You are probably saying “What? Why’s Dan writing about his marketing strategy on his blog about coming home from war?”
Well, because it involves you, that’s why.
As you probably know, I’ve just published my second book, Continuing Actions. Now that the book is available on amazon.com, my efforts shift from production to marketing. Hence, this post.
The most valuable marketing tool available to a self-published author are the reviews posted on the book’s amazon.com product page. These reviews allow potential readers to see what other readers, just like them, thought about the book. The best reviews give a little background about the reviewer, state in their own words what the book was about, their reactions to it, and their subjective assessment of how valuable the book will be to other readers. That’s it–quick, to the point, honest.
When I’m looking at a book online, I usually check out a few of the highest rankings then go to the lowest ones. For the most part the highest rankings are all the same. It’s in the low ones that you get a real feel for the book. If the lowest ranking reviews are well thought out descriptions of substandard workmanship, writing, or content then I steer clear. Usually, though, they are not.
Usually the lowest ranking reviews reveal that the book did not subscribe directly to the reviewers personally held beliefs, or didn’t stoke their anger at some policy/politician/societal problem that they hold dear. Or they reveal that the reviewer didn’t bother to check and see what the book was about and was disappointed when 50 Shades of Grey wasn’t a “paint-by-numbers” book. Either way, those low reviews are beneficial to me as a reader because they tell me that no reasonable person found anything substantial wrong with the book, so I should buy it.
Right now I am in the “soft-launch” phase of getting this second book out there. I’ve sent it out to reviewers, publicity contacts, veterans groups, non-profits, major corporations and others. Months will go by before these “seed corn” copies potentially sprout. In the meantime, though, gathering reviews on amazon.com from early readers will ensure that, if publicity gods do smile upon my work in the future, then new readers will find thoughtful reviews online to help them decide to buy the book.
So, if you’ve read either of my books, but Continuing Actions especially because it currently only has one review, I’d really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to review it on amazon. Building a solid base of customer reviews is critical if this book is going to be successful in its mission: helping present and future veterans come home from war.