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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

5 quick-fixes for common author grievances

Gisela Hausmann

Those of us who spend a lot of time in indie author groups may have heard these complaints before. Here are five suggestions to avoid these common grievances.

Show, don’t tell

“... So, I went to this networking party and I told everybody about my book, and everybody said, ‘How cool is that... ’  but nobody bought it.”  

Don’t overrun people you meet randomly, by telling them, “I just published this fantasy novel called... xyz... My protagonist... yadayada...”  

Most likely, the people you meet will feel overwhelmed and will not buy your book. 

Instead, have double-sided or folded, hot-looking business cards printed. This allows you to put twice the content, including a picture of your book and a quote from your book, or an excerpt of a review, on the card. Studies prove that visuals are among the most popular shared content on social media. Put simply: People like looking at pictures. Make it work for you. 

Thinking ahead

“...This reader gave me a 1* star review but in his review he wrote that he didn’t even finish my book. Writing a book is hard work. I think the reader should have at least finished my book...”  

Who has time to finish a book they don’t enjoy reading?

Whether we like it or not, once we make our work available to the public, they are entitled to have an opinion about our books. It’s the same as with all other products and services. Have you ever read cell phone service reviews? Well, then you know.

The only way you can counter potential negative reviews is to offer a telling book description. Also, run promotions only after your book has received a few thoughtful reviews so readers know what to expect when they buy your book. If the reviews your book received are honest and authentic, people who probably won’t like your book won’t even buy it.

Asking basics

“... My book has 5* reviews on, but these reviews do not show on How I can I get my UK reviews to show on the US site?” 

Never ask a question to which you haven’t tried to find an answer on the Internet first. The Amazon KDP support files offer the answer to this question and much more.

If you ask too many basic questions, like this one, you’ll create a “don’t cry wolf”-effect. Eventually, people will stop tutoring you. Publishing books is a business like every other. Consequently, you need to learn basics before you start publishing. 

In contrast to asking basic questions, asking sophisticated questions which can’t be researched on the Internet, will make you look like a savvy author who is working on an advanced level.

Test – test – test

“... I did a Twitter promotion and did not sell a single book/recover my costs...” 

To run a successful twitter campaign, you need to test your tweets first. The cheapest way to do this is to run the tests yourself. Post various tweets, collect the data on which ones gets shared most often, and run a campaign only once you have these insights.

Give before you expect to receive

“I gave away x number of ebooks and did not receive a single review. Readers don’t know how important reviews are...”

Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated! 

Many other professionals will benefit from reviews, too. For instance, tens of thousands of employees work for $8.50 per hour in the retail industry. These employees’ advancements may depend on your “review.”  

Start paying it forward! Ask these excellent employees if you can deposit a review on their company’s website. 

Occasionally, an opportunity may arise, where you can mention that you are an author. With a bit of luck, people will ask you what kind of books you write, especially if you are nice and show concern for their needs. Hopefully, you’ll  have one of the cards I mentioned earlier, at hand.

In the words of Mark Twain: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” 


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 (blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur.

Her book NAKED REVIEW: How to Get Book Reviews is available for Preorder at the introductory price of $1.99 (till July 20th - Moon Landing Day).

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann


  1. Putting many of these into practice... now if there was a fix for impatience...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thank you @Mary Woldering and @Robert Fear

  4. Great advice, as always. I have never run a promo. I have doubts if it really works.

  5. My two cents from an editor/blogger POV: you're spot-on with each point. I'm a firm believer in doing an Internet search before I ask anyone the solution to what I'm trying to figure out. I become impatient when someone asks a question that could have been Googled faster than finding an online forum, and then, when given direction, continues to ask, "But how do I [fill in the blank]?" without trying to take it from there on their own.

    I like the "pay it forward" as well. Whether reading and commenting on blog posts, or interacting on Goodreads or Twitter or Facebook or wherever, I try my best to reciprocate (in a natural way, not the "like for like" deal that yields nothing). A blog has to be extremely interesting or educationally profitable for me to follow and comment with no feedback, ever. My BFF calls it "backhaving" and I've come to adopt the word for myself. We do for others what we hope they'll do for us. We cheer, we buy books and review them, we recommend services, etc., all in the hope that when someone wants to read our books or use our services, they'll remember our names. The whole journey yields friendships and working relationships as well. It's a lot better than only showing up when we need something, and then disappearing again.

  6. Great post. Much of this seems simple, but from personal experience, I know it's not for many. I wonder if some authors really don't know this stuff and need to be redirected to your blog, or they know it and just think they can find and easier way? IDK.