In the last part of this series, we looked at niche related books for non fiction, indicating the ideal audience for a product or service in a niche, and providing a context for your review through a few points about who you are as a reviewer and what makes you qualified to discuss the item in question.
We also looked at good review comments, and so by contracts, in this part of the series we will be looking at bad review comments to avoid.
There are many bad review comments that do damage not only to the book in question, but many small businesses online, so if you want to thrive in business, these are comments you should avoid making in your reviews, and try to drown out if they appear in any review of your own information items and other products.
In some reviews, it might say something like “I got it free in a promotion, would not pay for it.” Or, the review might say something like, “Don’t bother with this book, you can find better information for free online.”
These types of comments are very bad for several reasons. First of all, they foster the rot of ‘everything should be free on the Internet’, an attitude which is false, unhelpful, and can damage your business if you are not careful.
Second of all, it is unprofessional and disrespectful to the author if they have genuinely written the book and not just scraped stuff off of a range of sites and cobbled it all together, or are not just a content farm cranking out content. You can usually tell if they have done this or not by how vague the information is, versus whether or not it has a ring of truth. Are there stories, anecdotes, case studies with screenshots and so on? Is the voice and style consistent from one part of the book to the next? Or does it look like a patchwork of stuff, and is not written in very good English?
We are not expecting everyone to be Shakespeare, of course, but we do expect some evidence that the person is a native speaker of English, otherwise, it might be something churned out from a content farm or even copied from Wikipedia.
Looking at the author’s backlist will usually give you a good idea of whether or not the author is the real deal, or just trying to cash in on what is seen by many as the ebook gold mine, such as at Amazon Kindle. If they are just starting out as a writer, do they give examples, links to reputable sites or sources? In that case, they are likely to be a real writer and not just a copy and paster. Remember that over seventy percent of online applications to write for Demand Studios are plagiarized, and you will get a good idea of how many copy and pasters there are trying to sell things on Amazon. Which is all the more reason to respect real writers.
A third reason why this is so unprofessional a comment is that it disregards the value of the editorial process in publishing books. A book is very different from a set of articles on a blog. A book can be derived from blog posts, true, but it will usually have some shape to it, and some point to the entire book It will have an Introduction and Conclusion, and some logical flow to the material, which should usually be organized into cohesive chapters.
In the case of nonfiction, the book might help teach certain skills and enable readers to accomplish their particular goals. How to titles are very popular, for instance, so how accurate and up to date is the information, and how detailed? If it is quite vague in places, chances are the author is not the real deal who is writing from personal experience, but just hearsay.
So in that case yes, there might be a lot on the Internet about how to get started as an affiliate marketer, but how do you know the content on the websites you are looking at is up to date and accurate, and written by a real person who knows what they are talking about?
The beauty of a blog is that anyone can do it these days. The danger is also that anyone can do it these days.
The editorial process, even by just a self published author, usually means some form of organization and packaging of the information into some sort of cohesive whole. It is not just random thoughts posted on a blog anywhere, any time, but a work, note the word WORK, with a beginning, middle and end. It contains information that has been selected for a reason, and has some sort of shape to it.
We say note the word WORK, because that is the other issue with a review that says not to buy information, but to just get it for free. The author, if they are a real author, has done the work of creating the work, and deserves to be paid for it.
Another point to consider is how much time one can save with a good book compared with wandering all over random sites. A book that teaches me how to paint my house inside and out without spending a lot or making a huge mess, and teaches me the process from preparation to clean up, with all the right tools to use, is a lot more use to me than dozens of random webpages with superficial information, but none of the real detail I am looking for and need in order to do a great job even if I am a total beginner.
One final point to consider is that if you as a website owner, blogger and information publisher do not encourage people to read books, in a few years, there might not even be a market for books any longer. Treat fairly in your reviews real writers, respect the books they create in your reviews, even if you see them as your competitor, and expect the same treatment and respect for your professionalism in return.
Even if you are not creating your own ebooks and other information products at this point, but are selling as an affiliate only, still respect real authors who are putting in the work and effort to create books to read and products in your niche that are of value to the target market they are aiming for.
And in case you have not yet caught on to the other main reason you should be writing reviews of books and products in your niche, no, it is not just for the affiliate income and for the prestige of positioning yourself as an expert in the know. The process of trying products and services and giving feedback helps the person or company create better ones that you as a person interested in that niche can really use.
And most important of all, giving reviews is valuable market research, to see what is available in the marketplace, what is selling well, what the price points are, and what they key features and benefits of each item are.
This information can certain help you sell more as an affiliate, and choose a better product to promote if a new one comes along that does an even better job than the last one of a similar nature.
This market research can also lead you to your ultimate goal, to create your own products or services that will either fill a gap you have spotted in the market, or help you create one even better, and of more value, than the top sellers in your niche.
More content, more quality information, using your special expertise, at the same or even a slightly lower price point, can all help you outdo the competition and keep 100% of the profits for yourself, rather than just earn commission as an affiliate.
So, as you start to give reviews of other products, keep a spreadsheet or list of each item, to keep track of your work and affiliate links all in one place, and to use as a planning document for your own products and services in the future. We will look at creating your own products and getting reviews from others in the next part of this series.
Free Worksheet to Download: Reviews Worksheet in csv format