How to Publish Your Book: Getting Those All-Important Reviews and Testimonials

Great reviews and testimonials help sell your book; therefore any actions you take to promote your book should include such reviews and testimonials. They can be gold. They help persuade book lovers that your book deserves a place on their shelves. They also help convince bookstore chains, individual bookstores, and libraries to stock your book.

Where do you start? The answer is as early as possible. Most reviewers want an actual copy of the book. An e-book won’t work, although that perception is changing. If reviewers can get an advance copy prior to publication, so much the better. Some reviewers will accept galleys but they expect to receive copies of the finished book later. For example, the School Library Journal will accept galleys. These must be received at least two months prior to the publication date. This gives the Journal time to review your book and print the review in their newsletter, either close to or shortly after publication date. You should be aware, however, that some reviewers do not accept self-published books.

There are several ways to let potential reviewers know about your upcoming book. The obvious one is a press release. As well, social media is playing an increasingly large role. If you have a blog, you can discuss your work and its availability. Better still, you can contact those bloggers with an interest in your book’s topic. They may be willing to write a review and post it on their blog. You could also have a fan page on Facebook. You would encourage your followers to write their own reviews to post on your fan page, and on their own pages.

You are also going to request reviews from newspapers and magazines, especially magazines that have a particular interest in your topic area. The odds of your getting a review in a national newspaper or magazine are pretty small. Getting a review from a local newspaper or magazine, as I’ve done, is more likely. Find out the name of the person to whom your request should go. If you have friends with contacts in the media, especially radio, TV and newspapers, ask them to help you.

Testimonials come from people who have read your book and found it to be of value. It could be a business book with advice on accounting, something technical, such as how to use digital cameras, or simply a piece of fiction that gave special insight to an issue or situation. Sometimes a delighted reader will send you a spontaneous response. More likely you’ll have to contact those with your book and ask for a testimonial. That happened with one of my business books. I first called them, then followed up with e-mail. Out of about 20 requests, five actually responded. This brings me to my final point.

People, though usually well meaning, can be notoriously slow in delivering a review or testimonial, even when they have agreed to do so. You have to be persistent. It may take several calls, multiple e-mails before you get a result. Or you may not hear at all. The problem is that the testimonial is never urgent to those you approach, only to you. And don’t offer an incentive to complete that testimonial. It can bring up issues of integrity. So be persistent. If one source won’t cooperate, keep going to others until you get what you need. Great reviews and testimonials add credibility to your sales efforts. You need them. They help sell books.

The Truth About Selling Your Writing Services Online

The Web offers unlimited opportunities for writers to make money from their writing skills. You can create and write blogs, sell articles, sell reviews and much more. It’s just a matter of getting started and following the simple process I’ll outline for you in this article.

Not a writer? Of course you are. If you’ve been writing email messages and reports for your day job, you qualify as a writer. A writer is just someone who writes.

So let’s look at the truth about selling your writing services online. Here it is in a nutshell: you must have something to sell, and you must have a Web site at which you promote your writing services.

Let’s look at this in four easy steps:

1. You must have a Web site to sell your writing services

If your eyes are rolling up in your head at the scary thought of creating a Web site, relax. There’s nothing scary about creating a blog on Blogger, for example. (Do a Google search for Blogger if you’re not familiar.) A blog is a Web site, and if you can write an email message, or use a word processor, you’ve got all the skills you need to set up a blog on Blogger.

2. Create samples so prospects can see the type of writing services you offer

Your next step is to decide what writing services you’ll offer. As stated, you can write articles and reviews, and these are easy options for you to get your feet wet.

Write a couple of articles and reviews, and post them on Blogger as your writing samples. Your samples should be around 400 words – there’s no need to write long screeds: Web writing tends to be shorter than print writing.

You can also add a “Hire me to write for you” note in the sidebar. This alerts people that you’re open to taking on writing jobs.

3. Add a way for people to contact you on your site

I’m constantly amazed at the number of writers for hire who’ll set up elegant sites and blogs, but totally neglect to mention that they’re available to write for others. Worse, even if a potential customer was psychic, and worked out that this writer was available, there’s no way for the customer to make contact.

Add your email address to your site’s sidebar, and create a “About” page, with a small bio. Add your email address to the bio, too.

When you’re offering your writing services, you must make it as easy as possible for people to both know exactly what you want them to do, and then for them to do it.

Writers are in high demand online, and you’ll be amazed at the numbers of clients who contact you when you make it easy for them to do so.

4. Finally, advertise and promote your site

Your final step in selling your writing services online is to advertise and promote your site. There are endless options for self-promotion online. One of the easiest ways is to advertise on Craigslist, because it’s popular and free.

So that’s the truth about selling your writing services online: you must have something to sell, and your Web site is the venue at which you sell it.

David Ogilvy’s Classic Work: How to Create Advertising That Sells Review Part 3

How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 3

Almost Home…

David Ogilvy’s classic How to Create Advertising That Sells Review Part 3 looks at rules eighteen through twenty-seven. It starts with the maxims about TV ads and moving to the maxims of ads in print. The advertising medium isn’t necessarily what’s important here. These maxims pay big and offer a proven history. Get the most out of each advertising dollar. Apply these maxims, regardless of the chosen medium.

Rule 18: Music

Even though, according to Ogilvy, most won’t believe this, music behind the ad in commercials decreases the consumer’s ability to remember ads. Not good, right?

Rule 19: Standups

Stand-up Pitches work if “delivered” with honesty says Ogilvy.

Rule 20: Sore Thumb

The average viewer watches more than 20,000 commercials in a year. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Ogilvy says brand it and make it one of a kind. A symbol (like imperial’s crown) or even a mnemonic device can be used.

Rule 21: Animate?

Cartoons really sell to children. Children don’t hold the power of the pocketbook however. It’s critical to know the audience. Cartoons and animation doesn’t turn over to customers when adults are the target. Grown-ups can’t “identify” with animation. This makes it less persuasive.

Rule 22: Save it!

Find out WHY an ad didn’t work. Then, repair it. Once fixed, it’s ready to go to work for real!

Rule 23: Factual vs. Emotional

In the big scheme of things, commercials which offer facts about the product or service will rank as more effective than ones using emotions. Ogilvy’s example was Maxwell House Coffee. It was very emotional and a huge success. It goes both ways, but stats say go with the facts.

Rule 24: Attention Grabbers

Commercials which open with a fast, grab the attention of viewers, and tend to hold their attention significantly better to the end than the quiet-start commercials.

What Works Best in Print…

As part of this How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 2, we’ll move to print advertising. We’ll look at what works and what does not.

Rule 25: 80/20

What’s 80/20? Sadly, only twenty percent of viewers will go past headlines in order to reach the content. Since eighty percent DO read the headlines, the sale takes place in the headline! There’s a conversion rate which is 5 times greater than not creating a dynamic headline. Ogilvy always used his company name and gave promise in the headline.

Rule 26: Benefits

Headlines giving a solid benefit get more sales over those that do not. Human nature makes anyone want to find out what’s in it for them! This is one of the strongest maxims in this How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 3 to be found.

Rule 27: News

People are curious about new products or service. They want to know which products have been changed or improved, giving reason to read on. The stats say headlines that tell sell.

Review in Summary

That completes this next part of David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising that Sells Review, part 3 of 4. Television and print are obviously very different advertising mediums. However, there is much to learn and apply from both arenas… Remember: Say ‘No’ to background music. Stand-ups work. Stand above the crowd. Fix whatever isn’t converting and try it again. Facts sell more than emotion. Grab the viewer’s attention right out the door. Power is in the headline… don’t mess it up! Show the consumer “what is in it for them”… give the biggest, strongest benefit inside the headline. Finally, share newsy points about what’s being sold will work extremely well.

Part four of How to Create Advertising that Sells Review will conclude more million-dollar truths by Ogilvy and show what works and what doesn’t. If viewer’s attention isn’t grabbed or demanded, the sale is lost! Part 4 promises to end with a bang, so keep looking.