Posted on 06/04/2020 at 02:50 PM by Guest Author

Updated on 05/03/2021

Honest, positive reviews from readers can have a huge impact on your book sales. Here’s how to get book reviews in a safe, ethical, and effective manner...

Table of Contents

Why Book Reviews Matter to You and Your Readers  

As an author, you know that generating interest in your work is key to increasing book sales. You need to demonstrate to people that your book is worth reading. 

This means you must learn how to get book reviews from those who have already read (and hopefully enjoyed) your book — and use them to your advantage.  

Of course, this isn’t an easy task. And if you’re like a lot of authors, you may find it to be an uncomfortable one.

However, the fact is reviews play a big part in whether someone will pick up your book or ignore it altogether.  

Book reviews are important for several reasons. Here are just a few examples...

They act as social proof. 

People don’t want to waste time and/or money on a book they end up disliking. That’s why they rely on others’ experiences to determine whether they should take a chance on a book. 

Positive reviews act as a form of social proof, convincing potential readers to take the next step because doing so has yielded a good outcome for others.

Ultimately, reviews reduce risk and help overcome some of the objections potential readers may have about getting your book.      

They help build credibility. 

Book reviews also help build credibility for both your book and your author brand.

When potential readers see that your book has several rave reviews, they feel confident it’s high quality.

Honest, positive reviews make people feel they can trust your work as an author.  

They boost your visibility. 

Achieving greater visibility in the marketplace is crucial if you want to increase book sales.

As you get book reviews from more and more readers, it allows you to do just that.

In addition to providing you with a way to promote your books online, it also improves your search rankings.  

They serve as a free yet invaluable marketing tool.  

Regardless of the route you take to publish your book, you play a vital role in the marketing of it.

This can be tough (especially for new indie authors), but you’ll be happy to learn you can put your good reviews to work for you.

You can include positive reviews in your ads, highlight them on social media, feature them in the back of your ebook, add them to your product listing, and more. 

They provide insight into your reader base.  

All the reviews you get (yes, even the bad ones) can provide insight into your reader base.

When readers tell you exactly what they liked and/or disliked about your book, it allows you to understand what your target audience is looking for in a book.

This is especially helpful if you’re a new author who’s just getting started. 

They can help you improve your writing. 

When it comes down to it, book reviews are a form of feedback from your target audience.

And as you start collecting this feedback from those who’ve read your work, you can use it to improve your writing and grow as an author.

Of course, not all reviews will be constructive. But just remember that every author receives negative comments now and again.  

A Look at Amazon Guidelines for Book Reviews 

Given that many readers purchase books on Amazon and search for reviews submitted on the site, chances are you want your book’s detail page to make a good impression. However, you need to cover your bases.

In learning how to get book reviews, it’s crucial that you familiarize yourself with Amazon book review guidelines.   

Here’s what to keep in mind… 

You can’t write a review of your own book. 

This should go without saying, but it’s worth touching on anyway. Book reviews on Amazon should come from other people who have read your book — not you.

Writing a review of your own book isn’t just a dishonest practice. It’s also a surefire way to get penalized by Amazon.   

Readers must submit reviews themselves. 

If you get book reviews on other sites or via email, you can’t post them in the Customer Review section of your Amazon listing.

The company makes it very clear that reviews in this section “are meant to provide customers with feedback from fellow shoppers.”

However, you can add such reviews to the Editorial Review section of your book’s detail page.  

Your close friends and family members can’t provide customer reviews. 

Although your loved ones undoubtedly want to support your author career, you need to make sure they don’t take it a step too far and post reviews on your Amazon page.

The goal of Amazon’s Customer Review section is to offer unbiased feedback to shoppers. Unfortunately, your best friend’s glowing recommendation doesn’t fit the guidelines.

What they can do is submit a review for the Editorial Review section of your book page. 

Another author can review your book if you don’t have a personal relationship with them. 

Authors are welcome to submit reviews for one another’s books on Amazon. That said, you need to be careful about which authors you allow to post on your book page.

If you have a personal relationship with another author, or they’ve played a role in the creation of your book in any way, they aren’t eligible to leave a review in the Customer Review section.

You can’t offer compensation for a customer review.  

This is another rule that should be obvious but is nonetheless worth addressing.

Per Amazon guidelines, you can’t offer compensation for a customer review beyond a free copy of your book in advance. This means you can’t pay someone money, gift certificates, etc.

And when you do offer a free copy of your book, you need to make it clear that you welcome all feedback — good and bad — in the interest of fairness. 

An additional point is that you can pay for a more formal review of your book (e.g., by an editor, journalist, or genre expert), but it must be featured in the Editorial Review section.  

(Note: To take a deeper dive into what Amazon does and does not find acceptable, check out some of the FAQs about customer reviews and their full Community Guidelines.) 

5 Tips on How to Get Book Reviews

 

There’s no doubt about it… Learning how to get book reviews can be challenging. It’s not just about convincing readers to share their feedback; it’s about doing so in an appropriate manner. 

Fortunately, the tips below can help you along the way. Consider implementing these tactics to encourage those who’ve read your book to offer their input. Handled properly, you can increase your chances of receiving a positive response. 

1. Send a request to those on your email list. 

If you’re struggling with how to get book reviews, this is the best place to start. After all, those on your email list have already proven themselves fans of your work. As such, they’re more willing to read your latest book and provide their feedback. 

Simply send out an email (or include a short call to action in your newsletter) asking your subscribers to share their thoughts on your book. Include a brief description of your book in case they haven’t read it yet. And make it clear that you want honest reviews. 

(Don’t have a big email list? When you promote a free ebook in our newsletter, you can include a link to sites like Book Funnel or your own website to collect email addresses and start building up your own list!) 

2. Include a link in the back of your ebook. 

Oftentimes, readers don’t leave reviews because it takes too much time and effort. However, when you make the process as easy and convenient as possible, you eliminate that barrier.

That’s why you should put a call to action (CTA) in the front and back of your ebook, including a link that directs readers straight to your review page on Amazon. 

  • By putting the CTA and corresponding link in the front of the ebook, you plant the seed in the reader’s mind right off the bat.

  • By placing the CTA and link in the back of the ebook, you give them a reminder about what to do next (if they’re so inclined).  

3. Reach out to book bloggers.  

There are countless book bloggers out there, many of whom have large followings. If you want to get more book reviews, consider reaching out to those who’ve demonstrated an interest in your genre.

This may take some research on your part, but it’s worth the effort. 

Once you’ve identified relevant book bloggers, look for reviewer specifications. In most cases, they’ll have a page on their site outlining their specifications for replying to and accepting requests for reviews.

However, if that information isn’t listed anywhere, reach out to them directly.

Just get their contact information from the site, send them an email, and ask if they’re accepting books for review. If they are, check to see if they’ll submit their review to Amazon and other sites besides their own.

Remember to be polite, respect their time, and provide a description of your book so they’re more likely to see the value in reading and reviewing it.  

4. Build a street team.  

It may take some time, but you’ll quickly find that having a “street team” of honest reviewers is incredibly beneficial. It can go a long way toward marketing your latest book.

There’s a reason so many published authors use this as a way of getting more reviews… 

So, how do you build a street team? Simply recruit some of your diehard fans to join the team, giving them the opportunity to read your latest title prior to the official book launch.

Ask them to provide their opinions about the book, and don’t forget to let them know you welcome all feedback.  

5. Use book promotion sites. 

One of the most highly recommended tactics in book marketing is offering a giveaway and promoting it with a reputable site.

Doing so allows you to reach a much broader audience than you’d be able to reach on your own. And the more people who read your book, the greater your chances of getting reviews. 

It’s all about volume. 

Of course, you should still combine this tactic with another to ensure the best results. For example, it’s wise to include links in the front and back of your free ebook so readers can submit a review with the click of a button.

Book Review Don’ts to Avoid 

By now you should have a better understanding of how to get book reviews according to Amazon guidelines and best practices.

However, it’s not uncommon for new authors to make mistakes in requesting and handling reviews.

That’s why it’s in your best interest to take note of some book review don’ts — so you can avoid making these mistakes yourself.  

Don’t ask for good reviews. 

This was touched on a few times, but it bears repeating. You should be clear that all reviews are welcome. Be careful about the language you use when encouraging people to provide their feedback.

Even something like “If you enjoyed this book, leave a review” can leave readers feeling like they must only offer positive feedback.  

Don’t respond to the reviews you receive.  

Although it can be tempting to respond to reviews, you should curb this impulse. This is especially important in cases when the feedback is negative.

Engaging with reviewers — either privately or publicly — could end up causing more harm than good. 

Don’t be too pushy when requesting reviews. 

When you reach out to anyone about reviewing your work, you should avoid coming across as too pushy.

This doesn’t just apply to the initial request either. If you haven’t received a response after a while, don’t send follow-up after follow-up.

Doing so can result in the person forgoing a review altogether and leave them with a negative impression of you. 

Don’t participate in review swapping.  

Review swapping — the practice of two authors reviewing one another’s work – violates Amazon’s guidelines and those of most websites.

Because of this, you should avoid taking part in such an exchange. Otherwise, you and the other author could be penalized.

So, don’t promise a review in return for another author providing feedback on your work or accept requests you receive from others.

Takeaway

Learning how to get book reviews in a safe, ethical, and effective manner can go a long way toward increasing your book sales.

Although the reviews you get from readers are only a single piece of the puzzle, they’re an important one.

Using them to your advantage, you can generate more interest and expand your reader base, which will help improve sales now and in the future.

So, use the tips and information provided here to encourage potential reviewers to share their feedback about your book!

(Looking to get more eyes on your book? Offer your ebook for free and promote it in our newsletter!)

Categories: Behind the scenes

Comments
Glad to meet you
Peter Coyne | 02/24/2021 at 04:43 PM
Good article. I have thousands on my contact list and have just sent out a request for a review for a book I gifted them with. Time will tell. What sucks about reviews is that Amazon isn't the only place readers can see them to decide if your book is worth their time and money. I get most of my reviews on Kobo and places like that, not Amazon. Although the few I've received on Amazon are good ones.
Tory Richards | 02/08/2021 at 11:20 AM
Nice. You forgot a major caveat with amazon reviews, though.... only get seen if the reviewing customer has spent more than $50 on The Zon in the past year. Also... you overlook one of the major, and objective, advantages of having a bank of reviews--it qualifies you for using mailing list promos of the BookBub kind, many of which (including the most productive) have minimum numbers for inclusion.
Linton Robinson | 06/11/2020 at 04:56 PM
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