Every author loves positive reader reviews, even though they rank far down the ladder as promotional requirements. Email marketing, websites, blogs, book signings, public speaking, social media, awards, blog tours, local media, editorial reviews, and business cards will, individually, sell more books than a good five-star review from a reader. That’s right; a good business card will outsell a good reader review.
Still, as authors, we get all warm and fuzzy when a reader tells us they love our books. Occasionally they write something with which we sell like crazy. My memoir, Warrior Patient, about surviving modern medical practices with humor as well as good doctors, had a review that started: “This book may have saved my life.” I use it all the time as a selling tool. It sells a lot of books.
Nevertheless, reader reviews remain overrated promotional tools. Yet we, as authors, LOVE them. So why don’t reader’s review your books? Ask them.
“I’m a reader, not a reviewer.”
“I’ll sound stupid.”
“What’s in it for me?”
“I want to read another book.”
“How many books have YOU reviewed?”
That last one often leads to an embarrassing silence by authors. Only savvy pros review books as part of their promotional gig.
The number one answer from readers who do not review your books might surprise you: “I don’t know how to do it.”
Smell an opportunity? Readers do not understand the mechanics of reviewing a book. Even if you put a nice picture of your novel in the back matter with a request to Please Review This Book, they don’t know HOW to do it. And nobody makes it easy for them, not Amazon, not Goodreads, not NOOK, not Smashwords, not Kobo, not Lulu, not anybody.
But YOU can make it easy for them. Just include a simple set of directions.
For example, in my latest thriller/mystery, Poison Heartbeats, I include this on my Please Review page for the Kindle version (note: the directions are different for each edition you write; don’t put the Smashwords version on your NOOK book).
* * * * *
How to write a review on Amazon
You have to be a member of Amazon to write a review.
(1) Browse/Navigate to https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MG1F1WV
(2) Next to the book’s profile picture on the top left, you’ll see a “reviews” notice. Tap it.
(4) Write or copy your review into the review box, go through their rating questions, rate it from one to five stars, and save it. Thank you for helping the author.
* * * * *
So, does it work? I think it does. The book I released a few weeks ago already has ten five-star reviews. It took my first book three months to get there, and the second one four months.
Try it. In the world of Print On Demand, it’s a quick fix that Indie authors should consider.
Temple Emmet Williams
Former editor at the Reader’s Digest