When you’ve worked hard on your book, you want it to get read and reader reviews are an important signal that people look at when deciding whether or not to buy and read your book. And so, that means that getting reader reviews is a critically important part of marketing your book. Because they persist, putting in effort at launch to generate a large volume of positive reviews will set your book up for long-term success.
Chances are you have an idea of what these reader reviews already look like, if you’ve ever bought (or thought about buying) a book or other product on Amazon, for example. However, other than the text content of the reviews themselves, there are two metrics to be aware of that work together: the average rating and the number of reviews.
The first thing people usually look at when thinking about buying something online is the average rating of all reviews. Having a high rating is especially important early on, when you don’t have many reviews — because readers don’t have much else to go on.
Number of reviews
The next thing people look at is the number of reviews that have been left for the book. While a high average rating shows that those who read your book liked it, the number of reviews says something a little bit different. Having many reviews means that lots of people have read your book — which also leaves a positive impression, though in a different way. It offers social proof that others are getting value from your book, leaving a little tingle in the back of your prospective reader’s mind that maybe they’re missing out on something important.
These two metrics work together to demonstrate that your book is worth reading. So, now that you know how this all works, you’re probably thinking: How do I get reader reviews? There are a few techniques that can work well:
4 Ways to Get Reader Reviews
Getting reader reviews might seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not. Here are four reliable ways to get reader reviews for your book.
Ask your network
Share your book with people in your network who would be the ideal readers for your book. You might ask past customers, people on your email list, or your social media followers. Ask them if they’d be willing to read your book and leave an honest review on Amazon after the listing goes live.
Ask readers in your book
You can include a separate page in your book, just after your conclusion, asking readers to review your book. You might think people will do this automatically, but that’s actually quite rare. Often, this quick reminder at the end of your book is enough to prompt a good number of reviews.
Seek out top Amazon reviewers
Another excellent source of reviews is Amazon itself. Did you know that Amazon posts its list of top reviewers for all to see? You can find the link to this list here. You can also search for books similar to yours and then look at the list of people who reviewed it.
When you’re looking for the right Amazon reviewers, choose reviewers who seem fair and balanced in their reviews. Then, reach out and offer to send them a free copy if they’ll consider leaving an honest review of your book. Keep in mind that finding their contact information might require a little online sleuthing. So, if you can’t find it, click on their profile and look for terms you can use to search for them on LinkedIn or Facebook (such as full name, location, website, and so on). Once you’ve found them, you can then reach out to them.
Use reader review sites
Finally, there are some online reader review sites where you can submit your book for review by readers. You can find a list of these in the Book Extras section of www.entrepreneurtoauthor.com/extras. Some of these services are free, while others require you to pay. But be aware: far more important than whether they’re free or paid is the type of books they review, and the size of the audience they reach.
Also, keep in mind that reviewers themselves cannot be paid for their reviews. That is a clear violation of Amazon’s rules. Instead, these paid reader review sites have a database of people who will leave honest reviews for free. What they’re charging you for is the service of them coordinating the effort and you accessing their pool of reviewers.
Keep at It
While it doesn’t need to be a massive undertaking, putting a bit of effort into getting reader reviews for your book will make a big difference. And if you keep at it, slowly and steadily, before long your book will have a solid foundation of reviews that will entice other readers to see what all the fuss is about.