Weeeee’re Back! It’s Our Annual Book Give away! Get it for Free 3/7 to 3/18!

Authors! To honor Springmingle (Southern Breeze’s spring writing conference), we will be giving away our marketing book, 100 Small Fires to Make Your Book Sales BLAZE!, for FREE between 3/14 and 3/18. Simply go to Amazon in that time period and download! The book has marketing tips with timelines and budgets for both self pubbed and traditionally pubbed authors.

On a related note, if you are an author with a marketing tip that worked for you and you care to share, email me (tk.read@yahoo.com). We will be pubbing a Second Edition this summer and we may include a cite to you and your amazing idea, AND (drum roll, please)… a link to your author page!

Please share this post with anyone and everyone. For more info check out the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Selling-Including-Time-Lines-ebook/dp/B00A9GHI6Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354206189&sr=8-1&keywords=100+small+fires

Tootles!

For more on Springmingle, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/events/896498903723414/

Pitch Perfect

More stories from the front lines of book marketing!  In this blog entry, we are going to share our experience getting reviews for our book “100 Small Fires to Make Your Book Sales Blaze” and how we crafted a creative “pitch” to get reviewers attention.  We will break down the actual pitch e-mail we used and one Top 100 Amazon Reviewers response to our solicitation.  Here’s a hint:  the reviewer liked our pitch enough to comment on it in the actual book review!

First however, we want to make an important, and often overlooked, point about reviews.  Most blogs/book marketing experts cover the basics when expounding on this subject.  They will tell you that book reviews are important to [inexpensively] build buzz and awareness for your book as well as to help customers make decisions when presented with similar choices.  All true.  But what most articles covering this topic don’t tell you is something we learned during the research for our book; book reviews are also needed to leverage some key marketing opportunities.  For example, to get your book listed on the “Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books” list (a promotional opportunity you can use during your Kindle FREE days promotion) you need a minimum of 13+ reviews and a 4.0 rating on Amazon.

Now back to the original point; how did we use a creative pitch to get our book noticed by some of Amazons Top Reviewers? (Note: you can find the list of reviewers at http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers)

We started with an attention grabbing headline.  Soliciting a review is similar to making a pitch to the media.  You need to capture their attention, their imagination, or even their sympathies.  We went for all three!

Here is the attention grabbing proclamation we used in the e-mail subject line for the pitch that grabbed the attention of one Amazon reviewer:

The future of literature is in your hands…..no kidding

Dramatic?  Yes, but that’s sort of the point.  We wanted the headline to suggest a higher purpose for book reviews.  Yes, it’s a dramatic way of conveying the idea that book reviews play a critical role in the success of a book, but we truly believe that reviewers can have a big impact.  If you are authentic and passionate in your appeal, then a bit of drama may just hit the mark. The key is to strike the right balance.

Now, lets take a close look at the body of the pitch e-mail. We added comments below {in red} to highlight some of the key points/strategies we used in the pitch.

Our e-mail opened with what we hoped was a thought provoking quote that again, suggested a higher purpose for book reviews.

“The future of literature is in the ability of authors to promote themselves and their books…otherwise, we will be subjected to whatever literature the Big Six publishing houses deem good for our health”….Kathleen Vrona

Hello (book reviewer name);

I got your name from the list of Amazon Top Reviewers….of course.  And I must say your rating system is a bit intimidating (and the fact that you have degrees in Astronomy and CS)….but here goes anyway. {make sure to read the reviewers bio, interests, and review policy.  Then call out something that’s relevant to you or your pitch and let them know you took the time to read their information}

As an avid reader (and intellect), you are someone who cares about good literature therefore, I’m hoping you will review my book “100 Small Fires to Make Your Book Sales Blaze….”   Now HEAR ME OUT ON THIS before you hit the delete key!  {a little begging never hurt}

You know how hard it is for new authors to get noticed…that’s why they desperately send e-mails to strangers similar to this one. {try a little humor too in your pitch}

But those poor authors books will never see the light of day unless my book sees the light of day.  Such is the irony of book marketing.  {blatant appeal to the reviewers sympathies? You bet.  Again, be authentic.  T.K and I wrote this book because we don’t want to see good books go unnoticed at the same time that Snooki’s life story is a best seller. So, we channeled this passion and leveraged as an angle to get the reviewers attention}

You see, my book is called “100 Small Fires to Make Your Book Sales Blaze…” and it offers 100 powerful ideas for marketing/promoting a book written by someone who markets for a Fortune 100 company…that someone is me.  In addition to being a marketing expert, however, I am also a book lover who wants new authors to have a chance to get their “masterpieces” noticed.  {in our book “100 Small Fires” we talk about using your story as part of the pitch if there is something in your background that is unique and relevant.  We used the fact that I’m I’m a professional marketer and T.K. is a writer and together, we created a unique view of book marketing not found in other books covering this topic}

It’s a tough market out there and authors need to use the latest marketing tactics to build awareness for their books.  I was helping my sister market her first book and noticed that most book marketing self-help tomes were written by writers, not professional marketers.  This book is different and offers really creative ideas for authors but will never be found by the ones who need it most unless I can get reviews. So there is the irony: this book will help authors escape from obscurity and oblivion but will fall into obscurity and oblivion before it can be of any help to anyone if it isn’t reviewed. 

Please let me know if you are interested in reading our book (co-authored by my sister, the real writer in the family) and providing a review on Amazon.  I will follow up promptly with a complimentary copy to your e-mail box.  {be specific in your request}

If you are interested, you can find more information at 100smallfires.com

Or check out the book on Amazon here  http://tinyurl.com/ak5boab {make sure to use a service like Tiny URL or Bitly to shorten the link to your Amazon page}

Thanks in advance for your kind consideration….Sincerely, Kathleen Vrona (hailing from KY, the land of horses, The Kentucky Derby, bourbon whiskey and Louisville Slugger bats)  {humanize your approach and add something personal about yourself so your pitch doesn’t sound like a form letter.  Amazon reviewers often share personal details about themselves in their Amazon profiles.  You should do the same}

Below is the response we got from one Amazon Top Reviewer who received the review request above.  This is an excerpt from the actual review. To see the full review, go to http://tinyurl.com/ak5boaband look for the review by E. A. Lovitt.

 

……The wave has arrived and those of us who want our books read and admired need to figure out how to make them float to the top where they will be noticed by the reading public. “100 Small Fires to Make Your Book Sales BLAZE!” is the lifebelt your book will need in this strange and scary new world of warp-speed publishing…….

……I was hoping to publish my novel and let it float to the top on its own merits, but as one of Amazon’s top 100 reviewers I already knew that wasn’t going to work even before I read ‘100 Small Fires.’ I get multiple requests for reviews every day from authors who want to publicize their new books. (By the way, Vrona and Read wrote one of the best review requests I’ve ever received). How am I going to compete with the other new authors for readers? ‘100 Small Fires’ answers that question, but it involves lots of hard work–maybe more work than it took to write my book in the first place……

 

Ok, full disclosure time.  We are just getting starting in our effort to seek reviews.  As of the date we published this blog article, we only had 8 reviews.  But we got really excited with this early success so we wanted to share it with you.  While we may not be “pitch perfect” yet, the review above tells us that we hit the right note with this pitch.

Check in with us later this month when we will be blogging about how we leveraged our FREE DAYS promotion to get over 800 downloads of our book in two days.