Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How Should Authors Respond to Negative Reviews?

If you're an author and you find yourself wanting to respond unprofessionally to a negative review of your book, shut down your computer, walk away, and never look at that negative review again ... Today I came across an instance where an indie author received a 2-star review by a blogger and then decided to go on a tirade in the comments section of the blog (click here and scroll down a bit to see what I mean). Commenters greeted the author with criticism for acting so unprofessionally in a public forum (I should note that some of the commenters weren't professional, either). Eventually, things got really ugly when the author cursed at one of the commenters for stating the truth. This author lost respect and sales (many commenters actually said that they would not buy her book because of her response). Now her book has attracted nearly fifty 1-star reviews at Some appear to be a direct result of her conduct at the blog. Ouch. What a mess. As an author, you're better off not responding!

On the other hand, you have Gary Vaynerchuk (Vay-ner-chuk), a New York Times bestselling author, social media consultant, and owner of the multi-million dollar company Wine Library. He's taken a totally different approach to negative reviews ... In most cases, he comments by offering the reviewer a refund and asking if there's anything he can do to rectify the situation. This comment thread from Amazon is a great example of how authors should respond to negative reviews...if they decide to respond at all. Gary has gained a ton of respect from his professional approach and rightfully so! If you're going to respond to bad reviews, this is how you should do it.

How do you respond to negative reviews? Join the discussion here. Top Self Publishing Company

Friday, March 25, 2011

Where Do You Buy Books?

So many options nowadays for book lovers... I've seen stats all over the Internet but I'm curious to know your book buying habits. Tell me, where do you buy books? Online? Where online? What format(s)? Brick and mortar stores? Where? Barnes & Noble? Borders? Wal-Mart? I'd love to compare your responses with the figures reported at other places online. Click here to comment.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm Going for It

Did some guest blogging the other day for my Facebook friend Tymothy Longoria. I hope you enjoy...
Today I’d like to share a bit about my journey as a writer, focusing on the moment I realized that I could be a writer … you know, that moment I said to myself, “I’m going for it!” I think I got my first taste back when I was around twelve or thirteen. I sat down at my box of a computer and wrote fifty pages of a book, Cyclopsis, and saved it on a floppy disk, which became the most valuable piece of technology I owned at the time. I guarded that disk with my life. There was a problem, though: The story lacked in almost every department. [... click to continue reading ...]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Breaking News: Self-Published Author Amanda Hocking Surpasses One Million Units Sold

According to one of Amanda Hocking's recent tweets, she has "officially sold 1,030,758 books (not counting the books sold through Smashwords in the last month or so that haven't reported yet." Congrats, Amanda! Haven't heard of Amanda Hocking? Read this article for a quick summary. Authors should note that the explosion of sales occurred when Amanda started sending her work to bloggers for review.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Good and Bad News for Barnes & Noble

Some good news: It was just announced that Barnes and Noble was #1 in trade book sales in 2010, owning about 23% of the market, ahead of (15.1%), Borders (13.1%), Wal-Mart (5.8%) and other major outlets. (Interesting that Wal-Mart actually experienced a greater decline than Borders, which filed for bankruptcy recently. What does that mean for Wal-Mart?)

Some bad news: Microsoft is suing B&N for patent infringement, claiming that the Nook and NookColor Android-based e-reader and tablet devices "infringes a number of Microsoft's patents ..."

How much longer do you think Barnes and Noble will stay on top? Who will eventually overtake them? Click here to comment (you don't need an account). And by the way, check out all the MindStir Media books at Barnes & Noble.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Touring in May

I'm going on a worldwide book tour in May. Online only. While in my pajamas. My book and I will be featured in twenty high trafficked book blogs in May. I'll provide the tour schedule as soon as possible. Stay tuned.

If you have a book blog and would like to be included in the May tour, please comment here or e-mail me: jjhebert at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Customize Your Goodreads Author Profile With HTML

So you're an author and you've setup a Goodreads account and you're taking part in their author program. Awesome (if you're active on there)! Now it's time to customize your "author profile." Obviously, you'll want to fill in your birthday, gender, Web site, genre, and influences. I'm sure you figured that out ... But there's this thing called HTML and you can use it to customize your "about this author" section in your author profile. I've noticed that many authors just enter their bio in that section. I think that can be effective but adding hyperlinks via HTML is even more effective. Below is a screenshot from my author profile (the greenish colored text = hyperlinks). Click on it to enlarge.
Never used HTML before? That's okay. This site will will show you how to create hyperlinks and much more.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Do You Think of Book Apps?

I've been meaning to ask you about book apps.... What do you think of them? Do you own any book applications (apps)? Did you know that quite a few major publishing houses are starting to get involved in book apps? Click here to comment (if you don't have an account, comment anonymously or select "Name/URL").

Don't know anything about book apps? Here's a list of the Top 50 Free Book Apps ... and a list of the Top 50 Paid Book Apps. Keep in mind that I don't endorse all of the apps. Use them at your discretion. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to Help Japan

I know that this blog normally covers self-publishing and book marketing, but today I'd like to address another topic...

Most people around the world are now aware that a giant earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan the other day ... If you've spent even ten minutes on the Internet lately, I'm sure you've seen the devastating photos of the aftermath. Some sites are reporting that over 10,000 people have lost their lives and a nuclear meltdown may occur (more than 180,000 people have evacuated).

Please keep Japan in your thoughts and prayers...and also consider donating to support disaster relief in Japan. Click here for a list of reputable disaster relief organizations and convenient "Donate here" links.

Would you like to comment on this tragedy or offer more donation methods? Click here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Book Marketing Service

Self-Publishing Company Announces Virtual Book Tour Service

MindStir Media's new Convenience Book Tour service provides a way for authors to go on tour without leaving their homes.

Mar 09, 2011 – Today, MindStir Media announces a new author service, the Convenience Book Tour. This month-long tour takes place on twenty high trafficked blogs geared toward each author and his/her book. Several of the blogs are even syndicated into USA Today, Chicago Times, and Wall Street Journal for maximum exposure. The touring author will write guest blog posts, take part in author interviews, and/or receive book reviews by bloggers.

The Convenience Book Tour service is available to MindStir and non-MindStir authors. Interested authors should visit to learn more and place an order.

MindStir Media, a self-publishing and book marketing company utilizing print-on-demand technology, supplies authors with Mind-Stirring Publishing Solutions to help them successfully self-publish and distribute books. MindStir specializes in paperback, eBook, and downloadable audiobook formats. Authors retain all rights and receive royalties up to 100%.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin J. Hebert

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hire A Professional Photographer to Handle Your Promotional Photos

A little tip for self-pubbed authors: Use a professional photographer to handle your promotional photos. It's so important to have high quality photographs for your press kit, Web site(s), and book (most importantly). Remember, as an author you are a brand. Don't allow your brand to appear amateurish.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Promote Your eBook For Free

Admittedly, I spend most of my book marketing time on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter, but there are a couple communities in which I've recently become more active in order to promote the eBook versions of my inspirational novel Unconventional: Kindle Boards and Nook Boards. Both forums allow authors to promote their work for free. Just make sure to follow the forum rules, so you don't get banned. Good luck!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Promote Your Book with A Book Blog Tour

Lots of authors nowadays are skipping the old-fashioned, costly "tour" (i.e. visiting bookstores nationwide) and going with a book blog tour instead ... Many book bloggers (with lots of subscribers) will review your book in exchange for a free copy of your work. So this method makes a ton of sense for authors on a budget. This way, you can go on a national (or worldwide) book tour without actually traveling across the nation. Think of the money you'll save!

Here's a book blog list for your convenience: When contacting blog owners, always be kind and courteous--even if they are unable to review your book. Also follow submission guidelines if they are published online.

Good luck!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Get A Free Copy of My Book UNCONVENTIONAL In Exchange for A Review

Quite a few readers have voiced their disappointment in my latest Goodreads giveaway because I'm only giving away 2 copies of the paperback and you MUST be a Goodreads member in order to enter. So...I've decided to give away an UNLIMITED number of copies of Unconventional during March, and you don't have to be a member of Goodreads! Here's how it works:
  • Enter by leaving a comment (click here). You MUST Include: Your email address, name, and the place you promise to post a review, e.g.,,,, your blog/website. By commenting, you agree to post a review at one (or all) of the aforementioned sites. 
  • I will personally email each participant a discount code (100% off) for the free eBook. Then you'll simply download your copy here: and use the provided code in your cart. You don't need an eReader to enjoy the free eBook. You can read Unconventional on your computer as HTML or a PDF. If you do have an eReader, you shouldn't have a problem reading your free eBook.
  • By entering this giveaway, you also agree to tell your friends/family about this offer. If you use social media, post the link for your friends to see. If you don't use social media, email the link to your loved ones. Here's the link to spread:
This offer is valid through March 31, 2011. Any comments posted after March 31 will not be eligible. Thank you!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Giving Away Free Copies of Unconventional at

Another quick post to let you know that I'm working with to offer free copies of my novel Unconventional. I've done a couple of these giveaways in the past, and they were both hugely successful. Since winter is finally coming to an end, I thought I'd give away a couple copies to read under the sun. To enter, click ENTER TO WIN on the GOODREADS BOOK GIVEAWAY widget/ad in the right sidebar or click here (I think it might still be "pending approval" from Goodreads, so check back if needed). Good luck!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Recruiting Fans

Busy day here at the office, as usual (I'm not complaining), but wanted to quickly post this tip: Recruit fans from pre-existing fan bases of comparable authors/books. In other words, locate a book/author within your genre--particularly one on the same or similar topic--and target those fans. For example, you've written a horror novel, so target Stephen King fans. Receiving an endorsement from him would help, but that would be extremely tough to obtain ... so here's another idea: Use Facebook ads to target all users with Stephen King and/or horror books as interest(s). Other ideas: Join Stephen King online communities and recruit there while remaining respectful to all members.

What do you think? Comment here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Random House Adopts the E-book "Agency Model"

Today, according to this Publishers Weekly article, Random House switched to the "Agency Model" for e-book sales. So what does this mean for consumers? Higher e-book prices, usually somewhere around $9.99. Consumers in general are not happy with this price point, especially while there are plenty of quality "bargain e-books" available from indie authors, some $2.99 or lower. The amazing Amanda Hocking, USA Today bestselling indie author of the Trylle Trilogy, for example, sets her own e-book prices (as other indie authors do) anywhere from $0.99 to $2.99. To date, she's sold around 900,000 copies of nine different e-books. Obviously, consumers have embraced her model. The low prices support lots of e-book sales, and readers appreciate receiving a quality read for under five bucks.

Tell me, do you think Random House made the right move here? Click here to weigh in with your comments.