I finished my first book last summer The Float Tank Cure. It's a book that covers all the major benefits of sensory deprivation mixed in with my personal story of anxiety panic and finding relief. I poured my heart and soul into this book and my main goal was to get more people floating because it helped me so much. This is my story of a crazy weekend and a flopped idea to get more book reviews.
Getting reviews on Amazon is the major way of getting your book or product in front of new people shopping on Amazon. If the book is liked by others, Amazon will naturally promote it. Be it through "if you like this try this" or "check out this best selling book in blank and blank category." It works. Reviews work. Now I had to figure out how to get the reviews.
I hired Ryan Holiday of Brasscheck.net. He is a best selling author and expert book marketer. This guy is good. His recommendation was to give the book away free to people who already LOVE floating. Perfect opportunity was the Float Conference of 2015. I gave away about 500 copies to the attendees. Here's the thing, I received the book copies to my home on a Thursday, and had to ship them to the conference the following Monday. I didn't feel good just giving away copies and hoping for reviews, and this began the GREAT POST-IT FLOP of 2015.
I decided to do a hand written post-it note in every book I gave away just plain asking for a review. I didn't want to write something short, or print out 500 copies of a note, I wanted a truly connecting hand written ask. So I began. Here are two rules you should know about Amazon book reviews as of now.
1. You CAN give away your book or product in exchange for a review. Not a good review, but a review. You cannot pay for a review however. Only free product.
2. People can leave their review on Amazon.com even if they DIDN'T purchase it on there. Perfect opportunity to get more reviews. (I have a feeling this won't last much longer)
So I began. After timing the notes I figured they take about a minute a piece. So 500 minutes = Just over 8 hours of Post-It writing. This would be a big task for anybody in a weekend I suppose, now throw in the fact that I had a new born 1 week old baby, and we were in the middle of a delayed kitchen remodel. Great timing, as usual. I'm the type that loves to push through adversity so there was no piece of me that said "hey maybe you shouldn't do 500 hand written post-its in a weekend." Am I implying I'm stupid? Yes. Glad that's out of the way.
Here's a picture of the note, and I believe all the Post-It's that had to be finished.
I would write the Post-It and put it in the front cover with just a little piece sticking out, to be sure to get their attention. Then I would throw it in the box, and move onto the next one.
Like everything worth doing in life it started out as a great idea that seemed easy, then quickly turned into a GRUELING DEATH MATCH AGAINST MY BRAIN. After about 100 books I literally was hand cramping. Plus I was up with the kid in the middle of the night, taking care of the wife, and running for food constantly because our kitchen wasn't usable. So fun.
I pushed it through evnisioning all the book reviews I was going to get and how much my book would spread at the conference. Well the Float Conference came and went and I got about 18 reviews. lol This is why I call this the Post-It Flop Blog.
This was another great moment of the achievement process: When things don't work out, your idea sucked, and it's time to suck it up and keep moving. I figured I had the attendee list of the conference with emails, and they probably saw my book in their bag and probably also saw the post it. So I crafted a nice little email that read:
Subject: Hey _____, it's Shane
Hope you're doing well.
I'm just reaching out to see if you had a chance to read my book? I wanted to know what you thought. Also, if you've read it already have you posted a review on Amazon? A review will really help this book spread and get more people floating. Here's a link to post a quick review if you don't mind:
I sent out about 5 a day and the reviews trickled in. As of writing this I've got 65 reviews! So it worked, I guess. Much harder than I originally planned, and I think the Post-its were a bad idea.
Here's what I learned:
1. Reviews take work but they're worth it. I reached best seller status in three categories, which i can now promote on my book cover.
2. Hand written messages in this case probably didn't make the difference. although in some cases make all the difference.
3. Getting your book in the hands of your biggest supporters, even free, is totally worth it.
Here's some more picture of the fun. lol
Hope this provided some value for you.