Monday, June 22, 2009

How to Make a Difference in an Author's Career--and a Special Offer for You

Last week, Terri suggested we all write about getting our craft organized, but I'm going to just add a few of my best organizational tips at the bottom of this post, because I have something I really want to share.

You, dear reader, have tremendous influence over the career of any author. Especially when an author's career is young. As you might have read or noticed, the publishing world is in a state of flux. Once upon a time, authors were expected to grow and mature over time. They were allowed to build a following. Editors worked with authors extensively to learn their craft. But today, publishing is more like every other industry. The goals are much more short term--and as a consequence, authors don't have the luxury of time to grow an audience.

One of the most important ways you can influence an author's career is simply by writing a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You see, your input really counts. And, when you think about it, if you enjoyed a person's book, don't you want to tell your friends? I know I do!

These online reviews have tremendous power! Here's what Brent Sampson says in his book Sell Your Book on Amazon : "...Amazon recommends products...The more reviews your book has, the more popular Amazon thinks your book is. Similarly, the more five-star reviews your book has, the more valuable Amazon thinks your book is."

So, in essence, you become the bookseller when you write a review on Amazon. I imagine it works the same on Barnes & Noble's site and so on.

How do you write a review?

First of all, I suggest you write it in something MS Word, or whatever wordprocessing program you have first. This makes it easier for you to spell-check, for you to copy the review on more than one site, and for you to be certain your review isn't "eaten" by the computer gods.

For Amazon:

Then go to Amazon, select "Books" from all their products. Type in the name or author of the book you wish to review. Scroll down the page. Stop when you see "Customer Reviews" in orange on the left. On the right of those words, you'll see a small phrase inside an oval that reads "Create Your Own Review." Click on that. It will ask you for your customer information--your email address and your password. If you've never ordered from them, I don't think you can go any further. If you have, and you supply that, you'll be taken to another page. From there, it's pretty self-explanatory.

For Barnes & Noble:

Go to their website, click "Books" and put in the book title. At the bottom of the paragraph of information, there's a spot to click called "Customer Reviews" or something similiar. When you click that, at the bottom it says "Write a review." Click on that "Write a review" and it will take you to a spot to log in. You have to create an account--and then it will walk you through everything you need to do.

Receive a FREE Gift from Me for Taking the Time...

Now...let me sweeten the deal. I know this takes time and you are busy. So here's what I'm offering. If you write a review for either Cut, Crop & Die or Paper, Scissors, Death, I'll send you a small thank you gift. I have some pretty little album kits, complete with stickers and paper. As long as the supply lasts, all you need to do is email me at, tell me where your review is, and share your postal address.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled post...


1. Buy a labeler. I picked up a small one at Office Max, and I can't believe how much it encourages me to label my storage containers. Mine is by Brother, and uses a variety of thin vinyl tapes. I can change the font size. I'm actually thinking about doing some journaling with it, but meanwhile, it's the best organizational investment I've ever made because now I can see what's in containers!

2. Use one of those multi-chambered craft boxes (like fishing tackle sorters) for your small bits and pieces. And here's a big tip, I use a huge rubber band around each box. Why? Well, sometimes the lids don't close as well as I'd like and you don't want to have grommets and brads all over your floor. Keep EVERYTHING you can in these. If you don't, you'll forget where stuff is.

3. Buy extra-large resealable plastic bags. Keep sets of paper and embellishments in these. In fact, if you use these, you can pull together everything for a page as you work. Sometimes while you are putting together Page A, you find stuff for Page B. Instead of hunting down that cute sticker, those chipboard letters, the phrases and so on again, sort it now.

4. Sort left over paper by color in plastic bags. Before I ever cut a new sheet, I go back to the "old" partial sheets.

5. Sort sheets of letter stickers in 8 1/2 x 11 inch page protectors and put in a big ring binder. It's much easier to flip through them. I don't cut alphabets apart. I want to see if I have all the letters I need for a word without digging around.

Okay, I'll stop for now. What organizational tips can you share?


Camille Minichino said...

No wonder you're so prolific, Joanna. I'm picturing your efficiently organized crafts space.

I've yet to find the perfect method, but sometimes the lack of organization sends me in creative ways as I look through everything for a pair of glasses, one half inch across!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Camille, for small stuff, I keep a variety of bowls nearby. I put small piece in the bowls because I have had stuff get stuck to my shoes, fall down my blouse, whatever. It can bring crafting to a screeching halt to search, can't it?

Betty Hechtman said...

Great post. I didn't know it made a difference to Amazon about the number of reviews or how many stars were given.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Yes, indeed it does. When I sign at bookstores, I often tell people that my books are getting 5 stars on Amazon. I think this matters more to readers than about any other measure because this compares apples to apples. If readers like your books, that is what matters, right?