9 Essential Points on How to Get Reviews on Amazon
Why Book Reviews Matter on Amazon
Self-publishing your book sounds much simpler than going to a publishing house. As disheartening as it is, Biron Clark, a self-published author, believes that writing your book is only 40% of the battle. To make your book profitable, the remaining 60% of the effort depends on marketing. You should market your book on platforms such as Amazon with good reviews and some client engagement.
Whenever you buy something online, it’s likely you’ll get a message in the mail a couple of days later. It will ask you about your experience and if you would like to review it. However, less than 5% of customers leave genuine reviews, that too if the product genuinely left an impression on them. When it comes to books, it is even more challenging. But if you really think about it, getting reviews on Amazon can make or break your success.
According to author Mike Michalowicz, the mere fact that a book has a lot of reviews is enough to increase sales and generate more reviews. Even if the buyers do not need to buy it. Referral or ‘social proof’, as Michalowicz terms it, works wonders in convincing readers to give your book a try.
Dr. Jeanette Cates, an Amazon best-selling author, gives the following eight points when explaining why getting reviews on Amazon is important:
- A review helps boost sales by helping other potential customers to decide whether your book is for them.
- A review may better the experience of future readers by giving them parts of the book to look forward to.
- The initial review encourages others to provide further insight and provide further reviews.
- Better reviews mean better ranking for your book.
- Based on the number of positive reviews, your book gets added to the “You Might Like”, and “Recommended For You” lists.
- Getting reviews on Amazon can help you get reviews from well-known book reviewing sites.
- More reviews can help build a community of your readers. Basically, a platform for you to interact with your readers and help you write content that they would like to read.
- Reviews will help you develop as an author by providing areas for you to further hone.
How to Get Reviews on Amazon
The thought of getting reviews to ensure your sales might be a little daunting. However, there are a few steps that can help you get started easily and let you cash in on your success.
1. Start Early
It’s a common belief that marketing should come after you have completed your book. Outwardly, that makes sense. But if you want to get reviews, it is better to start your marketing early. You can even start 4-6 months in advance. After all, without good reviews, initial sales are very hard. Without sales, there won’t be reviews. Here’s how you can solve this Catch-22.
You should create anticipation through social media channels. Utilize social media marketing and promote your upcoming book to friends and family before release. Reach out to your friends, family, and acquaintances and ask them to read and review your book. This will help you get the ball rolling and the reviews flowing. It may even give you some constructive criticism in improving your work. Once a few reviews start coming in, it’s much more likely that your sales will increase and others will follow like a chain reaction.
2. Get Involved with Bloggers and Content Reviewing Websites
You can contact bloggers that are popular in the genre you are writing in. Ask them to review your book in exchange for a free copy or an Amazon gift card. They may also promote your work to their readers if they like it and bring you more exposure. Similarly, you can find relevant websites that provide content reviews. Reach out to them to help you with your start.
3. Join Online Communities
Some online communities, such as those on Reddit and Facebook, can do wonders for you. They will be very helpful in promoting your work and getting a discussion started around it. You can post your work on them and ask for reviews and comments. Or, you can start forums regarding your book to attract new readers and reviewers.
4. Check Out Amazon Top Reviewers
Another way to get reviews quickly is to reach out to Amazon’s Top reviewers and ask them to review your work. This gives more credibility to your book’s reviews. As they are already known for their opinions in the Amazon community and are well versed with how things work.
5. Visit Reviewing Platforms
Now that you know how important asking for reviews is, there’s a question you should ask yourself. How should you target platforms that will prove beneficial? When looking for potential promotional platforms, check to see if the platform is actually active. Ask if they are currently open for reviews and queries. You should also see if these platforms are in line with your work. Learn the traffic they bring in, and the activity on their site. Based on this information, you can choose whether or not to reach out to them. Some of the most popular platforms in that line of work are NetGalley and Edelweiss.
6. Seek Reviewers of Similar Titles
Once you make the list comparing your work to other titles, it is always a good idea to see where they got their reviews. You should reach out to these reviewers. Let them know why you are contacting them and try to get them to review your work as well. If your books fall in the same category as the one they read and reviewed, they are likely to be interested. This way, you will get credible reviews on your book. It will also attract readers who like books similar to yours.
7. Write Your Pitches
Writing is just like any other business. You must be ready to seize every opportunity you get and to leave a positive and lasting impression. As such, writing a pitch for your work is extremely important.
When it comes to pitching your work, it is rather simple. Keep your pitch simple and to the point, and make it as personalized as you can. Try to build rapport and relationships with those you reach out to. Capture their attention by pinpointing exactly what they would like to hear, or in this case… read.
Your pitch can even include the first chapter of your book! A great hook of your book, or even the summary, is a good way to attract readers and reviewers. If you don’t know, a hook is a gripping first sentence. It’s meant to hold the interest of your readers and keeps them tuned in to your book, unable to turn away. Here is our detailed guide on how to write a gripping hook for your book.
8. Understand Your Reviewers
To contact potential reviewers, it is important to read their review policy. Some bloggers, for instance, might have a form to fill out. Others may provide a checklist, and some would just provide contact information and be open to requests. The pitch will vary depending on the reviewer’s requirements.
Once you have done that, send your reviewers a free arc. Some reviewers might prefer an ebook. Others might demand a physical copy. So be prepared to accommodate their preference.
Make sure to send a personalized thank you note to your reviewer. Thank them for their time, and their commitment to reviewing your book. Try to build a relationship with them and leave a lasting impression. This will make you seem both sincere and honest. In turn, not only will it help you gain a trusted review on your work, but also help you grow as an author.
9. Mark your Progress
To gauge the success of your strategy, you have to note your progress. The best way to do this is to make a spreadsheet or keep a planner. Put in the names of the reviewers, and each stage you’re at with them. Include:
- the date of contact,
- their details,
- the date you send them the arc,
- the date they confirm receiving it, as well as
- the estimated date for the review, and the outcome.
This way you will be able to monitor the process and make appropriate adjustments.
Once you have sent them the book arcs, keep in mind the time frame they give you. Follow up with an email in between to ask them how they think the book is going until that point. Be courteous throughout your exchange with them. If for some reason, they do not provide the feedback in time, you can send them a follow-up email to ensure that they haven’t forgotten about it. Keep in mind you should only follow up when necessary. Don’t overdo the emails and allow them time to review it. This blog gives a great format for these follow-up emails and the time-frame to send them in.
How to Deal with Negative Reviews
Hopefully, your reviewers will give you a positive review. But if you come across a negative review, do not panic. We all make mistakes. What is important is that you learn from it and improve yourself. We have listed down a few key points to focus on when it comes to dealing with negative reviews:
- Do not let hateful comments get to you. People are entitled to their opinion, and what is relevant to some people might not be to others. Look at the bigger picture, there will be a lot more people who like your work as opposed to those who do not.
- Remain calm if this happens. Take what they say as constructive criticism and never lash out at them for their review. Accept it, thank them for their time, and move on.
- Improve yourself based on the feedback and try to learn from it. Again, it is important to learn what you can about your marketing technique from this experience and improve it.
Writing and publishing your book aren’t the end of the road, never forget that. Marketing is just as important a step. We hope this guide helped you understand how to get reviews on Amazon. It should help you turn your book into an Amazon success. While each book is unique and needs a customized strategy, these general guidelines can help you get optimize your work. In the end, there is just one thing you need to keep in mind, “If you do not ask, the answer is always no.”