7 Tips for Successfully Finding Volunteer Book Reviewers

It’s the blessing and the curse of living in an increasingly interconnected world. Finding out what other people think of things is incredibly easy. As a shopper, this is helpful. However, as an independent author, getting people to read and write book reviews is now mandatory if you want to succeed, and finding people to do that honestly can be a huge and time-consuming challenge.

Take this conversation that I started on LinkedIn, for example. I was preparing for the release of my latest book, “The Best is Yet to Come,” and decided to find out what recommendations other authors had for finding reviewers. For those who are budget-poor and time-rich, they provided some great ideas.

[Read more…]

How I Got More Book Reviews Using Story Cartel

StoryCartel logoI’m often asked by my clients how to go about getting book reviews for their latest title. I have a few of my own ideas, but thought I’d open up the question to members of the Book Marketing group on LinkedIn. It was there that I learned about a site I’d never heard of before called Story Cartel. I thought you might like to hear about it too.

If you are willing to offer your book in digital form on Story Cartel for 30 days, and can offer $30 worth of Amazon gift cards for a contest, volunteers will download your book (for free), read it, post an honest book review on Amazon (and wherever else you request), notify Story Cartel of their review, and then be entered into a drawing for one of the gift cards. There are three winners (that’s why 3 are needed).

The idea intrigued me, but I wanted to make sure it was worthwhile before recommending it to my readers. [Read more…]

Testimonials Are Music to a Brand’s Ears

5-star-rating for Aleweb Social MarketingWe hear it all the time. Word-of-mouth referrals are a brand’s bread-and-butter.

No amount of traditional or social marketing can equal the power of a friend who recommends a product, service, book or experience.

Today is the start of the new week. You may own your own business and look for these longed-for referrals, but how do you get them?

Have you ever heard the adage “It is better to give than receive?” When it comes to referrals and endorsements, this rule holds true.

You can ask friends and close acquaintances to endorse your product or service, but after a while you’ll run out of people to ask.

As JFK was quoted as saying “…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Or in this case “ask not who can recommend your business, but whose business you can recommend.”

Think over the past week.

Who have you interacted with? Where did you go to lunch? When you took your teenager to the mall, which stores did you go to? What book couldn’t you put down? Whose advice and support has been crucial to your own success?

I challenge you to come up with one thing each week for the next two months that you want to recommend to your friends. It can be a business that provided excellent customer service, an enjoyable experience, or that went out of their way to make your buying experience exceptional. Or it can be a book, play, concert, or any other experience that you loved.

Why two months?

I want you to establish the habit of looking for people and experiences you can appreciate. Enjoy that feeling. Appreciate the sense of gratitude. Pass it forward. Catch people “in the act of getting it right,” and let them know you’ve noticed.

It will change you too.

Being more focused on showing your appreciation for others will take the pressure off trying to get people to appreciate your brand too. You’ll internalize what you’re learning from brands that “do it right” and potentially improve what you’re doing as well.

Regardless, in giving, you will receive. And don’t be surprised if you start to see your own client testimonials increase as well.

So… Have you thought of someone for this past week?

Go ahead and think of one. We’ll wait for you…

Have it now?

Alright… Here’s the easy part. Go find that brand online. It doesn’t matter if it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Angie’s List, Instagram, Google, their website or wherever else you feel comfortable. Just find their listing and post a review.

What should your review look like?

Write it as if you’re talking to your best friend. Tell them about your experience and what made it so special.

Businesses hear often when they’ve done something wrong. Give them a boost. Let them know when they’ve done something right so they can do it more often!

Wherever you posted that endorsement, share it with your friends.

People like to buy from brands they know, like and trust. Your recommendation tells your friends who you know, like and trust, and exactly why. And perhaps that experience is exactly what they were looking for too!

Share a link in the comments below to a brand that made you feel special recently and let us know how they did it.

4 Unconventional Ways To Market Your Book

Today’s post is a guest post from Josh Allan Dykstra, a fellow member of the Lead Change Group. Josh and I had the chance to meet and talk for a bit at SANG in October, and I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know him. Since he recently released his new book Igniting the Invisible Tribe: Designing An Organization That Doesn’t Suck, I asked him to share a few thoughts on what’s worked best for him in promoting his book online.

Josh Allan Dykstra - Principal, Strengths DoctorsSo, I hear you’re an author with a book on your hands. Or, perhaps, you have a book in production which will soon release to be your groundbreaking tome. First, congratulations! Please don’t take these compliments lightly — many, many (maybe even most) people would “like to write a book someday.” Simply by the act of actually completing the task, you have made yourself a scarce resource. You’ve put your thoughts into the world in a careful and meaningful way. This is something to celebrate!

That said, even though you now (or will soon) have a book that you’re incredibly proud of, what you probably don’t have are millions of eyeballs, poised and ready to consume your brilliant and innovative prose. Don’t let this get you down; it’s a problem most new authors face, honestly. Most of us aren’t radio hosts or TV stars. We don’t have 100,000+ followers on Twitter or celebrity status.

So how do us “normal folks” get the work we’ve slaved over for months (maybe even years) in front of the right readers? Here are four ways you may not have considered:

1. Strategically Join A Great Group

Of course, we’ve all heard ad nauseam about the benefits and importance of networking. This is true, of course, but in this example I’m not talking about rubbing shoulders with just anybody. Some groups provide specific benefits to authors and content creators, and these are the kind of groups you want to look for. For me, being part of the Young Entrepreneur Council has been amazing. The YEC has media partnerships in place that members can take advantage of, and it’s helped me get my writing featured in Fast Company, Business Insider, etc.

2. Find Niche Bloggers

The idea here is fairly simple: connect with the people who run the blogs that already talk to the groups of people you want to connect with. The easiest way to identify these sites might be to think about the places you yourself go to find interesting content — if you like it, it’s likely the people who will read your work will, too. Send a note to the blog’s owner (usually easy to find on an About Us or Contact page) and offer to do a guest post, video chat, or email interview; whatever the blog owner thinks will connect most with their audience. If you can show that you’ll create value for their readers, many bloggers will jump at the chance to get great (and free!) external content.

3. Partner With University Professors

Do you know any professors who teach something related to your material? Offer to get them a free copy of your book and see what they think! If they find it helpful and you can get on the syllabus as required reading, classrooms can be a great source of recurring revenue — and, perhaps even more exciting, a perfect way to get your ideas into the heads of impressionable minds. I’ve found the best way in is through the professor directly; many times they have complete “creative control” over what they want their students to be exposed to. If you can get them excited about your work, they’ll be a great advocate.

4. Start and/or Lead A Tribe

This is the hardest, but probably best, way to grow your readership. Because of the ways the world is changing, particularly in regards to technology, it’s easier than ever to connect with the people who care about the same big, hairy problems you do. Stake your claim and purchase the URL. Start talking and writing about it everywhere. Obsess over how to create value for the members of your tribe, and make sure your book is a worthy conversation piece for tribe members. I won’t lie and say this is easy — it takes a tremendous investment of work and time — but once you are seen as a thought leader of a movement, you’ll find that book sales will come much more easily.

It’s an amazing privilege when people give us their most scarce resource of time to read our thoughts, isn’t it? I’m truly honored you gave a bit of your time to read my thoughts here. My sincere best wishes to you on your adventures as an author!

//

Josh Allan Dykstra is a recognized thought leader on the future of work and company culture design. His articles and ideas have been featured by Fast Company, Business Insider, MSN.com, Under30CEO, and The Agency Post. He is a co-founder of Strengths Doctors, a consulting firm that helps leaders and entrepreneurs design energizing places to work. Josh’s eclectic background includes projects with organizations like Apple, Sony, Genentech, Starbucks, and Viacom/CBS as well as startups, nonprofits, and universities. He holds an MBA in Executive Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his new book, Igniting the Invisible Tribe: Designing An Organization That Doesn’t Suck, is available on Amazon.com. Connect with him online at http://joshallan.com.

How to Calculate Your Social Growth

I’m reading Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform, at the moment. What I love about reading material fromknowledgeableexperts is that it makes me think more in-depth about ideas I don’t normally consider.

How to calculate your social growth - http://alewbsocial.comI’m often asked by clients about which metrics they should be noting. It doesn’t matter if they are an author or speaker looking to build a platform, or an entrepreneur looking to get found online. The question is always the same.Which metrics are important?

My reply is often this. The metrics that are important differ depending on the goal you’re trying to reach. Without knowing that goal, collecting data is almost pointless.

But here’s a metric that Michael pointed out that jumped out at me, because it’s more of a self-reflection. It’s the percent change in the last twelve months. This can apply for a website (as in Michael’s example in his book), or a social profile. It reflects the rate of growth in the last year.

Understanding this number helps you to recognize how effective you are at doing what you’ve set out to accomplish. Whether you’re building a platform or increasing visibility for your brand or product, you need to build a following, and that starts with creating relationships with people who value what you have to share. Whether or not they are coming back to your site on a repeated basis, and whether your information is finding it’s way out into the Ether is a huge part of that. But time spent on the site also has an effect on:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Subscriptions
  • Sales

Here’s an excerpt from Michael’s description that explains how to calculate the percent of change in the past twelve months:

Here’s the formula: unique visitors in the last thirty days, minus your unique visitors for the same period twelve months ago, divided by your unique visitors for the same period twelve months ago, multiplied by one hundred.

A similar formula could be applied for a Twitter profile, Facebook page, LinkedIn account, etc. so long as you have the numbers needed for the calculation.

Looking at my own site, I’ve had a 347% increase in my website traffic since November 1, 2011. Unfortunately, I don’t have a full year’s worth of data yet, since I migrated my website in October last year. But in another couple of months, I will. The main point here is, I must be doing something right, and that’s encouraging to know.

If we base our assessment of our success on the number of comments we receive, it can seem like our efforts are getting us nowhere. But knowing that my message is being heard and noting that my page/visit count is also going up means I have more people coming to the site and they’re digesting more of what I’ve shared. And they’re doing that because they value what I have to share. In the process, relationships are being built as we engage with one another, content my readers value is shared within their networks, and more people are being helped by what I have to offer.

That makes the effort worthwhile.

So, how about you? What are you doing to influence and monitor your social growth?

The Oft-Forgotten Tool in our Marketing Toolkit: SlideShare

Are you an author? A speaker? A trainer? A marketer? All of the above? You know there’s a very powerful tool that’s often overlooked that we could be taking out and using more often; or at least I know I could. So, today’s post is going to cover some interesting examples of how you can use SlideShare to increase your visibility.

  1. Start first with the increased exposure that posting presentations to the SlideShare site itself gives to you. Developing a strong presence on the site, with a complete profile, suitable keyword tags for each presentation, etc. will allow others to find, appreciate and share your material and samples that much more easily. It also provides a great place to send event planners, training coordinators, etc. who want to see a bit more of what your work looks like. According to the SlideShare website:

    SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. With 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million pageviews, it is amongst the most visited 200 websites in the world. Besides presentations, SlideShare also supports documents, PDFs, videos and webinars.

  2. Jazz up your LinkedIn profile by incorporating the SlideShare app into it. To do so, in LinkedIn, select the More menu, followed by Get More Applications…, and then select the SlideShare Presentations app to add to your profile. Configure the app to connect to your SlideShare account, and then visitors to your profile will be able to see the most recent presentation you shared. If they click on the app logo, it will take them to an expanded version of the SlideShare app where they can explore other presentations as well.
  3. Embed a presentation on your website. If you have a presentation or two that you want to highlight for your website visitors, SlideShare provides you with the necessary embed code to be able to do that. Here’s one that I just uploaded from a talk I gave last March.
  4. Pin presentations from SlideShare to Pinterest boards. I recently got into a debate with someone about Pinterest and its ideal uses. They saw it as a place where women share recipes and post inspirational quotations. The thing is, Pinterest is such a powerful site and has an incredible level of engagement. So, why wouldn’t you incorporate it into your business strategies, marketing tactics or even your job search? Here’s a great SlideShare presentation on creating Pinterest resumes. The same concept can apply for various speaking topics, book subjects, training courses, etc. Be imaginative!
  5. Periodically share your presentations in your status updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Create a few pre-crafted posts that you can add to your editorial calendar and keep continuing traffic coming to the presentations you want to have the most visibility. Schedule these posts in your post planner (I use Hootsuite), so that they run on auto-pilot.
  6. Remember to craft your presentations well! A well-crafted presentation will catch people’s attention, prompting them to share it with their networks as well. Consider adding video to your presentation or an audio track, wherever appropriate, to bring the presentation to life.
  7. Generate leads using SlideShare. If you upgrade your free account to the PRO version, you can use LeadShare to enable viewers to contact you directly, right from your presentations! With a LeadShare campaign running, a lead capture box is displayed after the first 10 slides, at the end of the deck, or by a permanent display button on the player. To learn more about Leadshare, click here.

What are some of your favorite ways to use SlideShare?

4 Steps to Quickly Promote Your Ideas

Carmine Gallo of Gallo Communications

Carmine Gallo | Photo credit: Gallo Communications

Communications Coach Carmine Gallo shares tips on how to craft your business story so that it can be shared in 60 seconds or less in this Entrepreneur.com blog post from January 2011. He says that there are 4 questions that need to be answered in one sentence each. They are:

1. What do you do?

2. What problem do you solve?

3. How are you different?

4. Why should I care?

The same 4 points are critical when looking for endorsements for your latest book, when you’re trying to secure speaking opportunities at new venues, or when you’re looking for media opportunities.

The people you’re engaging with are oftenbeing bombarded with information every day. It comes at them through the phone, the TV, the radio, the internet, their inbox, their mailbox, their iPod, their iPad and more!

To deal with the information overload, we’ve become dependent on receiving byte-sized pieces of information, or snippets, that enable us to quickly process whether the conversation is something we want to pursue further.

In my earlier review of Bill Schley’s book “The Micro-Script Rules,” we talked about the importance of creating a compelling story; something that people want to repeat.

The same concept applies here. When you’re working on presenting your topic to a publisher, celebrity endorser, journalist, event organizer, etc., keep your information clear and concise, but make sure that the idea sticks in their mind.

Consider rephrasing Gallo’s questions for your topic.

1. What’s your topic?

2. Why is it relevant?

3.How is it different?

4.Why should my audience care?

Answer each of these questions in one sentence or less when you present your topic for consideration. To these, I would add one final question, and that is:

5. Why am I the one who should present it?

Keep your responses short and to the point, but make them memorable. Jane Perdue of the Braithwaite Innovation Group recently told me in conversation, “Be brief. Be bold. And be gone.”

The people whose attention you’re trying to catch are being sought out by hundreds, if not thousands, of others; all of whom are hoping to catch their attention. To promote your ideas, you have to be the best at communicating them quickly, easily and in an engaging manner.

Remember this quotation from Albert Einstein. “If you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” The same applies in presenting your ideas and topics. If you can’t explain them succinctly, you don’t understand them yourself. Give enough information to spark curiosity without going into great detail about everything and, if your contact is interested, they’ll request more information from you.

 

Thanks to @carminegallo for inspiring this blog post. If anyone wants to practice being bold and brief, share your ideas below! We’d love to hear them.

How to Promote Your Book Online – A DIY Guide

The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books by Tara Alemany of Aleweb Social Marketing - https://alewebsocial.comMany authors I know struggle with what the next steps are after they’ve finished all the writing work. They search the internet and book stores for “how to” guides to get them started with marketing and promotion, but many of the ones that are available either are incomplete or lack the level of detail required to do it yourself.

Until now, that is… Like any entrepreneur, I listen to my clients and look for those common issues they encounter; the questions I answer on a regular basis. The need I kept hearing over and over again was for a Do-It-Yourself guide to book marketing. And now it’s here!

Introducing The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books!

Within its first 24 hours on Amazon, it is already ranked in the Top 100 for both of its categories. So, it must be resonating with my readers as well!

I have taken my extensive training and technical writing experience to create a comprehensive, 89-page, easy-to-understand eBook that you can use all by yourself. I have spent as much as $27 on book marketing materials in the past that turned out to be simply lists of things you needed to do with lots of white space around them and no additional information to get you started. That’s not useful! So, that’s not what you’ll get in this eBook. (If you like to figure it all out on your own, let me know and I can point you to some of those books.)

For each marketing strategy I outline, I discuss various considerations for the option, and recommend tools and techniques. This allows you to make informed decisions about what you are capable of doing, and where you might want to get a little help. (Of course, Aleweb is always here to support you!)

So, if you or someone you know is an author and book sales are not what they should be, consider picking up a copy of The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books today! It could be the best $9.99 you’ve ever spent. But you won’t know until you try it. 🙂

If you dobuy a copy and would like me to autograph it, you can request a Kindlegraph here.

 

If you are a blogging book reviewer and are interested in reviewing this eBook, please send a review copy request to info@alewebsocial.com with your name, blog address and preferred format (Kindle or .pdf).

Book Review: Uprising by Scott Goodson

Publicists will tell you that if you want to gain visibility for your brand, you should tie it into relevant current events. Make your message timely by clarifying its connection to news-worthy topics. It’s the only real way to get the media’s attention.

However, in Scott Goodson’s book Uprising: How to Build a Brand – and Change the World – by Sparking Cultural Movements, he shows you how to flip that paradigm around. Rather than tying your brand, book title or product to a naturally occurring news topic, create your own by starting a movement.

He emphasizes that he’s referring a “movement” with a little m, not a “Movement” with a big one. As he puts it:

These “movements with a small m” may involve, say, a group of passionate activists, creative types, or even rabid consumers of a particular product. When these people band together around a shared passion or idea and try to turn it into something bigger and more significant, they’re not necessarily trying to change history or to change the world as we know it. They’re just trying to change the world (or some small part of it) as they know it.

Following in the footsteps of Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment (Guy wrote an endorsement for Uprising), Scott shares the concept of creating a vision that builds into a story as your movement grows. It has to be something that captures the attention of an individual and draws them in, enchanting them because of a shared affinity for the subject.

For example, the vision may be to promote kindness. The only real prerequisite for participating in a movement is passion. To spark a movement, it has to be something that you, and others, can get behind. People have to feel strongly enough about it to want to collectively do something. It is passion that transforms an idea into a movement. As you spark that movement, you can tie your brand, book or other product into that story by being the narrator, sponsor or an active participant.

The author goes on to explain how marketing models are shifting. Technology has played a role in this, but so have shifts in our social conscience, interests, etc. Today’s marketers need to “ditch the pitch” and figure out what people care about and how they can be part of that conversation. This transition to movement marketing is not without its risks. But Uprising does a good job of clearly outlining the steps required to build and maintain a strong and effective movement with your brand securing trust and value to the consumer in the process.

Scott’s writing is clear, easy to follow, and filled with excellent examples of both large and small brands that have made the transition to movement marketing. It provides actionable advice that you can apply to building your own brand and sparking your own movement. If you’ve read Seth Godin’s Tribes and Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment, and are looking for further ways to be inspired, this book should be next up on your reading list.

 

Disclaimer: A free review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher, McGraw Hill. No further compensation was made or promised.Additionally, no affiliate links were used in this post. Aleweb is based in a state where we can’t be Amazon affiliates. Darn!