How To Encourage Amazon Book Reviews

by derek on January 2, 2012 · 37 comments

In case you’re still a little bleary-eyed from the festivities of the New Year, we have been discussing a few tips and tricks for publishing Kindle books and learning how to maximize our exposure to increase sales.

When we discussed how Amazon Author Central can help you improve the testing of your book, I mentioned that there are four areas that can have a significant impact on the sales of your book.

  1. Title of the book
  2. Cover
  3. Price
  4. Reviews and Description

Most of the items above are things that can be controlled by you, the author.

Out of your control, kind of…

The one item that cannot be controlled by the author is the book reviews. Now, the author can feature reviews in the description by utilizing Author Central, but actually obtaining the reviews is dependent on the readers of your book actually posting a review.

So, there’s nothing we can do to get reviews, right?

Yes and no.

Clearly we cannot force a reader to leave a review. Unless of course you plan to personally visit each and every reader and strong-arm them into publishing a review for your book. But that’s probably not the best approach.

Instead, think outside the box and get creative.

And in all reality, if you’re familiar with marketing, you will see that there is a way to get reviews that people and companies use on a regular basis to solicit reviews.

People love free

Look around the Interweb and you will see any number of brands offering their product for free in exchange for feedback. Or you will see bloggers that obtained a free product in order to evaluate the product and write a review.

Guess what?

You can do the same thing with your Kindle book.

If you’ve read anything about publishing books for the Kindle, you’ve likely encountered more than a few people that encourage you to go to places like Fiverr to buy reviews of your book.

Do that if you like, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Amazon frowns upon buying reviews, or posting reviews that are not authentic. They’ve even implemented a feature that identifies reviews as coming from an Amazon verified purchase in an effort to weed out people pumping dummy reviews into their books.

What do I recommend?

Give away review (free) copies of your book and in exchange request that the recipient provide an honest review on Amazon. Keep in mind that there is nothing that guarantees the recipient will actually write you a review, but the practice is compliant per Amazon’s guidelines.

Looking at the Amazon Customer Review Guidelines, we see:

Full disclosure: If you received a free product in exchange for your review, please clearly and conspicuously disclose that that you received the product free of charge.

What’s Not Allowed
– Reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product

Do tread carefully though

While Amazon supports providing free review copies of your book, you do need to be careful that you’re not providing the book for free to everyone.

Amazon states that they reserve the right to price match your title to the lowest price that the book is being made available. If you’re listing your book for free on your website to every visitor, you may very well find that Amazon equates this to your book being available for free and thus lowers the listing price on your book.

Rather than openly providing the book for free to anyone and everyone that happens along, put forth an offer to your community that you would be happy to provide a free review copy to interested parties.

Speaking of which…

If you would like to receive a review copy of my book, give me a shout!

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