When authors ask me about Amazon book promotion, reviews always come up.
As authors we always want them, and the more the better. But reviews are harder to come by and it’s easy to give up or stop too soon.
I have authors contact me about Amazon book promotion, and when I start chatting recommendations they’ll stop me and say, “I have a lot of positive reviews,” but when I check out their book on Amazon I often see less than 10 reviews total. Yes, a handful of 4.5 star reviews is a great start, but it’s nowhere near enough!
I say aim for 50 to start and don’t slow down until you get there! Once you hit 50, consider whether or not you can get to 100.
And in an age where so many books are published, it’s the skillful and creative authors who see their review numbers flourish.
But reviews aren’t just a nice stroke to the ego. Reviews give you valuable insight into your reader market, your work, and ideas for future work including new ideas and improvements you can make.
Reviewer/reader feedback is tremendously valuable.
So how can an eager author garner more reviews as part of their Amazon book promotion?
Well, it takes a bit of work, because sadly Amazon doesn’t send us a list of every reader who bought our books on their site.
So, it’s not as though we can just go after them for a review. Which means we have to find some other creative ways, which I’ll dig into in a minute, but first, let’s look at some interesting reasons why reviews matter.
Some Non-Obvious Reasons Why Reviews Matter
It’s a basic sales principle that reviews help sell books, but do you know why? Well, people like what other people like, so having more reviews, in theory, help to sell your book.
But beyond that, readers want a sure thing – and if you’re an author, especially a new author – reviews tend to drive reviews. Meaning the more you have, the more you’ll get.
The other piece of reviews, in particular on books that are older, help keep the books “alive” in the mind of potential readers. If a reader looks at a book that’s two years old, but still has some current reviews, it speaks to the reader and says: this book is still relevant.
And finally, reviews help to trigger the Amazon algorithm, too. The more reviews you get, consistently, the more this will positively impact your overall algorithm and the searchability of your book.
Easy Ways to Get Reviews are Actually the Hardest
There are lots of review services out there now, and while this is great, (and some of them are really quite good) they can be pricey and it can take a long time to return the reviews – sometimes months.
Some services offer one review – which is fine, but I’m really suggesting that you go out and see bigger, more robust numbers. So how many reviews is enough?
A lot of authors get ten reviews and feel like their work is done, but if you look at books (regardless of genre) that have hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of reviews, these are the books that are catching fire. Of course you won’t hit a hundred reviews right away, it takes time – but having a focus on always getting reviews will help you reach that number sooner rather than later.
Your Amazon Book Promotion Should Push Hard Out of the Gate
This is one piece authors often overlook. There’s no limit to how long you can push for reviews (unless you’re pitching bloggers, who are more time sensitive).
But you can push reader reviews for a long time. The problem is that authors often wait too long to do this.
Don’t wait to pitch bloggers, or go after readers. The longer you wait, the harder the process becomes.
Tips for Getting More Reader Reviews
- Putting a letter in the back of your book is a strategy I speak to a lot – and I always recommend it, regardless of genre. A letter thanking readers for buying your book, inviting them to contact you and asking for a review is a great way to begin building your reviews.
- Bloggers are a great resource for authors but remember, they’re super busy. So, if you don’t start targeting them early, be prepared to wait for the review. Which is also fine, because a review is a review – regardless of when it’s delivered. In order to get more blogger reviews, follow blogger submission guidelines to the letter, because they matter. Also, if you do get a review request for a book, many bloggers like actual print copies – and if you’re mailing a book copy, autograph it to them. Bloggers really love this!
- Bookbub is a surprisingly great way to build more readers and get more reviews. Aside from other authors, the site also has lots of readers as well as reviewers. I’ll be writing a post on maximizing BookBub shortly!
- Goodreads is a standard for any author – regardless of genre. Want to get more reader reviews?
- Start digging into some great networking there. We have three podcasts dedicated to Goodreads. We’ll list them in the resources section of this post!
- Tap into your personal network, send around an email, a text, mention it next time you talk to someone, just remember to ask for honest reviews.
- If you have a reader newsletter, when was the last time you asked for a review?
- Consider running special promos for bonus content for anyone who sends you proof of their review.
- If you have somewhat of a following on social media, ask for reviews – consider running a special promo as I mentioned above and extending it to them, too.
- If you have a blog, be sure to put up a post about the promo, too. This is an easy way to share the details of the promo and also what the reader gets in return (in exchange for an honest review).
Reviews shouldn’t be that hard to come by, but I realize for many of us they are.
Gathering reviews as part of your Amazon book promotion, and adding to the ones that you already have up on Amazon is an ongoing process. Always look for opportunities to get more reviews. This should be a staple in any author’s book marketing kit.
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I am looking for bigger and better ways to promote my book.
Please contact us, we’d love to chat!
I am a traditionally published author with a tiny house. How do I get on a blog tour? Thanks for any help you can render. P.S. Thanks for the article. It was quite helpful.
Hi Mary – Blog tours are one of the many strategies we offer. Please feel free to reach out to Amy, my programs manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help with your book marketing.
First of all! Thank you for this article. I wondered why I kept feeling like delaying publishing my novel. Hadn’t done any of the above. Book and cover is complete with ISBNs and all. Now what?
Very exciting times ahead for sure! If you’d like to do some coaching I’d be more than happy to walk you through next steps and additional considerations to really set the release up for success. Contact us at email@example.com and we’ll get started!