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How Do I Get Reviews for My Book?

Mar 10, 2021


TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  • Reviews Are Currency

  • Ask People Interested in Your Topic to Review Your Book

  • If A Review Isn't Approved...

  • They Don't Need to Buy the Book to Review It

  • There are Book Review Exchange Sites

  • Compile an Advanced Reader Team

  • Also: Encourage Your Readers to Write a Review


Reviews Are Currency

Readers are a thousand times more likely to buy your book if it has more than a handful of reviews. Writers know how important reviews are but other people don't. So this means that no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, you need to ask people to review your book. 

The worst part of that is you then need to ask them again, because a lot of people will say, "Oh yeah, yeah," and they don't. Remind them that it only takes a few minutes, that they don't necessarily have to read every word of your book to do it and that they don't need to stress about the wording. People will say, "Well, but I'm not a professional reviewer," and that's the whole point of all of these reviews.

Amazon has a very strict policy when it comes to reviews that they think could be biased. So it may not approve reviews from people it deems too close to the author. And that can be everything from people with the same last name to even people who follow each other on social media. I had somebody who's an acquaintance review a book of mine. She had been reviewing books of mine since long before we knew each other. And she got an email that said "We consider this review biased and we're not posting it." And you can get apparently you can get a lot of trouble for it.

The science on this is not exact because it seems to happen through both people and bots. Nobody's really telling how Amazon does this.

Ask People Interested in Your Topic to Review Your Book

The reason that it matters that they're interested in your topic is that they have a history on Amazon of buying books like yours. So that means that that the thing called the "Also Boughts"—which is where Amazon will put "Customers who bought this also bought"—is so much more likely to kick off because Amazon knows if a person has bought a bunch of books about, say, adoption, then other people who are searching for that would like this book as well. 

If A Review Isn't Approved...

Let's say a friend says "I read your book and it wasn't approved"—it either never showed up or they actually got an email saying it wasn't approved. They can resubmit their review with a lower star rating and a shorter review and then try it again. Or they can reach out to Amazon. And oftentimes Amazon will then approve the review.

They can then copy and paste the same review onto Barnes and Noble,  Walmart, Target, wherever else the book is available

They Don't Need to Buy the Book to Review It

If a reader did buy your book, their review will say "Verified." And if they didn't buy it, it's not going to say that. And a verified review is so much better. Unverified counts, but verified means a lot more in terms of sort of kicking the Amazon algorithm in when more reviews come in. 

You Don't Necessarily Want All 5-Star Reviews

If I see all five-star reviews, I think they look fake. I tell people for my books, "Be honest. If there are things you think could have been better, please put that in the review and don't feel obligated because I've asked you to do this review to give me a five-star review."

And remember, you cannot pay someone to review your book, but you can give them the book for free and you can thank them afterward with a copy of the book or something else. 

There are Book Review Exchange Sites

I tried Pubby, which is twenty dollars a month. 

Here's how it works: You fill out a profile with your book and words that people use to describe your book and then basically you agree to review someone's book and then in exchange, you earn credits so people review your book.

I did reviews of books. I just used the words that they told me to use. And I might have somehow screwed up but I got one review and it reads like a review from someone who didn't read my book because they didn't read my book. So you get what you get. I don't recommend using sites like that because it doesn't even really feel good to know people didn't review it because they wanted to or because they even read your book.

Compile an Advanced Reader Team

I've talked so much about Advanced Reader Teams; it's where you gather people ahead of time to read your books so that they can copy and paste reviews right when the book comes out so that it debuts with all these reviews.

But I also compile a list of people in my address book that I email once the book is out and there are already reviews on there. I don't send it to everyone in my address book, just the people I think are open to doing that. 

Also: Encourage Your Readers to Write a Review

In an earlier previous podcast episode Dave Chesson talked about how at the end of a book, he'll write about what brought him to the point of writing the book and the fears that came from it—as he said, "Just reminding people that I am a human being. I tell them a little bit about my journey and what I had to go through to get this thing that I created for them."

And then he reminds them how important book reviews are.

And actually, through Dave, I know how to create a link where basically you can put and so it's obviously only in the Kindle version. (Scroll down to links below to get it.) 


 


RELEVANT LINKS:

Pubby

Dave Chesson podcast episode

How to place a link directly to your book reviews in your book (thanks, Dave!)

 


CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS BELOW TO HEAR THIS EPISODE!


QUOTE OF THE POD:

"If I see all five-star reviews, I think they look fake. I tell people for my books, 'Be honest. If there are things you think could have been better, please put that in the review and don't feel obligated because I've asked you to do this review to give me a five-star review.'"

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