How I almost killed my indie-published book sales.

I hadn’t intended to write and publish Nourish: Ayurveda-inspired 21-day Detox last year.

I was walking with a friend by the Bow River and she asked what projects I had on the go. Nourish had been bouncing around in my brain that morning — bits and bobs of information that wanted to appear in book form — and for whatever reason, I brought up the book in our conversation.

Next thing I knew, my friend offered to post an excerpt in the summer issue of her magazine, Trifecta.

Not one to pass up an opportunity (Indie authors like to take advantage of those), I agreed. I figured I could put together a summer piece and by the time it went to print I would have good progress on the book.

Except that I hadn’t actually asked when the summer issue would go to print. Next thing I knew, my How to Publish a Book in 10 Days: Though I Wouldn’t Recommend it course was born — because that’s how quickly I wrote, revised and published Nourish in order to make the magazine publication date so readers could buy my book.

In my rush to get the book up and out into the world, I published through CreateSpace and Kindle, offering the 5-day free Kindle promotion, then went about my business with my children’s books and left Nourish on its own.

Imagine my surprise when I popped onto Amazon.com to discover a single review: 1 star “Doesn’t qualify as a book more like a pamphlet. I was very disappointed”.

And just like that, my book was dead on Amazon.

It hadn’t occurred to me to get advanced reviews. I sell the book locally at workshops and retreats where clients participate in the program and enjoy myriad benefits. The feedback I received was always positive.

It had never crossed my mind that someone would pick up a copy and post a negative review, and now that was all anyone who came to the Amazon book page would see. No one would buy it after seeing that rating.

My typing fingers were at the ready to respond to her review. Defend myself. Defend the book! Thankfully, a cooler head prevailed. After a string of expletives and a couple forehead slaps, I put out an SOS to some of my detox program participants, asking those who enjoyed the program for a review on Amazon.

I owe the return of online sales of the book to those reviewers.

And I owe a thank you to the 1-star reviewer. Because she taught me a valuable lesson that day. One that I pass along to you.

Get reviews for your indie-published book.

So that when people who have never heard of you or your book land on your Amazon page, they discover a positive response to your work. One that compels them to investigate for themselves.

Pro-tip: Never engage in your Amazon reviews. People are allowed to comment on their experience with your book. In fact, having a negative comment or two can give your overall presentation a more realistic vibe; not the impression that you had every family member and friend forge a slanted review. Just make sure you have some positive feedback on your book in the beginning. It will give your book a head start.

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