by Jack Henry
Book Review Banzai by Jason B. Ladd
Book Review Banzai:
The Unknown Author's Ultimate Guide to Getting Amazon Reviews
By Jason B. Ladd.
55 pages. $1.27
Available on Amazon: ASIN: B072K3QKNX,
Reviewed by Jack H.
If you are reading this, chances are you are a writer; more specifically, a yet to be discovered one. Add to that, one who is about to dip their toes into the murky waters of self-publishing. Book Review Banzai outlines a course of action for new and established authors to follow in order to attract reviews of their books and alleviate the frustrations associated with self-published books.
Before delving into Book Review Banzai, the subject of selling books should be viewed in context with other 'sure-fire' ways to increase books sales that pepper the internet. Approaches to get the first ten-thousand readers in part rely on writers having one or more books published. The first book is offered for free whereby thousands of 'bargain-hungry readers' will claim copies of the book and upon finding back matter advertising the author's next book, request a copy—all starry-eyed stuff.
Somewhere in the mix, email addresses are captured and offers emailed en masse resulting in book sales going through the roof. Data and privacy is now an issue throughout the world. As of May 25, 2018, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) comes into play in the EU member states. As data travels beyond borders, the move could affect other countries such as the US. Websites offering free books in exchange for email addresses collection may find an impact on their business.
To read more.
The reality of offering a book for free on Kindle Direct from unknown authors is readers borrow books, store them on digital bookshelves, and never read them. In an article published by Written Word Media, Amazon in January 2016, introduced KENPC v2.0 (Kindle Normalized Page Count). Authors are no longer paid per download, but on the number of pages: read here
Jason B. Ladd in Book Review Banzai takes a different approach whereby the number of book reviews influences a reader's choice and has knock-on effects such as better Amazon rankings and acceptance by trusted sites such as BookBub.
Before selling a copy, or ten-thousand copies of your work, it is a good idea to know a little of what every author is up against in his or her quest to connect with an audience—and selling books is all about numbers. Amazon is coy about information at the best of times. According to Jeff Bercovici of Forbes Magazine around 7% of Amazon's $5.25 Billion annual profit comes from book sales. His article can be read here.
In 2016 some 1.1 million eBooks were published. Now here's the curious thing: eBook sales are in decline compared to print books.
There are many theories as to why but according to Joe Biel, co-owner of Microcosm Publishing, “There are far too many eBooks... destroying sales in those genres... you must wonder why someone would enter the fray.” It is estimated there are 500,000 self-published authors through Amazon and a high portion are e-books
Some authors believe the notion that more is better. Anxious to get a 'free book' published, take shortcuts. For example, a search on the history of the renowned band AC-DC reveals Wikipedias about the band, each member, and a number of their songs. Cut-and-pasting the contents of these sites could easily provide material for a book—albeit not an original one.
If you, the aspiring author burdened under the weight of numbers is thinking give-up, throw your hands in the air, and die, well that is an option. Having the gumption, tenacity, and perseverance to complete a book in the first place... possibly not a good one.
Which leads to testing Jason B. Ladd's method of achieving book sales. The author is quick to stress that writing a compelling story that is well edited is a priority. His method is not for those who have a partly finished book, or a story that needs further drafts.
The first few chapters of Book Review Banzai acknowledge the realities of publishing a book—from the launch to 'the great disappointment.' Ladd then goes on to talk about his own struggle in finding a sale's niche. I found this a down-to-earth approach refreshing compared to webinars from 'six-figure earning' authors who gloss over the hardest part—earning zero.
The book goes on to outline the Banzai Technique. Part of the technique requires understanding spreadsheets to keep track of data used to get reviews. The next is finding reviewers.
Search engines throw up many bloggers who review books. All outline genres they enjoy and topics not considered. Reading such information is time-consuming and if you the aspiring author has done the same chances are you came across the deflating sentence found at the bottom of the page, “Not accepting unsolicited submissions at this time.” Ladd suggests a new approach to find indexes of blogger websites using customizable web scraping tools.
I tested one of the extraction tools, 80Legs, to find out if it delivered. The free version puts a limit of 10,000 crawls. I created 12 searches all with varying criteria. Maximum pages crawled for any of the searches was 4. Add to that the JSON text file giving me the URL address returned, “Error loading page”. I suspect I did not use the software correctly.
Another curiosity is BookBub accepting Book Review Banzai's submission after previous rejections once it accumulated 87 reviews. A random check on BookBub's site of around a dozen books revealed all had many reviews. It adds credence to the author's claim that when it comes to acceptance by BookBub's 'editors', it really is a numbers game. It begs the question when looking for entertainment from a book, does anyone have the patience to wade through more than 20 reviews?
For most people upon entering a bookshop or browsing online, the price of a novel is not the utmost consideration. Readers want a story that will remove them from the everyday and perhaps touch their heart. A large majority purchase books for pleasure and not to review. Reviewers are dedicated folk who believe their contribution will add to the experience. And there's the conundrum; so many books, so few reviewers.
Jason B. Ladd emphasizes that his technique for getting book reviews is ethical and warns against spamming individuals for a reply. The author has researched extensively and tested his method. Of the numerous books and webinars I've attended, this course of action is sound, though not perfect. More information about the author can be found on his website.
The Book Review Banzai formula is laid out in an easy to follow structure; the tone of writing crisp and informal. I believe the information outlined in the book is of interest and worth persevering with the technique, because Live Fully, Do Nothing is a book yet to be written.