*This article on Amazon Reviews has been updated to reflect new guidelines!*
SPR has been working on a ton of resources to get you to shine on social media this week, and here we’re looking in detail at how book reviews will lead to sales.
Reviews are the only way to get those buyers to click that Buy Now button on your Amazon book page. As a culture, we have built up a respect for peer opinion, but it’s also important to remember that Customer Reviews on Amazon are the last port of call for a buyer before purchase.
And here’s why: Amazon is the shop for your product, and therefore is the final destination for any book marketing campaign, not the beginning. This means you need a campaign online, with links that click to your Amazon book page.
What Types Of Review Can I Use?
In a marketing campaign, use two types of review:
Professional Reviews – Such as we offer at SPR, for back-of-book pullquotes, high visibility online, and driving readers to your book page on Amazon. These sorts of reviews are recommended for funneling would-be purchasers to consider your book, and is the Opener in the sale, a sales pitch, if you like. The word “review” here is more like “getting your book visible online with good copy.” Professional sites will get your book in front of thousands of viewers, all of whom may click your book page links.
Customer Reviews – Such as the type left on Amazon book pages. These are used to close sales and give peer opinion to inform the final decision-making before purchase. These will not be seen by anyone who has not visited your Amazon page, especially as it requires scrolling down or clicking away from your book page, the page you’ve probably linked to everywhere.
Getting People To Your Book Page To Buy Your Book
Because of the millions of books on Amazon, nearly all of your potential readers learn about your book away from your Amazon page; even if you have a following, I am sure you email your fans to tell them your book is out – we all get those emails, right?
Because of Amazon’s algorithm, it’s intensely difficult to get verified reviews. Why? Because that means getting sales. It’s a vicious circle.
Data we use at SPR shows a low 1 in 10-15 ratio of buyers actually leave a review of a purchased book. However, that ratio doubles when a customer wants to leave a bad review…
Because people are affected more deeply by negativity (just look at the news or the way people like to pick fights in forums), human social interaction has a built-in negative bias, and if your first review is negative, you could end up with a swathe of bad reviews on your hands, because it’s literally what people get a kick out of more easily, by nature.
You can counter this before buyers reach Amazon. If we read a blog post or article from a trusted site – or, as in this diagram at the beginning of the section, for example, a favorable professional review on SPR (one option of many websites that may host your book promotion) – and they click through to Amazon via a link on that page, they will go with a positive outlook and convinced that the book must be worth a look.
Example of SPR star badge
Once the potential buyer reads the Customer Reviews on the Amazon book page, they feel they can make an informed decision, and at that point will make a purchase. This is the beauty of using the Opener (The Professional Review) and the Closer (The Customer Review) to get a sale.
But Aren’t “Paid Reviews” Unethical?
There’s a lot of nonsense talked about “paid reviews.” Unfortunately there are still blogs out there that lump all these services together and get confused about how Amazon guidelines work. This kind of chat just shows a lack of understanding of how book reviews work within a book marketing campaign. Unethical? You need to get competitive – but operate within guidelines.
Review Guidelines – The Skinny
Amazon Guidelines and Goodreads mean you cannot:
- Pose as a customer and write a positivereview when you were paid to do so
- Pose as a fake customer and write reviews
- Be paid to buy books to alter sales
- Buy your own books to alter sales
- Act aggressively towards other reviewers or clients using the site
Relevant FTC Guidelines (Only in US or with US clients):
- Place hidden links to sales pages:
“When using a hyperlink to lead to a disclosure, make the link obvious; label the hyperlink appropriately to convey the importance, nature, and relevance of the information it leads to.” So make your book sales links clear.
As for professional reviews, the FTC guidelines for advertising do not apply to review sites, which are seen as “endorsements”, as long as the review is written as the opinion of the writer:
“In addition, the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (“Endorsement Guides”) apply to “any advertising message . . . that consumers are likely to believe reflects the opinions, beliefs, findings, or experience of a party other than the sponsoring advertiser . . . ”
This guide states, “Endorsements must reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser.” *
With this in mind, let’s look at the three ways to get reviews:
Paid Reviews = Fake Reviews
A paid review consists of paying someone to leave a five-star, biased review for you on Amazon’s Customer Reviews Section. This is of course unethical because it distorts the book’s true value. A paid review can be written by amateur book fans for a small amount of cash on Fiverr or other similar classified service. These are sometimes paid for in bulk to a review agent. I don’t call them “paid reviews.” I call them “Fake Reviews.” I hope people start adopting this phrase to tell the difference between options.
Read this Forbes article to get a real handle on what Fake Reviews are or this article from The Huffington Post outlining Fiverr reviews.
Book Clubs And Mailing Services For Reviews
There are book clubs and mailout services you can use to get Amazon reviews that are fine, so again, don’t get these mixed in as sinister. The key is to get unbiased reviews that buyers can trust. If a book is advertised to a book club, that’s fine if a person then buys the book and reviews it. Services like BookBub offer this kind of deal.
Professional Reviews = Editorial Reviews
A professional review is an unbiased review that is never posted in a Customer Review Section. It is transparent, and clearly worded as a professional assessment of the book, which is then shared on the Internet to gain exposure for the work, and ultimately sales. When combined with the Customer Reviews on the other side of that marketing funnel, a strong marketing campaign is founded.
Amazon have a section for these reviews, called Editorial Reviews, which can be accessed via Author Central and added to your book page.
Book publicity is key to success.
Here’s a table that compares the two types of review:
Hit Rates On Free Review Requests On Social Media And Email
I’ve written about this extensively and it always sees the same soapboxes being pulled over so that authors can herald their purist approaches to getting their book sold using free reviews. These are opinions, rarely backed up with solid sales figures on Amazon.
Here, however, is solid data pulled from the last two years of work we’ve done here at SPR (averages given):
SPR research data shows a 26% (at best) hit rate on opening emails or engaging with content sent on mailouts, book pages or social media groups that requests free reviews.
Then there is a 3.3% (at best) success rate for someone downloading the free book. Apply the 1 in 15 review ratio, you’ve got roughly 2 -3 reviews per five thousand people you send the request to leaving you a review, approximately 2 weeks after download. That means to get 40 reviews on Amazon, you could be looking at having to find 100,000 people using this method. Considering that you’ll be hitting repeats in groups, and many groups are full of authors doing just the same as you, that’s a hell of a job. Especially as the known “tipping point” for regular sales happens around 100 verified positive reviews.
In fact, when we plotted this as a chart, the “download” and “review” percentages are so small that they are not visible to the naked eye. We had to make a chart of the tiny slither of red, the “open” percentage, to get a visual representation of the “download” and “review” part!
Chart showing percentage of people who review free downloads offered online (out of 100,000) – Source SPR 2015
Professional Reviews Are Trusted More Than Friends And Family
In fact, Lightspeed, a global market research company studied how audiences trust review sources. They found that buyers trust other consumers’ reviews 60% of the time, and professional reviewers’ 58% of the time, with only a 2% difference.
However, when this is added to those who answered neutrally, 28% and 33% respectively, it is amazing to discover that 8% find other customers’ reviews untrustworthy, only 1% less than professional reviewers, at 9%. In fact, professional reviews are trusted 8% more than reviews by friends and family.
The truth is, getting good exposure for your book on a well-trafficked website is only going to help sell books.
How People Look At Amazon Book Pages
We did an eyetracker study using the very popular, originally self-published book “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova. The eyetracker is a device that tracks eyeball movement as a user looks at the page and processes information.
The First Three Seconds
The circles show, in size of importance, where a user looks when they first come to the book page:
What we can see here is that the lower part of the book cover is madly important (even if it is Julianne Moore on the cover, this is a big result – you’ll see below the same result happens in the thumbnail for the SPACE book in Also Available).
The price is next, or of equal importance, along with making sure the author name is there.
Checking what is also available, i.e. a tendency to search for the next thing immediately is in there, which is part of how Amazon designs their site and psychology, hence the upsell prime position of the Kindle Reading App ripe to collect an email address.
The Look Inside feature is considered at this early stage of viewing. At this point, the reviews are not. This map shows the eyes’ priorities, as they scan the page. Note the “Buy Now” is not investigated either…So no kneejerk sales happening!
In fact, 79% of viewing happens most by the Look Inside:
As you can see from the eyetracking on the Customer Reviews page (if the viewer scans down from the Look Inside), the viewer looks at how many five star reviews the author has, and then immediately over at the Most Helpful Critical Review star rating! There is a glance over at the Most Helpful, but it seem the Critical Review is the most powerfully placed, and judged by the reader!
Learnings From The Study
It seems you’re going to be working a tough crowd to get a sale. They expect a decent book cover, a good price, and you need a lot of those five-star reviews to impress for a sale – that is, if your least favorable review isn’t too unfavorably starred or titled!
What Can I Do To Improve Sales?
Winning The Battle Might Win The War
Get professional book sites to feature your book. By getting the thumbs up from trusted names wins your buyer at least halfway to considering a sale once they reach your book page. If you have a few decent stars on Amazon, this could win sales.
Cut Your Losses
Even if you have a review that’s not too good, but has a less harsh star rating, you couldquote this review on your website and social media alongside your five-star ones. Why not? It’s great to get 4 stars.
Get A Great Book Cover – In Thumbnail Size!
What does the lower half of your cover look like? Now how does it look SMALL? Maybe it’s time to get a new one designed by a professional. If it’s no good in thumbnail, it’s no good for sales. It might be expensive, but it’s an investment.
Put Your Editorial Reviews On Your Book Page
By adding your professional reviews into your Author Profile (Under Editorial Reviews) you will remind readers why they came to your page – and maybe they will see other reviews there too.
Build Your Own Mailing Lists With Fans
Using a mailing list of previous customers, or book fans that have signed up on your Facebook or webpage will give a good set of people to garner Customer Reviews from, and will give you a better hit rate than randomly sharing your book sale link online in groups and pages at random.* This was investigated fully by SPR after a few amateur law/social media “hotshot” bloggers flagged we were an “advertising site.” I am glad to say their information was inaccurate, because we create original opinion – we are not showing advertisements written by the owner of the product, and we have used the product, and therefore do not come under this category, and instead are considered professional reviewers, a category covered by the FTC in a separate set of guidelines.
Get an Editorial Review | |Get Edited |Publish Your Book |Enter the SPR Book Awards |Other Marketing Services
How can I join? Customers who consistently write insightful reviews are most likely to be invited. Voices are shoppers like you and are not paid to participate in the programme. To stay in the programme, they are expected to share honest and unbiased reviews.
- Memoirs and Biographies.
- Self Help.
- Religion and Spirituality.
- Health, Fitness, and Dieting.
- Politics and Social Sciences.
The trouble is that many Amazon reviews are fake. Unscrupulous or desperate sellers pay for glowing reviews, and some offer gift cards or free products in exchange for five-star ratings. Occasionally, sellers will even solicit false negative reviews on competing products.
Due to a recent change in Amazon's policies, anyone leaving a review must have spent at least $50 on the Amazon account they use to leave reviews. All readers and authors on pubby must be able to leave reviews on Amazon, so they must meet this requirement.
KDP offers a fixed 60% royalty rate on paperbacks sold on Amazon marketplaces where KDP supports paperback distribution. Your royalty is 60% of your list price. We then subtract printing costs, which depend on page count, ink type, and the Amazon marketplace your paperback was ordered from.
Amazon reviewers are helpful to both potential sellers and potential buyers. And free and discounted products are enough reimbursement for the thousands of people who have gone through the steps to become an amazon reviewer. Because, spoiler alert, reviewers don't get paid cash money.
Is Low Content Publishing Worth It? It may not seem so obvious but high-quality low content books do sell well on Amazon. In fact, some low content books like adult coloring books and gratitude journals have a wider audience than some fiction and non-fiction books on Amazon.
“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.
Anyone can submit a review for nearly any product sold on Amazon, even if you haven't personally purchased that product. You can also submit reviews on Amazon if you bought the product elsewhere.
Don't post content that encourages illegal activity like:
- Illegal drug use.
- Underage drinking.
- Child or animal abuse.
Amazon strictly prohibits fake reviews and has more than 12,000 employees around the world dedicated to protecting its stores from fraud and abuse, including fake reviews.
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.
While reviews are very important for customers, they're also very important for businesses. Reviews directly affect your brand reputation (for better or worse), increase or decrease sales, and they can be the final nudge that either converts a customer or convinces them to never give your brand a second thought.
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.
- Go to your KDP account.
- Complete two-step verification.
- Under Getting Paid, click Add a bank account.
- Choose your country or region of residence and click OK.
- Enter your bank account information according to your country/region requirements and click Add.
- Click Save.
Self-publishing platforms pay up to 70% of each book sold to authors (fantasy authors get between 40% and 60%). Of authors who have published their first book in the last 10 years: 1,200 traditionally published authors have earned $25,000+ a year. 1,600 self-published authors have earned $25,000+ a year.
The initial royalty on your self-published book is based on which royalty tier you are in—35 percent or 70 percent. The royalty percentage is calculated based on your listed purchase price. After that, delivery costs are deducted (around $0.06 per book), as are sales tax, value-added tax, and delivery costs.
- Learning Specialist I. Average Salary: $72K-$107K. ...
- Technical Writer. Average Salary: $98K. ...
- Software Engineer. Average Salary: $115K. ...
- Senior Technical Recruiter. Average Salary: $116K. ...
- Security Engineer. Average Salary: $120K. ...
- Data Scientist. Average Salary: $120K. ...
- Art Director. ...
- Principal Product Manager.
|Product Category||Fixed Standard Program Commission Rates|
|Amazon Kindle Devices, Tools||4.50%|
|DVD & Blu-Ray, Physical Music, Automotive||3.50%|
|Digital Books, Health & Personal Care, Toys||3.00%|
|Digital Videos, Gift Cards, PC||2.00%|
$20. The estimated total pay for a Tier 1 Associate at Amazon is $20 per hour. This number represents the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users. The estimated base pay is $17 per hour.
So, Is Amazon KDP Worth It in 2022? Yes, Amazon KDP is still a very reliable source of online income with self-publishers making thousands of dollars every month. But to find success on the Kindle Store, it is essential to pick a profitable, low competition niche.
Amazon is committed to simplifying the publishing process for indie authors and doesn't charge them anything for setting up or maintaining a KDP account. In contrast, other print-on-demand platforms like Ingramspark do charge their users an account set-up fee. Just one more reason to love Amazon!
The most common problem I see when books aren't selling is that the books you're trying to sell don't have good sales ranks. They aren't in demand. Amazon assigns a sales rank to each one of their books. This number can range from 1 to over 20,000,000, and it's representative of how often the book is selling.
Romance – Contemporary and Historical
Romance is consistently one of the top-selling book genres and has been so for many years.
You just have to be the best-selling book in any one category. So if the top book in a given category is only selling around 5 copies a day, selling 10 copies in a day will get you the bestselling flag in that category.
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.
- Handshake. ...
- Ruby Lane. ...
- Etsy. ...
- Chairish. ...
- Swappa. ...
- 10. Facebook Marketplace. ...
- Craigslist. Basically just a forum, Craigslist is basic and easy to use. ...
- Nextdoor. Similar to Craigslist, Nextdoor is about community.
The best way to sell your books is through bookselling sites like BookDeal or Amazon. Using these platforms saves you time, money, and energy. For example, you don't have to pay for shipping when you sell on BookDeal. However, that's not how all bookselling sites are.
Amazon. With over 6 million marketplace sellers and more than 214 million U.S. shoppers per month, Amazon is the largest ecommerce marketplace in the United States and one of the top-selling sites for vendors of every stripe.
Submission of Customer Reviews
Only customers who have spent at least $50 on Amazon in the previous 12 months are able to leave a Customer Review. Further details can be found in our Community Guidelines and Customer Reviews Help Pages.
All you have to do is contact Amazon's seller support team and get the review removed. If you think that the feedback is given by a competitor, you can report it to the support team.
Can A Seller Remove Negative Feedback? No, Amazon sellers cannot directly remove negative feedback. They can only remove it by contacting Amazon or asking the customer to delete their feedback.
Choose the review you want to change in the Community activity section. Edit or delete your review, as required. You can also hide it by selecting Hide on my profile from the three-button overflow menu.
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.
There are a few reasons you, as a buyer, could experience a “review block”: Amazon finds your reviews suspicious. Amazon detects that you are systematically leaving negative reviews on a frequent basis. You have violated Amazon's review rules.
Yes, there are Amazon sellers who sell counterfeit products and deceive consumers. Do you need a trademark for Amazon Brand Registry? Amazon Brand Registry is an important tool, and your brand must have an active registered trademark if you want to enroll in the program.
Reviews provide a forum for sharing authentic feedback about products and services – positive or negative. Any attempt to manipulate reviews, including by directly or indirectly contributing false, misleading or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited. We take the integrity of our reviews platform very seriously.
Only just 3% to 10% of people actually write reviews. 61% of electronics reviews have been deemed “fake.”
Rough rule of thumb - expect to sell 1 book per day for every 2000 listed of across-the-range stock.
Consider Writing A Series of Shorter Books
While there is no minimum or maximum length for self-publishing on Amazon, I personally recommend at least 10,000 words for non-fiction. That said, if you can cover the subject effectively with fewer words, do that.
According to online review statistics, 95% of consumers read reviews before they buy a product, while 67% say they wouldn't trust a high rating unless it comes with many reviews.
The more positive reviews your book has, the higher it will rank in Amazon's search results, increasing your book's discoverability. This will ultimately lead to more book sales.
- Invest in a great cover.
- Craft a strong book title and subtitle.
- Get book reviews to sell more books on Amazon.
- Write a killer book description.
- Utilize Amazon keywords effectively.
- Get professional book editing.
- Price your book to sell.
- A full marketing plan.
The Amazon Vine program is a program which asks the best Amazon reviewers to test out products and review them. Amazon customers who have written product reviews that have been rated well by other customers can be invited to the program. Members of the program receive free items for review purposes.
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.
- 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+
The Chances of Getting a Literary Agent
Your odds of getting a literary agent are 1 in 6,000. That does NOT mean 1 out of every 6,000 authors who try to get an agent will make it, and the other 5,999 will fail.
Voices are shoppers like you and are not paid to participate in the program. To stay in the program, they are expected to share honest and unbiased reviews. Keep reviewing and look out for an invite from us!
Enroll your product in the Amazon Vine Program
Amazon's Vine Program is open to sellers who have Amazon brand-registered products and fewer than 30 reviews. In the Vine program, a seller submits 30 units of inventory. Vine reviewers then receive the product for free, test the product out, and write a review.
As of Nov 16, 2022, the average annual pay for a Work From Home Amazon Product Review in the United States is $68,492 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $32.93 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,317/week or $5,707/month.
Submit your book reviews to publications and look for job openings for book reviewers. As many book reviewers enter the industry working on a freelance basis, some of your first paid opportunities might come from submitting reviews you have already written to publications that cover book reviews.
- Get Reviewed. If you want to get paid to write reviews, one of the best places to look is called Get Reviewed. ...
- CrowdTap. ...
- Ciao. ...
- ListVerse. ...
- Capterra. ...
- UserTesting. ...
- Gartner Peer Insights. ...
- Harris Poll Online.
Average Salary for a Reviewer
Reviewers in America make an average salary of $48,691 per year or $23 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $71,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $33,000 per year.
Royalties are paid every month, approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which the sale was reported (90 days for Expanded Distribution) as long as you meet the minimum threshold for payment. Direct deposit payments can take 1–5 business days to show on your bank account from the payment date.
The best way to make money on Amazon in 2022 is still through private label sales using Amazon's Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) network. Around 67% of all Amazon sellers run their business using the private label method.
- Do keyword research.
- Use a repricing tool to get more sales on Amazon.
- Get more Amazon reviews.
- Provide great customer service.
- Leverage Amazon seller tools.
- Get more sales on Amazon with ads.
- Optimise your product pages.
- Win the Amazon Buy Box.
Amazon's seller guidelines specifically ban offering a financial reward for reviews. It's supposedly a zero-tolerance policy.
Sign up for an Amazon Influencer account and start sharing unbiased reviews with your followers. You'll earn a commission when they make a purchase using your affiliate products link.
Amazon charges a referral fee for each item sold. The amount depends on the product category. Most referral fees are between 8% and 15%.
How To Get Paid To Read Books For Amazon. Audiobook Creative Exchange of Amazon (ACX) has many excellent opportunities for you to get paid for reading books! All you have to do is select the book you want out of the thousands of books listed to use for your narrating audition.
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.
- Kirkus Media. 💸 Pay: Freelance basis. ...
- Reedsy Discovery. 💸 Pay: Tip basis. ...
- Any Subject Books. 💸 Pay: Freelance basis. ...
- BookBrowse. 💸 Pay: Freelance basis. ...
- Online Book Club. 💸 Pay: $5 to $60. ...
- U.S. Review of Books. 💸 Pay: Freelance basis. ...
- Women's Review of Books. ...