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Credibility Kickstart

January 9, 2010

From the dawn of time, we humans have relied on two very important factors to make our hunting, gathering and—nowadays—purchasing decisions. Whether it is the succulent red berry hanging from the nearest bush, or the tantalizing bare chested man on the cover of a new release, we see…then we want. If what we want equates to enhanced survival, by tapping into our most primal concerns of sex and death, we next must decide if the object of our desire is safe. Did Og eat that berry and live to tell us about it? Did Oona not only survive but also enjoy her berries enough to send us to the bush where she found them? Only the bravest and most independent among us test the berries without checking for peer reactions first.

For authors, our cover art is our primary visual attractor. Next, comes the title. Even if we heard about the book elsewhere first, being visual creatures, we rely heavily on our reactions to how a thing looks and thereby feels. Once our readers become interested in our covers and titles, their next need is validation. Have others read this book? Is this book worth my time and money? According to whom?

For any author, particularly Indie, getting those validations involved in a buying decision is crucial. This means earning then incorporating author quotes, reviews quotes, and contest wins. Each speaks to that need for buyer confidence, the need to know this berry is safe—and delicious—to eat.

Author Quotes/Cover Quotes: Make a list of authors who write in your genre who you admire. Approach each author in a professional manner asking if they’d be willing to read your novel and if they enjoy it, to then offer a quote. This is a win win! It lends credibility for your book and name building for the author. Plus, an invaluable networking connection.

Reviews and Reviewer quotes: These are our berry tasters. Don’t just look to the major review sites. Look to the many wonderful, smaller book bloggers who are passionate about reading. Offer them advanced copies. Sign up to be included among their books for review. A great review makes a great interior quote. No site is too big or too small when it comes to reviews.

Contest Wins: Berries in competition! Being the recipient of any award goes miles in credibility with readers. Awards mean best and we are still at our cores competitive creatures. Create a contest entry fee budget and get out there. Even if you don’t win, you could final, and you are in front of readers. New readers who may love your book and talk about it.

Little by little these steps accumulate into reader and buyer trust plus a word of mouth kickstart. Spend those first few months finding every relevant way to not only talk about your latest release but to get others to do so as well. The ripple effect will push your career to the next level, book by book.

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