Another Review Site?

Independent author, entrepreneur, and marketing guru, Seth Godin, recently launched a new website. The purpose of this website is to help people discover stuff they didn’t even know they were looking for. Not just books, but anything sold on Amazon.

This site, called HugDug, is a place for people to share reviews about things they love. Once someone writes an impassioned review on the site, HugDug allows that person to easily post it to all his or her social media networks.

Watch this video to see what Seth Godin says about his new review site, HugDug.

With HugDug, Seth’s idea is to elevate the art of the review. Seth is also the founder of Squidoo. While this platform has been fairly successful, I wonder if HugDug will catch on. After all, why not just write the review on Amazon? Why not just share your review with your friends via social media?

On the other hand, maybe one more place to put one’s opinion on the Internet is attractive. HugDug could be one more place your books are listed. If they are, it could bring some additional exposure for your books. Maybe another review site is a good thing.

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No Longer Marginalized

If you have any remaining doubts, put them to rest. Independent publishing (a.k.a. self-publishing) is now mainstream.

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More than 391,000 books were self-published in the United States in 2012, an increase of 422 percent since 2007. Self-publishing now outstrips the combined titles put out by conventional publishers like Random House and Simon & Schuster, which rose to 301,642 in 2012, up 6.1 percent since 2007.

Realizing this trend, industry giants are doing more to reel in indie dollars.

First, Bowker launched SelfPublishedAuthor, a website for self-published authors. Through this site, Bowker began offering services for self-published authors including ebook conversion services and marketing services.

Four years ago, Publishers Weekly (PW) launched PW Select. This quarterly supplement to the PW monthly journal is dedicated exclusively to self-published titles, including reviews of self-published books.

Now, Publishers Weekly has just launched a new website to help self-published writers. This new website, BookLife, features services to help self-published authors with a book’s creation, publishing, and marketing.

Independent publishing is becoming the norm in book publishing. Authors like it because it often gives them more creative control and potentially higher earnings than publishing with a traditional publisher.

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Review-Swap

Over the years, I have written a number of blog posts on book reviews. One of the reasons for this is that I feel that I cannot stress enough how important reviews are.

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Readers want to know if a book is worth an investment of their time and money. One sure way for them to determine this is to read what other people think of a book.

There are a number of ways to go about acquiring reviews of a book. These include:

  • Submitting your book to book review sites and publications.
  • Paying a book review service to write a review of your book.(see “Paid Book Reviews: Should You Buy?“)
  • Asking friends, family members, and even strangers to read your book and write a review.
  • Using a book review service like BookCrash, a books for bloggers program.

Recently, a new book review service has come to my attention. EasyBookReviews offers a review-swap program. The way this review-swap program works is that you review a book on Amazon, and in return, someone reviews your book on Amazon.

EasyBookReviews facilitates that review-swap program for authors. An author pays the program $5. Then EasyBookReviews sends the author a link to purchase a book on Amazon (for less than $3). The author then must read and write a review of this book on Amazon. Once the author does these three things, the author will receive a review of his/her book on Amazon in return.

I think a review-swap program is a very interesting concept. Although, I do have a couple questions about the  program.

My first question is: Can an author choose what genre of book they want to review? Imagine having to review a book you have absolutely no interest in, just to get a review of your book. Then, what if the person reviewing your book has no interest in your subject matter—or is anti-Christian.

Another question: Is an author required to give a positive review? I also wonder: Does the program provide a guideline with some minimum requirements for a review?

These questions are not answered under the “FAQ” section of the EasyBookReviews website. Maybe these questions are answered when an author signs up for a review swap.

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Influencing Readers

Book awards influence buyers.

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This is just one of the marketing fundamentals presented in my book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. Did you know that when book buyers are presented with two books on the same topic and one is an award winner, book buyers consistently prefer the book that has won an award?

I am pleased to announce that Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace: Third Edition, has just won an award! The book was a Finalist in the Business: Writing/Publishing category for the International Book Awards. This is the third award this title has received.

While entering a book award contest is a not a guaranteed win for your entry fee, it certainly more than pays off if your book is picked for an award. A book award provides you a marketing gem.

If you have not yet entered your books into any book award programs, I urge you to do so. There are many to choose from, and a complete list can be found in my book.

One award to consider is the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. This award, sponsored by Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), seeks to bring recognition to outstanding Christian books produced by small publishers and independently published authors.

This year the award is being offered in fourteen categories. Two new categories have been added for the 2015 award: Historical Fiction and Christian Education.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. I encourage you to head on over to www.bookoftheyear.net and nominate your book.

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