Getting reviews has always been one of the best book marketing strategies for authors.
Because book reviews matter! Most importantly they factor into whether shoppers click buy, but they also matter to the Amazon machine, each review improves your relevancy score, especially as your book ages, because later reviews prove your book is still relevant to your market.
So as an author, I know first-hand how book reviews can make or break the success of a book.
And let me be clear, these reviews don’t all have to be 5-star, in fact most readers don’t trust books (or products) with only 5-star reviews. What matters more is having thoughtful reviews. For example, a 3-star review that highlights a lot of things they liked, along with a couple of things that didn’t work for them personally, will work in your favor, while a 5-star review that simply says, “loved it I hope this author writes more” comes across as disingenuous and won’t fool real genre or topic fans.
Now let’s explore seven of the best book marketing strategies to help you garner valuable book reviews on Amazon.
Create an Advanced Reader Group or Launch Team
One of the best book marketing strategies is having a launch team, or reader group – also called ARC team (ARC = Advanced Reader Copy). So start by assembling a group of enthusiastic readers who are eager to engage with your work before its official launch. This is not a group of close friends or family but actual readers who want to be involved in your process – and believe me when I say, lots of them do!
Building this list may take time, but it’s worth it. You can do this on social media – inviting your followers to participate, or via your existing newsletter list – or at author events you’re doing.
The idea is to provide them with early access to your book in exchange for an honest review. This not only helps in getting reviews right after your book’s release but also generates buzz and anticipation among your audience.
Strategically Place a Call-to-Action at the End of Your Book
Several years ago Goodreads did a study and found that the #1 thing readers want at the end of a book is a way to engage with the author. Sadly, most books don’t maximize on this by offering readers a way to do just that.
I suggest that you capitalize on this moment by including a letter to readers, which is essentially a well-crafted call-to-action that encourages a reader to contact you and asks for a review on Amazon. Make sure to express your gratitude for their time and support and provide them with a direct link to your book’s Amazon page for convenience.
Leverage Your Newsletter Subscribers
Your newsletter subscribers are some of your most dedicated fans so don’t hesitate to ask for a review. Just be sure to include a clear link to your book’s Amazon page to make it easy for them.
You can also run a special promotion for reviews, we’ve done that for my book releases and for our podcast. Essentially you offer an incentive if readers forward you the email confirmation they get from Amazon for posting a review. Keep in mind you shouldn’t be asking for a 5-star review, or even a “positive” review – but just an honest, thoughtful review.
The best marketing strategies often rotate in special promotions or incentives and your newsletter fans are a great audience for this type of marketing!
Engage with Book Review Bloggers and Influencers
Pitching bloggers and influencers is always a great way to build your reviews and introduce your book to new readers.
This first starts by Identifying book bloggers and/or industry influencers in your genre. Reach out to them with a personalized pitch and offer a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. These types of reviews can carry significant weight and if they don’t post the review directly to Amazon and instead post it on their website or their social media, you can always add it via the editorial reviews section on Author Central.
Participate in Goodreads Giveaways and Groups
I love doing Goodreads giveaways for the added momentum it creates both in that community, and off it. Each time you do a giveaway on Goodreads, anyone entered automatically gets the book added to their shelf.
And while it’s tempting to do an eBook giveaway so you aren’t mailing books, consider this: Each time you mail a book you can include any branded swag you have, and a thoughtful note, congratulating them on the win and letting them know how much you look forward to seeing their review! I’ve always felt the best book marketing strategies are those that allow you to create a more personal connection with your buyer market.
Run Amazon-Specific Promotions
I love the idea of running discounted book promotions, but these often get lots in the clutter of all the other things you might be doing to promote your book. Consider doing these intentionally, so not just a throw-away kind of thing – but rather timed and thoughtful.
Do limited-time discount promotions around a specific date that ties into your message or theme, or during book launch week.
But before you do this, make sure you have that letter in the back of your book because that will help to drive readers from the last page to your inbox, and hopefully, will also show up as reviews on Amazon.
Do a Launch Promo
Whenever I launch a new book, I always do a special promotion. For anyone who has bought my book during launch week, they get a free prize if they send me their receipt. The idea here is that it’s a feel-good way to boost your sales during launch week, but it’s also a great way to add to your email list and then invite them to review the book on Amazon.
Keep in mind that you can’t pay to play, as I mentioned previously, so you can’t give them a monetary reward in exchange for their review. The idea here is that the launch promotion is entirely separate from the review ask. It’s to build your mailing lists.
In the long list of book marketing strategies you’re plowing through, getting more Amazon reviews should be at the top of your list.
But be mindful of the fact that gone are the days when you could hire a legitimate review service to populate your page with hundreds of reviews – Amazon shut that down a while back.
Yes, reviews take time, but a lot of the best book marketing strategies do, you have to be consistent. And if you build them the right way, and build your readership, newsletter, and launch team at the same time, it’s definitely a recipe for success.
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