Penny C. Sansevieri
What's an aspiring publisher or author to do? Well,
it's time to get serious about being seen in places where your reader
will find you. It's time realize the things that are important to your
reader: reviews and engagement. Authors who focus on those two things
alone are head and shoulders above the rest.
More Reasons to Love Reviews
other reason to love reviews is that the more reviews you get on Amazon
the more visible your book becomes. This is largely due to the Amazon
algorithm which is based on a few things, one of which is the number of
reviews you get to your page. It's called Social Proof and Amazon loves
it. More reviews on your page push your book higher in search ranking
when someone enters your book's search term into the Amazon search bar.
Different Types of Reviewers, Do They all Matter?
like anything in marketing, are very relationship based. That's why
it's often easier to get reviews for your second or third book, but
first-time authors, don't worry - I'm going to show you a tip in a
minute that can help you double or triple the amount of reviews you get.
There are a few different types of Amazon reviewers. Let's look at each:
Top Amazon Reviewers:
These folks can review anything, not just books, and they often do a
lot of reviews. I had one reviewer tell me she once posted 100 reviews a
month on Amazon. These reviewers also get a lot of credibility in that
their reviews are often accompanied by attributes such as Hall of Fame
Reviewer, Vine Voice and Top Ten Reviewer.
It's a great thing to
get a top Amazon reviewer to consider your book but they are tough to
target. Does it mean you should ignore them? No. We'll talk more about
how to creatively target them in a moment.
Amazon Reader Reviewers:
These are readers who just love books. They aren't part of the top list
like the high profile Amazon reviewers, but they can also review a lot
of books. Their reviews are thoughtful, insightful, and thorough. They
tend to be very genre focused, which means that they stay true to one
genre, possibly two. Many of them are also on Goodreads, which is
another reason why it makes sense to be on that site, too.
Do consumers review books? Yes, but according to a review statistic I
read recently they don't review a lot. Often only 1% of consumers will
review a book they read, but I'll show you how to quadruple that number
for your next book.
Bloggers: We love bloggers.
They have this tireless passion for books and if you can get them to
review yours, this relationship can last the length of your career. But
keep in mind that while book blogger relationships are great, not all of
them review on Amazon so if your goal is to really populate that page
with reviews, you'll want to make sure they do.
Curious about how
to find great book bloggers? You can search for many of them on Google
and search "book blogger" + Your genre. You can also go to sites like: http://bookbloggerdirectory.wordpress.com/ or http://www.blogmetrics.org/ to find bloggers in your genre.
Different Ways to Find Amazon Reviewers
A quick Google
search will take you to this link:
http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers. The problem is that this
link takes you to an endless list of reviewers you now have to ferret
As you will see, the list has two tabs on it, Top
Reviewer Rankings and Hall of Fame Reviewers. The Hall of Fame list is
really the top of the top. If you can get picked up by one of those
folks, you're golden. Not all of them review your genre, and some don't
even review books. There are other ways you can reach them, though.
authors I know will just find reviewers based on other, similar titles.
You can do this by going to books that cover the same or a similar
topic and see who has reviewed their book on Amazon. You follow the
reviewer's link to his or her Amazon profile page, look for an email
address, and send a pitch. It's a very time-intensive way to get
reviews, though it's 100% worth it. If you start this process early
(i.e. before your book is published), you'll be able to target these
folks as soon as your book is ready to go.
The other way to find
reviewers is to use the following search string, which I've seen a few
times in various formats. Keep in mind that this search string isn't an
exact science, and I've also found that it works better for some genres
than for others. First, let's take a look at the search string
Search String in Google:
http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers "Top 500 reviewer" "Romance"
Or you can also use:
http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers "Top 1000 reviewer" "Romance"
The string is broken down as follows:
1. First is the site you
want to search: http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers this is the
profile link on the Amazon page--that's the URL you are searching from
so you must include this in your search string.
2. Next you want the Top X reviewers, in this case I recommend putting
in 500 or 1000. You won't pull up that many, but it's a nice high number
to shoot for. Why the difference in the number? Because I recommend
that you search it both ways. Oddly, though you're just changing a
number, each of these searches may produce different results.
3. Next up is the genre. I put in romance here but yours might be
mystery, sci-fi, etc. Whatever your genre is (fiction or non-fiction),
put it there.
When you do this, you still have to sift through
the results. Keep in mind that not all Amazon reviewers list their email
address on their profile so you may have to hunt for them by searching
their name and their blog (most Amazon reviewers have blog sites they
repost their reviews to).
If you're willing to continue your search, you can also try this search string:
http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers "Top 500 reviewer" "Young Adult Fiction" "E-mail:"
the spelling of the term e-mail. For the purposes of finding the right
reviewers, we want to mimic how the term e-mail is referenced on the
This process, while time-consuming, can help you start building your top Amazon review list.
How to Double the Amount of Blogger Reviews You Get
You've now identified the bloggers you want to pitch and
they also review on Amazon. You know that they get a lot of review
requests, so how will you make yours stand out?
Last year I
conducted an experiment. I wanted to see if there was a way I could
double or triple the amount of reviews I could get if I were an unknown,
newly published author. If you've ever attempted to get reviews, you
know it's never easy as a first-time author. You're lucky to get one or
two at the most. I always tell authors to personalize their pitches
whenever they can because it'll net more review requests. Most of the
time authors sort of nod in agreement, but I suspect that very few
actually do this. I mean let's face it; it's a big time suck to
personalize pitches, right? You have to go to their blog, find their
name, look up some of the books they've done reviews on, see if they're
right for your book and then pitch them. Seems like a lot, right? Now
I'm going to ask you to take this a step further. I want you to include
some personal information on them, too. I did this anytime I could and,
as I said, I tripled the amount of review requests I got for this
unknown author. In some cases I quadrupled the amount.
Turning Your Book into a Review Machine
We all want to turn our book into a sales machine. Now I'm not taking
about turning your book into a cross-promotion tool (though that's good,
too) I'm speaking about getting your book to work for you in other
We've worked with many first-time authors, but earlier this
year I had an idea I wanted to try. I wanted to find a way to encourage
readers to review the book by adding a specific request. We asked the
author to include a letter in the back of her book asking for reviews.
She reminded readers how important their voice is. Did it work? Yes. In
fact she's got well over 70 reviews of which only 10 were solicited.
Remember, this is a first-time author with no history online and this
book was self-published. All of these things worked against her and
still she succeeded in getting tons of reviews. Were they all five-star?
No, but that's not the point. Let's face it, a book page that's
populated with tons of five-star reviews is pretty suspect anyway. All
of the reviews are authentic, written by real readers the author engaged
with. Want to know another secret? These readers are now part of her
"tribe;" she stays in touch with them and lets them know when her next
book is out.
How did she ask for reviews? She crafted a letter to
her readers. Here's a sample of the letter we included in the back of
her second book. You can see the letter here: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/getting-reviews/
in mind that as I mentioned earlier, generally only 1% of consumers
review books on Amazon. Using this letter helped to beat that average by
A Little Known Amazon Tool
you know that you can respond to a review on Amazon? Using access to
your Author Central account you can now write a note thanking the
reviewer, or, you can let the various reviewers know that you have
another book out and ask them if they want a free copy for review. To
gain access to your Author Central Page, go here and log in using your
regular Amazon login: https://authorcentral.amazon.com
you're inside you'll see a header. Click on Customer Reviews. Once you
click that button, it'll take you to this page where you'll see a bunch
of your reviews. Under each review you'll see "Add a comment"--this is
where you want to click. That will let you respond to the reviews. It's a
great way to connect with your readers on Amazon!
the process of getting them has gotten more challenging and time
intensive as new books continue to flood the market. Reviewers have a
lot of choices. But if you're smart about your efforts, and leverage
Amazon's features wisely, you can really boost your book's exposure, and
your sales. One final note on Amazon reviews. Sometimes in order to get
reviews, you need to become a reviewer. I'm not suggesting you compete
for their top review spot, but instead help other writers in your market
by reviewing their books. It's not only a great way to pay it forward,
but they may offer you a review, too.
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Reposted From Huffington Post