zH5q2ri_IT0s_g14MwbGC-NEJRk

10.24.2012

Even a Bad Review for Your Book Will Make People Want to Read it!

Cartoonists like to debate
Cartoonists like to debate (Photo credit: aaipodpics) and so do writers!
That book reviews boost sales is conventional wisdom. Authors are always on the look out for reviews and when bad ones roll in they are (often) desperate.

Should you worry over a bad review? Will it hurt your sales and kill your baby, I mean your book? Authors have seen a drop in sales as a result of it.

Or so they claim.

Amazon's director of author and publisher relations, Jon Fine begged to disagree at the recent Digital Book World conference on Book Discoverability and Marketing, held in New York. He started out by listing many interesting things about the buzz that makes your books sell, spelling out for his audience of hundreds of book marketers the top three ways they could make sure to get the most out of Amazon:
(1) availability of the book: a quality e-book including in print,
(2) metadata: meaning everything that helps sell your book online, including a catchy cover and relevant keywords/tags,
(3) improved author pages: including video links etc and giving support to authors, sharing sales data with them so that they can make informed marketing decisions.

Then he said something that was truly arresting: a greater volume of reader reviews is more valuable, he told the audience than a small number of reviews with more stars.“On our site, the more people are talking about your book the better,” said Fine. “Even a bad review will make people want to read your book.”

Say that again?

Bad reviews will sell my book?

Okay, I'm going to try a little experiment here. I recently got 3 reviews for my A HOOK IN THE SKY (they're on Readers Favorite, not up yet on the Amazon site - it takes a little time to upload...). Just giving you the evaluation paragraph (for info about the book, go to the page tab under the blog title). Tell me which you like best and makes you want to look at the book (I'm not saying buy it, more modestly: just take a look):

5* review: ..."Hook in the Sky" is a deeply thoughtful story of one man's life and how he comes to peace with his mission in life. Main character Robert is a longtime humanitarian worker and a gifted artist, but he and his art work never quite fit in with the designs of those around him, his wife Kay, longtime friend Natasha and her daughter Nour. All the characters in "Hook in the Sky" are well-created, the dialogue between and among characters is authentic, and the plot line flows believably to the end...

4* review: ...Robert is a very complex person, not entirely sympathetic but always well intentioned and generous, but this is a novel of prickly, difficult characters. They are convincingly portrayed and their interactions are inevitable given the personalities at play. There is an interesting, somewhat quirky plot, centred on art and the novel provides some interesting discussion of genres of art. It’s unpredictable which adds extra interest to this well written and entertaining book. It is set in France, New York and Italy and the settings are atmospheric and beautifully created. 

2* review: ...Although the book has fascinating details about the art world, museums and relationships, I found this a challenging read. I found Robert self-absorbed, self-indulgent and devoid of engaging personality. All his new pursuits become baggage he would rather do without and yet he continues to follow his wants – never quite finding the utopia of his dreams. The characters become very real through the story as Claude describes each one meticulously and you sense you really know them. I personally found the read almost depressing as I waited for Robert to find the happiness he longs for...

The 2*star reviewer quite clearly is exasperated by Robert, at the end she even adds a note directly to me, saying. "Your attention to detail is worth much merit, however I found the Robert character very self-centred and selfish - I became more and more angry with him as I read. He had so much and yet 'missed it' with his ego-centred thinking."

I thought that was amazing: this person got so upset by my protagonist that she gave my book a low 2*! Personally, I take it as a compliment: I had made Robert so real for her that she couldn't bear him. But would such a rating (and criticism) make you want to buy the book or reject it?
 
Tell me if I shot myself in the foot by sharing this information...I'd love to have your opinion in the comments below but I'm providing a poll to make it easy for you to answer:

Which Review Made You Want to Read the Book?
  
pollcode.com free polls 


Enhanced by Zemanta

10.21.2012

Save the Antarctic,Make it a Marine Sanctuary!

Plans to turn part of the Antarctic, the last pristine ocean on earth, into a marine sanctuary are at risk!

 

Here's a message from  Leonardo DiCaprio, with the Avaaz team:

"Within days, governments could begin turning wide stretches of the Antarctic ocean into the world's largest marine sanctuary, saving the habitat of whales, penguins, and thousands of other polar species from industrial fishing fleets. But they won’t act unless we speak out now.


Most countries support the sanctuary, but Russia, South Korea and a few others are threatening to vote it down so they can plunder these seas now that others have been fished to death. This week, a small group of negotiators will meet behind closed doors to make a decision. A massive people-powered surge could break open the talks, isolate those attempting to block the sanctuary, and secure a deal to protect over 6 million square kilometers of the precious Antarctic ocean.

The whales and penguins can't speak for themselves, so it's up to us to defend them. Let's change negotiators' minds with a massive wave of public pressure -- Avaaz will surround the meeting with hard-hitting ads, and together we'll deliver our message to delegates via a deafening cry on social networks. 


Sign and share this urgent petition.

To sign the petition, go to:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_southern_ocean_5/?cAXfecb  

I just signed, hope you join me!
Enhanced by Zemanta

10.15.2012

Almost $35 million for an Abstract Painting!

This just happened in London at Sotheby's evening sale (12 October 2012): Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild achieved over £21 million, that's almost $35 million, a world record for a living artist...I know, you're all thinking of Mark Rothko, Pollock, Warhol or Klimt, whose paintings have in recent years sold near or above the $100 million mark and sometimes even climbing close to $150 million. 

But here we're speaking of a LIVING artist, and that's simply amazing! 

This is a painting owned by rock star Eric Clapton. He must have celebrated this past week-end. Champagne! Caviar! Perhaps Richter wasn't quite as happy: after all, when he did this painting some 15 years ago, it didn't bring him anywhere near this sum! But there's a big consolation now: he can ask a lot more for his next work and get it!

Did that celebrity ownership help the sale? Perhaps, but I don't think so. There's an objective fact at work here:  Richter is quite simply one of the greatest late 20th century artist still alive, hanging in there - Lucien Freud was the other, but he's no longer around...

So we're left with Richter...Watch the video, you'll catch the excitement among the One Percent!

Makes you think, doesn't it?




PS:  I was just informed (mind you, like any good NYT journalist I won't give out my source, but believe me it comes from someone in the know) that when Richter started out with his abstract paintings in the 1980s, nobody wanted to buy them! Up to that point, he'd made his name making eerily blurred, highly poetic figural paintings derived from black and white photographs, and this sudden turn to abstraction was a shock and it was rejected by his clients. At the time, you could have gotten one of his abstract paintings for maybe as little as $5,000 or $10,000!

Certainly, he's come a long,long way! And it goes to show that people are not generally good at picking the winners...
Enhanced by Zemanta

10.09.2012

When One Powerful Woman Threatens Millions of Others...

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bangladesh's Prime Minister is threatening the future of millions of poor women in her country: she's clamping down on the one rural bank that helps them, the Grameen Bank! Once again the poor are downtrodden, beaten down by their own politicians, a scandal! Join the fight for justice, all it takes is a CLICK on your computer!

The Grameen Bank has enabled millions of women to lift themselves out of poverty by giving them tiny loans to buy animals or equipment to start earning money. But Bangladesh's jealous Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has fired its Nobel Prize winning founder Muhammad Yunus and now wants to seize control of the bank, all to silence a political rival. This takeover could break the bank and destroy millions of people's hope.

I worked in humanitarian and development aid  for 25 years, I know personally of the Grameen Bank's work, it has simply done an OUTSTANDING job helping the poor! The international community has recognized Yunus's remarkable work by awarding him the Nobel Prize - AVAAZ is right: we can't let one powerful, envious woman destroy the hopes of millions of poor rural women - a small Grameen Bank loan is their only hope to break out of poverty and feed their children!

Help AVAAZ to force Hasina to back down. Sign the petition, I just did. Here's the link:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_world_best_bank/?cAXfecb



Save the world's best bank
sign the petition


To Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina:

    Over the past three decades, Grameen has empowered millions of women and families in Bangladesh to break the shackles of poverty and inspired a worldwide microfinance revolution. You have the power to keep that hope alive. As global citizens, we urge you to stop the government takeover of Grameen Bank, starting with reversing the Grameen Bank Ordinance amendment that allows the government to bypass the people-elected board and handpick who runs the Bank.


As of October 9, Rome time 8 am: 73,428 have signed. Help AVAAZ get to 100,000!
Here's an interesting article that explains it all - gives you the info you need to take your decision:
Enhanced by Zemanta

10.08.2012

Is Twitter Useless For Marketing?

Nail clipper
Nail clipper in the sky (Photo credit: adrian8_8)
I can't prove it, but circumstantial evidence is in: when you tweet your wares, "buy my book", "grab this while it's free on Kindle", "get the best nail clipper and off with your nails", well...  nobody listens to you! I tried a Twitter campaign last week, just to see whether it would work. After all, I have over 2000 followers, you'd expect some results if I gave them a good deal on my just published book A Hook in the Sky. And a good deal it was: half price (a very modest $2.99 - hey, that's less than a Starbucks' latte!), surely they'd all sit up and grab the book!

Twitter In Real Life Cartoon by HubSpot
Twitter In Real Life Cartoon by HubSpot (Photo credit: HubSpot)
Can I assume there was something wrong with my Twitter campaign? I don't think so. To get around Twitter rules that you can't tweet twice the same message, I devised a fun system with a (hopefully) witty message saying "in 24 hours, the price will DOUBLE on my book...",  "in 23 hours, the price will DOUBLE..." etc. You get the idea, this was repeated every hour down to the last 30 minutes. That message therefore spanned exactly the 24 hours before the price was raised and it was even retweeted by followers (thank you for the RTs!)several times. Which means it covered all time zones. The whole world was inundated by my tweets!

Perhaps not all 2000 followers were reached, but surely a few would buy! In the advertising industry, a CTR or "click through rate" of 0,2% is considered good. It used to be much higher in the 1990s: around 3%. By 2011 it's reportedly come down to between 0,1% and 0,3%. So I should have expected to sell at least 4 copies, right? How many did I sell as a result of the campaign? One. And I'm not sure that sale had anything to do with Twitter, because it was a Goodreads author's purchase, and he emailed me saying he regretted he'd opened his email too late and hadn't caught the offer in time before the price raise (yes, I had sent a message around to my friends on Goodreads as well).

Twitter Addiction
Twitter Addiction (Photo credit: dewaldp)

Could it be that the CTR is even lower than 0,1%? Are we suffering from marketing fatigue? Personally, I think we are. Have you EVER bought a book on the basis of a tweet on Twitter? I know I haven't. I don't even download free books on my Kindle anymore, I have way too many, more than I can ever hope to read over the next five years! No, I should correct that: I still download a very few books, mostly from authors that I'd like to explore. But quite frankly, the ability Amazon gives me of downloading a free sample of a book is plenty good enough for me. I don't need whole free books! 

Yes, I know what you will say, free books populate the box on your Amazon book site which says "customers who bought this also bought..." and a whole string of titles appear, making your book look good in the company of many others. Although they are often not similar books at all - Amazon algorithms can throw up some surprising books! Also allowing the first book in a series to go free helps to sell the others, makes sense. In fact, that's exactly what I plan to do with the first book in my new series, The Phoenix Heritage, the one called Flying in the Past (you can see it in the right margin). I might even let my new short story collection Twisted go free for a couple of days, particularly as it contains two stories that are prequels to The Phoenix Heritage series. 

Christmas Will Never Be The Same Because of Tw...
Christmas Will Never Be The Same Because of Twitter [cartoon] (Photo credit: methodshop.com)

But I don't plan to let my new novel A Hook in the Sky go free, don't bank on it! I worked hard at it, it took me two years to polish it to the point where I felt I could publish it. In short, it represents a big slice of my own life, I've invested everything into it (mind you, it's not autobiographical at all, but it's still me, my fictional self). And that is not worth nothing! At $5.99, I still consider it a steal!

Now should I go on Twitter with that sort of message: A HOOK is a steal? Certainly not! I'm through with book promotions on Twitter. What about you? How do you feel about Twitter, do you view it as an effective marketing instrument? Has it worked for you? I'd be curious to know!

To help you to answer (in case you don't feel like commenting), here's a poll: 

Has Twitter Helped You in Selling Your Book(s)?
  
pollcode.com free polls 


Enhanced by Zemanta

10.04.2012

Denver Debate: Why did Obama Look Tired?

Mitt Romney Steve Pearce event 057
Mitt Romney Steve Pearce event 057
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Obama-Romney debate scores in at one for Romney, zero for Obama, that's the consensus in the media.

Romney looked determined, Obama looked tired.

Seen from the other side of the Atlantic pond, the debate was...well, slightly boring. Romney's arguments were all too predictable. How can he honestly ascribed the state of the economy to Obama? We all know Congress in the hands of the Republicans has done everything in its power to contrast and destroy Obama's efforts to stimulate the economy. Proposed government measure were regularly passed (if at all) with amendments that weakened them. Ditto for Obamacare that miraculously escaped total destruction thanks to the Supreme Court's unexpected last-minute - and somewhat partial - support.
Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...
Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all know that government in America is weak, and more precisely, that it is weakened by Republicans relentless attacks. A weak government can do little to stimulate the economy, much less turn it around. Moreover, if we're in a mess, with unemployment still the number one problem in the US (but in Europe too), that has nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with the rich that the Republicans support - that famous one percent. It is the rich, enjoying Bush's tax exemptions since the early 2000s that have brought about the Great Recession playing all those financial games - indeed the Wall Street bailout was the doing of Bush's government (his Treasury Secretary was an ex-Goldman Sachs man, remember?).

Why would the rich ever get us out of the Recession now if they didn't before? By what miracle will they start to create jobs when all they do is put their money in tax heavens and play in the markets with derivatives and sovereign bonds? There's much more money to be made attacking the Euro than creating jobs in industry!

More to the point: why is Romney lying, why the deceit? All this reminds me painfully of the way lies were circulated in the Soviet Union. At every street corner in Moscow in the 1970s you could see posters screaming "Mir u Mir", which means Peace on the World. Peace, really? Astounding when you knew that the one big power threatening world peace was precisely the Soviet Union!

Mitt Romney seems to have taken a leaf out of Soviet propaganda: deny reality, win with out and out lies, the Truth be damned! One thing is certain: this can of approach can tire you out, it's so hard to answer lies and keep cool. Hence Obama's tired look.

Does this mean Obama will lose the elections? Not really, not if the debate now moves away from the never-ner land of lies and onto to real, concrete issues. We're still waiting for Romney to tell us exactly how he's going to get the US out of this economic mess - Soviet propaganda tactics don't work forever, as the fall of the Soviet Union has shown!

Truth and honesty always win in the end. At least, I hope so! What's your opinion?


Enhanced by Zemanta
UA-23606286-1