Once you've decided to self-publish the next big question is how to sell your books.
You KNOW you have a book that will entertain your audience; educate them, or motivate and inspire them to be the best they can be.
Now how do you get your book noticed and generate sales?
Amazon is the sales platform for most self-published authors, offering both print and Kindle editions of your book and while uploading your book for publishing is user-friendly, getting sales can be a completely different matter.
With millions of book titles available it's difficult to get noticed, and even harder to convince readers to take a chance on buying your book, especially when you're on page 20 of the search results!
As social creatures, we like to know that others value your book and hear what previous purchasers say about it BEFORE we commit our time and money.
This concept is called social proof. When shopping online, we can't see or touch the book or ask the salesperson for an opinion, so we trust the sentiments of others who have evaluated it.
Amazon reviews can overcome consumer reluctance and get you closer to that best-selling designation that every author dreams about.
Amazon recognizes just how important reviews are and has created very sophisticated algorithms that cause a large number of good reviews to move your book up the ranks.
You have likely noticed Amazon places the star rating and total number of reviews above the price or your book details, so customer feedback is crucial. Book reviews lead to exposure, ranking you closer to the top when people search for books within your genre; which leads to more sales.
Amazon has strict policies regarding reviews, including banning any compensation for the reviewer other than a free book copy and prohibiting any attempt to coerce the reviewer to only leave a positive review. Before attempting to get any reviews for your book, be sure you understand their policies.
So... How Do You Get Book Reviews?
There are several different ways to receive legitimate reviews that will comply with all of Amazon’s regulations.
You cannot control the quality of the reviews and whether they are positive or not.
However, the odd bad review won’t damage your ranking too much. In fact, having a very small percentage of total reviews as negative ones lends credibility to the fact that the reviews are legitimate.
Your Advance Copy Readers and Contacts
The people you have already developed relationships with, through social media or via your website are the first choice to provide reviews for your book.
Send Advanced Reader Copies of your book to your launch team a couple of weeks before your launch date, with information detailing the expected launch, so your readers have time to read the book.
Make it as frictionless as possible
Send them a direct link to where you'd like them to leave a review. Give instructions on how to do it with screenshots.
Send a “take action” email about the review on your launch day, including a link to the review site.
Include a polite “thank you for purchasing” page at the back of your book, requesting a review and including a link to the review site.
Ask your followers on your website, Facebook group, Instagram page, and other social media channels if they will read and review your book on Amazon. Offer pre-order special pricing for a limited time to book sales in the first few release days.
- If you have collaborated with another author on social media to promote each other’s posts, ask them to read and review your book and offer to do the same for them. Also, ask them to post your launch to their audience.
Amazon Sales Support
Amazon inherently recognizes the value of reviews in increasing customer satisfaction. To assist sellers in obtaining reviews, they have provided several resources to the seller.
- Take part in Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program created to encourage customers who have purchased your book to share their authentic opinion by leaving a review. Once you enrol in the program, Amazon sends random customers who purchase your book a small gift card
in exchangefor the review.
Maximize the value of the “look inside” button on Amazon by incorporating a short paragraph on the first page of your book advising the customer to go to your website for previews of upcoming books and information about the author. Include your Facebook and Instagram profiles.
- Another Amazon method is to search for similar books in your genre, read through their reviews and search for ones that have “constant reviewer” beside them. If you can find the contact information, you can reach out and ask for a review of your book.
Use Amazon’s automated email process. If you are selling print books they send 3 emails to customers when an item
Contact book review sites–NOT freelancers paid to review your book which can get you kicked off of Amazon–but sites like Online Book Club where you pay a membership fee and they provide a list of people who will read your book and provide honest, unpaid reviews.
Search blogs by book reviewers. A lot of these bloggers are looking to add author video interviews to attract and engage their viewers. It’s a great way for you to get exposed to a new audience and help the bloggers satisfy their audience.
While it might seem that getting reviews is a lot of work, it is one of the single biggest things you can do to sell books. Ranking up with book reviews leads to more exposure, which leads to more sales.
Reviews need to be consistent over time to achieve and maintain a top ranking on Amazon, so you want to reach out to your readers in a variety of ways and make it as easy as possible for them to leave the review.