Due to the influence reviews have on the person deciding whether to buy or not, many strategies are in use today to solicit those all-important five-star reviews. Strategies such as 

  1. Tapping into networks of bloggers and sending out your book/product free in exchange for the review.
  2. Paying review sites or fb groups in order to gain access to large groups of reviewers.
  3. Building up a loyal following, or tribe, and selling or giving away your book to them.

There are many more strategies and most carry a certain amount of risk. i.e. the reviewer is not obliged to leave a review, or they may actually leave a negative review.

If you were a seller on Amazon a few years ago it would have been common to give hundreds or thousands of your book or product away to organised review sites. The effect was that Amazon’s algorithm recognised a product’s popularity through its sudden rush of coupon sales and subsequent reviews which pushed you up its page rankings.

Of course, these reviewers were motivated to give a high star rating so other product owners would want to send them their product also. Win win for both parties, the reviewer hoards lots of free stuff, the sellers get a lot of visibility and social proof.

The tribe review, on the other hand, is the very opposite of soliciting reviews from members of review sites. With this strategy the seller first builds up a large community of loyal followers, commonly referred to as a tribe.

These tribes are loyal to their leader because that person is perceived as giving a lot of value and free material. They will eagerly buy up any newly released book by that person, usually with the added incentive of free tickets to training events. Take note though, these training events will often be little more than glorified pitch-fests.

The seller with a tribe is certain to get a ton of glowing reviews in a very short space of time thus propelling them up the book charts and allowing them to claim a number one best seller book. These kinds of book are quite easy to recognise by the fact they will have hundreds of reviews at about 4.5 out of a 5-star rating (Sadly, as much as they would like to, a tribe leader cannot control all of their flock).

The fact is the vast majority of organic buyers will not leave a review, so the author that doesn’t have access to, or knowledge of how to solicit reviews, will see their book get left to gather digital dust. It may not be a fair situation, but systems benefit those who know how to play it.

It is unfortunate that many of these books have been written with motives other than to deliver real value to the reader. As I see it, business and personal development books now fall into four main categories.

The Four main categories of business and personal development book:

  1. The business card e-book. (the least value) To an online business, the e-book is the new business card. These books are often presented well, look substantial, and make all the right noises, but get into them and what you find is a lot of empty calories. They tend to follow a certain pattern. The author spends the first few hours telling their own story, next they come up with a five-step formula for success, finally they spend the rest of the book detailing those steps such as mindset.
  2. The long form sales letter e-book. (a little more content value) Again, these books are substantial in length and will give a little more value than the business card e-book, but they are so peppered with references back to the author’s business or website that it becomes a big frustrating distraction from the flow of the book.
  3. The high value sales letter e-book. (a good level of value content) These are the smarter version of the long form sales letter e-book. They are often written by more experienced and established businessmen and entrepreneurs and will be more subtle in redirecting you to their website. They will deliver significant value and let you reach the end of the book before introducing further courses and products.
  4. The true-blue business/personal development book. (very high value content) These will mostly be classic books like the richest man in babylon, or think and grow rich. They will not withhold anything, you will get 100% of what the author has to offer. The reason for this may mostly lie in the fact they were written before the advent of the internet and the book itself was the author’s income.

While the true-blue book is most likely to get the full star ratings here, do not discount the lower rated empty calorie books. They can still make good introductory books for the reader who has yet to read a business book. Category one and two business books can also be very good for stimulating your thought processes, taking them in new directions, and inspiring you to fresh ideas.

The Businessleuth business book review service has been created to cut through the fog of tribe and solicited reviews to give you a clear, unbiased breakdown of these books and their content value. It is my hope you get value and go away better informed as to those books that are offering real usable content versus those who’s primary aim is to fatten up their email lists.

One final word. Should you spot an offer for a free (physical) business book, and all you have to do is cover the cost of postage, take note, this is a specific sales strategy designed just to get you to open your wallet or purse. Now you are in the sales funnel, having been primed to go to the next level of spending with them, and it works...

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