Book reviews are the ultimate word of mouth and getting more reviews should always be a cornerstone of your book marketing plan as an indie author.
A 2017 Nielsen survey reported that the vast majority (more than 80%) of Americans seek recommendations when making a purchase of any kind.
Plus, the more book reviews you get, the stronger you’re represented by Amazon’s algorithm. This means exposure to more book buyers.
Reviews also affect the “also bought” book recommendation feature on Amazon. This is particularly lucrative for a new novel or an indie author who’s still building their following.
At the end of the day, each additional review you get bolsters your chances of catching another buyer’s eye. There’s no such thing as too many reviews unless you think there’s such a thing as too many sales!
Here are some tips for revving up that book review machine this weekend:
Connect with Your Followers
This may seem obvious, but when was the last time you flat out begged for reviews from your current fans and followers on your email list or on social media?
People get busy and they forget. Sending humble reminders about how much reviews mean to an indie author are totally acceptable.
If they’ve already left a review, ask them to forward the book link to a friend. It’s okay to let them know that you really appreciate their continued support!
Connect with Amazon Top Reviewers
Yes, this process is arduous. There’s no quick and easy way to do it.
But it can reap big rewards!
Just commit to an hour a week combing the top reviewer list for those who have contact information. Bonus points if they review books in your genre! Make a note in your pitch if that’s the case.
It’s preferable if they often post book reviews in your genre. If you’re particularly creative with your pitch, you may be able to convince others!
This is good pitching practice for your book marketing in general. And if you really don’t have the time consider looking into virtual assistants that offer book promotion services, you can task them with the research.
Thank Current Reviewers
Amazon gives users the option to comment on book reviews and you can use this feature to your benefit.
So take some time to comment on yours! Thank the reviewers for their time and let them know how much you appreciate their input.
You can also click ‘Yes’ at the end of the review where it asks if it was helpful.
We know potential buyers read reviews, that’s been proven. So make sure you’re represented! Let people know how invested you are in their opinions and enjoyment of your book – it’s a great example of a really personalized book marketing approach.
Reader didn’t understand something? Answer their questions!
Reader says they’re hoping for more? Let them know when to expect your next release!
Do you offer coaching or services? Invite them to contact you directly!
Start a Contest or Create an Incentive
Yes, we would like to assume most people would give you a book review out of the kindness of their heart. However, a little incentive never hurts!
Plus you can milk it on your newsletter, blog or social media by repeatedly promoting the contest or incentive.
When you post a book review on Amazon you get an email when it goes live. So use that as your “entry” or proof that someone has reviewed. Or they can take a screenshot and email it to you.
Then you just need to decide what the reward is!
Here are a few ideas
- The first 5 chapters of the next book in the series
- A free copy of one of your older books
- Discount on a product or service you offer through your website
- A entry in a raffle for an Amazon gift card
Just remember that if there’s only going to be one or a handful of winners, like if you’re doing a gift card, make it worth their time – so $25 or more.
Expand Your Reach
In order to get book reviews, you have to sell books, right? Part of getting more reviews isn’t just asking for them from current readers, it’s ensuring you’re expanding your reach to draw in new buyers. Hopefully, they will turn into reviewers!
One strategy I really like is cross-promotion with other indie authors in your genre and at your level.
This method is particularly effective for two reasons. It not only increases your reach but it’s also a built in referral.
Reach out to other indie authors that fit the bill, particularly those with strong social media followings. Start the conversation about cross-promoting each other’s work.
And by strong social media I don’t simply mean big follower numbers. What you’ll have to gauge is whether there is quality engagement.
Maybe an author has 300 fans but she’s consistently getting likes and comments on her posts. This means she’s engaged with them. These are the kind of people you want to connect with.
Some book marketing companies can help you with this as well, we’ve done it for clients in the past, as a really custom approach to their social strategy.
This should also push you to be stronger on your social as well. Be just as helpful to them as they are to you. That’s how you’ll get them to agree to collaborate with you.
I love a strategy that pushes you to improve the quality of your book marketing in multiple ways. It makes you a stronger author at the end of the day!
You can never have too many book reviews.
Indie authors have to be especially diligent with this. You don’t have a publisher name adding that additional layer of credibility to your work.
The real bonus? A lot of the work you have to do helps your overall book marketing efforts in other ways. You’re really getting more return on your efforts that you originally planned.
And if you feel you just have too much on your plate, contact someone who does book marketing services and work with them to customize something really unique to your needs. I pride myself on my ability to fill in holes and really make an impact.