Guest Post by Penny Sansevieri | Sept 1, 2022
I talk to a lot of authors who want to know how to get book reviews on Amazon, and for what it’s worth I get this question from authors with 50+ reviews, and authors with zero reviews – and for good reason – there’s a lot more to reviews than simply making your book look good. We all know book reviews on Amazon sway other shoppers to buy or not. That’s a given, and that’s why we all want 5-star reviews, even though that’s not always realistic. But what a lot of authors forget about is their Amazon relevancy score. Basically, your relevancy score is how Amazon judges your book’s performance on the site, including how prevalently it decides to feature your book in searches. Reviews help with this, specifically, continuing to get reviews as long as your book stays publishing on the site. So whether you have a new title, or you’ve just hit a plateau, or your book is a bit older with lots of reviews but not much has been posted in the last 6-12 months – I can walk you through how to get book reviews on Amazon ASAP by doing special promotions. Now keep in mind, there are lots of ways to tweak the examples I’ll be giving you, so focus more on the major details of how to run these promotions and plan on making small changes that work specifically for your platform.
Plan a BOGO Offer
BOGO usually stands for buy-one-get-one, but when it comes to book marketing and promotion I like buy-one-give one offers as well. Basically what you do is entice current readers by offering a copy to a friend or colleague. Here are the basic steps: encourage people to write a verified purchase review on Amazon, ask them to forward you the email from Amazon that confirms the review is live, and also ask them to include the name and email address of a friend you can gift a free digital copy to. Now I know a lot of you are thinking, “I don’t want to do anything that gives away free books,” but you must let that go! I love BOGOs because it gets more books in hands. It literally doubles your reader market and your chances of getting return buyers and long-term fans. Plus this kind of promotion also helps you build your mailing list. Lots of wins here, for everyone!
Plan a Special Offer for Your Series
I want to dedicate this one to my series authors specifically, because I know it can be hard to figure out how to get book reviews on Amazon for book 2 and book 3 and so on. Typically book 1 might rack up a solid number of reviews, but even the most well-intentioned fans stop posting reviews as the series progresses. This works best if you have a decent mailing list or following on social media, or even on your blog, because you really need to get the word out to people who are already fans of your work, however you’re used to communicating with them. And what you basically want to do is find a way to reward them for posting reviews for the later books in the series. Here’s a prime set up: you have books 1 through 3 out already and you have book 4 planned for release early next year. Like the BOGO offer, encourage readers to post a verified purchase review of book 2 or 3, ask them to forward you the email from Amazon that confirms the review is live, and then gift them an early copy of book 4. If you can’t do early copies, just offer to gift them a copy of the next book in the series when it releases. Yes, again, you’re giving away some books, but you’re getting really valuable reviews posted in exchange, and it’s worth it. Because reviews dropping off may be normal in a series, and typically doesn’t actually mean fewer people are reading and enjoying your work, it still doesn’t leave a great first impression on new potential buyers. So, running a promotion like this helps beef up the review numbers for subsequent titles.
Plan a Bonus Content, Service or Discount Offer
This example can work for any kind of author platform, but it’s one that non-fiction authors can get creative with as well, so I wanted to be sure to feature it. Successful fiction authors typically get to a point where they have a solid library of bonus content about their characters, or maybe it’s a novella that will never be officially published, or scenes from the cutting room floor – take what you already have and package it up nicely to be a fun deep dive for fans. Follow the previous examples about getting confirmation of verified purchase reviews, and that’s the readers VIP access to your bonus content. Super simple. More mailing list building. For non-fiction authors, figuring out how to get book reviews on Amazon can be tricky, and I say that because there’s an unsung hero aspect to writing non-fiction. In other words, if you’re doing your job well, your readers are hitting the ground running with your tips and advice and are too busy making positive changes to go back and post a review. But, if you’re gotten this far, you’ve already caught on to the fact that with the right reward, getting more reviews on Amazon is quite obtainable. For non-fiction, focus on what else you do as part of your platform or what other resources you have. That is your bonus, your ethical bribe. Perhaps you have a workbook. Or maybe you do coaching. If you have a store on your site, then a discount offer or something for free (if you can swing it) is a natural option as well. Simply follow the logistics for the previous examples, get them to confirm their review is live – and then reward them with whatever special offer you’re able to provide. Just don’t go cheap on this, the reviews are worth it. And make the reward worth it for your readers as well.
Wrap Up Notes and Tips
You may have noticed I’ve said “verified purchase” reviews a few times, and that was intentional. While you don’t have to purchase a book to leave a review, why not get a sale out of this, right? Plus it also helps ensure those reviews won’t get removed by Amazon at a later date. And I typically encourage authors to make all editions part of the promo, unless your promo “reward” is extra special and warrants a print book verified purchase and review. I didn’t address timing, because it’s really up to you. Maybe you want these kinds of offers to be long-standing, for the foreseeable future, which is fine. But there’s also value in running promotions with a deadline – it helps push people to act quicker. So you may try it both ways with different types of promos, or depending on your unique set up and what you’re offering. Some of you may be panicking a bit, because you don’t feel you have enough engagement with current readers to get the word out about a special promotion. Maybe that’s true, or maybe you’re not being creative enough. Just remember, every individual you can reach counts.
You’re not too successful for even 10 more reviews, right? Never!
Here are just a handful of ways to get the word out: • Your newsletter • Your blog • A special announcement on your home page • Social media posts • Good old-fashioned email • Promo swap with a fellow author friend • Update the letter in the back of your eBook
Understanding how to get book reviews on Amazon is really an important aspect of your long-term success as an author, and I can tell you from personal experience that tying those efforts into promotions is an effective and fun way to make it happen.
Because not only are you getting the job done and racking up more reviews, you’re also showing your readers and followers that they should keep an eye on you for future promotions – which I hope you’re already planning!
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Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon visibility campaigns as well offering national media pitching, online book marketing, author events, and other strategies designed to build the author/book visibility. She is the author of 18 books, including "How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon," "Revise and Re-Release Your Book", "5-Minute Book Marketing for Authors," and the newly-released “From Book to Bestseller.” AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal. To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com