Amazon flattens the world of book selling by giving every author “the chance” to sell big. How? One way is through Amazon book reviews.
Many “professional” reviews are simply rehashes of publisher-generated publicity. Most of the time, professional critics don’t tell readers the one thing they want to know—whether they’ll like the book. For this reason, increasingly readers are turning to online reviews written by peers to learn if a book is worth purchasing.
Customer reviews are opinions of other consumers who purchased your title. How can these reviews help you? Credibility. Amazon doesn’t say it explicitly, but the more reviews your book receives, the higher it will appear in the “relevant” search rankings. Sometimes, even a poor review can be good—if the reviewer shares pertinent facts about your book.
Some estimates suggest that a single 5 star review will sell 3 copies of a book. You can see how this 5-3 model can quickly propel a book into best selling status. But how can you, as an author, solicit these reviews?
First, encourage anyone who tells you how much he or she enjoyed your book (or simply likes you :) ) to write a review on Amazon.com. Include the link for your book’s detail page on Amazon in your email or Facebook posting. (Like this): http://www.amazon.com/Death-Couch-Potatos-Christy-Barritt/dp/098476559X and ask users to scroll down to the Customer Review section. Of course it helps if your friends and followers BUY the book, so to gain more reviews drop the price of your book to 99 cents on the day you call out to your tribe of fans. (Like we did today for Christy Barritt’s suburban suspense, women sleuths, cozy murder mystery novel, Death of the Couch Potato's Wife. Yes, today only Chirsty’s book is 99 cents.) If your book is published by a traditional publisher work with their marketing team.
Second, thank the reviewers and ask if you can add their comments to your book’s Facebook page and website. Reviewer comments also make great Tweets and email signatures.
As your positive reviews grow, so may your sales. At the very least, you will have readers talking about your book and as we all know Word of Mouth is the only way books sell.
Third, when friends call or email to congratulate you on your book ask for their help. Respond with something like:
“Thank you for the kind words about my book. If you have a spare moment, it would be a great help if you could post a review of it on Amazon and let other potential readers know why you liked it. It’s not necessary to write a lengthy, formal review—a summary of the comments you sent me would be fine. Here’s a link to my book’s Amazon page:
A great way to launch your books is to find 100 to 300 readers in your target audience and ask them to post an honest review on Amazon. If they can’t afford the 99 cents, offer to send them a PDF galley of your book. (Your publisher can supply this file.) You can also “gift” a copy of your book to friends. But it’s better if they purchase a copy from Amazon because this increases your sales total. (Amazon seems to ignore multiple sales of a single title to the same account.)
Want to test our theory and help an author? Purchase a copy of Christy’s book, Death of the Couch Potato's Wife, and write a review. Then send me an email indicating which review is yours and I’ll ship you a free ebook copy of Jane Kirkpatrick’s Homestead: Modern Pioneers Pursuing the Edge of Possibility (http://www.amazon.com/Homestead-Pioneers-Pursuing-Possibility-ebook/dp/B0083MNQLM) - another great book and one certainly worthy of more reviews.