Ten Ways to Get More Book Reviews

It sounds obvious: book reviews can help you sell more books. Readers will search the reviews when deciding whether to buy a book and online retailers like Amazon use the reviews to calculate book rankings. But there's more...
It sounds obvious: book reviews can help you sell more books. Readers will search the reviews when deciding whether to buy a book and online retailers like Amazon use the reviews to calculate book rankings.

However, Amazon has strict rules about reviews, so you need to be careful that you and your readers don’t breach their zero-tolerance policy. They’ll remove your book reviews if they think you have:

  • Received reviews from family or close friends.
  • Given away free copies of the book with an expectation of a review.
  • Paid cash or monetary value to get reviews.
Author and business coach Robin Waite has over 500 reviews for his book, Take Your Shot,
so from talking to him, we’ve put together our top tips for getting more book reviews that don’t break the rules:

Simply ask

Robin feels he would have easily have missed out on 100+ reviews for his book if he’d been too proud to simply ask someone outright if they could leave a review. And sometimes you may need to ask a couple of times. He says, "I receive A LOT of positive messages and emails after people have received a copy of the book, whether they’ve bought it or received it as a gift. I get them almost daily. The first thing I do is reply, say, "Thank you!" and then ask politely if they would mind leaving their feedback on Amazon as a review."

Our Tip
Have the wording of an email ready as a template to use every time someone mentions your book in their email to you.

You can also write social media posts asking for reviews for your book. Be engaging and talk about how you feel when you get reviews - both good and bad.

To get more book reviews, craft three or four different social media posts and share them routinely; at least once a month. Make one a text-based post of 60-100 words and make another which is just one sentence and a graphic, preferably using a photo of the book cover. Ask questions to introduce your post, such as "Have you read my book yet...?" Another would be, "What do you think of this genre of books...?" Using the posts as a conversation-starter means people are more likely to engage and answer your questions, even if they don’t post a review immediately. Amazon prefers reviews from verified purchases, so one way to do this is offer a free paperback book, but ask your connections to buy the ebook. Then they can leave a verified review.

You can also help other authors out, if you see people leaving comments about their book on social media. As Robin’s noticed, lots of people do leave feedback online but they don’t go and leave a review unless prompted: "I know a lot of other authors and many of them share the positive feedback they receive from readers on social media. Quite often I’ll drop a comment against the post saying, "Great feedback, that would make a mean Amazon Review!" and the book’s author will often reply with, "Thanks, I’d never thought to ask for a review!"

Include an invitation inside your book

Robin says, "Inside every copy of Take Your Shot, I include a postcard-sized invitation for the reader to leave a review once they have finished reading the book. It’s branded and I always make an effort to write a personalised message on the back of the postcard addressed to the recipient of the book."

Provide an incentive to leave a review

Although Amazon discourages you from sending free products or paying for reviews, you can design an incentive which has no cash value. Robin’s approach works as a thank you, "At the end of Take Your Shot I’ve included a call-to-action offering a free 30-minute Diagnostic Call if the reader leaves a review, screenshots it and sends it to me. Offering a short business-support call is my way of saying thank you to someone for taking the time to log onto Amazon and leave a review. And it’s a logical next step for them to leave a review if they enjoyed reading the book. I’ve seen other authors gamify the review process by offering to unlock additional resources if someone leaves a review; this is quite a neat way to build more engagement with your brand."

Our Tip
If you’re providing an incentive, you can also collect their email address, helping you to build up your email marketing list.

Create an "Application Form" for review copies of your book

If you are happy to give away a number of review copies or a PDF advanced reading copy (ARC) of your book, you can get more people to sign up to your marketing emails and then ask them for a review. Robin points out, "Your book is one of the best lead magnets on this planet and it amazes me how many people give away their book without collecting any information from the recipient of the book or, even if they do, they then don’t follow up. Both are huge missed opportunities. Whenever someone requests a copy of my book I have a specific landing page where I ask for their name, email address and then most importantly a mobile number. These all get squirted into my Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, which helps me automate the follow-up. Thirty days after gifting a book, I send a follow up email to the recipient asking if they might be able to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Occasionally I’ll even follow up with an SMS message if I can see that they’ve either not received or opened the follow up email. The other benefit of adding someone into your CRM is that you can invite them to check out other marketing assets such as joining your Facebook group, or share upcoming events, YouTube videos and podcast interviews."

Work with influencers

If you’ve written a non-fiction, business or self-help book, it’s worth building relationships with influencers who are interested in your book. Robin’s book has been read and reviewed by several high-profile YouTubers with millions of subscribers. They share the book with their audience and he encourages them to leave an Amazon review as well. Influencers typically have the blue "verified" tick next to their name on a lot of platforms. So, if an influencer is a verified top reviewer on Amazon they will also carry a lot more clout than your average reviewer.

Find local and online book clubs

To find local book groups, ask at your library, church or other community centre. Sometimes groups will operate via a site like Meetup.com or Facebook. A Google search may also reveal your local book groups or online groups which you can join. Introduce yourself to the group and explain why you’d be happy to give the group host a free copy of your book. Develop relationships rather than continuously promoting your books: for example, share other books you’ve read as part of the discussion. You can also supply a list of questions for discussion on your website. If the group reads your book, do ask them to review it.

Send your pitch to literary editors

Develop an email pitch, introducing yourself and your book. Send it to the literary editor or journalist who writes the book reviews in the newspaper or magazine that you want to appear in. Do offer to send them an advance reading copy of the book, either a PDF or a printed copy. Make sure you’ve read their previous reviews to understand which topics they find interesting because that will help you write your pitch email. If you’re a SilverWood author, we can arrange a UK Review Sending Service or support from a publicist to help you get more reviews.

Send a link to your Google or Facebook reviews page in your email newsletter

Another way to get more reviews is to ask your email subscribers to add their reviews to either Google or to Facebook. You can share the reviews on your website pages by copying them across and adding them as testimonials. To create a direct short link to your Google reviews, please see the article 'How to get more Google reviews’ with instructions for using the Google My Business dashboard. Make sure the 'Reviews’ feature is also set up on your author page on Facebook.
 

Run a competition or Goodreads giveaway

Competitions are a great way to build some buzz about your book, although they might only encourage a few book sales. Most importantly, when someone wins a copy of the book, ask them for a review.

Goodreads is a popular website for booklovers. Authors can run monthly giveaways of their book to raise the profile of their books on the platform, so when someone sees your book in a giveaway they will usually check it out on Amazon before entering the giveaway.

You can offer 10 books as a prize in the giveaway and it’s quite common for authors to ask for reviews from the prize winners in exchange for sending them a copy of the book. To remind himself to offer Goodreads giveaways, Robin adds a note in his diary to periodically come back and re-run them.

Arrange a blog tour

Book bloggers love to write reviews for books and because they like to attract more traffic to their blog, they’ll typically share their review more than once. They tend to stick to one favourite genre, so it’s important to do your research and find bloggers who will love and appreciate your book. It takes time to develop a list of relevant blogs, so if you’d rather save time, you can contact a professional blog tour organiser. They’ll make sure your book is featured at least once a day for a period of one, two or three weeks. As well as reviews, some bloggers will do an interview with an author, so we recommend preparing a list of 'frequently asked questions’ which you can answer any time about your background, your writing journey and your book.

Naturally, you’ll focus on getting reviews for your book when it’s newly published. However, it’s a good idea to continuously ask for reviews from your readers, because their feedback will reveal ideas for your writing. Could you blog about something they mentioned? Will the character develop differently based on what they say about her? Should you write a sequel to answer some of their comments? As we said at the start, see your social media and your reviews as part of a bigger conversation, engaging your readers with your brand story and the world presented in your book. That positions you perfectly for writing and publishing books two, three and four!

Talk to the SilverWood team about promoting your book

If you published with SilverWood, you’ll know that we offer a range of tools and services to support you as you market your book. We’d be delighted to chat you through your options which can help if you’re newly-published, or your book has been out for a while and needs a boost. Talk with your publishing assistant, or schedule your Power Hour with our Head of Marketing, Debra.

Find out more about our Book Marketing Consultations here and browse marketing support especially for SilverWood authors here.

“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins