Monday, November 3, 2008

Getting Amazon Reviews

No author can ignore the incredible potential of Amazon sales. And one of the greatest things we can do to get more Amazon sales is to get more Amazon reviews.

Why? Because most of us take the reviews seriously. If I'm looking for book on, say, book marketing, and have to decide between two books, published the same year, with all things equal except that one has fifty reviews and the other two reviews, guess which one I tend to buy (if the reviews are decent, of course)? I assume that more are reading the book with more reviews. The less reviewed book seems like more of a risk.

Most authors apparently assume that getting reviews is a passive indeavor, as they wait for readers to post their comments. But the vast majority of readers don't write reviews. I see great books with only one or two reviews. Even if you love a book, do you generally write a review?

Knowing the importance of Amazon reviews, wise marketers find ways to encourage people to review their books. Thomas Nelson, a major publisher, does this through their "book review blogger" program. Here's their description:

"Any blogger can receive FREE copies of select Thomas Nelson products. In exchange, you must agree to read the book and post a 200-word review on your blog and on any consumer retail website."

Looks like they're buying first class ads at a bargain basement price.

Here's how I plan to do it. I sent an early draft of my latest book to about 30 friends and personal contacts to give me input before my final revision. Twenty-five of them read it. After my book comes out, I'll send a free copy to each of these people - a nice reward for their free editing. In an accompanying note, I'll say,

"Thanks so much for your help in making this a better book! There's no charge for the book, but would you do me one more favor by writing a candid review on Amazon? Here's where you'll find it (put the Amazon url here)."

Since they've already read the book, a review is a cinch.

You could do the same with your relatives, your writer's group, or your writer's association.

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