About 79% of customers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews are one of the largest contributing factors to whether someone will buy your book. That’s why getting book reviews is a critical, but challenging part of a book’s marketing and sales strategy. The more good reviews you have, the more credibility you will earn and this will lead to more sales and success. If your book has many positive reviews, it’s more likely that a prospective customer will buy it. And if someone buys your book, your ranking on Amazon improves.
Amazon’s complex and often-changing review guidelines can be difficult to understand and can cause confusion for both authors and readers. Here is a breakdown of the current guidelines:
What you CANNOT do:
- Request customer reviews by giving them something in return, like a gift or gift card.
- Offer to refund their money if someone buys your book and then posts a review.
- Never, ever ask for a positive book review! Amazon despises this practice and will actively filter out fake and solicited reviews.
- Have your friends and family leave reviews for your books. Amazon tracks the relationships between reviewers and may delete these reviews if they are seen as biased.
What you CAN do:
- Give a free, advance review copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. You are not allowed to require a specific number of reviews or even require that they be overwhelmingly positive. You can only request that the review be handed in after the book has been completed, and that it can be posted online in whichever place (Amazon, your website, etc.) that you agree with the reader.
- Use the “Editorial Reviews” section on your Amazon book page to post reviews that you either paid for or obtained from independent review services or book bloggers.
So, how do authors get readers to leave reviews for their books on Amazon? Here are five easy ways to get reader reviews without wasting too much time.
1. Build your book launch team
One of the best ways to get your first reviews on online bookstores is by building a book launch team. These are people who belong to your target audience and are ready to participate in your book launch process. You will give them an advance review copy of your book so that they can read through it and write an honest review on Amazon, other stores, and Goodreads when the book goes live. Begin putting together your team as soon as you have a nearly finished manuscript and a book publication date. How do you find these reviewers?
- Ask your social media followers if they would like to join your review team if you have a following there.
- If you’ve an email list, ask them in an email newsletter if they’d want to join your book launch team.
- If you have a day job in addition to writing, inquire with your co-workers or others in your professional network.
- Ask your existing client base if you are a nonfiction author publishing a book to enhance a business or service.
- Find communities relevant to your topic or theme on platforms like Facebook, engage members over time, and give value to the group. When you’re ready, ask them if they’d want to join your book launch team and leave a review.
Here are some of Facebook groups that are specifically dedicated to finding beta readers and building launch teams.
- Beta Readers and Critique Partners
- 10 Minute Novelists
- The Street Team: A Marketing Community for Self-Publishing Authors
- Calls for Submissions (Poetry, Fiction, Art)
2. Include a personal request for feedback in the last pages of your book
Use the chance to tell the reader about your writing journey or what inspired your narrative, but most importantly, be real. Include this message or similar in the back of all your books:
“I appreciate you purchasing and reading my book. I am incredibly grateful and hope you found it useful. Please think about sharing it with your friends and family and writing a review online. Your feedback and encouragement are always welcomed. If you’d like to leave a review, please visit (link).”
3. Interact with your readers by sending out an author newsletter
Your email list is one of the best resources for communication with your readers. Turn to them and ask if anyone would be interested in reading your book. Use your newsletter to briefly discuss your writing process or the inspiration for your narrative, like how you did in the note in the back of your book. In exchange, you can offer a free copy of the final published title. No other audience, be it on your blog or any social media platform, will be as responsive as your email subscribers. If you have a big email list, you can reach more eyeballs, get more sales, receive more reviews, and earn better Amazon sales ranks.
If you don’t have a good quality email list yet, check out my book Email Marketing for Authors Made Simple: The 1-Page List Building Plan. In this book, I’m explaining how to constantly add hundreds of fresh and targeted contacts to your email list and communicate with your subscribers in a way that builds relationships.
4. Use platforms to Reach Book Reviewers
Did you know that there are many people out there who actually love reading and reviewing books? They have blogs and social media profiles where they post their reviews even for free. This is where your Amazon book page’s “Editorial Reviews” section comes in. You are free to pick and include notable reviews, remarks, or testimonies from other resources in this area. It’s the ideal spot for summaries of noteworthy reviews from other websites or businesses and should not be disregarded!
Below is a list of resources to use for reaching more book reviewers. Always visit the reviewer’s website first to make sure they review books in your genre.
Search for your genre and you will get a list of book reviewers and bloggers who may be interested in reviewing your book not only on Amazon but also on their blogs which can give you additional publicity.
Regularly verified list of about 300 book reviewers sorted by their posting frequency so that you can focus on the most active reviewers. In addition to their website, many will also post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, social media, and other portals.
Offers a list of more than 2,000 book reviewers that can be searched by keywords. No other filtering available, therefore, you will need to spend some time browsing through the list, but it may be well worth it.
Submit the book you would like to offer for early reviews and LibraryThing will announce it to their members. After the application submission deadline, LibraryThing will give you the list of readers who applied for reviewing your book. You will have to contact them and provide copies of the book. After reading it the reviewers will post their reviews to LibraryThing, maybe also on Amazon and other bookstores, and on their blogs. That way you can create a buzz around your upcoming book launch.
Pubby is a tool for authors and publishers that enables them to quickly find readers to leave reviews for the books they’ve written. This tool allows you to earn reviews for your book by reviewing other people’s books. This is not the same as a review “exchange,” because your reviews will not be mutual, you don’t know each other and you are not paying anyone to write book reviews. For reviewing other authors’ books you will receive points (called “snaps”) to use those points to promote your own book and get reviews for it. Additionally, you can buy credits for extra reviews. It’s an easy and legal way to get more reviews for your book.
Price: Every membership starts with a 10-day free trial.
Booksprout has an audience that consists of other authors and people who want to read new books and write reviews (more than 40,000 reviewers). They boast a 75% review rate, so it’s definitely worth trying. Potential reviewers on Booksprout can browse book covers, titles, and authors to choose the ones they are interested in. Then they can also opt-in to receive notifications when their favorite authors have a new advanced review copy available. This way, you can start building your following on this site. Additionally, Booksprout sends reviewers a reminder a couple of days before the review is due and let them know when a book “goes live.” Authors, too, can directly contact their book reviewers to get feedback and remind them about the upcoming book launch. A free plan is limited to 20 reviews for a book, but it could be good enough for a new author or if you use this platform as an additional book marketing channel.
Price: from $9/month
5. Participate on popular platforms such as Goodreads
Goodreads is a website with social media components that enables readers to publish book reviews, find their next read, see what their friends are reading, organize book clubs, and communicate with authors. It is an excellent book marketing tool for authors seeking recognition, a niche readership, and deeper connections with their readers.
Readers who leave a Goodreads review may not leave a review on your Amazon book page, but you can utilize excerpts from these reviews in the “Editorial Reviews” section of your Amazon book page. If you get a great or noteworthy review on Goodreads, make sure everyone who visits your Amazon book page can see it.
Already published your book but lack reviews?
Are you worried that you’ve missed the boat since your book has already been published? It’s never too late to start getting feedback for your work, so don’t worry. Consider adding new content to your old book or improving it in some way so that a new version can be released. This will give you time to work on your review approach before re-launching.
Finally – always say “thank you!”
Finally, if you have their contact information, individually thank people who have posted a review for you. It’s not easy to read a book and then write a relevant review, therefore express sincere gratitude for their assistance and continue to nurture relationships with them so that you can count on them for your future book launches.