Rejecting the “New Norm” of Games Industry Toxicity

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Making games is amazing. Making games is also absolute hell, which is why I want to take a few moments to give voice to something I’ve often struggled with since I started this crazy adventure roughly two years ago. It’s one of the few gruesome dark sides of game development, and some days it makes me seriously question whether I can stomach this industry.

I suspect I’m not alone.

It’s a question that comes up every time I hop online and inevitably wind up wading neck deep in the vile Internet spew flung forth from the absolute worst that gaming culture has to offer. It’s a question that I absolutely HATE having to ask, but it’s the kind of thing that’s hard to avoid much longer:

What do you do when you fundamentally loathe the behavior of so many of the players you’re supposed to rely on to buy your latest games? 

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ADD & Game Dev Part I: Making games when you struggle with a hyper-mind

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In this first entry in a multi-part blog series about game development and ADD, I explore what it’s like inside the mind of someone who makes games and suffers from severe attention deficit disorder. Hope these posts offer some insights and tips to help other folks who face similar challenges.

Most of the time, my brain feels like the Millennium Falcon — always threatening to rattle itself apart as I blast my way through a vast hyperspace of to-do lists on any given day. Sometimes I’m firing on all thrusters, and things are going smoothly. Other times, that stupid thing inside my skull does THIS:

Welcome to the Hyper-Mind Hell Vortex. Are we having fun yet?

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Using Pinterest for Game Design Inspiration

pinterest1Inspiration for your game dev projects can come from a lot of different places beyond playing other peoples’ games. If you’re like me, you probably spend quite a bit of time browsing the Internet for images, websites, music, and other resources to kick your creative juices into high gear. Finding a good way to keep all of this digital data organized can be a challenge, but I’ve found that Pinterest is a great solution.

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Awooga! Awooga! Updates and Blog Revamp Imminent!

Oh hey, I remember you, Internets! Man, 2016 has gone in a very weird, very cool direction — one that I didn’t quite anticipate. Lots of exciting things on the horizon, and a few changes. As such, I think it’s almost time for a major blog overhaul. I haven’t posted in a long time, but I hope to change that.

My short-term plan is to re-establish this site as the place to see what I’ve been up to and hopefully learn some cool tidbits to put what I’m doing to use in your own creative projects, whether you’re creating books, video games, or other cool stuff.

Here’s sort of where I’m at and what’s ahead:

The TL:DR version: 

I’ve been super swamped with game development this year, and I’m loving every second of it (mostly). In the short term, I aim to re-design and turn this site into a home base for all of my work, including a dev blog to share tidbits from my game dev projects and learnings.

Meanwhile, I have other book projects in the works, but they’re on hold until I get caught up on game dev project deadlines.

The detailed version:

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The Hard Truth: Why You Have To Hustle For Kindle Reviews

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If you’ve ever launched a book, you probably know what it feels like to sit there, constantly refreshing the page day after day, hoping each time that you’ll see another sale or a new positive review. It’s a bad habit a lot of author have, myself included, and it’s hard to avoid. Waiting for your book to get those helpful first reviews can be an agonizingly slow process, and the hard truth of the matter is the vast majority of people who buy a book or product won’t bother to leave a review.

In reality, only about one to two percent of people who buy your book, on average, will take the time to leave you a review on Amazon…IF they’re left to their own devices. It’s not that they don’t enjoy your book, or that they don’t want to help you out. But it takes a little effort to leave a review, and once someone has bought and read your book, they’ve already got the goods, so to speak. There’s no added benefit, really, of leaving a review. And so they don’t.

It’s nothing personal. People are just busy, they’re distracted, or it’s not a high priority.

A one to two percent customer review frequency is pretty abysmal, but you can boost that significantly by taking a more proactive approach to getting honest reviews — both at launch and over time. Seriously. A few simple changes to your approach and a little extra hustle can have a big impact in both the quality of reviews you get and the volume.

To help you out, I’ve put together a comprehensive online course that walks you through a simple, effective step-by-step approach to get you tons of honest day-1 reviews for your book.

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Desperate for more Kindle book reviews? Want to learn how to get tons of honest day-1 reviews for your books at launch?

CoverArtKindle Book Review Formula: How To Get More Kindle Reviews Only $10 $99

If you struggle with getting reviews for your books — both at launch and over the long haul — you’ll love my new online course! To kick things off, I’m offering a limited-time 90 percent discount during launch week. You can grab the full course for only $10 right now!

So….What am I going to get from this course?

  1. Over 32 lectures and 2 hours of content!
  2. Get more 4 and 5 star Kindle reviews using only white hat strategies and best practices
  3. Build and engage a launch review team to get a minimum of 10-15 reviews up by launch
  4. Identify and connect with ideal target readers who are more engaged with your book content
  5. Deploy long-term strategies to help boost your ongoing book reviews
  6. Gain the positive social proof you need to help you sell more books
  7. Deal with negative reviews and use criticism to improve your books and get better reviews

Are you ready to turn the tide and get more positive and reviews and social proof to drive your Kindle book sales? Grab your 50% discount today, and let’s get started!

Kindle Book Reviews: 3 Reasons Your Books Aren’t Getting Amazon Reviews

3reasonsart.pngAside from steady sales, getting positive reader reviews up on the board ASAP is one of the most important things indie authors look for to help build vital launch momentum for their books. Positive customer reviews deliver powerful social proof that encourages book browsers to click the buy button.

Without those crucial customer ratings that give an indication of your book’s quality and value, it’s hard to stand out among other books on Amazon’s Kindle book storefront.

Simply put: You need reviews for your Kindle books. You need positive (honest) reviews. And you need them as early on in your book’s launch cycle as possible.

Waiting for those first reviews to pop-up is often a slow and agonizing process, especially considering only a very small percent of readers, on-average, will take the time to leave Amazon reviews for your books. The good news is there are some simple ways you can improve on that, but first let’s look at three big reasons why you’re not getting any reader reviews in the first place.

1.You didn’t ask.

A lot of indie authors seem to be overly squeamish about asking their readers to leave a review. I get it. It can feel icky or uncomfortable to some. But it’s something you need to overcome if you want to boost your review numbers and quality.

At the very least, you should always include a call to action at the end of your book that thanks readers for checking out your work and encourages them to leave a review if they’ve enjoyed the book.

This is one of the least intrusive, and perhaps most effective, ways of encouraging readers to leave a review. It works. When a reader finishes your book, you want to thank them for their time and let them know how important it is to you that they leave an Amazon review. Inspire them to share their thought and feelings.

Remember: if you don’t ask, readers won’t know that it’s important to you, and they’ll be less inclined to take the time to follow-through.

2.You didn’t make it easy.

Even when a reader is inspired to leave a review, their enthusiasm sometimes fizzles in the brief time it takes to figure out how to actually leave a review.

The process of searching for your book again on Amazon’s storefront and navigating through several pages to figure out where to click to get the “leave a review” form is daunting for less tech-savvy folks. For others, it’s just too many hoops to jump through. Most people can figure it out, but it’s sort of a pain.

Anything you can do to speed up and simplify the process it takes to leave a review for your readers will increase their chances of following through. You could create a URL shortened link directly to your book — or even your book’s review form — and include that as a clickable link in your Kindle book. I do this with all of my books.

Alternately, you could also write up a short blog that explains the process or direct-links to the form, and promote that on social media or other avenues outside of your books. Make it simple, straightforward, and easy to understand.

3.Your book didn’t move the emotional needle.

Emotion drives response. It’s important to make your readers feel something. Empowered. Thrilled. Scared. Excited. Informed. Inspired. Happy. Sad. Angry. Hopeful. These are emotions that drive readers to take action. If your book leaves a reader feeling ambivalent or uninspired by the end, they’re not going to care enough to leave a review.

Always strive to write the best book you can. Make it engaging, exciting, useful, valuable, etc. Leave your readers feeling blown away by the information or storytelling you delivered, and they’ll be far more likely to leave a review.

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Desperate for more Kindle book reviews? Want to learn how to get tons of honest day-1 reviews for your books at launch?

CoverArtKindle Book Review Formula: How To Get More Kindle Reviews Only $10 $99

If you struggle with getting reviews for your books — both at launch and over the long haul — you’ll love my new online course! To kick things off, I’m offering a limited-time 90 percent discount: You can grab the full course for only $10 right now! 

So….What am I going to get from this course?

  1. Over 32 lectures and 2 hours of content!
  2. Get more 4 and 5 star Kindle reviews using only white hat strategies and best practices
  3. Build and engage a launch review team to get a minimum of 10-15 reviews up by launch
  4. Identify and connect with ideal target readers who are more engaged with your book content
  5. Deploy long-term strategies to help boost your ongoing book reviews
  6. Gain the positive social proof you need to help you sell more books
  7. Deal with negative reviews and use criticism to improve your books and get better reviews

Are you ready to turn the tide and get more positive and reviews and social proof to drive your Kindle book sales? Grab your 90% discount today, and let’s get started!

Kindle Reviews: Why Are Customer Reviews on Amazon So Crucial for Indie Authors?

 

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You might be wondering: why do authors make such a big fuss over getting customer reviews? I mean, positive reviews can certainly make us feel great from a writer’s perspective, and it’s always nice to know that someone appreciated your work and found value in your book. But there’s a much bigger reason that you want to get as many positive reviews as you can, as early on in your book’s launch cycle as possible. And that’s…

Social proof

Books that have overwhelmingly positive reader review averages and a high number of reviews tend to be more attractive to customers who are browsing for books on a given topic. That’s because reviews are one of several key ways to get positive social proof for your books.

When people see a lot of reviews and a positive overall score, it subconsciously builds trust and tells them that your book is popular and that readers are enjoying it. This can be a powerful factor in helping them decide whether a book is worth spending their hard-earned money on.

Customers are more likely to take a chance on new books or unfamiliar authors if it seems that the books are high quality and popular among readers. Many browsers are more hesitant to buy a book that has no reviews or a higher number of negative reviews.

Granted, reviews alone aren’t the ONLY factor that can influence book sales. Your book’s title, description, cover, category, and topic choice are just as if not more important. But the number of reviews and the overall score average are among the first few things a potential customer will notice when considering whether to buy your book or not.

So…getting honest, positive reviews is really important for building social proof that will help sell your book. You want to get reviews on the board early on in your launch cycle and work to build on them over time as your book continues to sell.

Beyond sales: other perks of Kindle reviews

It’s important to note that getting positive customer reviews can help you out in a few other areas beyond influencing direct sales, too. While it’s not clear exactly how much of an impact they have in this area in terms of Amazon’s algorithm, reviews do affect your book’s visibility on the Kindle storefront.

Books that have a large number of reviews and an exceptionally high rating are featured in the “top rated” tab for each individual category. Much like the best sellers tab, this is another area of the Kindle store interface that highlights the 100 top-rated books in a given category. If you can rank high on that list, you’ll get a nice visibility boost on the storefront.

Also, other aspects of Amazon’s automated promotions don’t seem to kick in until you hit a certain review number threshold, too. Again, exactly how this works isn’t 100% clear, but from what I can tell from my own experience and in talking to other authors is that the 10 to 12 customer review mark is where you have to hit to have your book start showing up elsewhere on “Customer’s also bought” and in other tabs throughout the site.

It’s possible to trigger that without reviews, sure, but getting those reviews up there seems to help speed the process along. Amazon also seems keen to put promotional power behind books that sell well and are highly rated, so good reviews can’t hurt.

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Desperate for more Kindle book reviews? Want to learn how to get tons of honest day-1 reviews for your books at launch?

CoverArtKindle Book Review Formula: How To Get More Kindle Reviews Only $10 $99

If you struggle with getting reviews for your books — both at launch and over the long haul — you’ll love my new online course! To kick things off, I’m offering a limited-time 90 percent discount during launch week. You can grab the full course for only $10 right now! Act fast: the coupon expires on Jan 18th!

So….What am I going to get from this course?

  1. Over 32 lectures and 2 hours of content!
  2. Get more 4 and 5 star Kindle reviews using only white hat strategies and best practices
  3. Build and engage a launch review team to get a minimum of 10-15 reviews up by launch
  4. Identify and connect with ideal target readers who are more engaged with your book content
  5. Deploy long-term strategies to help boost your ongoing book reviews
  6. Gain the positive social proof you need to help you sell more books
  7. Deal with negative reviews and use criticism to improve your books and get better reviews

Are you ready to turn the tide and get more positive and reviews and social proof to drive your Kindle book sales? Grab your 90% discount today, and let’s get started! Offer expires on Jan 18th!