Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Secret to Getting Great Book Reviews on Amazon




Guest post by Dana Lynn Smith

When consumers shop for books on Amazon.com and other online bookstores, many of them read the book reviews before they make a purchase. Even if they came to the site to buy a particular book, they may read the reviews to verify that they are making a good selection.

Positive reviews are a great selling point for all types of books, but they are especially important for nonfiction books, where consumers often compare several books on the same topic. Amazon actually encourages this, by displaying other similar books on your book's sales page.

So, what's the secret to getting great book reviews on Amazon (besides writing a great book)? ASK people to post reviews and make it EASY for them by providing a link to your book page on Amazon.com.  

Amazon is by far the largest online bookseller. Anyone who has an Amazon user name and password and has purchased any product on Amazon.com can review your book there, even if they purchased your book elsewhere or got a free review copy.

Here are several easy ways to invite people to post reviews for you:

·        When you send out review copies to colleagues and influencers seeking testimonial quotes, ask them if they will also post the testimonial or a brief review on Amazon.

·        Any time someone writes a positive review of your book, ask them to post it on Amazon. Before contacting the reviewer, check to see if they have already posted the review.

·        When you receive an email or other correspondence praising your book, reply with a request to post a book review on Amazon. If someone has taken the time to write to you about your book, they are obviously a fan and will probably be happy to post a book review for you. Here's a sample message:

"Thanks so much for your note. I love getting feedback from readers and I'm glad that you enjoyed the book.

I would really appreciate you taking a few minutes to post your comments or a brief review on my Amazon page at www.Amazon.com/mybookpage. Look for the "customer reviews" section about halfway down the page and click on the "create your own review" button to the right. Or, use this link to go directly to the review form: http://yourshortlink.com.

If you're a Barnes and Noble customer, click the "write a review" button at www.BarnesAndNoble.com/mybookpage.

You can create a link directly to the book review form by clicking on the "create your own review" button and then using a URL shortening service to create a short link to the form. To save time, save your review request in a Word document and copy and paste it as needed or set up an alternate signature in your email program containing this text.

Savvy Tip: You may also want to use this message to ask for permission to use a portion of the customer's comment as a testimonial quote on your own website. In your request, I suggest pulling out the portion you want to use and formatting it as a quote so the customer can see exactly what it will look like.

·        Another possibility is to seek out reviewers who have reviewed books on similar or related topics or in your genre on Amazon and ask them if they are interested in reviewing your book. You may be able to get the reviewer's contact information by clicking on their name and looking for their website or blog address on their Amazon profile. Anyone who has "Top 500 Reviewer" beneath their listing is an especially active reviewer.

·        You can ask family members and friends to post a review (or they may offer to do so), but be careful. Anyone who shares your last name (unless it's a really common name) will look like a relative. Also, you don't want the reviews to sound contrived. For example, posting something like "My friend Susan has written a great book and everyone should read it" is not a good idea. And of course you want these folks to post an honest opinion – you might ask them to write a couple of sentences stating what they liked best about the book.

Should you write a review of your own book? Maybe, but think very carefully about what to say. I don't recommend writing a review talking about how great your book is or making a sales pitch. Doing so may turn people off or cause them to question the validity of your other reviews.

However, you might want to consider writing a "review" as a way to provide some information that's not included in the book description listed on Amazon.com. For example, you could mention your inspiration for writing the book or mention resources available on your website, such as a free sample chapter or book club discussion guide. I suggest keeping it low key and avoiding blatant sales pitches.

Positive book reviews on Amazon and other online bookstores can boost your sales – take the initiative to ask for reviews and you'll be rewarded.

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more book marketing tips, follow BookMarketer on Twitter and get Dana's free Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you visit her book marketing blog.

8 comments:

  1. Good tips, Dana, but it is against Amazon policy to write your own reviews. I did just what you suggested, telling funny stories about the work, and someone reported me to Amazon and they were taken down and I was "warned" not to do it again. Sad that there are people out there spending their time reporting people to Amazon but it is the policy. Thanks for a good article.

    Scott Nicholson
    http://www.hauntedcomputer.com

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  2. Hi Dana - interesting to have those guidelines .. and Scott's thought .. these big boys know how to hit home sometimes!

    Getting reviews onto Amazon seems to be something we could all do with some help over .. I don't have a book .. one day?!

    Enjoy your weekends .. Hilary

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  3. Thanks for sharing your experience Scott. It is unfortunate, but I suppose some authors abuse the review process. I have seen reviews where authors go on and on about how wonderful their book is and even criticize competing books.

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  4. Great write up! How effective do you think video reviews are over regular typed reviews? I've seen a few authors try that method.

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  5. Thanks for some good tips. The power of positive reviews in places like Amazon cannot be understated.

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  6. I've been lucky that folks who've read my book have been gracious enough to write about it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
    What choked me up was when the people I didn't know reviewed my kids book and liked it.
    Toby O'Day
    The Seventh Wish

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  7. I am still really confused about this. When you ask someone to review your book, do you send them a physical copy of it? Is it OK to just send them an e-copy, or even to direct the to a link with a free promotion?

    THanks for the rest of the information. I see that recently Amazon have herded authors into their own ghetto. So self promotion is definitely out.

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