Like many writers, I spent a lot of time worrying about how to get published. Once I did publish my story, I quickly realized I needed book reviews. Under no circumstances would I pay for Amazon reviews. Now, after a year, I have gotten 38 book reviews. That may not sound like much, but they are all legitimate, and more than a fourth of them have been from Amazon’s top reviewers (“Top 100”, “Vine Voice”, etc.). And 24 of the reviews have been 5-star reviews. The rest are 4-star reviews with just 1 3-star review. This is important because it will help drive sales forever. How did I do it?
A big piece of getting subsequent reviews is that the early reviews are positive and from credible sources. Who wants to read junk? Right. Nobody. So if your first reviews are not so good… You have a problem. Learn from your experience and write anew. This may not have been what you were hoping to hear, so let’s get on to what you really want to know: How to get such a high percentage of reviews from Amazon’s top reviewers:
Great Amazon Reviews
- Search Amazon for books in your genre.
- Look for reviewers who Amazon identifies as top reviewers.
- Look at these people’s profile, and look for ones who include an email address or website with an email address.
- If they look like someone who you want to review your book, then go back to the review they wrote and read it carefully.
- Write a polite, short email that clearly states that you are asking them to review your novel. Don’t grovel, but don’t be pushy, either. Include a short reference to the review you read — they like knowing that you actually took the time to do some research on them. Think about it: Reading your novel and writing a review will take them 2 – 6 hours depending on how long it is and how much they want to write. That is a BIG time commit of time on their part. So show them the courtesy to take 15 mins to do some research on them. When you write them, offer them a MOBI or PDF copy. My experience is that half will download it or even buy it themselves but offer it for free anyway.
- When they respond positively (most won’t respond at all), reply quickly. Send them your novel in the format they asked for, and don’t say much more than “thank you.” There is no need to go on about yourself, or the plot, or what inspired you write the story. And then wait. It might be a month or more before they get it done.
- If they decline, write them a short thank you note. You never know…they might change their mind or you might want to approach them again ref your next book. Never burn bridges.
- Keep a file of everyone you wrote, and if and how they responded.
- After a review is published, no matter what they say, write them and thank them for their time and thoughtful comments. Don’t argue with them or say they are wrong: You asked for their opinion. They gave it. Live with it.
Always say “Thank You”
I’ve had about a 15% hit rate. These book reviews are gold that will drive sales for a long time to come. Is it a time consuming process? Yes, it sure is. But it works. So even if you know how to get a book published, moving up the sales ranks is largely going to be based on the reviews you get.
Check out the reviews for my novella, Youth In Asia.