Showing posts with label creating visibility. Show all posts
Showing posts with label creating visibility. Show all posts

Strategies to get Book Reviews

Guess what book it is,
and write your answer in the comments below.

This is what we all want: 20,000 reviews on Amazon, mostly good. But even the author pictured here had to start somewhere.

Getting reviews for your book takes time, effort, and lots of patience, but it'll help your visibility and sales.

People hold varying opinions about the ethics of reviews. Paying for GOOD reviews is always unethical, while some argue that it's okay to pay for HONEST reviews, especially through big impersonal organizations like Kirkus. Whatever your opinion, here are some strategies for getting reviews without any money changing hands.

Strategies to Get Reviews

-If you belong to a critique group, many of your fellow critiquers will be happy to review, as will some of your other author friends. To avoid potential awkwardness, make it an invitation instead of a request, and don't pressure or feel offended if they don't. Some people don't like mixing friendship and reviews.

-In your e-book, be sure to add a call to action in the end matter, something like, "If you enjoyed this book, please leave a review on Amazon or your favorite book site, even if it's just a sentence or two telling what you liked. Thank you." A lot of readers don't realize how important this is, and might not think of reviewing, even if they loved your book.

-Nicely ask for reviews from the fans on your e-mail list.

-Reach out to bloggers who do reviews of books similar to yours. You can find lists of book blogs online, like on The Indie View (for Indie Books). You can also search for reviews of books in your genre. Bloggers often post their review policies and instructions about how to contact them. Most are pretty selective, but if your work looks right for their tastes, pitch them. is a free site where you can meet up with bloggers willing to do guest posts, excerpts, blurbs, interviews, etc for blog tours. Some also do reviews.

-Participate actively in Goodreads groups. Many have sections where you can offer free books in exchange for reviews or participate in review circles and  read-to-review groups. Be sure to advertise in the appropriate section, and only after you've contributed to the group by commenting on other posts.

-If you have a paperback version, do a Goodreads giveaway. People enter to win a copy and then you mail it to them. Winners of these competitions tend to review more often than random readers, especially if you mention that reviews are appreciated. Giveaways also get your book added to members' "to read" lists, which may eventually lead to sales and reviews. In your description for the giveaway, put eye-catchers first, like short quotes from reviewers or "FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY."

-You can also run giveaways of e-books at places like LibraryThing.

-The most effective way to get good reviews, according to Jim Kukral of AuthorMarketing, is to find people on Amazon who have positively reviewed books similar to yours. Check their profile pages. If they've listed their e-mail address, you can contact them. Send a nice personalized e-mail telling them that you saw their review on such and such book, and that you've written a similar book. Ask if you could provide them a free copy in the hopes that they'd consider reading and reviewing it too. Be sure to emphasize that if they take it, they can choose not to review it, and if they review it, they're under no obligation to give a positive review. Thank them. This takes a lot of work, since you have to find reviewers that are still active and have listed their contact information, but you're more likely to reach people who will like your work and possibly become long-term fans.

-Work on getting your book out there, using the promotional strategies on this blog and any others you've learned or imagined. The more readers you have, the more reviews you'll get.


When is the best time to start looking for reviews? Before your book launches. Can you still work at it long after the book is published? Of course.

Keep plugging away. All these strategies take time, and only a fraction of the people you contact will actually end up posting a review, but every review helps—even the not-so-positive ones. And as always, keep writing!

Melinda Brasher's short story, "Stalked," about an ill-fated space colony and a camping trip that doesn't go as expected, appears in March's edition of On the Premises. Read it free by clicking above. When she's not writing, she loves traveling and plotting ways to escape the Phoenix summer. Visit her online at

Do You Really Need an Author Website?

The idea of creating an author or freelance writing website may seem overwhelming to many who are new to the writing arena. This may lead to a hesitation in regard to taking the website step.

But, don’t let fear or procrastination get in the way of your online presence. A website is a necessary online marketing element that is at the foundation of your author platform.

Here are a couple of statistics to demonstrate the need for a website if you have any intention of building an author platform:

According to, there are 694,445 Google search queries made and 1,500 blog posts published each minute.

The internet is the place for people to search globally for what they want or need. Having a website allows you to be in on that action.

If you want to create visibility for you and your book or product, a website is the initial spark that will ignite your internet presence. And, it will be the hub or central location where you will let people know who you are and what you have to offer.

To further cement the need for a website, it’s through your website that you will attract readers, get email subscribers, and sell your books and products.

There’s really no way around the fact that you need to create your author platform, and it should be before you are ready to submit your manuscript, according to Chuck Sambuchino, in his book “Create Your Writer Platform.” The reason for this is that now having an author online presence and platform is a factor in whether a publishing house will say YES to your manuscript. And, the first step in creating that author platform is to setup a website.

It’s easy to see that a website is positively, absolutely necessary, and it’s not as difficult as you may think to create one. The first step is planning.

Plan Your Way to a Website

As with any project you undertake, the first course of action should be to plan out your course of action. This is usually considered a business plan or writing plan.

Your website is your online calling card or business card. It needs to be as professional as you can get it and needs to have all the necessary elements of an effective site.

So, if you’re not familiar with websites, one of the first steps in your course of action should be to learn about all the elements needed to create an effective website.

As an example, one of the first elements that you’ll need to work on is the domain name. Choosing a domain name is serious business. It needs to be searchable, convey what the site is about, and relate to you. It should be part of your platform, your brand. And, if at all possible, it should have your keyword in it.

Other elements of an effective website include: optimization, specific pages, posting fresh content regularly, an opt-in, and a freebie.

While a website is an absolute necessity, it also needs to be effective. The saying, “if you build it they will come,” doesn’t cut it in the internet world. Your site needs to attract visitors, be engaging / informative, be reader friendly, and convert. It needs to be planned out and optimized.


There are hundreds of thousands of searches done every day and there are around 2,000 blog posts published every minute. In all that internet noise, how do you get noticed? How do you become someone's search results? How do you create an optimized online platform?

Let me answer your questions and show you how in my next WOW! Women on Writing e-class on creating and building your author/writer online platform.

To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter
Author-Writer Online Platform Instructor


A Ghostwriter - 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business Part 2

A Ghostwriter - 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business Part 2 

(Features two to five)
By Karen Cioffi

2. A Ghostwriter Provides Informational Content

Information rules in today’s ever changing world. Providing informative and/or instructive content to your staff, customers, and potential customer is now essential, especially with business transparency being a desirable feature that employees and customers look for.

While businesses and marketers can generate their own content, a ghostwriter frees up company time for more productive and revenue generating work.

‘Informational gifts’ is another content product that businesses need to be aware of. Of the thousands of websites within your industry available for customers to find and subscribe to, why should they choose yours? That’s where an ‘ethical bribe’ comes in to play. Providing an informative report or e-book with valuable information that your potential customer will appreciate tends to motivate that individual, company, or visitor to click on your opt-in box, thereby increasing your mailing list. And, every business knows the importance of having a mailing list – it’s crucial with the increasing e-commerce trends.

It’s this offering of valuable and quality information that helps build a relationship with your site’s visitors and keeps them coming back. This ongoing relationship will eventually lead to an increased mailing list and sales.

3. A Ghostwriter for Your Business’ Landing Pages and Products

The first impression an online searcher – potential customer searching for your product or business type - will have of a business, is its landing page. Obviously, a business needs to have an attractive, quick loading, SEO friendly, and informative page. Now, while a ghostwriter will most likely not be a web designer, she can create the needed content for the site, content that will engage the visitor and motivate him to subscribe to the mailing list and make contact with the business.

The mailing list is what generates long-lasting relationships and sales. Through the mailing list you can offer information, along with product and/or business promotion. Marketing experts advise though, to offer a 75 to 25 percent ratio of information to promotion.

Again, information is what people want today; they want to know how to find a solution to their problem or need, and they want to be informed. If you provide that, you will have sales.

Along with creating effective landing page content, a ghostwriter can produce product descriptions and guides. Through the information you provide and additional research, she can create informative and customer appreciated content, thereby fostering customer loyalty.

4. A Ghostwriter – Copywriting and Keywords
In addition to writing articles, newsletters, e-books, reports, and other content, a ghostwriter should know copywriting. While this skill isn’t essential for some aspects of the job, it is important in the event a client requires projects such as landing pages, email marketing, product guides, articles, or other.

And, being aware of SEO and keywords will help the ghostwriter create traffic effective content, leading potential subscribers and customers to the business’ website.

Knowing copywriting and SEO is a surefire way for a ghostwriter to increase her value to business clients.

5. A Ghostwriter Must be a Good Writer
Lastly, the number one quality a ghostwriter needs to have is being a good writer. It’s also a good idea for the ghostwriter to specialize in a couple of different areas – this also increases her value to specific clients.

If you are thinking of hiring a ghostwriter, you might ask for samples and/or testimonials. Note here: testimonials from ghostwriting clients may be difficult, if not impossible to come by . . . for obvious reasons. If the ghostwriter can’t provide testimonials, it’s important to understand why and ask for writing samples instead.

If you missed Part 1, you can read it here:
A Ghostwriter – 5 Features that can Help Build Your Business Part 1

More Freelance Writing Articles

Freelance Writing Work: The Possibilities
You Can Write for Money

To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars - signup for The Writing World newsletter on the right top sidebar!

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer
Writer’s Digest Website of the Week, June 25, 2012

Find Karen’s eBooks on writing and marketing at: (check the sidebar for titles)

Karen Cioffi Writing Services
A Team of Professionals for Businesses and Individuals

A Ghostwriter - 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business Part 1

A Ghostwriter - 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business (Part 1)

By Karen Cioffi


A ghostwriter provides services for different types of people, marketers, and businesses, and on a number of topics. She works silently, behind the scenes and creates whitepapers, newsletters, e-books, informational products, articles, posts, stories, and other forms of content for a business or marketer seeking to:

•    Create and/or build your company’s platform visibility
•    Generate and increase website traffic
•    Provide instruction/information for employees or clients/customers
•    Offer an informational gift as an ‘ethical bribe’ to subscribe to your company’s mailing list
•    Create landing pages for your company or products
•    Create product descriptions and guides

The list goes on and on. But, let’s breakdown some of the uses of a ghostwriter, and her benefit to businesses.

A Ghostwriter is a Must-Have Tool

According to tracking by the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce grew 17.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011. Within those first three months, Americans spent $43 billion online. And, the projection for 2012 is that e-commerce will increase another 11.3 percent.

Based on trends and statistics, this growing e-commerce market will continue to grow.

1. Building Your Brand and Visibility with a Ghostwriter

So, it’s easy to see that with e-commerce rapidly growing a ghostwriter is a must-have business tool for marketers or business owners who need to provide regularly updated content on their site/s and in their newsletters or informational emails. This marketing strategy is known as inbound marketing. It helps build your platform, creates and increases traffic to your site, and will help increase your mailing list.

Creating content for businesses is actually a busy area for ghostwriters. Marketers are very aware of the importance of having effective and fresh content on the sites they are managing. Businesses hire a writer to write a set number of post/articles per week or month for a certain amount of money per article. Some businesses may want one to two articles per day; others may want one a week.

If you are hiring a ghostwriter for this capacity, be sure she knows about keywords and SEO. The point of hiring someone to create valuable content for your site/s is to have that content picked up in the search engines, which in turn will help searchers (potential customers/clients) find your site/s.

And, if the work involves rewriting articles, the ghostwriter must know the source article’s duplicate content score. Search engines frown upon duplicate content, so it’s the writer’s job to make the article different enough so it is perceived as new.

Maintaining and increasing visibility is essential to authors, writers, and businesses. Keeping up with blog posts and guest article writing is an important marketing tool for all, well at least for those who are trying to sell their products or services.

Come back on Sunday, August 5th, for Part 2 of A Ghostwriter - 5 Features That Can Help Build Your Business

More on Freelance Writing

Writing for Money – Breaking Into Freelance Writing
Freelance Writing: An Additional Path to Income

To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars - signup for The Writing World newsletter on the right top sidebar!

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Marketer
Writer’s Digest Website of the Week, June 25, 2012

Find Karen’s eBooks on writing and marketing at: (check the sidebar for titles)

Karen Cioffi Writing Services
A Team of Professionals for Businesses and Individuals

Considering Both the Downsides and Upsides of Writing Reviews

Dear Writers on the Move Readers,   I am busily rewriting my  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically  for a second edition fro...