Amazon reviews. When you see a book (or any product) with a lot of them, how do you think they got there? Most people assume that the book is popular. If a lot of people are reading it and enjoying it, they must be leaving reviews. Right?
In fact, most of the time this isn’t the case. Most of the time, authors who wait for reviews to trickle in don’t see many results. I should know – even before my recent relaunch withMorgan James Publishing, there were over 1,000 copies ofBook Blueprint in circulation. Hardly any of those sales and giveaways led to reviews.
(Having said this, if you’ve readBook Blueprintand it helped with your writing journey, I’d love it if you left a reviewon Amazon.)
Yet I still managed to relaunch with 28 reviews.
I asked for them.
In most cases, when a book has more than a handful of Amazon reviews, those reviews have been solicited.
Is soliciting Amazon reviews ethical?
One of the most frequent questions I get when it comes to soliciting book reviews is, is it ethical? Is it ethical to ask people to leave a review for your book?
Don't approach friends and family who haven’t even read your book. And don't ask random people on the street to leave a vague comment with a 5-star rating. Those are both, of course, unethical.
However, if you are asking people toread your bookand thenshare an honest review, then thatis ethical. You can even request that they mention that you they received a free copy of your book in the review itself.
The key here is asking forhonestreviews. When I reached out to my reviewers, I made this very clear, and was open to negative reviews, if they were their honest thoughts. Fortunately, if you have written the best manuscript you can, and have engagedan awesome team to turn it into the best possible book it can be, this shouldn’t be an issue. Even if there are one or two people who don’t ‘get’ you or your content, the good reviews will balance them out.
It's also important to note that the free copy cannot be dependent upon the recipient leaving an Amazon review. That is also strictly against Amazon policies. Rather, provide the free copy first, make the request, and trust that many will in fact leave a review.
Is it worth it?
I can hear what you’re thinking – it seems like an awful lot of work, doesn’t it?
Yes, it is a lot of work. In fact, of all of the people you approach for reviews, less than a quarter will actually leave them. So is it worth the time you’ll spend crafting emails and social media posts, or submitting your book to review sites?
My thoughts? Absolutely. Soliciting reviewsisworth it, for three reasons:
1. Amazon reviews establish your book’s credibility
When we’re looking for products, choosing between restaurants, searching for a hotel room and even shopping for books, we all look at reviews and ratings.
A product that has a lot of positive Amazon reviews and an average rating of 4-5 stars looks like a better deal. It looks like it will deliver on its promises. In the case of a nonfiction, how-to book, it looks like it actually teaches readers what it says it will teach them.
This is especially true if we’re comparing two similar products – if one product has dozens, or hundreds, of 5-star reviews and in-depth feedback, while another has no reviews (or worse, an average rating of only 1-3 stars), which would you choose?
2. Amazon reviews are another weapon in your book’s marketing arsenal
One of the most challenging pieces of marketing anything is trying to think of new things to say.
You’ve shared abehind-the-scenes look at your publishing journey. You’ve shared all of the benefits your book can offer. And you’ve even shared excerpts of content to entice people to buy. Once you’ve done all of that, what else is there?
Reviews give you a reason to continue talking about your book. Every time a good review comes in, you have something to share on social media and with your email list. And if you’ve built a genuine relationship with your followers, they will be genuinely excited on your behalf. This leads to likes, comments, and clicks through to your book’s listing on Amazon.
This brings me to the third benefit of soliciting reviews.
3. Reviews help drive traffic to your Amazon listing
When you share your good reviews on social media or with your email list, it reminds your followers that your book exists. It also reminds them to visit its Amazon listing.
On top of this, some reviewers have other channels where they publish their reviews. Their own blogs, Goodreads, and review sites where they are members all help your book get in front of more people.
Finally, there are a number of book advertising sites out there where you can promote your book if you’re running a special discount. Examples include BookBub,Kindle Nation Daily, andThe Fussy Librarian. Some of these sites require a minimum number of reviews before they accept books. Once you break through that threshold, these new marketing opportunities become available to you.
How do you do it? 3 tactics to launch your book with 20+ Amazon reviews
So how do you do it?
There are several roads to reviews. Here are the three that I’ve found to be the most effective.
1. Ask your beta readers for Amazon reviews
If you have time, a great way to ensure you write the best book you can is to enlist a team of beta readers in the publishing process. Beta readers are simply trial readers who read your book before it is published to give you feedback on how you can improve your book. If they like it, why not ask for a review at the same time?
Here’s how you do it:
a) Find your beta readers
Because you want people who can give meaningful feedback, your mum probably isn’t the best choice. Instead, look for other people in your industry (who can give feedback on the veracity of your content) or people who meet your target reader demographic (who can give feedback on how engaging and useful they found the book).
You can make a shortlist of specific people, or reach out to communities (such as Facebook groups targeting certain demographics) asking for volunteers. I targeted a business Facebook group where a lot of the members want to write a book.
b) Make your pitch
Like when you’re making any pitch, you want to focus on the benefits for the person you’re approaching. In my case, the benefits were a) learning how to write an awesome book, and b) get their testimonial featured in my book, along with their name and business name. Here’s the pitch:
I’m looking for volunteers!
My book ‘Book Blueprint: How any entrepreneur can write an awesome book’ teaches entrepreneurs how to create a blueprint so detailed that their book will write itself. While I’ve done this work with clients and used the process to write my own book, I’m looking for someone who can test the process in book form.
What’s in it for you – if you’ve been struggling to get your book out, this will teach you how to write it fast while avoiding the big mistakes many entrepreneurs make when writing their first book. You’ll also get a signed copy of the book once it comes out and, if you’d like to write a testimonial, that testimonial along with your business name and book (if you already have one) will be featured inside the front cover.
Caveat – I’m on a very tight publishing deadline, so need feedback in the next week (i.e. by next Tuesday). Because of this, please don’t volunteer unless you can read a 37,000 word book and do the exercises (these include mind mapping, brainstorming and answering questions) in the next week.
Thanks in advance:)
I had 37 people volunteer to read the book (though I stopped taking on volunteers at 20). I sent out the book to the first 20 of them and ended up with 13 testimonials I could use before the one-week deadline was up.
When it comes to timing, I recommend sending the draft to beta readers after you’ve had aninitial structural edit, as sometimes this can lead to significant changes in your book, making it hard for them to give good feedback on earlier drafts.
It’s also important to be clear about when you need them to come back to you with their feedback. If you have a tight publishing schedule, you don’t want it to get put on hold because they don’t have time to look at your book. Instead, be clear about your deadlines up front and only send your draft to people who agree to have feedback back to you in time.
c) Get their feedback
Review their feedback, and look at how you can address it in your book (if you want to, of course). If their feedback is positive, ask if they’d be willing to leave a review on Amazon once your book is published – they could just copy and paste what they’ve already sent you.
d) Remind them to leave Amazon reviews
If they are happy to leave the review, copy and paste their feedback somewhere safe. Once your book is live on Amazon, send them an email (or Facebook message) asking if they’re still happy to leave a review, including the text that they’ve already sent you. Most of us are busy with a lot of our own things going on. It’s your job to make it as easy as possible for them to leave you a good review if they can just copy and paste what they’ve already written.
2. Reach out to people who leave a lot of Amazon reviews
Beta readers are fantastic, but if you don’t have time to engage beta readers in your publishing journey (or if they don’t get around to leaving a review – remember, people are busy), where else should you look?
Amazon has over300 million users, who have collectively left hundreds of millions of reviews for books and other products. When it comes to those reviews, other shoppers can vote on whether or not they found the review helpful, which then contributes to the ranking of the reviewer themselves on Amazon.
If you look atAmazon’s top reviewers, you’ll find that these people have reviewed a lot of products (often in the thousands). But their reviews also tend to be balanced and go into a lot of depth, which is why they have so many ‘helpful’ votes.
Why should this matter to you?
Because Amazon gives you free access to reviewers who have the ability to read your book and provide a review quickly. They will also put a lot of thought and energy into your review to ensure it's of value. This makes the review more helpful for your potential readers and a more powerful endorsement for your book.
But how do you do it?
a) Find relevant reviewers
I’ve found the best way to find reviewers is to find people who have already reviewed books like yours. After all, this demonstrates that they have an interest in your subject area, which means they are more likely to read and review your book.
This is how you find them:
1. Search on Amazon for books like yours.
In other words, you want to find other books in your genre that are targeting a similar audience. In my case, I looked for other books on writing, self-publishing and book marketing that were targeted at an entrepreneur audience. For example,Your First 1,000 CopiesbyTim GrahlandPublishedbyChandler Bolt.
2. Make a list of people who have reviewed that book.
Because time is precious and I want the best return on the time I invest, I restricted my approach to people who had:
- Reviewed the book in the last 12 months
- Left a review longer than one paragraph (after all, I want credible reviews, not someone writing ‘great book’)
- Also reviewed similar books (you can see this by clicking on their profile link, which has a list of all of the products they’ve reviewed)
Keep in mind that not everyone will respond. Not everyone will agree to review your book. Some of those who do agree might not get around to it. So, aim for at least 50 names on your list. You can also compile a new list in a few months’ time, when more books like yours have been released, and when more reviews have been added to the old ones.
3. Compile their information in a spreadsheet.
I created a spreadsheet with columns for the reviewer’s name, the book they reviewed, a link to their profile and their contact details. If you come up with the initial list of books, a VA can be a great help when it comes to building the list of reviewers and tracking down all of their information.
b) Make your pitch
Next pitch them! Ideally via email, using the contact details you’ve sourced (though I’ve also approached reviewers over Facebook Messenger and via contact forms).
Here’s a template you can use for your own pitch:
I saw your review of[Book Title]on Amazon and, when I clicked through to your profile, I noticed that you’ve reviewed a number of other books like this in the past.
[Explain why you like this person’s reviewing style. Is it that they go into depth? Is it their honest criticism and feedback? Is it that they summarise the main learnings of the books they review?]Because of this, I wanted to reach out about my book.
[Tell them about your book, including the title with a link to its Amazon page, as well as what it will help your readers achieve.]I’m happy to send you a free copy of the paperback and/or a PDF and would love it if you could share your thoughts.
I understand you probably get a lot of requests like this, so if you could let me know either way, I’d appreciate it.
c) Follow up
Again, people are busy, so if you don’t hear from someone after a week, don’t stress. Instead, follow up to confirm that they got your email and to check whether they’d be interested in reviewing a free copy of your book.
If they agree to review your book, then be patient. These reviewers are reading and reviewing your book as a favour to you – someone they probably don’t even know – so be patient. If you haven’t heard anything in 4-6 weeks (allowing time for postage), follow up again.
3. Submit your book to Amazon review sites (paid and free)
There are also a range of book review sites where you can submit your book, some of which will republish their review on Amazon. For those that don’t, you can republish the review yourself as an editorial review through yourAmazon Author Centralaccount.
The submission process can vary depending on the site (or publication), with some being paid while others are free. Some require physical copies while others are happy with a PDF, Word doc, .mobi or .epub file. Further, some guarantee reviews, while with others you just send your book out into the ether and hope for the best.
However, here are some common steps involved.
a) Online submissions
1Compile a list of review sites:There area lot of these sites out there, so vet them based on the types of books they cover. Do they cover other books like yours? Also look at the size of their audience.
2Gather information about your book: Most review sites require a standard suite of information. If you have all of this ready to go, you can easily submit to a range of sites in a single sitting (or ask a VA to take care of it for you). This information includes:(Video) Doing Research to Create KDP Book Interior Designs that Sell on Amazon
- Book title, book subtitle, author name, and price (eBook, paperback or both)
- Your author bio
- Book synopsis/blurb
- Links to your book’s listing on Amazon and other retailers
- Image of your book’s cover
- Author headshot
- Keywords (usually genre and other relevant terms)
3Submit! Once you have all of the information together, gather it into a Word or Excel file and simply copy and paste the information into your submission forms. Note that many of these sites have a lot of traffic, so it might take a few months before your Amazon reviews go live.
b) Paperback submissions
As mentioned earlier, some reviewers prefer paperback submissions to eBook ones. Some of these review publications and websites includethe Barnes and Noble Review,Booklist Online,BookPageandForeword Reviews.
With electronic submissions, you’ll receive a submission confirmation by email and will be alerted when your review is live. Paperback submissions are much harder to track. You probably won’t get told when your book arrives, if it will get reviewed, or if it hasbeen reviewed. However, the only cost to you is a copy of your book and the cost of postage, so why not?
The steps are:
1. Compile a list of reviewers and review sites
Let me know in the comments if you’d like a list of the different sites where you can submit your book!
2. Write a cover letter to go with your book
Most review sites require a standard suite of information, which they will list on their website. You can then write a standard cover letter and add, remove, information as is necessary. Here’s a sample cover letter you can use:
Please find enclosed a copy of my book,[Book title], for review consideration in[Publication].
The details of the book are:
– ISBN:[If your book is available in multiple formats, include all ISBNs]
– Publication date:
– Publisher:[If applicable]
Post a copy of your book and cover letter to them. Note that many of these reviewers require books 2-4 before their publication date, so you’ll need to be looking into this well in advance of your date of publication.
And there you have it – three simple ways to collect Amazon reviews for your book, even before you launch.
How Many Reviews Do I Need? For a minimum, you should try to get 20 reviews within the first two months after your book release date. That shows your book has traction with real readers. At around 50 reviews, you are probably good to go.
- Add Excerpts from Rave Reviews to Your Book Cover. ...
- Include Book Reviews on Your Author Website. ...
- Use Book Reviews on Social Media. ...
- Include Book Reviews in Press Releases. ...
- Use Reviews on Marketing Materials. ...
- Use Book Reviews to Get More Reviews. ...
- Use Reviews to Approach Booksellers and Librarians.
Let your followers know that you have a new book coming out and that they have the opportunity to read and review an advance copy. These readers can be added to your launch review team. Your author newsletter can also be a great way to subtlety remind those that have purchased your book to please leave a review.
Book reviews save readers time, prepare them for what they will find and offer them a greater chance of connecting with a particular book, even before they read the first page!
Can I review my own book on Amazon? Sadly, no. Some authors might think it's a good idea to review their own book to get an initial momentum going for their reviews, but that's against the rules specified on Amazon's Guidelines.
Your job is to get advanced reviews that can go in your Author Bio section or in your description section. This involves asking review bloggers, review sites, other authors, magazine editors, newspaper editors, etc. for reviews. A review from a publication such as Kirkus Reviews will go a LONG way.
- High-quality images generally have a high conversion rate. ...
- Ensure you follow Amazon guidelines while adding images and videos.
- Use relevant keywords in your product title along with its benefits and variations.
- List bullet points in the order of their priority.
- Encourage Customers to Write Reviews With Post-Purchase Emails. ...
- Incentivize Customers to Write Reviews. ...
- Optimize Your Review Forms for Mobile. ...
- Make It Easy to Review Multiple Purchases at Once. ...
- Use a Product Sampling Program.
- Amazon.com. Amazon.com offers book reviews of many of the book titles it sells. ...
- Barnes & Noble. ...
- Complete Review. ...
- GoodReads Reviews. ...
- LibraryThing Reviews. ...
- LJ Reviews. ...
- New York Times Book Review (free selections) ...
- School Library Journal Reviews+
As far as book review sites go, Kirkus is one of the most prestigious and trusted book reviewers in the business and offers an unbiased assessment of your book—which could be negative or positive. But their outstanding reviews come at a price. That being said, the review is worth it to many.
- Book Riot.
- Fantasy Book Review.
Many publishing houses offer ARCs on NetGalley — here, readers and reviewers can access books free of charge before they're released in exchange for leaving a review on the site. Some books have a “Read now” option, while more exclusive ones require you to submit a request.
Exclusive Prices. Amazon First Reads is a program that offers customers early access to new books across popular genres. Every month customers can choose one of the Kindle books selected by our editors for $1.99, or FREE for Prime members.
Amazon describes Vine as a program in which trusted reviewers are invited to write reviews of new and pre-release products to help other customers make informed decisions. Amazon supplies Vine members with free products and doesn't influence — or allow Amazon sellers to influence — the reviews.
Even institutions like ForeWord, Kirkus and Publishers Weekly offer programs where you pay to play. Although PW doesn't guarantee a review, there are lots of other places you can simply buy them. The reason thousands of authors pay for these reviews is simple—reviews can help sell books.
In general, review prices range from $100 to $595. A great way to choose a review service is by reading each publication's past reviews. This is the best way to get an idea of the quality, detail, and depth of critical attention indie authors can expect.
You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and that statement will probably resemble other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Typically, reviews are brief.
If you sell books through Amazon's regular distribution network, you'll receive 60% in royalties. However, if you sell through Amazon's Expanded Distribution Network to stores like Barnes and Noble, you'll only get 40%. The printing costs for physical copies are subtracted directly from your royalties.
Amazon Reviews Terms of Service and Datamining
Reviews by family and friends, paid reviews, author review swaps—in short, reviews that are biased or posted in exchange for compensation of any kind—are a violation that can lead to reviews and even the entire accounts being removed.
Reviewers can remove or edit a review after it is posted. Amazon says that just because a review is written by a friend or a social media connection doesn't necessarily result in that review being taken down. A reviewer can link to another product—such as their own—if it is relevant and available on Amazon.
How much can authors expect to earn from their books? A first-time author with a traditional publishing deal might expect an advance of $1,000-$10,000 and 5-18% royalties once they “earn out” their advance. Self-published authors do not receive advances, but their royalties can reach up to 70% for ebook editions.
- Read frequently. Take time to read as often as you can. ...
- Consider a bachelor's degree in literature. Think about pursuing a bachelor's degree in literature. ...
- Begin reviewing books on your own. Start writing reviews for books you read. ...
- Build a readership. ...
- Apply for work as a book reviewer.
Review Quantity – According to an article by MarketWatch, 20-50 is enough reviews to prove a product has been tried by enough people. If you don't have many reviews now, this is a good starting goal because it will show potential customers that others have tried you.
- Mouse – 2 623 008.
- Gifts – 2 624 528.
- Summer- 2 623 423.
- Unicorns 2 623 214.
- Dog – 2 622 608.
- Babies – 2 621 138.
- Kids – 2 620 967.
- Beach – 2 581 690.
“How many books will I need to sell?” In order to hit #1 on Amazon, you'll need to sell somewherebetween 3,500 and 5,000 copies in 24 hours. Want to hit top 10? You'll need to sell roughly 300 for print, or 2,000+ copies for combined formats.
- Memoirs and Biographies.
- Self Help.
- Religion and Spirituality.
- Health, Fitness, and Dieting.
- Politics and Social Sciences.
- Make it a no-brainer task. ...
- Participate in positive social media interactions. ...
- Send a personalized follow up. ...
- Provide incentive to post a review. ...
- Share reviews on social media. ...
- Host a contest. ...
- Provide a seamless checkout process. ...
- Respond to negative reviews professionally.
- Ask for Reviews On Site. The best time to ask for a review is while the activity is fresh in your customer's mind. ...
- Send a Follow-Up Email. ...
- Offer an Incentive. ...
- Respond to Reviews. ...
- Promote Great Reviews (and Reviewers)
- Ask for Google reviews. ...
- Add a review link to your website or thank-you email. ...
- Provide excellent customer service. ...
- Respond to your existing Google reviews. ...
- Share your positive reviews. ...
- Invest in review generation tools. ...
- Frequently update your Google Business Profile.
- Endorsements: Hand-picking Relevant Reviewers Before Your Book is Published. ...
- Trade Reviews: Publishing Professionals May Advocate Your Book To The Industry. ...
- Reader Reviews: Individuals Recommending Your Book To Each Other. ...
- Editorial Reviews: Third Parties Publishing Reviews About Your Book.
Goodreads is the world's largest community of readers. Find new and interesting books by browsing personalized recommendations based on books you've read and your favorite genres. See what your friends are reading, write book reviews, and keep track of what you want to read.
The book review format includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. Describe the book cover and title.
- A very high percentage of five-star reviews.
- Lack of detail in reviews and vague praise.
- Generic review titles like “Nice product” or simply “Awesome”
- Mentions of competing products.
- Wording similar to other reviews.
- Poor grammar and spelling mistakes.
Writing reviews is one of the most common ways to make money from reading books, and a variety of services are available for both new and experienced reviewers to earn money from freelance book reviews. You can do this through some of the best book apps in the market as well as book summary websites.
Bookstagrammers can also get paid sponsorships with authors, publishers or bookish brands. While this is very standard in the lifestyle sphere of Instagram it hasn't quite caught on in the Bookstagram world yet.
Amazon First Reads Kindle books can be read on any compatible Kindle device or free Kindle reading app and become part of customers' permanent libraries. Joining is free with no purchase obligation. By joining, you receive a monthly e-mail announcing new Amazon First Reads picks.
- “First Edition,” “First Printing,” “First Published,” “Published,” or “First Impression” appears on the copyright page.
- A number line such as 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, or something similar. ...
- The date on the title page is the same as the date on the copyright page.
Kindle unlimited eligible titles are free and you can borrow them for as long as you're subscribed to unlimited. However, when you cancel... those books are no longer available. As for discount… see more.
You are eligible to receive up to $2,500 of the purchase price, including shipping charges. You can file an A-to-z Guarantee claim after you've contacted the third-party seller and have provided the third-party seller one calendar day to address the issue.
The shoppers can get free samples of all products that have a retail value up to $100 through the new Amazon sampling program. The members have to sign up for the program and enroll. Retailers to send samples to customers intend to seek reviews before increasing the quantity of stocking those particular products.
The $39.99 is the recurrent amount that is charged for every “Professional Seller account.” Whether you sell nothing or sell 10,000 products per month, this fee will still be charged.
Research shows that 84% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 91% of shoppers occasionally or regularly read online reviews. Why? Because they create trust and add transparency to the purchasing experience so consumers are more willing to buy.
5-star and 4-star ratings are considered "positive" feedback on Amazon. 1-star and 2-star ratings are "negative" feedback on Amazon. 3-star ratings, commonly referred to as "neutral" feedback, can have a net negative impact on your seller reputation.
The average rating of books in the store is 4.5 stars. To stay in the store, a book needs to be 4 stars or higher, as rated by Amazon's millions of customers, Cast said.
The average review rate for Amazon products is around 1-2%.
Meaning, every 100 sales you make, you should expect 1 or 2 reviews.
Amazon also has a program called the Amazon Early Reviewer Program that allows any customer who has purchased certain products to receive a small “reward” (such as a $1-$3 gift card) for helping other Amazon shoppers by providing their feedback.
Amazon's seller guidelines specifically ban offering a financial reward for reviews. It's supposedly a zero-tolerance policy.
Getting good feedback on a product or service from a customer is helpful for any business, and this is especially true when it comes to your Amazon store. First of all, consumers trust reviews to help them find their perfect product. Secondly, an authentic review can help lead people to discover a brand that they like.
Impact feedback is the most effective type of feedback to start with because it informs a person about the results of their behavior without dissecting the details, assuming motivation, or placing blame.
- Reach out to low star reviewers right away. It takes 40 positive reviews to undo the damage from 1 negative review. ...
- Ask for feedback. ...
- Answer customer questions on Amazon. ...
- Screen reviews for trends. ...
- Leverage the Amazon Guidelines on Ratings and Reviews.
Their review guidelines state… “Don't post content that is libelous, defamatory, harassing, threatening, inflammatory, obscene, pornographic, or lewd. For example, don't use obscenities or profanity, and…” So the only conclusion is that they don't think that 'bloody useless' constitutes a profanity.
For a traditional publisher to think of a nonfiction book as a success, it has to sell more like 10,000 copies over its lifetime.
RATING A BOOK THREE STARS
According to the Goodreads system, three stars means “I liked it” and that's exactly how I feel. In every book that I have rated three stars, it still meant that overall I enjoyed reading the book. There are many, many three star books that I would (and do) whole heartedly recommend to others!
I assume you are talking about paperbacks. If you buy author copies at cost, they do not count as sales by Amazon (and of course you get no royalties). Sales in other venues do not affect your sales rank on Amazon either, because Amazon sales rank is affected *only* by books sold by Amazon.
Getting a lot of good reviews from your customers and making those reviews visible to potential buyers is a great way to build trust in your brand and by extension increase sales on Amazon.
- Get Reviewed.
- Gartner Peer Insights.
- Harris Poll Online.
Amazon charges a referral fee for each item sold. The amount depends on the product category. Most referral fees are between 8% and 15%.