Saturday, August 10, 2013

How to get good reviews by Theo Rodgers Book Review, Book Tour, and Giveaway (Goddess Fish).

I read How to get good reviews on Amazon by Theo Rodgers, in exchange for review from Goddess Fish Promotions. This review is lengthy because reading and reviewing books is a major part of my lifestyle.

About the Book: copied from media kit

How To Get Good Reviews On Amazon is a simple, no-nonsense guide that teaches exactly what it says it does. Based on both psychological science and thousands of hours of conversation with some of Amazon’s top reviewers, it takes you behind the scenes into the reviewing subculture that has grown up on Amazon’s website. It gives you a deep, insider’s knowledge of how the top reviewers think and operate. It not only shows you what to do: it takes you inside the reviewers’ heads so that you can see for yourself both how these techniques work and why they’re so effective. Lessons include:
  • A simple, four-part formula for writing emails that get your work reviewed.
  • Three things never to say when communicating with reviewers!
  • How to pick reviewers who are more likely to give you a good review.
  • How to reduce the chance that a reviewer you contact will post a bad review – even if it turns out they don’t like your work!
  • How people get caught out when receiving reviews from friends and family
This book teaches an honest, straightforward approach that works. It works because it’s not based gimmicks or tricks but on a real understanding of how Amazon reviewers operate: most of all on what they expect from authors and other sellers. If you want to know how to talk to Amazon reviewers in a way that will make them respect you as a professional and see you as the kind of seller they actually want to help, this is the book for you.

About the author:copied from media kit

Theo Rogers combines years of coalface experience on Amazon's website with formal training and
qualifications in a range of business and social science disciplines. He's spent literally thousands of hours talking with Amazon reviewers, getting inside their heads, and learning what makes them tick. He's spent almost as many hours observing the carnage that so often takes place on Amazon's forums. In the process he's developed a deep insider's knowledge of the reviewing subculture that's grown up on Amazon's website. He's also seen a lot of authors and other would-be sellers make the same mistakes in their dealings with that subculture - over and over again. As a result of his experiences, Theo has come to believe that yes, there is a simple formula that works: a way of dealing with reviewers that's honest, powerful, and extremely effective at winning reviewers over, getting them on your side, and making them actually want to help you.

Excerpt:copied from media kit

One of the most fundamental ideas in this booklet is that there’s a definite reviewing subculture that 
has grown up on Amazon’s website. Like any culture, it has its own particular values and mores: its 
own ideas about what’s right and what’s wrong. When we come to the issue of shill reviews, we collide headlong with the values of the reviewing culture. As you might expect, most reviewers see shills – and the sellers who use them – as very, very wrong. Because this section is all about values, I think it’s important to stress that I’m writing here as your guide to Amazon’s reviewing subculture. I’m not writing as a missionary on its behalf. Simply put, I believe that your journey through the Amazon Jungle will be smoother, easier, and more successful if along the way you’re respectful of the values of the natives who dwell there. For that reason, I’m going to lay out for you some of the more commonly held tenants: the basic beliefs that most of the natives would hold to. It’s not for me to tell you whether you should embrace these values to the core of your being and make them your own. I’m just telling you that as a matter of pure pragmatism, you are going to make trouble for yourself if you ignore them.

My Review:

I been reviewing books since 2011. I have posted almost 200 reviews on Amazon, Shelfari, Library Thing, Good Reads, and my blog, but when it comes to reviews on my own books, I may have one or two. Reviews help some people determine if and when to buy a particular product or review. Of course, you want your reviews to be helpful (love it when I get that email). I wanted to read this book to learn how to get more reviews, in addition to good reviews on book review websites, for my books. I even did a promotion on LibraryThing, thinking I would get some excellent reviews and I got one person, who left a review on Chocolate Kisses.

For me, I usually give 4 to 5 stars for great books, 3 stars for average books, and 1 star for books, which disinterest me. When I have to give a negative review, I usually mention why I did not like the book in concrete terms. I don't attack the author.

So back to the book:

The first chapter deals with the mind of the average Amazon Reviewer. Why do people review books? Why would they review your book? For me, I had few reviews on Amazon, prior to becoming a blogger. I started reviewing more books when I got involved with Blogging. I even started reviewing books I read for business or pleasure. I use reviews to describe a product; tell people how much I liked a product or book; or tell people, how much I disliked a product or book. I also sometimes do video reviews, if I don't feel like typing. Why would I review your book: I read the description first. Non fiction and special needs books get priority over fiction. For non-fiction, if I can apply the material to my life and struggles, I will chose to review the book. Reviews also help improve rank. My old rank was in the millions. My new rank well is in the 23,944, with 69 helpful reviews. I got top reviewer status. I was happy to receive that honor. Never won too many awards and trophies in real life, but I love my top reviewer status on Amazon. I have arrived LOL. Any rank over 1000 gets top reviewer ranking. You can earn badges if you are in the top 1000. Your rank can improve with helpful votes. People can vote yes or no to your reviews.

The second chapter: discusses selecting reviewers. The author discusses the four P's of marketing when selecting reviewers.

  • Product: What are you selling? What are you asking people to review? Has your book been edited? proof read? Is an an advanced reader copy? Is it a finished copy? Do you want the reviewers to help point out the flaws in the book? You also have to consider language. If your book uses lots of slang or ebonics for example, let the readers know. For example, I was asked to read and edit a street lit book for a random dude online. The book had slang, bad grammar, bad spelling, and punctuation from the beginning. I wasn't sure if the author did it like that on purpose or wanted me to correct spelling on every other word. The author told me he wanted it like that after I finished editing the book. 
  • Price: how much are you selling the product for?
  • Place: Where are you selling your products?
  • Promotion: What is the book about? Promotion includes marketing and advertising. Promotion also involves finding people, who will review your book. But, don't make it a requirement to like your book. I have seen places (book tours, for example), which say if you can't rank the book 3 stars, contact them and let them know why, instead of posting the review publicly. I even had one case on Library Thing, where I won a member giveaway book, and the public relations rep, said the author don't like negative reviews. Their tone was very crass and it made me not want to read the book, let alone review it. I don't remember the name of the book, but I remember the author. Makes me not want to request any of the author's books again because of his or her representative. 
How do you select reviewers? for me, I have found reviewers in book review books on facebook, ning, library thing, twitter, and other sites. The author suggests looking for reviewers by Amazon Rank, such as a top reviewer. One problem with this is top reviewers, even people, like me, who review books, get a lot of book review requests. It can be overwhelming. Authors can also hit up folks with average ranks, who want to build up their ranks. You also can offer free books or an incentive for reviewers to choose your book. I love free books and gift cards. You don't want someone to spend a lot of money on your book, just to review it. Remember, to tell your reviewers to mention they got the book for free for honest review to abide by FTC standards. 

Chapter 3 focuses on contacting reviewers: email; leaving a comment on one of their reviews; using social media; etc. Rodgers also suggests not asking for a positive review; complain about previous bad reviews; or offer the reviewer money.

Chapter 4 focuses on what happens after the review is posted: You can do nothing. The review is posted. Mission accomplished. You can also send a thank you note to the reviewer. I seen cases where the authors or representatives email the reviewer, asking to be added to future books to be reviewed lists. But do not leave comments only on five star reviews or attack people, who left bad reviews. There was an incident a while back, where an author, who had a pending book deal, attacked some of his critics and the company on Amazon and Facebook. The thread was posted online in a few of my other book reviewer and author groups, in addition to shared across the internet via social media. That one bad post made a lot of reviewers mad, not to mention, it may make the author lose a potential book deal. Not everyone will like a book, but don't take it out on them and social media, not to mention your publishing company.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading this book. I read it within two hours.


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