Why isn’t anyone reviewing my book, you might ask? Good question.
“People like what other people like.”
I am the first to admit that I may overuse this phrase when talking to authors about the importance of getting Amazon reviews (or reviews in general). For a lot of authors, while they understand the importance of having reviews, they are frustrated, because they do not know HOW to get more reviews. The problem is that bloggers are inundated, and since 4,500 books are published every day in this industry, the system is cluttered. So what’s an author to do?
Let’s take a look at a few of the different types of reviewers, and how you can approach them for reviews:
Top Amazon Reviewers: These folks can review anything, not just books, and they often do a lot of reviews. These reviewers also get a lot of credibility in that their reviews are often accompanied by attributes such as Hall of Fame Reviewer, Vine Voice and Top Ten Reviewer.
You can find a listing of Amazon reviewers here: http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers. The problem is that this link takes you to an endless list of reviewers you now have to ferret through.
To help you navigate this list, there are two tabs: Top Reviewer Rankings and Hall of Fame Reviewers. The Hall of Fame list is really the cream of the crop. If you can get picked up by one of those folks, you’re golden. One cautionary note: not all of them will review your genre or books at all. Take a careful look at what they will and will not review before reaching out to them.
Become an Amazon Reviewer: Sometimes, in order to get Amazon reviews, you need to become a reviewer. I’m not suggesting you try to become a top reviewer – I’m suggesting you become more like the Amazon Reader Reviewer I describe below. By doing so, you will not only help other writers in your market by reviewing their books, but they may also return the favor and offer you a review.
Amazon Reader Reviewers: These are readers who just love books. Their reviews are thoughtful, insightful, and thorough, though they tend to be very genre focused, which means that they stay true to one genre, possibly two. Many of them are also on Goodreads, which is another reason why it makes sense to be on that site, too.
Goodreads: While a lot of authors like to complicate this process, Goodreads does not take a ton of effort. In fact, if you’re just on there a couple of times a week, that’s enough. To encourage reviews and spread the word out about your book, I would also recommend that you host giveaways, which can be set-up both in the prepublication stage (to spread the word about your book and encourage reviews) and post-publication (to re-ignite interest in an older title). You will find more in depth info on Goodreads reviews in Part One of this series.
Engaging Consumers: Do consumers review books? Yes, but according to a review statistic I read recently they don’t review a lot. Often only 1% of consumers will review a book they read, so let’s talk about some of the ways you can encourage them to review yours.
With this first technique, you can quadruple that number by simply asking your readers for a review. How? Let me explain. We asked the author to include a letter in the back of her book asking for reviews. She reminded readers how important their voice is. Did it work? Yes. In fact she’s got well over 250 reviews, of which only 10 were solicited. Remember, this is a first-time author with no history online and this book was self-published. All of these things worked against her and still she succeeded in getting lots of reviews. Were they all five-star? No, but that’s not the point. Let’s face it: a book page that’s populated with tons of five-star reviews is pretty suspicious anyway. All of the reviews were authentic, written by real readers the author engaged with.
Want to know another secret? Those readers are now part of her “tribe,” I call them Super Fans (I have a longer Super Fan article on this if you want to dig into this further, you can see it here).
Make It Free: Giving away your book can be a great way to drive both sales and reviews. The caveat, though, is that you need to have a letter (like the one I just shared with you) in the back of your book. You need a call-to-action (CTA) in order to get people to do something – like drop a review on Amazon.
As an author, getting Amazon reviews or reviews, period, can be a challenging and frustrating process. But it doesn’t have to be. By understanding the different types of reviewers, and by implementing the suggestions above, you will be well on your way to more reviews!
Be sure to share your input, questions and experiences with getting reviews below. Stay tuned for the final installment in this series in two weeks.