Like it or not, reviews on Amazon help sell books. The vast majority of potential buyers will look at reviews to assist them in making a buying decision (I know that I do). If you don’t have many reviews, it can make your book look less popular than competing books with many reviews. And if you have too many negative reviews, you will undoubtedly lose buyers. If this happens, take a step back and look objectively at the negative feedback. The occasional negative review is to be expected, but a series of them may indicate a problem. Often you will find a trend that needs to be addressed in a revised edition of your book.
The point is that all authors need to focus on generating reviews on Amazon on an ongoing basis. Legend has it that reviews also help Amazon rank your book. The more reviews your book receives, the more likely Amazon will be to display your book as an option in related search results.
Following are ways to generate more book reviews on Amazon:
Start with friends who have actually READ the book – This one is tricky. You don’t want to ask great aunt Edna or your mom to write a review. It will be too hard for them to be objective, and the results will show up in the reviews. Can you imagine if aunt Edna wrote, “Oh Jimmy’s book is just wonderful. I’m so proud of him!” Yikes! Believe me, readers will notice. But you do want to reach out to friends and family—those who have actually read the book and can give a professional opinion—and ask them to take a few moments to write a review for you.
Ask Amazon Reviewers – Look for the people who have reviewed competing titles and ask them to review your book. You may need to send them a complimentary review copy, but many reviewers on Amazon will be thrilled to be asked. When you look at book reviews on Amazon, you can click on the reviewers name and it will take you to their personal profile on Amazon, showing you other books they’ve reviewed. Many will list their bio or even a website so with a bit of effort, you can track down an email address for a reviewer and reach out.
Reach out to your email subscribers – If you maintain an e-newsletter list, and you should, ask your readers to write a review.
Ask via social media – There is nothing wrong with reaching out to your social media audience and asking for their help. A post like this should work: “Did you like XYZ book? I’d appreciate it if you’d post a review on Amazon!” Don’t forget to include a link to your book’s page on Amazon. Make it as easy as possible.
Give away review copies – Many authors host campaigns where they give away free books specifically for review. In exchange, if the reader likes the book, he/she should write a nice review on Amazon. You can offer up this option via any means at your disposal (email, social media, to trade associations you belong to, etc.).
Ask buyers – When you sell books through your website or at a live event, consider inserting a note inside the book asking the reader to post a review. You could print this request up on a postcard or even on a business card, or if time allows, hand-write a note to include in each copy.
Offer incentive – Last fall I reached out to my audience and offered up a bonus report to anyone who posted a review within a specified time period (several weeks). This simple campaign inspired several dozen reviews from my readers with very little effort.
Remember, sometimes all you have to do is ask. The key for most of us is to remember to ask!
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