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Sunday, October 15, 2017

5 Reasons why Authors Need to Have a Solid Presence on Goodreads

Already for a while, I have been proclaiming that Goodreads is the new Amazon, here are 5 reasons:

1) Book Reviews

Authors can discuss reviewing each other's works; Goodread is not an ecommerce site like Amazon.
'nuf said.

2) Public Libraries

If you want public libraries to acquire your book acquiring Goodreads reviews is more important than seeking Amazon reviews. WorldCat is the world’s largest library catalog, helping librarians find library materials online. WorldCat features only Goodreads and librarians’ reviews but no Amazon reviews.

3) Some of the best of the best are there too

BTW, Stephen King has 2,548 GR friends (and almost 300,000 followers).

4) "Goodreads is the new Amazon (for authors)"

As an Amazon top reviewer who has watched Amazon closely since 1998, I am predicting that Amazon will channel all indie author business to Goodreads.

What bolsters my theory is that  (a) Amazon just shut down their forum and (b) since 2015, Amazon leads all readers from their Kindles to Goodreads (not Amazon).

5) 55 million reasons

Amazon boosted the number of Goodreads members to 55 million; that’s an increase of 275% in four years. 

Goodreads is the most attractive social media platform to find readers.

Instead of having to dig through dozens of political memes, wedding pictures of the parents of people who you have never met, calls to say “amen” or “yes” to issues you may not care about, you get to see pertinent information – how you really connect – bookwise.


What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

~~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988.

Her work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (tech podcast) and on NBC News (biz blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur

To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries

Gisela's website

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina


© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann

Thursday, October 5, 2017

An 800 lbs Gorilla Question for Indie Authors

When Amazon set up their review platform they gave their top reviewers the opportunity to list their email addresses so they could accept indie authors' books for review.

Amazon top reviewers are 10,000 reviewers (out of 50+ million) whose reviews have been "found most helpful" by Amazon consumers (the people who actually buy on Amazon).

About 5,000 of these top reviewers, including me, reviewed indie author books.

In 2015, I published an award-winning comprehensive guide advising indie authors how to present their books best to top reviewers. Then, in the days before review clubs, the book turned into a smash hit. 

In 2016, Amazon changed their community guidelines and required that reviewers who received a free book in exchange for an objective review shared this information in their reviews.

Promptly, I updated my book, added another 30+ pages and advised proper procedures. 

In 2016, many authors decided not to buy the book, save $4.25 and, instead, join one or more review clubs.

And, as in 2015, authors who wanted to learn from a real expert purchased the book which turned out to be an extremely smart move. 

The authors who bought my book followed the advice from a real top reviewer who reviews herself and writes naked (no-fluff) books/information. 

Consequently, buyers received authentic information that helped them to gain the reviews their books needed. 

The one author who worked the hardest on achieving his goal acquired 15 top reviewers' reviews in 4 weeks. 

15 top reviewer reviews in 4 weeks! 
Let that sink in! 

Mind you, these reviews were written by the best of the best reviewers whose reviews Amazon consumers like the best.


Best of all, though my book was not free the top reviewers' reviews were free!


While I provided quality information based on yearlong, thorough research non qualified book marketers founded review clubs. 

These clubs produced millions of, in part, completely bogus reviews; I myself saw books on middle school level receiving more than two dozen five star reviews. 

Did the organizers really think that Amazon was going to hire more people to sift through these millions of reviews (as required by the FTC) though the authors exchanged books and Amazon did not make a dime of these transactions?


Other non qualified book promoters advised to send review requests tailored from templates. 

Such Nonsense! 

An author who tailors a template suggests that they don't like to write their own material. That does not look promising. (In reality, a review request is considered a writing sample.)

These 2 bits of advice produced a flood of fake reviews and also flooded top reviewers' Inboxes with same sounding, improper emails. 

Can you imagine receiving between 1,000-5,000 same sounding emails per year? 
(That's what happened.)

The problem was that non experts advised on matters they themselves didn't and don't do. Consequently, they have no data. They repeat what they read in a blog  that was probably penned by somebody who also did not do the task. 

In contrast, I who do the task, research, and sift through data, cannot give my advice for free because I work for it. Researching and collecting data are laborious, time consuming tasks. 


Though the non experts' advice was free indie authors paid a steep price

Amazon made millions of non verified reviews non visible by default and nobody is looking at them anymore; Amazon also removed the top reviewers' email addresses; probably, to ensure that they could not be accused of enabling SPAM. 


It turned out that the authors who invested $4.25 got the best advice because like they say, "You get what you pay for." 
Their books still have dozens of top reviewer reviews. 


And I? 

I went on to look for a new and better way and  I found it. 

"Goodreads is the NEW Amazon!" (Amazon also owns it.)

Then, I researched five months, sifted through thousands of data bits, and finally published NAKED GOOD READS How to Find Readers

There are 55 million readers on Goodreads. 


Now, it's your turn! 

You have a choice to believe free non experts' advice or to believe an expert who has a history delivering of information that works. 

Buy "NAKED GOOD READS How to Find Readers" on Amazon,, Smashwords or iTunes.
Amazon offers a money back guarantee

~~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988. 

Gisela's website:

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

Gisela's work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (biz blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur.

To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries


© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

“Walking helps you to think freely. When your feet move forward, your brain dances”

My Great-Grandfather's Secret

flockine / CC0 Creative Commons

Even  as a child I realized that my great-grandpa Edi Freunthaller was the “coolest dude” in the small Austrian town where I grew up. Actually, the word dude hadn’t been invented when my great-grandpa already raised the bar for senior coolness.

Born in 1881, great-grandpa had retired as a school principal long before I was born. I had heard people say that he knew everything because he read the newspaper daily. This was supposed to be a joke, but it was true that he kept up-to-date with the news until he died, almost 100 years old.   

For almost seventy years, great-grandpa played the organ at church, every Sunday. He also walked there, by foot, even in freezing temperatures. Twice, he allowed me to climb the narrow stairs to the choir balcony, even though non-musicians weren’t allowed up there. He wanted me to see his beloved instrument from up close.

I was scared that somebody would see me.

“Don’t worry.” He laughed. “What are they gonna do? Throw me out? Who’ll play the organ?”

Little me had also discovered that, in reality, he was the boss of the church, not the priest. A few times, when great-grandpa felt that the sermon was too long, he waited for the minister to pause for effect and said “Amen.” The priest heard it.

Standing on the bridge in front of “great-grandpa's church”

Sometimes, we walked home together even though we lived in different houses on different streets. Everybody we met along the way greeted great-grandpa most respectfully. On one such occasion, he talked to a woman I did not know. Saying good-bye, great grandpa said, “And, please – extend my respects to the family.”

 “Who was that?” I asked when the lady was out of sight.

“Oh... I don’t know.”

“But, you know her family.

Great grandpa snickered. “Well, surely she has a family.”

Today, that’s called people’s skills. Great-grandpa mastered it in the Seventies, long before every other entrepreneur wrote a book about it.

Great grandpa’s witty astuteness was one of a kind.

For many years I wondered why he was so clever and so confident until I discovered that he was a war hero.

He never mentioned the two world wars. His oldest son, my grandfather, was killed in Russia during World War II, his younger son barely survived the Battle of Stalingrad. Great-grandpa himself had fought for the Austrian Emperor, during World War I, also on the Russian Front.

I only discovered his “real story” by accident.

As a teenager, I questioned the necessity of brushing teeth twice per day and said to my mother, “Well, I hope all of this brushing leads to my teeth looking as good as great-grandpa’s when I am his age.”

“Great-grandpa?” my mother mused. “He has fake teeth; he lost his own in Russia when he was suffering from scurvy.”

My silly remark led to me finding out that great-grandpa had been interned in a Russian prison camp during the winter of 1916. It was a hastily assembled camp that had no fence. The commanding officer had told the prisoners, “If you want to run – Run! At least, we’ll have more food. As for you: You are going to die out there. There is nothing out there.”

Austrian prisoners of war in Russia, c. 1915

Of course, great-grandpa knew this to be true. The most famous Russian war tactic is their scorched earth policy. That’s how they defeated Napoleon, and they used the same technique during World War I. Still, after contemplating the situation for while, great-grandpa and his best friend decided that “if we have to die, at least we’ll die free.” And, in the middle of the night they walked out, toward Austria – 2,000 miles to the west.

The walk to freedom took more than two years and they arrived only after the war had already ended but they achieved what seemed impossible. 

THIS was great-grandpa’s secret.

He had experienced that real commitment, people's skills, and “walking the walk” can lead to success even in the direst circumstances.

After he came back, he kept on walking. Even though everybody in my hometown would have shuttled him wherever he wanted to go, great-grandpa insisted on walking every day till about two weeks before he died. Teeth or no teeth – he lived to celebrate his 98th birthday.

As a child, I once asked him why, without fail, he walked one mile every day. Great-grandpa’s answer was, “Walking helps you to think freely. When your feet move forward, your brain dances.” 

This revelation impressed me immensely. Eventually, I learned that he had discovered what so many great minds know.

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote that “all truly great thoughts are conceived by walking” which was probably why he walked every day. So did Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Charles Dickens, and Albert Einstein, and more recently, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jack Dorsey.

So walk the walk –  It's one way to reach your goals.     

~ ~*~ ~

Gisela Hausmann is the multi-award winning author of two life skills books:

 NAKED DETERMINATION 41 Stories About Overcoming Fear and

NAKED EYE-OPENER: To Reach the Dream You Must Forget About It." 

She tweets @Naked_Determina

To receive a summary of my blogs every two months please subscribe here. 


If you liked this blog, please share. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

3 Ways How to Respond to Blogs on LinkedIn So You Look Like an Ace


Most social media gurus recommend that professionals comment on influencers' LinkedIn blogs so they

a) might get noticed by the influencer-blogger

b) can help their own professional contacts by sharing valuable content

c) can polish their image/brand by adding valuable input, for all to see.


Still, maybe after reading an important blog you don't have to offer any insights because you are still digesting the blog's content.

Or, maybe you only want to comment so this blog will show up in your contact's LinkedIn news feed.


1) Posting unspecific acknowledgements like
  • "Great blog. THX for sharing."
  • "THX for sharing this valuable content."
  • "Thanks for the insight!"
 won't help. None of these comments indicate that you even read the blog.


Don't comment on the blog at all.
Instead share the blog with your followers and announce, "Friends, please read this truly interest blog by @..." and copy the influencer-blogger. Though you don't add any valuable input, at least you make yourself look like a player.


2) Equally "revealing" is the comment:

* "THX, I will read this later..."

Nobody cares what you will do in the future. Basically, this response says, "I noted that you wrote this blog but I am not making time to read it."


Copy the URL so you will find the blog again. When you have time to study it respond with an insightful comment. The time frame does not matter. In fact, if you post your response two to three days later you help the influencer-blogger to get their blog seen on LinkedIn's news feeds again. Most influencer-bloggers will appreciate that.



If you want to get noticed:

  1. Make time, 
  2. study the blog in-depth, 
  3. come up with a meaningful response, 
  4. refer to the content so you demonstrate that you read the blog,
  5. edit your response at least twice, and 
  6. post your response, also cc'ing the influencer. 

Here is proof that this strategy works. Two influencer heavyweights, Pete Cashmore and Peter Guber, shared my response with their network.

Pete Cashmore is the CEO and founder of the popular blog Mashable, a Technorati Top 10 blog worldwide.

Peter Guber is an executive, entrepreneur, educator, and author. His films have earned over $3 billion worldwide and 50 Academy Award nominations.
Peter Guber’s most recent business book, Tell to Win – Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story, became a #1 New York Times bestseller.

~ ~ * ~ ~

Award-winning email evangelist Gisela Hausmann is the author of "NAKED WORDS 2.0 The Effective 157-Word Email" and 'NAKED TEXT Email Writing Skills for Teenagers." She is also the 2016 Winner of the Sparky Award "Best Subject Line."

Her work has been featured in SUCCESS and Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (biz blog).

To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries

Gisela's website:

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina


© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann

Sunday, August 20, 2017

5 Ways to Spot - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Author Blogs.

We live in a hyped world. Anybody who screams "This or that is bad" has a better chance of getting heard than the ones who offer solutions.

We see the same effect in politics. Even though I am appalled by many or even most things President Trump says, he was completely right when he blamed Mitch McConnell for failing to come up with a decent health care bill.

Mitch McConnell became Senate Minority Leader in 2007 and Majority Leader in 2015. Under his "leadership" the Republicans screamed "Repeal and Replace Obama care" for 7 long years, maybe to pretend that they were working.

If they would have been working, they would have conferenced with insurance experts, ran numbers, and discussed them in town-hall meetings just like they finally did, during the last seven months.

According to Mitch McConnell there wasn't enough time. Dare I say, "Senator, if you would have used every minute you spent saying, "Obama care needs to be repealed and replaced" with working on the issue you might have made it."

Only screaming "This or that is bad" isn't leading to a solution; all it is, is "hyping the issues."

We see the same from indie author bloggers who make their case, that "everything is Amazon's fault" just like many Republicans suggest that "everything is Obama's fault."

But, are the bloggers working on solutions? 

Full disclosure: I am also the author of half a dozen indie author "how-to"-books, however, I only write about topics I am a known expert in.

There are good, bad, and even ugly blogs. 

By my concept:

Good Blogs are written by industry experts who share some tidbits of their expertise, also to introduce their work (Somehow we have to find out whose goods and services we want to buy).

Bad Blogs are rehashed content presented in 50 shades of pink (hopeful and optimistic) or 50 shades of grey (as a stern warning). 

It's the year 2017. As I write this blog, at 10:30 a.m. EST, more than two millions blogs have been published — today! Yesterday, it was the same and also the day before and the day before that. Therefore: Don't believe everything you read.. 

Ugly Blogs cause real damage. Though they may present novel content often they violate industry guidelines or suggest cheater methods that will be discovered. 


(FUN exercise: Please click that link and write down the number of blogs you see.)


Already last year, I pointed out that there is no way that the 89 million blogs about "how to get book reviews" make sense.

Meantime, the 89 millions blogs about "how to get book reviews" have increased to 375,000,000 blogs about this topic; in short, people reblog or rehash and rephrase the same content on their blogs. Most often, this type of activity only increases the amount of useless information.


That is why I offer only blogs with real solutions. If I have nothing to contribute I don't blog.

And, while thousands of people read my blogs, unlike the hyped blogs they are not been shared thousands of times.


Maybe, because some of the thousands of readers thought, "Ghee, this might work. I better keep this to myself." Though this concept thinking is understandable, please ponder the consequences.

Whenever a "good blog isn't winning" an inferior blog "wins"

As an example:

1) Here is my Expert Blog
The 5 Most Common Mistakes When Seeking Book Reviews From Amazon Top Reviewers

Please note: Though this is still clever advice, in the meantime Amazon disconnected their top reviewers' email addresses  (I'll get to this in a bit.) - In contrast

2) An Inferior blog [I am not naming names] might state:
"... Just tailor this template and send it to top reviewers..."

A) As a result, top reviewers received thousands of emails tailored after the mentioned or slightly different (silly) templates.

B) Equally, bad bloggers came up with the great idea to blog, “Here is what I do... To my email I attach a .mobi file of my book...”

Eventually, many top reviewers had enough and blocked their profiles.

C) Lastly, the really UGLY bloggers came up with the idea to subscribe reviewers to Mailchimp lists, without their permission, which is a clear violation of the CAN-SPAM Act 2003.

Which was probably the reason why Amazon disconnected the top reviewers' email addresses. Amazon does not want to be accused of enabling SPAM, by their reviewers or the FTC.


Did you notice that every time one of these hyped blogs got shared and multiplied honest and good indie authors lost opportunities even if they did not participate in any of this?

In contrast to previously mentioned useless suggestions, buyers of my book "NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews" got to read, "Save only the email addresses of the top reviewers who read your specific genre on a spread sheet..." & "Don't treat them as part of Amazon' inventory..."... Maybe send them best Christmas wishes... 

The authors who bought my book and followed this advice still have a way to reach the top reviewers. They just need to pull their spread sheets. 

In the 3rd version of this book I present how to contact top reviewers under the new, changed conditions. Top-10 and Hall-of-Fame reviewer Bassocantor called this method "... true, useful, and ethical..."

Which is another reason why expert authors and bloggers have to produce excellent, "... true, useful, and ethical..." content. Their colleagues would just tear them apart and their reputation would evaporate quickly.


The bad and ugly don't worry about that.

They'll find a different reason to scream "It's all Amazon's fault"..." and yeah, "everything else is Obama's fault."

The truth is
Amazon gave indie authors an awesome marketing opportunity 
They gave indie authors access to the email addresses of their top-10,000 out of 50 million reviewers (of which about 5,000 reviewed indie authors' books) 

Bad and ugly blogging led to this opportunity being taken away.


Now, please click this link again and compare numbers:

That's how many blogs were published while you read this blog. It's your guess how many of these blogs are good, bad, and ugly blogs.


How to find great blogs

1) Remember the First Amendment

When reading a blog always remember that in the United States the First Amendment guarantees people the right to write, even about things they know nothing about or can’t prove to be true.

2) Check the blogger’s background!

Every blogger features a short resume at the beginning or the end of their blog. Always study it and also — verify it. Don’t hesitate to ask poignant questions.

The same goes for books. Some of the bad and ugly write books instead of blogs.

3) Don't follow the lead but think for yourself

The other day I noticed a "new Amazon review expert." This author had published only two books in less than two years. Can anybody with less than two years experience be an expert? — I read this author's book about getting reviews. It had dozens of glowing reviews. Only after I published my thoughts suddenly other reviewers too articulated doubts about the presented method. (It's extremely questionable.)

4) Check the date!

If a blog is older than six months, chances are at least some parts may be outdated. Things change quickly these days and not everybody is an ethical writer who un-publishes obsolete content.

5) Don't share bad or even ugly blogs!

In the long run you may pay the price even though you yourself may not have followed the suggested concept.

On Twitter, many authors share blogs they don't read. In reality, they share the title of the blog.

At a time when 4 to 6 million blogs get published d a i l y doing that can be quite dangerous.
Years ago, I read a super blogger's advice, "Don't spend more than two hours on writing your blog but think about the title for a whole day." While that may be smart advice, it may also have helped to kill marketing opportunities for indie authors.


I'd love to open up the conversation about this topic, so please share your thoughts in the comments.

~~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988.

Her work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (tech podcast) and on NBC News (biz blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur.

To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries

Gisela's website:

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina


© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann
Title picture: Avatars by Toonstyle(dot)com via Shutterstock

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A top reviewer's feasibility study about reviewing indie authors' books

Hello, my name is Gisela Hausmann. I am a dedicated indie author who is also a publishing industry veteran. I self-published my first book in 1988 when nobody dreamed of e-readers, e-books, and Print-on-Demand.

I am also an Amazon top reviewer, who observes Amazon since 1998 when I became one of their vendors.

To subscribe to my blog summaries please click here.


Unfortunately, NOT ONLY DO many of today's book marketers NOT have this expertise, quite many are no book marketers but really Internet marketers.


The typical Internet marketing strategy is to create a surge of interest by offering “the product” for free or extremely reduced.

In an ideal world, customers who acquired the free or extremely reduced product spread the word, which leads to follow-up sales. The problem with this strategy is that books are not typical products like kitchen gadgets or seasonal products; it takes time to read books. "Book hoarders" may never read all books they download.

This leads to authors paying for promotions, getting excited about the number of free downloads, but then – reviews trickle in only slowly and follow-up sales may not even recover the costs of the marketing campaign.

Which is why I keep hearing from authors that tweet campaigns don't work


As a mass media expert I am also fascinated with reviews.

I have been reviewing books since 2012 and I reached top reviewer status in 2014. I also published and updated books about how to get book reviews, always in accordance with Amazon's latest guidelines.

Having studied Amazon's policies since 1998 when I became one of their early vendors, I can say with certainty that the fact that Amazon does not show "unverified reviews" by default any longer is one of indie authors' biggest problems.

The change happened in February 2017.

This blog shows my review data to demonstrate and explain the issue.


On the following lists, I am showing the combined numbers of "likes" my book reviews received as well as individual results of book reviews that received 5 or more "likes."

To make my point it is not necessary to list the number of "not helpful"-votes, hence I don't feature them to avoid data overload. Also, I did not list my product reviews data.


In 2013, I reviewed

58 indie authors books, which so far garnered 313 "likes"

[ 80 (combined) + 140 + 25 + 17 + 11 + 11 + 10 + 7 + 7 +5 ]

That's right. In 2013, I wrote a review of an indie author book that received 140 "likes," and others that received 25 "likes, 17 "likes," two reviews that were "liked" 11 times, and so on.

and 30 traditionally published books, which garnered 62 "likes"

[ 26 (combined) + 15 + 9 + 7 + 5 ]

The most liked reviews of traditionally published books garnered 15 "likes"and 9 "likes."


In 2014, I reviewed

50 indie authors books, which garnered 194 "likes"

[ 60 (combined) + 16 +14 + 12 + 10 + 8 + 7 + 7 ]

and 3  traditionally published books, which garnered "likes."


In 2015, I reviewed

72 indie authors books, which garnered 165 "likes"

[ 96 (combined) + 17 + 10 + 9 + 6 + 6 + 6 + 5 + 5 + 5 ]

and 24 traditionally published books, which garnered 93 "likes"

[ 38 (combined) + 23 + 11 + 10 + 6 + 5 ]


In 2016, I reviewed

55 indie authors books, which garnered 94 "likes"

[ 74 (combined) + 20 ]

One of these reviews was "liked" 20 times; all other reviews received 4 or fewer likes, or none at all

and 11 traditionally published books, which garnered 19 "likes."


So far, in 2017, I reviewed

32 indie author books which received 19 likes, with none of them receiving more than 4 likes

and 11 traditionally published books which received 34 "likes."


Please see this data again, summed up.

Clearly, the indie author book reviews I wrote in 2017 are not getting "liked" as often as reviews I wrote in 2013.

Though one might argue, that book reviews which have been online since 2013 could collect more "likes" please compare the indie author data with the trad-pub. books' data.

Indie author books' reviews' "likes" are going down,
trad-pub. books' reviews' "likes" are going up.

The drop of "likes" of indie author book reviews from 2016 to 2017 is significant ( 1.7 => 0.6)
and so is the increase of "likes" of trad-pub. authors' book reviews ( 1.7 => 3.1).

At all times, the number of "likes" trad-pub. authors' book reviews received was greater than the number of reviews. But, indie author book reviews aren't – in 2017.

Here are the average increases and decreases in a separate illustration.

Throughout these five years I accepted no more than 10 ARC copies, about 2 per year. I either buy books or I "rent" them with KU (which results in reviews being counted as non verified reviews).

Logically, I buy more traditional published books because they are less likely available through KU.

Which proves: People are not reading "unverified reviews." That's why they don't see my indie author book reviews and also can't "like" them.


So, how did this mess happen?

In March 2016, Amazon changed their community guidelines and required that reviewers who received a free review copy stated this fact in their book reviews.

Roughly at the same time, the "Trump-Twitter-Effect" began to take its toll on book marketing campaigns. Book marketing campaign services tried to compensate by founding book review clubs.

Since most authors did not want to buy books tit for tat, authors began reviewing each others' free books.

The rampant abuse was obvious. Anybody who scanned book reviews noticed books with 90% non verified reviews all of which stated, “I was provided with a free review copy.”

And so it came about that Amazon tightened its guidelines; non verified reviews are not visible by default any longer. Rather than wasting time and effort figuring out how to distinguish between "these and those" non verified reviews, Amazon simply hid them by default and let the customers decide if they want to see these reviews.

Of course, it does create a not so great impression. Just imagine what you think when you look at a book or at a kitchen gadget that has 3 verified and 10 non verified reviews.

For me, this was extremely painful. A dedicated indie author supporter, I spent years publishing best strategies and I updated my books religiously to present best practices (and tricks) in accordance with Amazon's ever-changing guidelines.

There are a few lesson to be learned from this situation:


Amazon knows everything. Even if they did not remove (book club) friends' book reviews, they know what's going on. If I could put together above data  – by hand (!) – in less than two hours, imagine what Amazon can do in their many data centers around the globe. Also, I still meet authors who don't know that Amazon suppresses friends' reviews because the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires them to do so.


If you engage in book club review activities always remember that "unverified reviews" may not be read or taken seriously.
Instead of "networking in Facebook groups" call your high school buddy and ask him/her to #buy and #review a copy. Start with the one who wrote the best essays. If he/she does you can call "the others."


Consider taking at least some of your book marketing activities "off-line." Though arranging for book signings and meeting with "real life" book clubs is more work, the above featured data indicates that marketing books online exclusively is not as success-prone as it used to be.

As an additional benefit – your "off-line" activities cannot be tracked!


I want to open up the conversation about this topic, so please share your thoughts.

~~~ *** ~~~

Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988. 

Her work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (biz blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur.

To subscribe to Gisela's Blog pls subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of this blog's web-edition or sign up to receive summaries

Gisela's website:

Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina


© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann

Thursday, August 3, 2017

My Quotes

Gisela’s quotes

"In this world of endless opportunities our dreams compete. If we wait to start a journey, the destination may not be anymore what we wanted to find."— Gisela Hausmann