Reviews can really help to drive the sale of a book. In fact several marketing survey companies have cited that 61% of online purchases were made after reading a review.
Consider also that reviews on Amazon help with your book page algorithm. So how many reviews do you need? Well, ideally over fifty and if you can, closer to one hundred. However you don’t need to get them all at one time. In fact getting reviews incrementally can really help boost your book exposure. Why? Because not only will it keep your Amazon book page active but a book with current reviews is much more attractive to a potential buyer then a book that hasn’t been reviewed in months.
So you want reviews, great reviews, but now that Amazon is doing their own due diligence about good vs. planted reviews, can you still get great reviews on your Amazon page? The answer in short is YES. Now let’s look at how to get the best amazon reviews:
Your professional network: I’m re-releasing Red Hot Internet Publicity and I offered the book (for free) to anyone who wanted to read it and post an honest review. I was really clear that I wasn’t asking for a good or bad review, just an honest one. We got close to 100 responses from readers who wanted to do this. So that would be my first go-to. Whether it’s a newsletter list, a big social media following, or perhaps even a local group you belong to (like a Meetup) my first point of contact would be to go after the low-hanging fruit. To expedite this, I created a Dropbox folder for the eBook version of the book and then just emailed the link to everyone who requested it. Very easy to do and pretty cost effective. And since it’s an eBook only offer, make sure your readers know that it’s a digital book.
Super Fans: Your mailing list may be a mix of business contacts but also Super Fans. If you have fans, be sure to reach out to them early on and offer them a copy of the book. I did this on Facebook with a personal note to them (via the Facebook chat app) and offered them a copy of the book. In another instance, an author we work with created an exclusive Facebook group just for her super fans and invited them to participate. They got great goodies but more importantly, they got early access to all of her books – getting them before anyone else did.
Bloggers: I know it’s hard to get your message out there through the noise of all the pitches bloggers must get on a daily basis, but reaching out to bloggers in your genre, even just five per week can make a huge difference. And here’s another thing, authors often stop reaching out to bloggers once their book has been out for a month, or a few months. This is a mistake. Make sure that you continue to pitch bloggers in your market.
Amazon reviewers: I always recommend contacting appropriate Amazon reviewers in your niche. How do you do that, well here’s the link to the reviewers, I suggest reading through their profile to see what types of books they review. You can also go to books, similar to your market and look for the Amazon reviewers. You can spot them easily because Amazon will list their review status right by their name, it’ll look like this:
Ask for reviews in your book: I always, always encourage authors to put a letter in their book, asking for a review. Not a good review, just a review – good or bad. And to make it super easy, be sure to include a link to your book (the Amazon book page) in the letter. Oh, and don’t forget to thank your readers for buying the book, too!
Your pitch: Your pitch should be short and sweet. If you’ve gone longer than one paragraph it’s just too long. I recommend an intro paragraph that describes the book. Then you can invite the blogger or Amazon reviewer to request a copy of the book and let them know the format you can offer it in. You should get it to them in whatever format they want. So if they ask for print or eBook, don’t make a fuss about sending books through the mail or gifting them a copy on Amazon.
Your Amazon Book Page: So first off, don’t lie. I know this sounds obvious and I’m not suggesting that you’d intentionally lie on your Amazon page but some authors do stretch the truth – a lot. Others just don’t list enough information. Your book description should be accurate and as robust as you can make it. If you can’t write it yourself or don’t feel you’re skilled enough to craft one, then get someone to help you or (ideally) hire a professional to write one. A solid book description that’s an accurate depiction of the book can really help you gain more traction for it. Also, book descriptions that aren’t complete or accurate can often anger readers who think they’re getting an entirely different book than they bought. You’ll see this sometimes in reviews when people write: This book was not as described, or something similar to that.
What about “Amazon Verified Purchase”: A lot of people have asked me if the Amazon Verified Purchase has more clout than a regular review posting. The answer is not currently, however this could change. Most, if not all, reviewers don’t pay for their own books, they are mailed or gifted. I have had authors ask a reviewer to pay for the book to get that “verified purchase” and that doesn’t always go over well.
Well said. Of course, the most important thing is actually to write, edit and publish an excellent book: no one is going to believe five star reviews if your book starts with a ‘Forward’.
On the AVP badge: I’ve ignored it since I found out that many of the fiverr reviewers promise to buy the book to get the AVP badge, and that the badge can be faked.
You’re absolutely right, Iola! I think the content of the review is much more important (and more helpful) than whether or not it’s a verified review – for the reasons that you mentioned above.
Thanks for the great article. I’ve self-published over 60 books, and getting reviews is always a huge burden. I’ve found one of the best ways, as you suggest, is to reach out to existing reviewers.
I quoted you in an article on my blog.
Thanks for the great information.
Richard thank you so much for the mention! I appreciate it. And 60 books – wow congrats to you!