When it comes to boosting sales of self-published books, you can’t beat a great book review. Having great rankings and lots of positive reviews can raise the profile of your release above the millions of others published worldwide. At Self-Publishing Relief, we know an abundance of good reviews also encourages readers to press the “buy” button—while having few or bad reviews might steer buyers away. Also, book vendors like Amazon use these ratings and reviews as gauges of a quality project. Books with good numbers and four- and five-star reviews will populate first in keyword searches. If you want to sell more books, you have to get readers to write more book reviews of your self-published book.
Tactics To Get More Book Reviews: How To Boost Book Sales
Ask For A Book Review In The Book’s Back Matter
The page that follows “The End” in your self-published book is the most important page of the back matter, especially in terms of book reviews and book sales. A satisfied customer who has just finished your book will be receptive to a request for a favor, so the beginning of the back matter is the most effective place to insert a request.
Ask Your Mailing List Subscribers For Reviews
You do have a mailing list, don’t you? If not, you should! It’s the most powerful tool you own for marketing, increasing book sales, and getting more reviews.
Many of your subscribers will have read one or more of your books—but only a fraction have probably posted reviews. Periodically send out an e-mail encouraging those who haven’t yet done so to post a review on the vendor site of their choice. To make it easy, include links to your book page in the e-mail.
You’ve spent all this time building a following on social media; why not ask your fans to write a review? Posting a periodic reminder on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter is a simple way to catch a reader (or two) who loves your books but just never got around to posting a review.
Ask Well And Nicely
How you word your request is very important. Always avoid the hard sell. It’s better to ask in a kind, original, and helpful way. Some tips include:
- Make your request jokey or hokey, whatever works for your individual style. The more natural your voice and original your request, the better.
- Some readers are daunted by the idea of writing a review. Let them know that they don’t need to summarize the plot or write a long missive. A rating and a few words will be just fine.
- Readers love to help, especially when they understand the value of their effort. Most won’t be familiar with how important reviews are to an author’s career, so don’t be bashful about telling them.
- Say thank you! It never hurts to express how grateful you are to anyone who takes the time to write a few words.
Use Universal Links
Whenever, wherever, and however you ask for a review, always include a hot link to make the process simple. The easier the process, the more reviews you’ll garner.
The one issue with this tip is that booklovers read on iPhones, Android phones, Nook e-readers, Kobo e-readers, Kindles, etc.—which would require multiple links. Wouldn’t it be great if you could offer up one hot link that would send your readers to a place where they can easily choose their preferred vendor?
Draft2Digital is a publishing distributor that offers Universal Book Links. These URLs send readers to a landing page that lists all the vendors where a particular book is available. It’s a free service for authors, and you can test it out here.
Contact Amazon Top Reviewers
Did you know that Amazon has a list of top customer reviewers who have “helped millions of their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions”? Some of those reviewers focus on books in very specific genres. With dedicated digging, you may find a “top customer reviewer” who adores books that are exactly like yours. You can check out reviewer profiles by clicking on their names. If a reviewer lists an e-mail or website, make contact and offer an advance reading copy (ARC).
Give Away Your Book On LibraryThing
LibraryThing, launched in 2005, allows authors to share book lists and reviews. It’s also used by publishers to distribute ARCs to potential reviewers. Self-published authors can do the same with Member Giveaways. You can offer up to 100 ARCs of your e-book and request that the recipient provide a review in exchange. You must join LibraryThing as an author to use this service, and there are a few other conditions, but the service itself is free.
One Thing You Shouldn’t Do…
As tempting as it may be to take a shortcut and use a pay-for-review service, this review practice is frowned upon and in most cases forbidden by vendors’ Terms of Service. Never pay someone to write a review, offer a “gift” (other than a copy of the book itself), offer a prize for reviews, require reviews for contest entries, only ask for high-ranking reviews, or swap reviews, which some vendors consider a method of gaming the system. Organic reviews from readers who’ve paid to enjoy your books are the best kind—these hold the most value.
Question: How do you ask for reviews in your newsletters, back matter, and social media?
Great tips here and I especially like the one about using universal book links. I already have mine through Draft2Digital so this was a good prompt to remind me to set this up in the back matter with my review request.