio, and press interviews.

1. TV Interviews

Scoring a TV spot can boost your reputation, enhance your credibility, and increase your book sales. The best part is that the PR machine can stay moving even after your interview. Post a link to the interview and add the TV station logo on your website to pump up your credibility and continue the exposure.

Tips for How to Get a TV Interview

As you can imagine, it’s not easy to score a TV spot. TV stations are often overwhelmed with PR and interview requests. Here are some tips on how to stand out from the masses.

Pitch away

A successful pitch shows your hosts that you’ll add value to their show. Everyone has something to sell. So stand out by connecting with the host(s) and producer(s) by showing them why your book will add value to their show.

Know your facts

Draft your pitch to acknowledge their audience. If your book is about elder care and their demographics are retirees, then pitch that connection. If the topic of your book is of relevance to their fans, then make that point for them—don’t force them to connect the dots.

Keep it short

Everyone’s busy in the media world. Producers aren’t going to wade through pages of pitch. Make your pitch short and sweet. Try to hook them in the first ten sentences.

 

Tips for How to Shine During Your TV Interview

Congrats, you got a TV spot! Now the prep begins. Here are some tips for giving a stellar on-air performance.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Write down and practice your talking points ahead of time, so that you don’t freeze when the cameras are on. Don’t worry about answering verbatim; your goal is a natural dialogue with the host. Rehearsing talking points gives you a jumping off spot for a give-and-take conversation.

Do your research

Your goal is to understand your audience. Your show will have detailed demographic information available. Ask the producers to provide you a summary of that information. Also, ask the producers ahead of time if there’s anything you need to know about their particular audience. By understanding who’s watching, you’ll be able to forge a natural connection with viewers.

Respond to the questions

Sometimes when we’re nervous, our natural inclination is to interrupt. Avoid hijacking the conservation. Wait your turn, and then respond to what the host is asking you. Taking your time will make you seem confident and put together, rather than full of nerves (even if you are!).

2. Radio Interviews

Radio interviews, much like TV spots, can be challenging to get, especially if you’re promoting your first book. However, radio is a rich PR resource, so you should make the effort to lock down interviews. Don’t get discouraged if you have to make several pitches before you’re offered a spot. The effort will pay off.

How to Get a Radio Interview

Radio is a terrific way to share your voice (literally) with your potential readers. And with over 90% of Americans regularly listening to radio, it’s well worth the effort you’re going to invest in pitching. Here are some tips on how to pitch radio stations.

Start Local

Radio shows are always looking for new content to share with their audience. Start out with your local radio stations, letting them know not only about your book, but also that you live in the community. If you can tie your book to the community, even better!

Tailor Your Pitch

When you’re pitching your book, don’t use a blanket pitch for each TV or radio station you go after. Customize each pitch to reflect why your book and your personal story will be of interest to their fans. Showing how your interview can add value to their program will result in more replies and a better chance of scoring an interview.

Tips for How to Shine on the Radio

Congrats, you got a radio spot! Here are some tips on how to give a killer on-air performance.

Be authentic and enthusiastic

Even though you’re on the radio and obviously listeners can’t see you, they’ll hear your energy. Smile, sit up straight, and walk around if you need to. By acting energized and engaged, you’ll peak listeners’ interest.

Help the host

Don’t get discouraged if your host hasn’t read your book. With busy PR schedules, it happens more than you might assume. Your job is to make your host look smart. Tell them about your book and don’t quiz them. If you make their job easy for them, the odds are good they’ll ask you back again.

Prepare a list of questions

It’s perfectly acceptable to provide your own list of questions for the host. Some busy radio hosts and producers will appreciate your extra effort and may even work from that list of questions.

3. Print Interviews or Guest Posts

Print interviews and guest blog posts are terrific for search engine optimization (SEO) of your website. Improving your SEO means you’ll rank higher in search, so more people are likely to find your website and read about you and your book. Print is a great SEO strategy for any new author; so cast your net far and wide to score an interview or a guest post.

How to Get a Print Interview

Publications are still alive and well, and many of them have super successful digital platforms; so make sure you don’t skip over this form of media when creating your PR strategy.

Find publications and blogs that are frequent reads for your target audience and reach out (for example, if women are your primary target audience, you’re not going to want to pitch GQ). Even if you’ve never had a print interview before, local publications and blogs will often be happy to share the great news of your new book.

Tips for How to Shine in Your Print Interview

Congrats on scoring a press interview. Here are tips to make you sound like a pro author (even if your voice is cracking from nerves)!

Sell yourself

Print interviews are a little more relaxed than TV or radio spots, but you still have a finite amount of time to get your message across. You’re your own PR machine, so get ready to sing your own praises.

Plan your hooks

You need to have some print-friendly “sound bites” to intrigue your audience. What makes your book special? Important? Entertaining? Useful? Get to the heart of why your audience needs your book, and talk about it.

Don’t get thrown

Don’t let unanticipated or sticky questions throw you. The nature of interviews is that there’s always going be something which you’re not 100% prepped for. Roll with the question, answer as positively as you can, then get back to your talking points. Remember, unlike an on-air or audio-recorded interview, you can take as much time as you need to think before you answer. Don’t be afraid to do so.

Now that you know some PR tricks and tips, it’s time to tackle the job of becoming your own PR machine. Driving publicity through TV, radio, and print media means increased exposure for both you and your book, which will eventually translate into greater sales. Remember, PR is a slow burn—you may get a lot of no’s and no responses before you get a yes, but patience and perseverance in this game pays off! Stay confident and don’t give up!

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

Social Media for Authors

Social Media for Authors

Social media is the perfect way for authors to promote their books. It’s free, easy to use, and a dynamic way to grow your audience. In fact, with the right posts, if you go viral, you can explode your audience overnight.

Before your book is even finished, you can start a social media campaign to promote your book. That’s a mouthful, and if you’re new to social media or to book promotions, you may find that phrase alarming. “CAMPAIGN” implies a lot of work.

Don’t be mentally derailed by the notion of a “social media campaign.” Using social media is not rocket science nor brain surgery (in fact, if you need a quick and dirty course on Instagram, just shoulder tap the nearest 12-year-old). In basic terms, it means interacting with people who like you, like your work, and want to read your book.

There are thousands of articles on the dos and dont’s of social media, but here’s what we’re here to tell you: You’re going to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t and go from there. Social media is a fluid, evolving forum, so don’t feel like you’re locking yourself into a strategy or road map.

In fact the more flexible you are to changes along the way, the better social media may work for your promotions, since you’ll be keeping pace with what’s trending and your finger on the pulse of your audience’s needs and wants.

Without further ado, here’s what you need to do to get social media working for you and your book sales:

1. Start Last Week

Or right now. Building a strong social media presence can take months, so don’t wait until you’re done with your book to move the marketing along. Ideally, you want to start developing a social media following before you even start drafting.

One of the mistakes rookie authors make is to wait to finish their piece de literary resistance before trying to build a social media following. No matter what phase of life your book draft currently is in—even if it’s just a wicked gleam in your author eye—NOW is the right time to build your social media presence.

Think about it: when you’re building anticipation as you work, it serves multiple purposes.

1) You can share with your audience how your book is moving along, and build steam so you have a bigger fan base when it launches.

2) You can interact with your audience and ask for ideas…for your book cover, your title, and even your character development. Who better to inform your book choices than your chosen audience?

3) You can keep motivation high to finish your book during the drafting and editing process. If you have a team cheering you on, you’ll be more likely to finish that project you’ve been talking about for weeks (or months, but hopefully not years).

If you’ve already started drafting, or even if you’ve finished your book, all is not lost. It’s not too late, but don’t waste another minute putting off delving into the world of social media. You don’t want to lose another day of free promos and audience excitement!

2. Pull Out the Big Guns

Social media is saturated with many different platforms. If you’ve never embarked on a focused social media campaign, then your head may be spinning trying to winnow down the choices and determine the right ones for you.

Here’s the good news: There’s no right way to do social media, and it’s a constantly evolving thing—so if it’s not working for you, then there’s no risk in mixing it up. If you are looking for a short list on what to focus on right out of the gate, you can’t go wrong with the duo of Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter and Facebook boast the most users and highest engagement numbers, so they’re a no-brainer to interact with readers, share your progress, and spread the news about any book events, signing, or the big launch.

According to Susan Orlean, New Yorker journalist and author of The Orchid Thief, “Twitter is a noisy cocktail party, with lots of chatting and quick interactions, a kind of casual free-for-all…while Facebook is a combination high school and college reunion and therapy group.”

Join those two parties and then branch out to the other social media platforms which support your book’s unique goals and purpose.

Do you have beautiful elements in your book, or along your book writing journey? Travel photos beg for the sun-dappled touch only an Instagram account can provide. Pinterest is the mecca for recipes and photos of food. (Do you hear us cookbook authors?) Are you a business type writing a how-to? Then hello, LinkedIn!

Explore what’s out there to add depth to your words.

3. Stay Positive

We all have that one person on our personal social media accounts who is an Eeyore. The sun is shining for the first time in three weeks and she’ll be the one to post a PSA about skin cancer, complete with close-up mole photos. Don’t be that person (unless you’re a dermatologist writing a book about skin care, then moles are fair game. Everyone else, steer clear).

Today’s world is heavy enough, so think twice before you contribute to the doom-and-gloom online. One of the toughest things about social media is the urge to purge. It’s tantalizingly easy to formulate a fist-shaking rant or negative thought and then disseminate it into the web without much thought for the fallout. That’s fine when your only followers are Aunt Sally and your dog-sitter, but when your goal is building your brand and your author name, then it’s best to tread lightly.

That’s not to say you need to shy away entirely from controversial topics, especially if your book focuses on the non-fiction genre (e.g. mole doctors). You may have valuable input to add on any number of non-light and fluffy topics.

We’re not telling you that there’s no place for serious information on social media, if that’s what your book is about. Just keep in mind that there’s a way to spin things online that leaves followers wanting more, and a way to spin things that leaves followers leaving your page in tears.

No matter the topic, try to post with positivity. You don’t have to be Ms. (or Mr.) Mary Sunshine 24/7, but your followers will notice and appreciate when you try to keep your posts away from the shady side of the street.

4. Don’t Feed the Trolls

The beauty of the Internet is that you can spread your word to thousands at the touch of a button. The dark side of the Internet is that strangers have cultivated a sense of anonymity and can consider any posts fair game for engaging in a war of words. It’s easy to feel baited by trolls online; some people enjoy pushing others’ buttons and they are darn good at it. It can be hard to turn the other cheek, but you need to consciously stay above the fray.

What happens if someone bashes you on your page? Nothing. That’s right, nothing! You’re better than this; ignore them. If that troll continues to flood your accounts with aggressive or angry comments, there’s always the block function. Use it. Don’t worry about alienating the “good” followers; by deleting the trouble-makers, you’ll create a more cohesive sense of community for those who add value to the party.

Remember: You’re in control. These are your business (or personal) accounts. There’s no reason to get weighed down by those eager to jeer and jab. Life is short and ain’t nobody got time for that nonsense. And if someone gets upset that you’re “censoring” (what amounts to abuse) and starts giving you a hard time for deleting negativity, well then…Delete, block, done!

5. Share Something Real

While you certainly want to share the news about your book, any upcoming promotions, and speaking events, you don’t need to make your social media ALL writing, ALL the time. Followers who like your work and your writing want to know about you…the real you. It will help you grow your audience if you show sides of yourself, other than the one serious side of Author-in-Training, LLC.

Social media was designed to build connections. Share what’s going on in your life, your likes, dislikes, personal insights. Have dinner at a fab new bistro and love the scallops? Post it! Traveling to Bali to surf? Post it!

Fans want to know the person behind the words, and allowing them tiny glimpses into what makes you tick as a person naturally builds a sense of rapport and connection.

Obviously, this is your business, so do try and walk a fine line. You don’t have to get overly personal on your author page and reveal so much that you’re uncomfortable. But a little insightful sharing about the man or woman behind the genius can go a long way. So much of the creative process is ultimately about connecting with others, so use social media to create and cultivate those connections.

6. Interact

Your audience has come to your social media accounts because they want to know more about you, your work, and your upcoming projects. Make them know that you appreciate their interest and attention by interacting with them.

It’s simple — like their posts, respond to questions, and let your audience know that their opinions and support matter to you. When you show them attention online, they’ll do the same for you, by sharing your posts and your work with their friends and followers. This will help grow your audience exponentially.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!