How to Get More Reviews

5 Tried and True Techniques

Positive reviews are the basic sustenance for your eBook’s success. The same way that healthy bodies need to be fueled with plenty of fruits and vegetables, so too do eBooks need to be nourished by 4 and 5-star feedback in order to rise up in Amazon’s ranks and increase their sales.

It can be difficult to get people to write positive reviews, however, especially since people are often more inclined to vocalize  their opinions when they have something negative to say.

With that said, you will find 5 successful techniques listed below, which I have employed to help my company’s eBooks garner more positive reviews, and hopefully they can help your books too!

In no particular order…

1. Add a review request page

post itAt the end of your eBook, add a page thanking your readers and encouraging them to leave you a review. You can title this page something like “Review Request Page” and include an enticing image to attract your readers’ attention.

You should not, however, offer an incentive for leaving a review of your eBook, such as monetary compensation, as this is a violation of Amazon’s Terms of Service and could result in your account being banned.

2. Do a Free Day on Amazon

To do a Free Day, log into your Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account, proceed to your eBook’s dashboard, and click where it says “Promotions Manager.” Next, click the button that says “New” and fill in the required information.

free_day_kindle_bookThe optimal time to blast the word about your eBook (through personal connections, social media, etc.) is either on the day of or the day before your scheduled Free Day, because at this time, your family members, friends, and followers will be able to access your eBook without it costing them a cent.

NOTE: In order to perform this technique, you must enroll KDP Select. With KDP Select, Amazon is permitted to hold exclusive rights to publish your eBook for a period of 90 days, which means that you are not able to sell your eBook on any other platform during that time. This also includes publishing your eBook on a personal website or blog.

3. Swap reviews

You can hunt for people with whom to conduct book review swaps on author and publishing forums such as the following:

4. Search for top reviewers from Amazon.com

When it comes to the business of review hunting, there are obviously some reviews that are higher quality than others. Therefore, you want to entice better quality reviews from people who possess “expert” status, whom you can find under Amazon’s list of Top Customer Reviewers.

top_reviewers

All of the reviewers included on the above website have been ranked highly by Amazon. And so, getting a review from one of these  reviewers is kind of like earning a pat on the back directly from Amazon.

To find reviewers who are interested in your eBook’s specific topic or genre, go to Google and type in the following:

site:amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile “your keyword phrase (in quotes)”

You can also add the words “email” or “web page” after “your keyword phrase” so as to find people who are easier to contact.

Once you are returned with your search results, look at the various reviewers’ profiles, paying attention to their interests and tags, to see who would be a good fit for your eBook. Additionally, note whether a reviewer generally leaves positive or negative feedback.

Then, once you’ve compiled a list of high quality reviewers, begin to look for their contact information and then send them a note, asking if they might want to review your eBook.

5. Check out GoodReads.com

GoodReads is a community of people who thoroughly enjoy reading eBooks. It has over 8 million registered members and more than 13 million posted reviews. GoodReads.com is also great because it enables you to foster niche-specific interest around your eBook.

goodreads

The way the website operates is you perform a search by group, category, and tags, and employ keywords to look for potential reviewers.

Then, you click on a person’s hyperlinked name, which takes you to his or her profile page. From there, you click where it says “send message,” so you can see if that person would be willing to write a review of your eBook.

It’s beneficial to give reviewers your email address and let them know they are free to get in touch with you via email, because in doing so, you will be able to earn their email addresses too. And this will enable you to contact them more easily in the future, should you have more eBooks you’d like them to review.

What do you think about these techniques? Have you tried any of them before? What tips and advice do you have about how to get more reviews? 

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Your eBook Amazon Page Rank

Move It On Up!

You’ve toiled away hours of your time writing, editing, and re-writing your eBook, and it’s finally ready to be published as an Amazon Kindle book.

OK so now what?

Well, unless you can stand behind a powerhouse name like J.K. Rowling, Elizabeth Gilbert, Stephen King, or some other celebrity author, your eBooks aren’t likely to sell themselves.

Time to initiate the technical/strategic parts of the self-publishing process!

When it comes to increasing your eBook’s page rank, the first thing you want to do is focus on your eBook’s Amazon description. In order to help potential customers locate your eBook, you need to fill your description with targeted keywords that people may plug in while they are browsing on Amazon.

You don’t want to “spam” your primary, or most relevant keyword, however. Ideally, your most relevant keyword would appear somewhere in your eBook’s title along with twice more in your eBook’s description: once in the beginning and once at the end.

The remaining 5-7 keywords that you include in your eBook’s description should be your LSI keywords.

LSI stands for latent semantic indexing. And LSI keywords are words which are close in meaning to your primary, targeted keyword or keyword phrase. But they differ enough so as to allow you to cast a wider net in terms of your eBook’s reach.

The way to discover what your LSI keywords are is to conduct a search using either Google’s free AdWords tool (Image 1) or the LSI Keywords tool (Image 2).

Google AdWords Tool

Image 1

LSI Keyword Tool

Image 2

You want to select 5-7 LSI keywords from the search results of whichever method you choose and then infuse those keywords into your eBook’s description in a way that flows and makes sense.

Then, the next thing you want to consider is purchasing backlinks for your eBook, which you can do at OneHourBacklinks.com.

Backlinks, which are also known as inbound or incoming links, fulfill SEO purposes and serve as indications of a particular URL’s importance or popularity.

OneHourBacklinks.com

In the keywords/phrases box, you can type in up to 10 LSI keywords. And in the URLs box, you can paste your eBook’s Amazon link once your book has been published.

Depending on what your targeted keywords are along  with the level of competition in your eBook’s niche, you may need to purchase multiple rounds of backlinks before you see your eBook begin to climb Amazon’s page ranking system.

However, if you keep track of all of your efforts and continually gauge where your eBook falls in the Amazon ranking system, sooner rather than later, you’ll start to see  upwards progress.

What do you think about these page rank suggestions? What else are you doing to increase your eBook’s Amazon page rank?

eBook Cover Creation

Increase Your Sales with a Cover That Pops

OK let’s be honest, we all judge books by their covers, at least a little bit. And when your eBook is for sale on Amazon, as potential buyers scroll through the lists of eBooks they might like to purchase, the two primary items they are going to take into account are…

  1. Number of positive reviews
  2. Appeal of the eBook’s cover 

Of course, not all of us are graphic designers – I know I certainly am not. But when it comes to eCover creation, you really don’t want to put up a make-shift cover that you slapped together yourself in Paint, because your sales are likely to also reflect your do-it-yourself approach.

For the most successful eCover creation, I would encourage you to seek external help. This can be costly, however, especially if you enlist the services of a professional graphic designer. Therefore, if you are on a budget, I’d recommend visiting Fiverr.com and perusing its listing of eBook cover creators.

fiverr_imageIf you’ve never used Fiverr before, absolutely everything on the site costs $5.o0. Turnaround times do vary, but most eCover creators say they can create your eCover within 3-5 days. Of course, the quality of work can fluctuate, so be sure to read the reviews and only hire people who have high rating percentages.

But before you visit Fiverr, you’ll need to have a basic idea of what you want your eCover to look like so as to provide a working foundation for your Fiverr designer.

Here are some pointers about that:

1. Genre, Mood, and Tone

You need to consider your book’s genre, along with its overall mood/tone. Go to Amazon.com and browse other books that have the same genre as yours to see what their eCovers look like. You will probably notice a trend as you look through the various listings, especially in terms of style and color usage. Use any trends you notice as inspiration for your own eBook’s cover.

2. Author’s Name

Unless you are a best-selling author or have some other significant editorial credentials to your name, make the font style and size of your name as the author smaller and less eye-catching than that of the main title. The author name should only be bigger than the title if the name lends itself as a sales-driving force.

3. eCover Image

If you don’t have the budget to conduct a photo-shoot, then you will probably need to rely on stock photos, which is totally fine. You can find lots of great images online and you can also usually make adjustments to the photos. Just be sure to carefully read the images’ licensing information.

Although in using stock photography, you do run the risk of someone else’s eBook cover having the same image. However, just do a quick scan of the best-selling books in your genre on Amazon and make sure you aren’t using the same images as any of those eBooks. Unless your images are the same as one of the best-sellers, your audience isn’t likely to notice.

Also, if you’d like to make a few tweaks or adjustments to your photos, you are absolutely able to do that as well. Photoshop is a fantastic resource for image editing. Or, there are free programs available too, such as GIMP. Most Fiverr designers will be able to find images on their own, but if you have a specific image in mind, you are certainly free to let your designer know that.

What tips and advice do you have about eCover creation? What criteria do you look for in a high quality eBook cover? 

Kindle eBook Basics

Don’t Let Formatting Mistakes Squash Your Success!

Reports and novels and children’s picture books – oh my! When it comes to Kindle eBook creation, there are many different avenues  you can take, as pretty much any type of literature can be published and sold. You can write fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, poetry, how-to guides and reports, even erotica is fair game.

Basically, as long as your book passes Amazon’s review process (and I’ve never had a book or report that didn’t), then you can become a published author.

Completing your book from start to finish is only the first phase of the self-publishing process, though. For some of you, this may be the most difficult part. But for those of you who are self-publishing neophytes, the ensuing processes: formatting and publishing and marketing (can we get another oh my?) can present numerous other obstacles to overcome, especially the formatting part,which has been known to produce the following side effects:

  • fist-shaking
  • hair-pulling
  • huffing and puffing
  • and exasperated keyboard-smacking

One of the very first eBooks that I ever worked on was an A-Z guidebook about successful meditation. The book itself had well-written content and an attractive, professionally-made cover. What it lacked, though, was the proper Kindle formatting.

The book was a guinea pig of sorts, as the marketing company I work for was just beginning to test the waters of eBook creation, and many of the details of the formatting process were not executed as properly as they should have.

Just because your eBook looks good in MS Word, that doesn’t mean it’s going to also look good as a Kindle book.

If you are new to Kindle publishing, poor formatting is the probably the biggest rookie mistake you’ll make. Unfortunately, though, it’s a mistake that’s difficult to recover from if you don’t catch it right away, as your reviews and sales are going to suffer as a result.

customer_reviews

People who are not satisfied after purchasing your eBook are not likely to follow the adage of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Nope, they are going to jump on their computers and leave you negative reviews, which in turn will affect both your sales and your Amazon page rank.

So, the moral of the story is whenever possible check, double-check, and triple-check to make sure your eBook doesn’t have any funky formatting issues.

Formatting a book for Kindle can be a pain-in-the-butt process. But it’s much less so if you follow the guidelines set forth by Amazon from the start… meaning that before you type a single sentence of your book, you should read those guidelines and treat them as your self-publishing commandments.

For example, Thou shall format all images so they are In Line with Text (one of the more common mistakes people make).

Image_In_Line

Some of the guidelines can be pretty confusing, however. But this is where formatting software can come into play.

You’ll still have to keep in mind Amazon’s more basic guidelines, but formatting software can help you to iron out the less detectable hiccoughs, which often occur.

A piece of really helpful software, which my boss co-created, is called the Kinstant Formatter. With this software, users simply upload their eBooks and then KF pretty much takes care of the rest, generating a .epub file, which users can then upload to their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) accounts. The whole process takes under five minutes to complete.

Of course, I can’t say that the Kinstant Formatter works flawlessly every time. There have been occasions when I’ve needed to run a document through multiple times, making adjustments here and there, before I could get it to look just right.

But the software definitely does make the formatting process a lot less of a headache. I don’t want to turn this post into a sales pitch, though, so I’m not going to go into much more depth about it.

But if you would like to learn more, you can visit the website at: KinstantFormatter.com

kinstant_formatter_image

And in any case, whether you use software or do the formatting by hand (following Amazon’s guidelines), before you upload your eBook to your KDP account, you definitely should verify how it looks with the Kindle Previewer tool, which is a free and easy-t0-use download.

What have your experiences been with the Kindle formatting process? Do you prefer doing it by hand or using software? What advice can you share?