For any of you Kindle authors out there, we’ve all experienced the trials and tribulations of obtaining reviews. Enjoy the four strategies below to help get you focused and productive.
Strategy 1 – Personally reach out to friends and family. If you’re like me then this is going to be difficult for you. When I began writing my first book I think the only people that knew about it were my wife and my parents. The vulnerability that comes with sharing your thoughts and ideas in writing can be extremely revealing and for me a bit discomforting. Despite this, I had to work past it because I knew I needed the support. Once you’re ready to begin asking take a personal approach.
Whenever possible, mention to friends and family members that you’ve written a book and it is going live on Amazon very soon. They’ll most likely be surprised if they don’t know about it already. Use this conversation as a means to ask if they’d be willing to leave you an HONEST review. Be careful not just to blurt it at the person but be sure to make the specific request. Do not give yourself an excuse as to why it didn’t seem like the right time. Just ask politely. Here are some examples to help guide your request:
“It is crazy because I always thought the hard part would be actually writing the book, but it turns out the whole marketing side of it is just as difficult if not harder. You know what so helpful?”… “If I got you a copy, would you be willing to leave me an honest review? It truly makes a difference for the success of the book.”
If they seem interested in the topic of the book then use that to your advantage by saying…
“Yeah to be honest the book is a lot different than I had originally intended.” “If you want to check it out, I’d be happy to provide you a free copy and you could leave an honest review if you’re willing.”
If they don’t seem interested in any way shape or form then just come right out with it…
“So I know the topic isn’t your thing but it would be a huge help if you could leave an honest review.”
Obviously, you know the people you’re asking more than I do so if the examples I provided don’t really make sense within the context of your relationships then don’t feel the need to stick to them, they’re just a guide to help get you in the mindset of asking people you know.
The key to remember is that everybody once and awhile needs help and support from people they’re closest to. This is one of those times and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.
I also want to point out that this strategy is also going to be used to obtain verified reviews as well but the difference is going to be in the exchange of the book. Once your friends have agreed, follow up with an email with an attached pdf. Be sure to include instructions in addition to a sign of appreciation. Here is an example…
Thank you so much for helping me with this.
I’ve attached a pdf of my book. When you finish just visit insert link here. When you’re writing the review please be sure to state that you’ve received the book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Lastly, if you’re able to leave the review no later than Promotion Day 1 date here that would be a tremendous help.
Thanks again for doing this!
That is it. Keep it quick but informative. To obtain the link for your book review page just visit your title page and click on the “write a review” button.
Before moving on to the next strategy I want to you to be aware of the fact that many friends and family members, despite loving and supporting you will most likely not follow through with leaving the review. Do not take this personally. You’re asking them to do you a favor and it can be a bit time consuming as well, so be grateful that they even considered doing it.
Send follow up emails to these people but don’t put yourself in a position where people are avoiding you because you won’t stop hounding them and/or you’re avoiding them because you feel betrayed that they didn’t come through for you.
Just move on to the next strategy.
Strategy #2 – Target top Amazon reviewers. You may or may not have been aware of this but there are actually ranked reviewers on Amazon that have thousands upon thousand of reviews for products sold through Amazon. The focus of this strategy is determining which of these reviewers cover books then asking them for a review. Follow the steps below to best take advantage of this strategy.
- Visit http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers.
- Begin by viewing different profiles.
- Make note of previously reviewed books and items to develop a sense of what the person prefers to review.
- Identify contact information underneath profile image (some may not be public).
- Record this information in a spread sheet under the following columns: Name, Contact Information, Notes.
- Begin sending personable, quick pitches including how you found them, why this will be a good experience for them (refer to your notes), a free book offer, and a show of gratitude.
When you begin contacting potential reviewers you want to be sure that you’re not just copy-pasting the same message to each reviewer. This is how you’re going to utilize the notes section within your spreadsheet. Additionally, in terms of amount of reviewers to contact, you should assume that only about 10% to 25% of the reviewers will pan out. Determine your goal and act accordingly. If you’re shooting for 20 reviews from Amazon reviewers then try to contact 100 to 200. This will be time consuming but can be worth it.
Strategy #3 – Target bloggers within your niche topic. This strategy is a little bit trickier in that there is no common link I can provide to help you with this. You’re going to have to find bloggers by searching for them yourself. One way to do this is to search each of your chosen keywords. Check out the top ranked items that come up. If any blogs appear then begin reaching out. If YouTube videos come up, subscribe to the channel, and see if you can find the website of the YouTube channel owner. Similar to the strategy above, I recommend you create a spreadsheet with the same columns for each potential blogger you can find.
Once you’re ready to contact somebody be sure to send him or her a quick email that explains that you’ve just or are just about to publish your book. You believe the book would provide tremendous value to the blogger’s audience. Ask him or her if there is any interest in reading a free copy and leaving a review. You can offer to compensate them for writing a post review on his or her website about your book but you must make it explicitly clear that any compensation would only be for the post review and not the review left on Amazon.
If you need to provide an incentive to encourage the blogger to leave a review on Amazon, you could offer to link directly to the post that he/she wrote on their blog within the first couple pages of your book. You could then create a page towards the very beginning of your book that links to blogs that review your book. This serves two purposes. First, the blogger just earned a strong back link to his/her site and you provide further encouragement to any potential reader that is viewing a free sample of your book which is the usually the first 10% of the book.
Just a quick note before moving onto the next strategy. This is also an opportunity to network with people that are targeting the same or a similar market as you. Be sure to keep these connections alive. Look for ways to help them and one day it may payoff (or it may not but at least you’ll have helped somebody).
Strategy #4 – Utilize your email list. Before you get upset with me and call me out on the fact that I have stated multiple times that an email list is not required, just hear me out. If you included a link to a lead magnet within your book you may end up developing a list. It will probably be small but it will be a list nonetheless. As readers subscribe to your list you can offer some sort of email sequence that incentivizes leaving a review on Amazon.
For example, a new subscriber could automatically receive an email that if he or she were to leave an honest review on Amazon and send the screen shot via email then he or she would be entered into a contest to win something. If you’re a non-fiction writer that is focused on helping a person solve a problem you could offer a 30 minute phone consult. If you’re a fiction writer then you could offer to include that person as a character in your next book. Be creative and interact with your newly found list. Again, it may not be a huge list but this can actually work to your advantage.
An author with a list of 10,000 readers is not going to be able to have as close a relationship with the audience as an author with a list of 50 readers. This is your opportunity to truly engage with people that have read your book. Ask them for feedback. Welcome their input. Turn them into raving fans that read everything you publish in the future (and leave a review each time).
Hopefully at this point you have enough information to begin the process of trying to accumulate reviews for your book. To be clear, these reviews can occur at any point while your book is live but the key is you want these reviews to be posted no later than the promotional period. There are two reasons for this. First, more reviews encourages more downloads and second, some sites that were included in the list to help you advertise your book promotion require a minimum amount of reviews.