(reblogged from chrismcmullen)
ORGANIC BOOK MARKETING
I take a long-term approach to book marketing.
My goal is to generate periodic sales over the course of several years.
I’m more interested in how well the book sells years after its release than how well it says when it makes its debut.
Granted, a book often gets its best traffic in the beginning, so anything you might do to improve that could be a significant boost.
But if you can get the book to sell consistently for years instead of tailing off, time can provide a huge boost of its own.
That’s the potential of organic book marketing, if you can pull it off effectively.
Organic book marketing also doesn’t tend to be depend as strongly on the latest marketing trends.
There are some fundamental marketing strategies that work long-term even in a dynamic market, whereas short-term strategies tend to be trendy.
We’ll consider several aspects of book marketing, and what it might mean to be organic.
As a customer shopping for products at Amazon, if you read customer reviews, would you prefer to read organic reviews? I would.
What makes a review organic?
It can’t get any more organic than this:
- A customer discovers a book.
- The customer takes the initiative to review the book.
- The customer leaves genuine feedback for the book.
Amazon considers a review to be more organic when the customer discovers the book on Amazon.com and the review shows the Verified Purchase label. Amazon’s new machine-learning algorithm, which determines which reviews get more exposure, favors a Verified Purchase.
The machine-learning algorithm looks at more than just whether or not the review is Verified. For example, it also looks at Yes vs. No votes. There are multiple factors. In general, most of these factors favor organic reviews.
Obviously, when a customer discovers a book in a bookstore, reads the book, and leaves a review on Amazon, it’s just as organic. Although it won’t have that Verified Purchase tag, potential customers will see an honest opinion to help them with their purchases.
Even if the customer discovers the book because the author employed effective interpersonal marketing skills, it’s still an organic review if the customer leaves unbiased feedback. In fact, customers are more likely to review a book having interacted with the author.
The problem, of course, is that customer book reviews often come at a very slow rate. It can take 100 to 200 sales, on average, to get a single review. (These numbers may vary considerably, depending on subgenre, for example.) And if the book is selling one copy every few days, that may very well seem like never.
And some book promotion sites, like BookBub, require a minimum number of reviews.
Thus, authors are tempted to look for less organic methods of seeking reviews.
Most customers think they can tell, to some extent, organic reviews from inorganic ones:
- Suppose a book has a sales rank of 1,000,000, was released 30 days ago, and already has 20 reviews. It may seem suspicious.
- Organic reviews tend to show a degree of balanced opinions, and a few tend to be off-the-wall. There is a certain variety of opinions and the expression of them typical of Amazon.
- Checking out what else the reviewer has reviewed can also seem to tell a tale.
Amazon’s SEO can probably tell organic reviews from inorganic ones, to some extent. (Even if it doesn’t do this well now, it probably will in the future.)
If you can find effective ways to generate more sales, that will help to generate more organic reviews.
And then there is always review karma. This philosophy is to post reviews of books you have read, and hope that the universe returns the favor.
But that’s different from swapping reviews with fellow authors, which is not organic (and Amazon may choose not to support).
Read the rest of the post here at chrismcmullen.