Amazon customer reviews are, in some ways, a kind of Holy Grail for authors. Even more than celebrity or expert testimonials, reviews from customers–people who actually bought and read your book–can instill trust in the minds of potential readers. This can be especially important for first time authors. Getting a considerable amount of customer reviews, at least 25, on your book’s page can make your book legit to people who are considering a purchase.
But the big question is, how do you get customer reviews?
In my experience working with authors, the best way to get Amazon customer reviews is to use a multi-pronged strategy. You want to use several overlapping approaches in order to maximize your chances of getting a lot of reviews.
Here are some simple tips that I’ve learned from working with authors to launch their books:
How to Get More Amazon Book Reviews
1. Consider a “soft launch”
Consider doing a “soft launch” to get reviews prior to your big publication date. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t allow books to be reviewed prior to their official publication date. This is the case even for books that are available to pre-order. This puts authors in a pickle. You want to make sure you have a lot of reviews on your Amazon page when you start driving traffic to it during your launch promotions. But you can’t start getting reviews until it’s live! For this reason, I often recommend that authors quietly make their books live on Amazon a month prior to the official launch of their book. You can use this month to gather your Amazon reviews using the tips below and build up a good base before you start promoting it heavily. This, of course, is most appropriate if you’re self-publishing or working with a hybrid publisher; but there are some cases where traditional publishers will work with you on this.
2. Use your personal network
You can utilize your network of friends, family, and colleagues. This is the “low-hanging” fruit. I recommend making a list of the people you know will do you a favor and then reaching out to them before your book is published. Send them advanced copies of the book and nicely ask for them to write an Amazon reviews on your page as close to the launch date as possible. Then make sure to remind them when the book goes live! Don’t be offended if you have to follow up multiple times. People are busy, and forgetful. And your friends shouldn’t mind you bugging them to do you a favor.
3. Seek out professional reviewers
Amazon keeps lists of its Top 1000, 500, 100, and 10 reviewers across all departments. Many of these reviewers specialize in books, and some in your genre. You can review a variety of published books in your genre and look for reviewers with some kind of official Amazon designation. These reviewers will have an Amazon profile page where they often list their contact information. You can email them and say that you saw that they have reviewed a particular title which is similar to yours and ask if they’d be willing to consider your book for a review if you send them a copy. You’ll be surprised at how many will say “yes”! This takes a lot of time and diligence, but it’s worth getting a handful of professional reviewers on your book’s page!
4. Run a promo to your fans/followers
One of our author clients, Lisa Slabach, ran a successful pre-launch Amazon review campaign for her debut novel, Degrees of Love. In the months leading up to her launch she offers her email subscribers and social media followers a free advanced digital copy of the book if they agree to review it on Amazon when it comes out. She sends a PDF copy of the book to everyone who opts in to the promo, and then emails them when the book goes live on Amazon to remind them to go and leave a review. As a result, her book has over 100 customer reviews!!!
5. Pay for honest reviews
There are a handful of good Amazon customer review services out there that you can pay for honest reviews of your book. Don’t worry, this isn’t a shady tactic or an attempt to game the system. The reviews you pay for won’t be fluff. They will be honest and legitimate. Here are two companies that our author clients have had success with: BookReviewsDone.com and AMZ Discover.
Again, I highly recommend that you use most, if not all of these strategies to populate your page with customer reviews. It takes work, but it’s worth it!
I hope you’ve found this advice helpful, and if you have anything to add, please do so in the comments!
Download our free ebook to learn how to run your book launch!