The ultimate struggle for indie authors is selling books. A crucial piece to the book selling puzzle is collecting book reviews, especially on websites that control the bulk of online book sales, like Amazon. Amazon has a very specific review policy for those who want to write a review for a book on their site. Once you have submitted your review to Amazon, they process it to make sure that it doesn’t violate any of their policies, and then they either add your review to their website, or mark it as unacceptable. Most people would assume that all you have to do is follow Amazon’s review policies and everything will be fine, right? Sadly, it doesn’t always work that way. Reviews have been removed that clearly don’t violate any of their policies, but something triggers Amazon to take action. I am not here to debate this growing issue. It’s frustrating as an author and book promoter, but who can fight a giant like Amazon?
Instead, my goal is for you to make the most out of every review, so that even if it is unable to make its way onto Amazon, you can still use it to market your book:
Yes, it’s incredibly discouraging when a great review doesn’t make it onto Amazon. But I hope that the suggestions above helps you find some ways to use each review you receive to your advantage on your marketing journey. Losing reviews on Amazon is a bummer, but doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
It’s common for authors to hit a plateau during their publishing journey. They question why their sales are lacking, or why it’s so hard to get readers to post reviews of their book. During this time, keep the pity partying to a minimum. I am not saying that you can’t have a day to whine, but dust yourself off and try again, knowing that there are a few things you can do during a plateau to improve your situation:
Give your book cover a hard look.
Was it professionally designed? Is it a pre-made cover that is often used? Does your book cover accurately represent your story and genre? People do judge a book by its cover, so you want to make sure your book cover is as fabulous as it can be. How awful to have someone pass up reading your book because you didn’t put effort into your cover. It’s just as important as your manuscript.
Reevaluate your book’s description.
You want a captivating description that has readers eager to read your book. Some book descriptions can be too short, not giving enough information to grip the reader’s attention. Other descriptions may be entirely too long; giving away the good stuff. You want to find a good balance between the two. Hook your reader, but don’t give away the farm.
Get a second opinion on your author photo.
Believe me, people will pass up your book if your author image looks like you are lounging on your couch during a family potluck. I’m not saying that you should have a stiff portrait photo taken at your local JC Penny. Please, show us your personality, but there is a fine line between fun and tacky. While you are at it, read through your author bio, too.
If you are already experiencing a plateau, then you have nothing to lose at this point, so take the time to follow through with the above suggestions. If you feel that you are on top of your game and none of it applies to you, then I highly recommend you rethink your marketing plan and social media presence. How active are you in meeting potential readers? I am referring to both online and in-person events.
Don’t sit around feeling hopeless. Shake things up! Make some changes and try again. Nothing good ever comes easy.