How To Get Reviews When Self-Publishing On Amazon
Self-Publishing On Amazon
When self-publishing on Amazon you are responsible for getting book reviews. An important part of your marketing strategy is to get Customer Reviews as soon as your book is released.
Reviews don’t just happen automatically. We would all love it if they did. How would it be if reviews just appeared on our listing like being on autopilot?
Getting reviews is just not that simple. You have to go to work to get reviews.
To obtain Customer Reviews put a campaign strategy in place to get them.
Customer Reviews are those that give your book a rating and they help customers learn more about your book providing genuine feedback.
Amazon likes you to get Customer Reviews. They provide an independent assessment of your book and they help you to make sales, so get as many reviews as you possibly can.
Reviews validate your book and they provide feedback that can add to your book’s credibility.
Reviews help your book to get discovered on Amazon and this can help sales adding to your income every month. Reviews can also help increase your Amazon Best Seller Ranking (BSR).
Getting Customer Reviews is not an easy process. Getting them is tough and the process requires some mastery if you plan on becoming a successful publisher.
When self-publishing on Amazon there are guidelines for acquiring reviews. Amazon regards some methods as inappropriate so if a review violates Amazon’s Terms of Service then Amazon will delete the review.
Underlying the Amazon Terms of Service is the fact that Amazon will only publish honest reviews that are submitted by unbiased reviewers.
There are multiple methods for getting book reviews but here I’m giving you just one effective way.
You need to have some reviews for your book as soon as you launch it or at least have them in the first few days of release.
Advanced Review Copies(ARCs)
One method for getting early reviews when self-publishing on Amazon is to give out Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) to influencers, bloggers, and others who might be interested in reading your book.
An Advanced Review Copy(ARC) is not the final version of your book. Rather it is an advanced draft of your book that you give to interested readers. It’s usually given out as a digital copy.
By giving out Advanced Review Copies the expectation is that
- some readers will submit a book review to Amazon
- other readers may provide feedback on your book, and
- influencers or experts are great for getting endorsements or positive quotes that you can use for publicity purposes
- But giving a free copy of a book is not be conditional on actually getting a review.
Advanced Review Copies are an effective way of getting your book to readers in the expectation that they will give you feedback and hopefully a review.
On the ARC give a disclaimer. Say that this ARC is a draft – an Advanced Review Copy – and briefly explain that the content is subject to change and to revision.
Also, inform the reader of the date you plan on launching the book.
Why give out Advanced Review Copies?
In this digital age, it is now easier than ever and an effective method to get advanced drafts of your book out to avid readers. An advanced draft in the form of a digital copy is an efficient way of distribution because of the time saved.
It eliminates the cost of printing and postage. ARCs in digital form can be sent out in seconds rather than weeks.
If you can succeed in getting a few reviews published as soon as your book is launched this can help with getting sales.
As a result of giving out Advanced Review Copies, you can get recommendations from influencers and experts in your field which you can then use for publicity purposes. Get a quote that you can put on your paperback’s back cover blurb, or as part of your book’s description, or as an editorial review that you can insert into Amazon Author Central.
Another benefit of giving out Advanced Review Copies is that readers can identify errors in your manuscript because no matter how carefully you’ve edited your book, there will always be mistakes and typos. These errors can then be fixed prior to the publication of your book.
How do you set up this system?
The first thing to do is to build a launch team. A launch team consists of people that you know and think might be a good fit to read your book before it is published. In an ideal world, readers in a launch team will leave a review as soon as your book goes LIVE on Amazon.
As I said earlier you cannot demand that a reader write a review for your book. This is not conditional on giving them a free, advanced copy but you could suggest that they leave a review if they so wished.
Building a launch team
Building a launch team does take time because you need to connect with appropriate people, build a relationship with them, and gauge whether or not they qualify to be a reviewer.
There is nothing more frustrating than if you’ve succeeded in getting some reviews only to find that those reviews have been deleted by Amazon because the reviewers didn’t qualify to write a review.
I stress “qualify” to be a reviewer. If a reviewer submits a review for your book on Amazon they must be eligible to leave a review. There are guidelines on Amazon for reviewers.
To qualify a reviewer must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com using a valid credit or debit card in the past 12 months.
As you build your launch team include the email addresses of your team members in your email database. Have a dedicated email list of reviewers for ease of connection.
As you are getting ready to publish your book inform your team about the forthcoming book. Keep them in the loop.
At least a couple of weeks prior to your launch date give advanced drafts of your book to your team and explain that you plan to launch the book on a specified date.
You will need to send a reminder to your team to get them to read your book and to provide some feedback. Then if they wish to submit a review that they should do this as soon as the book is launched.
This approach is recommended particularly when self-publishing on Amazon for the first time.
Explain to your launch team how to submit a review.
When a reviewer on your launch team does submit reviews they should state that they received an advance copy and that they are offering their honest review.
Distributing Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) a couple of weeks prior to self-publishing your book on Amazon is an effective method for getting the review process started.
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