Friday, February 10, 2017

My Take on New Amazon Review Policy

Amazon is trying—once again—to keep reviewers honest (meaning to keep them more credible, more trustworthy) and (possibly) to boost book sales on Amazon. But let’s give them credit for the more altruistic goal, huh?

In the note I received directly from them they say,

“Shoppers consistently tell us that they value reviews from other shoppers who they know have purchased the product on Amazon. As a result, we are introducing a policy change around customer reviews. Customers can now only submit a limited number of non-Amazon Verified Purchase reviews each week. The count is calculated each week from Sunday at 12:00am UTC through Saturday 11:59pm UTC. Your ability to submit Amazon Verified Purchase reviews will not be impacted. This policy also does not apply to Vine reviews or reviews on digital and physical books, music, and video.”

This is how readers can identify an Amazon Verified Purchase review: 

•  There will be an Amazon Verified Purchase badge near the review. They hope that helps assure readers that the review represents a “typical customer experience with that product.” It may, but there is no guarantee of that. On the other hand, it may make it easier for readers to identify authors with an agenda who try to undermine their competition with bad reviews. Yes, this cn happen.


•They also say “ Reviews that are not marked “Amazon Verified Purchase” are valuable as well, but we either can’t confirm that the product was purchased at Amazon or the customer did not pay a price available to most Amazon shoppers."

For more details, please see our Amazon’s guidelines  at
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201929730.

So, you see, as an author who reviews, it is highly unlikely that you will review that many products or books within a short period of time. As an author who wants to get as many reviews as possible, it his highly unlikely that the readers you ask to review your book will have exceeded that maximum either!


And, if you want to increase the number of reviews on your amazon buy page (and you should!), my new How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career will help you with that process. I promise you it will! You’ll find all kinds of ways to make your reviews work harder for you, too. 



MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile. Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and The Great First Impression Book Proposal, another booklet, helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart,and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com)

Light of Spirit Press Riffs On Print-on-Demand

Brother Simeon subscribes to my #SharingwithWriters newsletter. He manages a micro press of Christian and inspirational books for his monastery. Because he is definitely a sharing type of person, I asked him to share why he uses Createspace even though he is not "just" and individual authors publishing his own works, especially since his catalog is so professional.  Here is what he sent me.

Thoughts on Print-on-Demand (POD)

By Brother Simeon of Light of the Spirit Press

I wrote a version of this originally to my friend Roy Gibbon, author of An Offering of Light: Healing with Jyorei, Natural Agriculture, and Art to share my own experience with him and to urge him to consider publishing with CreateSpace/Amazon as a means of reaching a much wider audience. I think there are so many advantages to print on demand, especially through CreateSpace, Amazon’s printing arm, and KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), Amazon’s ebook arm, that would be very worthwhile for authors to consider, so I am sharing it with others.

Here is a partial list of those advantages:
    • Cost. The cost of production is minimal, with no fee for listing a book or making it available on Amazon. If you supply the book-formatted manuscript in Pdf format, as also with the book cover (they walk you through the what is needed and how to do it), the only expense is the Library of Congress number—$10, and the cost of printing. You can print from 1 book to thousands, in a multitude of sizes, page colors, cover sheens, etc. Prices vary per book size and number ordered, but are extremely reasonable. 
    • More on Pricing. For a single black and white interior 6x9 300 page book, the cost would be $4.45 each. For 100, the cost would be the same each, or $445.00. I believe that at a certain point when an offset printing quota is reached, prices are lower per book, but I am not able to access this information online. As for Amazon handling sales of your books, they simply take a cut of the book, giving you a specific royalty for each book sold, and take care of all book ordering and shipping, returns, etc. For instance, if you sold the book above for $20.00, your royalty would be $7.55, with everything taken care of once you upload the manuscript.
    • More Services. CreateSpace also offers interior layout and cover design for a fee, should you wish they take care of these aspects of book production. They also have a free cover-designer feature, but this will not substitute for a professionally designed cover.
    • Availability. Through Amazon you have access to the largest worldwide marketplace ever. Plus CreateSpace makes your book available through the big wholesale book distributors for bookstores, libraries, etc., as well as Barnes & Noble and other avenues. And with ebooks you can add to the likelihood that readers download your books to the increasingly popular ebook readers of various types. (We sell ebooks roughly 10 to 1 over print books. More on that later.) And you are not limited and bound to Amazon. You can get printed copies of any quantity through CreateSpace and manage whatever distribution you wish. And you can upload your ebook manuscript to services other than KDP so that you ebook will be available through sites like B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes/iBooks, and others, in addition to Amazon.
    • Revise-ability. Make a mistake in the manuscript? Rather than having a warehouse full of faulty copies you need to insert errata slips in, you simply correct your digital file for print and ebook versions, upload them, and the corrected version is ready in hours.
    • Marketing. Rather than being limited to the short-lived efforts of a major (or minor) printing house, or your own mailing list (which is gold, your prized possession which must be grown above all), you control all aspects of your marketing. This means more work on your part, but much more possibility of reward. This is what I am learning, and which recently I have had some success at. I will share my experiences below.
    • More Marketing: You can learn how to optimize your Amazon book pages by choosing the ideal book cover design, book title, subtitle, and book description so that your books become more readily available and show up higher in Amazon search results. Amazon in essence is the #3 largest search engine on the web, but for people who are already primed to BUY.
    • Reviews. Through Amazon readers can leave reviews, the best way of “social proof,” which is so critical nowadays. With your Shumei mailing list, you can encourage members to leave reviews, which when seen by the general public unfamiliar with Shumei will be an encouraging factor for readers to buy the book and be exposed the the philosophy of Jyorei and the organization of Shumei.
    • Control of Pricing. As you are in charge, you can always change the prices of your books to find what is optimal, balancing sales and profits.

I am sure that many book bloggers have written more on this subject, but it is often good to get an “amen” from a different source, which I am supplying here.


MORE ABOUT THE GUEST BLOGGER

Brother Simeon Davis is a monk a Light of the Spirit Monastery, and manages the monastery website (http://ocoy.org) and is also manager of the monastery’s printing efforts through Light of the Spirit Press (http://www.lightofthespiritpress.com). Seven books are currently produced through Create Space, and available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online outlets. We will share the marketing efforts and results for our best seller The Christ of India (http://a.co/aeKHTLG), as well as our efforts to get reviews from Facebook followers, in a further posting.


MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile. Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and The Great First Impression Book Proposal, another booklet, helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart,and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com)

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