Why Getting Reviews on Amazon Should be Your First Priority (& Why bookstores leave me overwhelmed))

Reviews are the reason Amazon is where it is. The other day I was in a brick and mortar store and I was struck by the lack of information there was about the books I was browsing. I needed social reassurance, because I grew up in the 90’s and 2000’s and that’s what I’m used to receiving.

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Perhaps my parents relied on word of mouth recommendations from friends and family – the current generation depends upon several detailed written reviews. Without book reviews, all we can do is judge a book by it’s cover, and that’s a tough task. We crave something more. We crave the nod from more than a handful of people saying “this is worth spending your hard earned money on”. Or, “don’t waste your time”.

We live in a review-driven society (who doesn’t check out hotels on Trip Advisor or restaurants on Yelp), so having a review or several is going to drive book sales (providing they are positive of course) like nothing else.

Here are some tips on garnering reviews:

  • While it’s always best to garner organic reviews, it may take several book sales before you get them. Very few people are motivated enough to leave a review without being asked to do so. To get the ball rolling, give readers a nudge in the right direction. When people tell us that they like a book, we ask if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review. It’s a no pressure request, and many are more than happy to do so.
  • Just prior to the book’s release, I ask several people in our target audience to review ARCs for vital critique and feedback. At the same time, I encourage them to leave a review on Amazon too. Be sure to give explicit instructions by giving them the direct address to go to – yes include a hyperlink in your email exchange with them – and explain how reviews drive sales. Because they do. They really do! And not everyone is aware of that.
  • Add a paragraph at the end of your book pointing people in the direction of your Amazon page and asking them to leave reviews. This is particularly easy with eBooks since reviews can be written right away without having to open up the computer. {edit: Amazon’s ‘Before you go…’ feature also recommends readers to leave a review. However a personal plea from the author is a lot more persuasive!}
  • Never force a review and never, ever pay for a review. Additionally, reviews solicited from friends and family are the least helpful, and painfully obvious to other readers most of the time. In fact they may harm more than they help, especially if that person shares a last name with the author (!), hypes it up too much, or the biggest crime – has never even seen the book and doesn’t mention any details or provide any value other than “best book ever written!”


Btw, the wonderful Dana Lynn Smith has written a new eBook titled ‘How to Get Your Book Reviewed’, which I am yet to read, but have no doubt it will be a fantastic resource as Dana is so well versed in book marketing and promotions. To get news of it’s release and a 20% off coupon, leave your details here. 

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on garnering Amazon reviews, and how you go about it. Leave a comment, and let me know your tips! Also, how do you feel when you browse bookstores now? Is it still a pleasure, or do you find it unsatisfying?

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