As indie authors we know that reviews give us credibility, and good reviews may actively help sell our books. We just need to get people to read our books, and review them, preferably positively. Who knew how hard that was going to be?
I have a solution and it’s a very straightforward one:
Ask For Reviews
Simples, hey? Well no, not really. Excruciating, for me. I can’t ask random people to review my book, and asking friends and family is even worse, as they might feel obligated to leave a good (or glowing) review. This strains my relationship with them AND Amazon’s review guidelines, which are very focused on only allowing genuine, unbiased reviews.
Besides, I write short non-fiction ebooks about freelancing and solopreneurship, so most of my personal friends and family members aren’t even in my target market.
There are, however, two places I do ask for reviews, and they tend to be very effective.
I ask readers to review as soon as they finish my books
This involves the arduous task of adding one sentence and a link to the back of my books.
My reviews definitely increased when I started doing this, and it’s so simple. I just put something like “If you’ve found this book useful, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon.” Then I put a link to the review page.
See what I did there? While I didn’t ask for positive reviews, I even subtly suggested that if they didn’t find it useful there’s no need to bother. And the link is right there. I figure if they don’t click or tap when I make it that easy, they’re just not the reviewing type.
I use my blog and mailing list
The other place I ask for reviews is from my blog readers and subscribers. I already have a relationship with them, AND they’re likely to be in my target market. I simply ask in the post where I announce my book, and in the newsletter I send out to my mailing list on launch day, if they could please leave a review to spread the word IF they read the book and like it.
Again this gently implies that if they hate it, they really shouldn’t go to the trouble of writing a review. Don’t get me wrong. Bad reviews are not the end of the world. In fact a book with no bad reviews is suspicious, but I still don’t want to actively encourage them.
I have a small but responsive mailing list, and I tend to launch my Kindle books with a free promotion that is mainly for the benefit of my subscribers, so if you’re on my list, you get the chance to grab a free copy of every new ebook I produce. I think this helps. When readers get something of value for free they may be slightly more inclined to do something nice in return.
The problem with the tactic of simply asking each reader for a review is that your reviews will only grow as fast as your sales. And only a tiny percentage of readers will leave a review, even when prompted. So high sales = a reasonable amount of reviews, and low sales = hardly any. My bestselling Kindle book Free Tools for Writers, Bloggers and Solopreneurs has 62 reviews on Amazon, My much lower-selling ebook The Savvy Solopreneur's Guide To Content Creation has only 9. The good news is that as sales grow over time, reviews will naturally start to trickle in.
There are a few other tactics I’ve tried to get reviews and I’ll be blogging about them soon, so feel free to subscribe or come back soon to hear about them. Now go have a productive day.
Stay In Touch
To hear about new releases, freebies, special offers and discounts.