Monday, November 5, 2012

REVIEWS: Word of mouth turned evil?

REVIEWS: Word of mouth turned evil?

Building your author platform includes one very active and potentially treacherous corner: Your Amazon reviews.

The first thing I talk about in the Beyond Bestseller Author Platform E-Course, "Managing Reviews," is the fact that in the Amazon review system, we are actually working with reader feedback. This system of readers writing in their experiences and rating books is a natural development of the social web. It's full of snake pits, though, and authors are understandably tearing their hair out trying to understand how to participate.

Let's call it what it is: Reader feedback
Start by looking at reviews as reader feedback. Get the idea of "reviews" out of your head. Most authors are stuck in the traditional publishing world, thinking that they need to garner lots of great, intelligent, critical reviews along with their five-star average in order to sell books. Not so.

What we do need is to learn how to ask our readers for feedback. This practice and the rest of the rocky landscape of the review system can now be found in the e-course "Managing Reviews." I researched the experiences of authors like myself, publishing digitally and developing our own readership as is now required for any kind of book. We're all in the same boat.

Manipulation is counterproductive
There are lots of ways to manipulate the Amazon system and lots of people to take you on that ride. We don't have to sell our integrity to raise interest in our books and grow a loyal readership. As a matter of fact, I think it is counterproductive to slap up two dozen reviews to work the system. Readers can tell, and they'll let you know -- right there in the review section.

Understanding the system and working with our readers honestly and transparently is the way to build a firm foundation as an independent publisher. Let me know how it goes.

Suzanna Stinnett

Beyond Bestseller Author Platform E-Course: MANAGING REVIEWS


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