Monday, September 5, 2011

5 Ways to Get More Amazon Reviews

Not only is Amazon one of the largest book-selling venues in the world, it’s also the first place many readers stop to get the lowdown about books when deciding what to purchase. The candid reviews of other readers are one of the most important elements in this purchasing experience, and authors everywhere check and double-check their Amazon pages for their next review. Reviews not only give your book credence among readers, they also lift it in Amazon’s algorithms, making it visible to more potential customers.

But sometimes those reviews are slow in coming. What can you do to get more reviews? Here are a few tips.

1. Just ask. Whenever a fan contacts you with rave reviews about your book, don’t be bashful about asking if they’d be willing to take a minute to post the review on Amazon. Link to your book for easy access and explain that reviews are gold to starving author types. Most people are more than happy to help out their new favorite author. Don’t forget to be polite, respectful of their time, and modest.

2. Send the book to volunteer reviewers. Publishing houses routinely send out Advance Reader Copies to influencers who will review the book and help promote it. Authors can take this one step further by offering copies of their own in exchange for honest reviews. Make it clear you’re not asking the reviewer to praise your book if he doesn’t like it, and, should the unthinkable happen and he does indeed end up not liking it, show you’ve got class by accepting the negative review courteously and professionally.

3. Put a note in the back of the book. If you have control over the formatting of your book, stick a note in the back, reminding readers how valuable their reviews are and asking them to take a moment to review the book on Amazon if they enjoyed it. Kindle books automatically provide a “rate me” page at the very end, which will send the reader to the book’s Amazon page. If possible, avoid including traditional back matter (such as the author bio), which readers generally skip, to ensure readers actually reach this important “rate me” page.

4. Remind social media followers. Every so often, send out a bulletin to your Facebook and Twitter fans, reminding those who have read your book how much you would appreciate their reviews. You can also remind your followers of how valuable reviews are by occasionally posting links to recent good reviews. Don’t go overboard with this, since followers won’t appreciate being inundated with these backhanded sales pitches, but a few every now and then are fine.

5. Review other authors’ books. Give and you will receive. In some instances, thankful authors may read and review your book in return, but, even if they don’t, going out of your way to help others in the same way you want to be helped can only benefit everyone involved. That said, “trading” good reviews is a shaky and generally unethical practice. Even should you trade review copies with another author, make it clear you want their honest opinion in exchange for your own.

There is no magic formula for gaining hundreds of Amazon reviews, but these tips should have you on the road toward an ever-growing number of reader opinions.
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