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Archive for June, 2012

So just how importantare rating and reviews to book rankings?

Juding by the information I’ve been able to gather over the past few months and the inside talk-very. To investigate a little further, I Googled ‘how to review a book’, and found an article called, “So you’d like to get your book reviewed on Amazon and boost your sales“. Okay, perfect. This is just was I was looking for. According to Amazon, “Good reviews on Amazon are particularly crucial for books by new authors and for niche books, and it stands to reason that they boost sales not only at that site but everywhere people are buying books, although we don’t yet know what percentage of buyers at brick-and-mortar bookstores made their choice by reading Amazon customer reviews.”. This article also went on to explain how to approach Amazon’s top reviewers, and even provides a sample script to try to elicit the review.

Of course there’s a downside to reviews, and that is the dreaded negative review. In that same Amazon article, they point out, “Yes, negative reviews can hurt sales in the short term, but over the long term, allowing criticism builds credibility and helps shoppers decide what to buy, Bezos says: “We don’t make money when we sell things; we make money when we help people make purchase decisions.”

Rampant Techpress has an excellent article on Amazon Sales Rank Tracking that’s well worth taking a look at, as it breaks down how the giant book seller actually ranks an author’s book. I found this really useful in understanding the mechanics behind rankings.

Opinions seem to vary between “no, not important and it’s just an author’s vanity”, to “yes, extremely important”. With the advent of indie publishing, self-publishing and ebooks, I believe book rankings has become one of those hot topics everyone is trying to figure out. According the big hitters, ranking is definitely important. After all, what is the New York Times Bestseller’s List, but a ranking of books the publisher’s and critics like? Why are the readers’ opinions less important. To authors, they aren’t. In the grand scheme of things, readers buy books, not publishers, agents, critics or even book stores.

Can rankings be padded or faked, of course they can, and sometimes are. Word is spreading that some of the big publishing houses are actually even hiring individuals to post poor reviews for indie authors for the sole purpose of bringing their rankings down. I have no idea if this is true, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Selling books has long been big business, and in today’s highly competitive publishing industry, with the increasing rise and popularity of ebooks, it’s no wonder.

So, are rankings and reviews important. I think so, but hey, I’m an author, so I care what others think of my work. It’s how I plan to grow and improve my craft, as well as how I hope to sell my books.

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Seth Godin

Thanks to a fellow author/blogger, Dee Dee Scott from The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing , I discovered that, in addition to us writers/authors, someone else is seeing epublishing and ebooks as a viable, sustainable business model. By partnering with some really big hitters, like Amazon and GE, and ShopifySeth Godin’s The Domino Project introduces a new kind of publishing, powered by the giant, Amazon.

Kudos to Godin and Amazon for pushing the envelope in book publishing and reader interactiveness. As Mr. Godin states, “The challenge of curation by an individual publisher is this: readers have no idea who publishes what books.”.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with traditionally published books, and of course I’d love to see my books in print on book store shelves. It’s the business model of traditional publishers, editors and agents that I believe are in need of tweaking. The old ways simply don’t always work the best, and with the advent of new technology, companies, including book publishing, need to keep up and change with the times.

Companies such as Amazon, and the newer Smashwords and Kobo have started aggressively courting the authors directly, allowing them to upload books directly onto their sites. It’s smart business. Not only does it feed the voracious appetite of readers, it keeps filling the funnel of new product, which translates into sizeable profit. They’ve opened the gates for new authors in a huge way, and taken down many of the old barriers. Does it mean some crappy work gets out there, of course it does, but there is some crappy traditionally published works out there too. Personally, I think I’d rather pay $5 or less and discover I don’t like the book, than pay $9.99 or more and discover the same thing. On the other hand, I’ve discovered a whole slew of new e-authors whose work I’ll definitely follow. A good author who wants to make this writing thing their life’s work, will to the best of their ability, pursue professionalism and turn out professional quality product, just as they would with a traditional publishing house. It’s a matter of pride and reputation.

I also truly believe the cream will rise to the top. The really good books will find their way into the hands of readers and readers will continue to buy them, thereby keeping the cycle going.

In a world of instant gratification, keeping up with the increasing demand by consumers has taken on a whole new meaning. Books are no different. If anything, it’s current almost frenetic pace is challenging to all involved in the book sales and writing industry.

One thing is for sure, it’s one of the most exciting times to be a writer.

Question: Do you pay attention to who publishes a book, or do you purchase based on author and/or storyline?

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So just how importantare rating and reviews to book rankings?

Juding by the information I’ve been able to gather over the past few months and the inside talk-very. To investigate a little further, I Googled ‘how to review a book’, and found an article called, “So you’d like to get your book reviewed on Amazon and boost your sales“. Okay, perfect. This is just was I was looking for. According to Amazon, “Good reviews on Amazon are particularly crucial for books by new authors and for niche books, and it stands to reason that they boost sales not only at that site but everywhere people are buying books, although we don’t yet know what percentage of buyers at brick-and-mortar bookstores made their choice by reading Amazon customer reviews.”. This article also went on to explain how to approach Amazon’s top reviewers, and even provides a sample script to try to elicit the review.

Of course there’s a downside to reviews, and that is the dreaded negative review. In that same Amazon article, they point out, “Yes, negative reviews can hurt sales in the short term, but over the long term, allowing criticism builds credibility and helps shoppers decide what to buy, Bezos says: “We don’t make money when we sell things; we make money when we help people make purchase decisions.”

Rampant Techpress has an excellent article on Amazon Sales Rank Tracking that’s well worth taking a look at, as it breaks down how the giant book seller actually ranks an author’s book. I found this really useful in understanding the mechanics behind rankings.

Opinions seem to vary between “no, not important and it’s just an author’s vanity”, to “yes, extremely important”. With the advent of indie publishing, self-publishing and ebooks, I believe book rankings has become one of those hot topics everyone is trying to figure out. According the big hitters, ranking is definitely important. After all, what is the New York Times Bestseller’s List, but a ranking of books the publisher’s and critics like? Why are the readers’ opinions less important. To authors, they aren’t. In the grand scheme of things, readers buy books, not publishers, agents, critics or even book stores.

Can rankings be padded or faked, of course they can, and sometimes are. Word is spreading that some of the big publishing houses are actually even hiring individuals to post poor reviews for indie authors for the sole purpose of bringing their rankings down. I have no idea if this is true, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Selling books has long been big business, and in today’s highly competitive publishing industry, with the increasing rise and popularity of ebooks, it’s no wonder.

So, are rankings and reviews important. I think so, but hey, I’m an author, so I care what others think of my work. It’s how I plan to grow and improve my craft, as well as how I hope to sell my books.

————————————————————————————————————————

I just read an excellent article in The Huffington Post this morning about how to use social media for new start ups.

Writing is a business, as much as it’s a craft. In order to gain the readers we want and followers we need, we are constantly trying to find the most efficient and effective means of connecting with our audience. Social media has been a major boon to writers of all genres. It helps us connect with family and friends to let them know what we’re doing, it allows us to connect with others who might be interested in our work, but more importantly, it needs to be about connecting with others-period.

In order to be well received, we have to show respect, listen to what others have to say, contribute thoughtfully and intelligently to the conversations that interest us, and if we want others to help us promote our work, start by promoting theirs. Pay it forward before asking for paybacks. I guess I think of like this: If you walk into a room and start boasting about your accomplishments, talk only about yourself and what you’re doing or think, and monopolize the conversations, you’ll quickly find yourself standing in that room alone. On the other hand, be polite, listen and contribute intelligently, ask about others and be genuinely interested in them (not faking it till it’s your turn), and be prepared to offer assistance where you can, others will gravitate to you. No pushing needed.

What  are your thoughts or pet peeves on social media?

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