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When Your Hard Earned Kindle Reviews Disappear

I was literally in the middle of writing a post that shared the results of my very successful book launch for The Kindle Publish Launch Formula.  In fact, I had approximately 350 words completed which included the general outline that I was then going to go back to and fill in.

To do this I had to log into to my KDP account to take a look at my current results.

Like an abrupt smack in the face, I saw that all my reviews were gone.

Gone.

Instead of 10 beautiful full stars. I saw a link that said, “be the first to review this book”. How can that be?

My stomach dropped to the floor and I did what I always do when I encounter an obstacle. I found my wife and explained what happened.

Visibly annoyed, I made it clear to her that I needed to be brought to a better place before attempting to address this concern.

She effectively did this by saying “Mike, obviously, there is some misunderstanding or error somewhere. When did you become a guy who panics before obtaining more information?”

That is why I married her. She called me out and kept me honest.

I pride myself on being able to view everything as an experiment. If I don’t like the results I simply adjust the actions until desired results are achieved.

So why was I acting out of character?

As I reflect on this experience I realize that I was particularly emotional about this because of the topic it was concerning; reviews.

Within the very book that this was happening to, I implore writers to ensure that they obtain reviews in an honest and ethical way.

Now all of a sudden I went from 10 reviews to 0 in a matter of minutes.

I couldn’t help but feel dirty.

What had I done wrong?

Had the KDP rules changed?

Did I reach out to people and offer them a free copy in exchange for an honest review? Yes. It was always and still is my understanding that was acceptable. Prior to my launch, I asked supporters to leave an honest review but to state that they received a free copy to enable providing an honest review.

If it isn’t clear, the theme of that last chapter was honest.

I stand by this. I only ask people who I know are going, to be honest, and then I strongly implore honesty.

These people have provided less than stellar reviews for my previous books.

Now, unfortunately, I can’t tell you this story has a good ending. In fact, it doesn’t really have an ending at all.

All I can tell you is that I have since reached out to KDP support on two separate occasions and at the time of me writing this post I have not heard back yet.

There is a moral to this story, though.

Right now I have two choices. I could choose to be stressed out and anxious over this.

Or, I could focus my attention on resolving this issue and when in a period of waiting for Amazon’s response I can focus on other ways to be productive.

So on that note, I’m going to work on my self-publishing course that supplements that the book. A blog post and some course work completed.

Not a bad panic mode to be in.

 

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Six Channels To Consider When Marketing Your Book

The purpose of this post to help light a fire under your you know what if you’re struggling to market your book. Unfortunately, self-publishing consists of a lot more than just writing. More specifically, if you’re planning on going the indie publishing route then you’re going to have develop some marketing skills.

I should note that I am currently a pretty low skilled marketer but the key is I am open to learning new strategies and I refuse to accept that there is a concept out there too complicated for me to learn assuming I’m willing to put an adequate amount of time into it.

I recommend you pick one of the methods below and pursue learning about it further. This article will not walk you through each channel step by step. I could most likely write a book for each if that were the case.

Whichever you pick just be sure to take action.

Learn.

Do.

Repeat.

YouTube Videos

Videos are a great way to offer a preview of all your book has to offer. If you’re writing a non-fiction book that aims to solve a problem you could create short 1 to 5 minute videos that discuss the problem and offer solutions to solving it. If your book offers multiple solutions then you could create a video for each one or you could create a preview video that explains each process. If you’re a storyteller and your goal for writing is to provide entertainment for the reader then you have a few options. You could create a video where you’re explaining how you came up with the story line or provide a character analysis for each main character. These could be separate videos. Regardless of your chosen genre you could also create a video where you talk about yourself. These videos reveal to viewers who you are and what you care about most when you’re writing.

Be sure that each video offers enough information to peak a potential viewers curiosity then it concludes with instructions on purchasing the book. For example you could simply say “For your copy of Insert Title Here go to Amazon and search Insert Title Here.” If you have your own website you can ask viewers to visit a page within your site that links directly to the Amazon page. For example, “To check it out visit www.mywebsitedomain.com/mybook” the page could contain a picture of your book that links to the Amazon title page of the book.

Remember that this is a numbers game. If you only put one video out there then chances are it isn’t going to be discovered by many potential readers. However, if you
continue to create more and more over time you may be able to build some traction.

On the other hand if you have some funding to invest into marketing then I strongly recommend you research different YouTube advertising options. This will enable you to create content and put it in front of targeted viewers. Again, to provide YouTube advertising instruction would be enough content to fill another book.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are another great way to target potential readers. What makes this channel so helpful is the amount of specific information you can utilize to put your ad in front of the right person. More specifically, you’ll be able to select information such as age, shopping habits, hobbies, location, etc. When you combine all this information into a specific group of people, you’ll be able to see the total amount of potential viewers.

It is also important to note that the daily budget can be capped so you never have to worry about costs getting to out of hand. At the time I write this book, I believe the minimum daily spending limit is $10.00.

Lastly, the remaining marketing channels offered below are all helpful and can be effective, however, if you can only pick one (which I’ll explain later on) I recommend you first utilize Facebook Ads. If you do decide to pursue this channel definitely take a trial and error approach. See the results each day and if they’re weak then make a few adjustments (change your picture, change your copy, etc.). Definitely avoid spending money on something that is yielding poor results.

Amazon Kindle PPC

Amazon Kindler Pay Per Click is another channel that allows you to set limits to how much you’re willing to spend each day and per click. Unlike Facebook, you can target your Amazon Kindle ad to appear when people search particular authors, genres, and even specific books.

This can be tremendously helpful if you have solid understanding of your audience and who they might be reading already. In my experience, however, this method hasn’t created a significant amount of traffic to my books. This isn’t terrible since I’m only paying when a person clicks to view my title page, but it certainly isn’t a channel I would recommend if you’re really trying to pump your sales page traffic.

Twitter Ads

This is a great supplemental marketing channel in that I would only recommend it to support a channel you’ve already begun to utilize. In other words, wait until you feel comfortable with a current strategy then if you have a small amount of additional spending money then you can try creating Twitter Ads.

Influencers

Influencers are established leaders and authorities within a particular market or niche. One strategy you can utilize to help spread the word of your book is to first identify these influencers then reach out to them. People who tend to be influencers usually have a blog, podcast, newsletter, and/or YouTube channel that already generates significant traffic.

Once you have a list of potential influencers then your second step is to begin contacting them. This can be done via a social media network, email, or if possible (and appropriate) a phone call. Moreover, if you’re able to meet this person at a conference then that is best. One great way to set yourself apart from so many people who make a career online in some way is to position yourself to have personal interactions with people rather than just email exchanges. This isn’t always easy to do, but when possible, it can be helpful to have an existing relationship with a person before you contact them electronically.

When you do reach out to influencers you want to very quickly make it clear that you understand his or her audience and that you’d love the opportunity to offer some value. If you’re looking for a free way to do this you can start by offering free guest posts that prove you care about the audience more than your own self promotion. After you’ve established that you understand the need to provide value you might recieve an opportunity to publish a few links to your book.

If you have no idea how to go about identifying who these influencers are do not worry because it is easier than you think. Search the keywords that you’re targeting and see who and what ranks well. Are they videos, blogs, Amazon sales pages? Look through each site and find the contact information. After you Google the keywords, try Bing.com, Yahoo.com, and DuckDuckGo.com. All three of those sites are less popular search engines but they still have millions upon millions of active users and therefore you might find an influencer that doesn’t come through on a Google search.

Fiverr.com

At this point you’re probably thinking that I have some sort of affiliation with fiverr.com since I’ve linked to it so many times throughout the book. To be clear, I am not in any way an affiliate nor am I making a dime from them any time you use them. I recommend them so much because I use them so much throughout all of my entrepreneurial endeavors.

One capacity in which I use Fiverr is to find quick, easy, and affordable marketing opportunities. Just go to the site and search any one of the following:

– Book Promotion
– Marketing Strategy
– Podcast Interview
– Guest Blog post
– Blog Mention
– Twitter Promotion
– Facebook Shares
– Etc.

Be creative too because there is quite a bit more available to help promote your book. One suggestion, however, is that you avoid overpaying for banner ads. In my personal experience they just have never seemed to convert that well. I once paid $40.00 for a banner ad for a site that generate hundreds of thousands of visits per month and there was no apparent change or boost. Some might say that could have been a result of a poorly optimized title page, however, the following day when I had paid $25.00 for an email mention to an influencers mailing list my sales quadrupled for that day. This doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’ll have the same experience, but I think most self publishers would agree that banner ads tend not to be as effective compared to a influencer with a strong email list.

Before you do I just want to add that I may be absent for the next couple of weeks. I am going to try and adjust the way I create and market my content. In doing so I want to build up a bunch of articles so I have a solid buffer and always working a few weeks ahead.

I have come to terms with the fact that in order to do this I need to prioritize. My goal is to be offering at least one post, every other week that is much more in depth and action oriented.

While I iron all this out I’ll go crazy if I try focus on posting so though I’m not saying I’ll definitely be absent, I am saying that I might be (but it won’t be more than a month).

Anyways I digress.

While you cry by your computer waiting for the next post, pick a channel above and take action!

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27 More Sites To Advertise Your Free Book

If you’re like me then you’re open to incorporating a giveaway portion of your book launch. There are plenty of free places to do this throughout the inter web, however, how effective is it?

Below is a table of some great options. Sure it might cost you some money on the front end but if you’re looking to boost momentum for your new book (especially if you do not have a mailing list) then I recommend you check these sites out.

If you’re launching your book but you don’t want to offer it for free click here for 51 more sites.

Enjoy!

Free Book Launches
no Site Cost
1 FreeBooksy $80
2 GoodRiter $20-$100
3 BuckBooks $30-$50
4 BooksButterfly $25-$300
5 BookBub $150-$1000
6 EReaderNewsToday $30-$80
7 FussyLibrarian $8-$20
8 DigitalBookToday $15-$60
9 Bknights $10
10 eBooksHabit $10
11 Reading Deals $15
12 ItsWriteNow $10-$20
13 RobinReads $30
14 eReaderCafe $20
15 Free99Books $0-$20
16 FreeBookDude $0-$20
17 BookMarketingTools $15
18 BookZio $19-$39
19 eBookLister $10-$20
20 eBookHounds $5-$10
21 OneHundredFreeBooks $75-$100
22 StoryFinds $50-$200
23 PeopleReads $10
24 ManyBooks $25
25 GenrePulse $15-$40
26 BookSends $75-$125
27 BoogGorilla $40-$80