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Sunday, August 12, 2018


Use A Writer's Work Around


In the tech world, when you run into a snag (which seems to happen with great frequency), you will find a work around. With this work around, you can achieve the same result but will have to use a different process to get there.

Often I need to find a work around when it comes to the ever-changing world of social media. As I've mentioned in these articles before, I don't spend a lot of time on my social media—but I do spend consistent time on it. Using a scheduling tool like HootSuiteI tweet about 12–15 times every day. These tweets also show up on Facebook and LinkedIn—which are other social networks where I have a lot of activity.

Whenever a social network makes changes, you have to find a work around for your activity to continue. For example, several months ago, Facebook posted my tweets but without images. Several times a day I would add the images to my posts on Facebook (which make them more attractive and read). Then without warning, Facebook began including the images with my tweets again so I didn't need to add them.

Last week, Facebook decided to stop the twitter posts from showing up on Facebook. As I understand it, this stop happened across the entire Facebook network. Suddenly twitter posts were blocked on Facebook. I had to search for a work around to get my posts on Facebook (where I get a lot of appreciation about the information I'm posting).

My current work around for this situation is to go over to Facebook several times a day. I simply cut and paste my posts from Twitter to my Facebook feed. In each case, I make sure my post and image are on Facebook. My work around is time consuming and I'm looking for some other method to get these posts on my Facebook newsfeed. Why do I care that it stopped? Because I have over 4,900 Facebook friends and I continue to get feedback that people appreciate the information. I don't want this regular marketing to stop.

My point of this article is to demonstrate each of us face road blocks to our marketing efforts or our writing efforts. These road blocks are a clear dividing line between people who get it done and others who are stopped. The persistent authors figure out a work around or way around the road block. The authors who are not persistent are thrown off with the road block and don't get it done.

This week I asked one of my writer friends about her proposal. I learned she had sent it to one publisher (two months ago) and gotten rejected. She hit a road block but it stopped her and she had not sent it to another publisher. Some of my friends have established a rule where if they get rejected, they take 24 hours to mourn that rejection, then they fire their article or proposal or query to another place. See their work around? These authors understand rejection is a part of our writing life—yet they do not let rejection stop them. Instead, they are committed to getting their submission back into the market.

What is holding you back? Is it rejection? Is it a tech glitch? Is it something with social media? What active steps are you taking to find your work around instead of letting it stop you? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, August 05, 2018


Why Every Author Needs Amazon Reviews (Including Me)


Book reviews is one of my on-going concerns with authors. Maybe they don’t care about book reviews and never put any effort into getting them. Their book has been available for months or years yet they  have zero or one or two reviews.

Other authors put effort into getting reviews when their book is first launched (which is admirable). Yet after the initial launch, they press on to other areas and never do anything additional about book reviews.

My focus in this article is helping you understand the on-going importance of book reviews. Whether your book is just launching or has been out for years, you still need reviews. A new review whenever it is posted is something you can tout and promote on social media.

I encourage every author to get at least 25 reviews when their book launches. It will take work from the author for you to get these reviews. Ask people if they are willing to read your book and write an honest review. Send them the electronic or print book, then keep track to follow-up and see if they have completed the review. From my experience you need twice the number of people to reach your goal for reviews. For example, if you want 25 reviews, then you will need to get commitments from 50 people. Why?

Life is busy and full of interruptions and many people don’t carry out on their commitment to review your book—unless you follow-up and ask about it—and even with follow-up some people will  not do it.

At first, you should have a goal of 25 reviews on Amazon. Then when you achieve that mark, your goal should shift to 50 reviews. Why?

When your book has 50 or more reviews, Amazon let’s the author (or your publisher) do some special advertising that was not available with less reviews. And when your book reaches 50 or more reviews? Then you have a new goal of 100 or more reviews.
Last week in Nashville I talking with David Hancock the founder of Morgan James Publishing, I learned when your book reaches 100 or more reviews, Amazon begins to do some behind-the-scenes advertising to promote and sell more books. The benchmark made sense to me since many books never reach that 100 or more reviews but the ones who do, indicate books which are actively selling.

Have You Read My Book?


The Audiobook is also available.

As of this writing, my biography, Billy Graham, A Biography of America’s Greatest Evangelist, has 83 Amazon reviews. I’m 17 reviews short of reaching 100. If you have read my book, I’d appreciate an honest review (hopefully four or five stars but honest is important).

When I learned about this 100 review benchmark, I wrote several friends and asked them to review the book. I’ve also been working to find more people to read or hear my book and write a review. If you are interested and don’t have my book, reach out to me and I’ll be happy to get you a copy in exchange for the review.

If You Get a One or Two Star Review

Sometimes an author will ask me what can be done when they get a one star review. I tell them to rejoice and they look at me like I’m crazy. You rejoice because that one star review has just validated your other reviews. If you see a book with all five star reviews, then it is like the author is orchestrating all of the reviews. If thre are one star reviews, then you know the reviews are real.
Don’t reach out to those people because it only feeds the trolls. Instead let it go.


Getting Reviews Is On-Going

My key point of this article is the process of getting reviews for Amazon or Goodreads or Barnes & Noble is ongoing for every  author. It is not a seasonal or one-time type of process. I would compare it to any type of marketing for your book. The process is on-going rather than hit or miss.

There is no single path to make your book a bestseller. If we had a formula then every book would be a bestseller. Instead each author has to try many different things to see which actions bear the greatest sales or results. It is much more of a marathon effort than a sprint. My intention is to help every author see the on-going necessity to encourage others to write reviews about their book.

Several times a week, authors reach out to me and ask me to review their book. I’ve written over 900 Amazon reviews and over 500 reviews on Goodreads. This experience makes me one of their top reviewers. People know if I say I will read the book, there is a higher probability that it will actually happen. To be honest, I receive stacks of books every day and can’t read all of the books I receive. It would be impossible. I do write reviews on any book that I read or hear. Sometimes it takes me a day or two to get the review written but it does eventually happen.

Are you continually working to get reviews of your books? Do you have other resources to get reviews? Then let me know in the comments below.

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