Kindle Publishing Income creator Sophie Howard says it’s one thing to get a worthwhile book written and uploaded to Amazon and start marketing it. But it’s a whole other thing to then get people to leave you a great review. And, if ya think about it, you’re only gonna go so far without ’em. Like when’s the last time you bought a book (or anything else) on Amazon without at least scrolling down to the review section and taking a quick peek, right?
For me personally, I’ll at least look at the total number of reviews, the average overall rating, and then maybe when the most recent one came in. I might even check out the top negative comments, just to see if there’s anything those people have said that might talk me outta buying. And that’s if I’m in a hurry or if it’s not really all that important of an item. If it’s something that’s higher priced or something, like a Kindle eBook, that I’m gonna spend hours of my time consuming, I’ll spend even more time on the reviews.
So I think we can agree, book reviews could make or break your self-publishing career. But here’s the problem. Reviews are a lot harder to come by. You used to be able to just game the system, have some friends and family log in to Amazon, and start calling you the next Mark Twain, right? And then, once you’ve tapped your entire warm market, you could just pay some people on Fiverr to go and do the same. But Amazon’s really cracking down on that now. Ya gotta walk on eggshells or you’ll find yourself banned.
With that in mind, Sophie’s got six “safe” ways to get book reviews on Amazon. The first is to build your own launch team. This is just a group of people who’ll agree to read and review your book once it goes live. This should not be anyone in your warm market, since Amazon’s quite good at connecting the dots. And, as I said earlier, money cannot be involved. It’s gotta be genuine. So begin networking and finding book buddies ASAP. Create long-term relationships with these folks. You’re gonna need ’em.
Method number two is to contact top reviewers. How? Amazon has a Vine program where they invite their most prolific product reviewers to join. Then, when new products (including books) get launched, they’re encouraged to review ’em, right? And their reviews carry a ton of weight. So just one compelling five-star review from a top reviewer can do ya a lot of good. Sophie recommends going to their profile first, and making sure your book is within their preferred genre before hitting ’em up though.
Third, you can always try book review sites. Where, you’re paying them to look for people who’d be willing to read and review your book. Which is different than directly paying people for the review, right? Still, tread lightly. ‘Cause ya just never know. Fourth, include a personal note at the end of your book, asking each reader to leave a review if they enjoyed it. Be authentic. Let ’em know how much it means and how much it helps. This’ll also build your brand as an author, even if you’re outsourcing the books.
Fifth, start an email list. Send out a regular newsletter, whether that’s daily or weekly or monthly. Let your fans know what you’re working on, ask them for feedback on any works in progress, and of course, gently remind them to review any of your books they’ve already read. Last but not least, and honestly, this one probably shoulda been first, but just make really freaking awesome books to begin with. I know, crazy concept, right? Like get amazing reviews by just deserving them. Who’d a thunk it?