Friday, September 23, 2022

Maximize Your Amazon Reviews with These Eight Book Launch Tips


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Authors knows it’s important to gather a tribe of book reviewers to help launch a book. Reviews help attract attention, give a book credibility, and help potential readers decide to buy your book. 

As I prepare to launch my fourth traditionally published book in January, I’ve gathered information on best practices. As you plan your own book launch (or seek knowledge for a future one) here are my best tips:

Book Launch Tips for Handling Amazon Reviews

1. Amazon forbids paid (or incentivized) reviews. This means you can’t say to potential reviewers, “If you post a review, I’ll send you a Starbucks gift card, five dollars, or a special gift.” While thank you’s are always appropriate for launch team members who have invested their time to help your book, you can’t promise your reviewers anything in return for a review.

2. Give clear instructions. Some of your readers may never have posted a review and need a little help. When the time comes to post, provide links and simple instructions. Encourage them to add a photo with themselves with your book for greater impact. 

3. Invite some to add a video to their review. The most outgoing may be willing to share a video clip with their review. Ask them to record a brief video on their phone and upload it to the review page for your book. It’s super easy, but most are unaware of this option.

4. Encourage them to purchase a book before posting a review. Amazon doesn’t require a reviewer to purchase a book from them before they post a review, but the company gives greater weight and priority to Verified Purchases. Amazon also retains the right to reject or suppress a review for no clear reason. If you ask your reviewers to purchase a copy of your book (for themselves, to give away, or to send to someone else), there’s a better chance their review will appear on your page. But always give them a gracious out. I understand that not everyone can purchase a copy, but if you can, I’d appreciate it so much.

5. Ask happy readers to post a review. I’ve learned that the people who stop you after church or send you an email to say they enjoyed your book are almost always willing to post an Amazon review. If someone reaches out, I thank them for their kind words and follow up with, “I’d be so grateful if you’d share your thoughts in an Amazon review. Honest reviews help other readers find good books. And they’re better than chocolate to an author!” Most are happy to comply.

6. Give readers permission NOT to post a 5-star review. Whaaaat? Doesn’t every author dream of having 100 five-star reviews? Of course we do, but let’s be honest. Not every book is a 5-star book. Your book may resonate with one reader and fall flat with another. A reader may like it, but wouldn’t call it the best of the best. If they think you expect a 5-star review and they can’t honestly do this, they may hesitate to post a review at all. Encourage them to write an honest review. I usually include a line like this, “Please don’t feel obligated to post a 5-star reviews. Honest reviews of all star ratings are valuable to authors and potential readers.” This is true, by the way. Even a one-star review, as much as it hurts, shows that real readers, not just your BFFs have read and commented on your book.

7. Remember that reviews are gifts, not obligations. As we gather our launch team, it’s great to share several ways our members can promote our book. Most appreciate a list of action steps (make them as easy to do as possible), but keep in mind that these supporters are friends, not employees. Unless they’re on our payroll, we have no right to demand they fulfill every task, including posting a review. Most are happy to. They’re excited to share our book with the world. But some won’t. Please don’t badger them. A gentle reminder is fine. Life is busy and even the most well-meaning supporter can forget, but never scold, guilt, or become angry at someone for failing to post a review. Friendships are far more valuable than book reviews.

8. Always say thank you. If someone takes the time to post a review, share your book on social media, or purchase a copy, say thank you. Reply on social media or send a text message. A handwritten note or phone call is even better. 

Now it’s your turn. What suggestions do you have for handling book reviews? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

TWEETABLE

Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, writing instructor, women’s ministry speaker, and career dental hygienist. She writes for Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our Hearts, and Crosswalk.com. Lori’s upcoming devotional, Refresh Your Hope, 60 Devotions for Trusting God with All Your Heart, will release on January 3, but is available now for preorder. Connect with her at www.LoriHatcher.com or on Facebook, Twitter (@lorihatcher2) or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

Featured Image: Photo by Hugo Ruiz on Unsplash

12 comments:

  1. These are helpful tips to remember, Lori. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're most welcome Barbara! Thanks for reading today.

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  2. Thanks for that insightful article. Lori. I too have to remind myself that reviews are gifts and not obligations.

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    1. Yes, and what wonderful gifts they are! I"m so grateful for every kind reader who goes the extra mile.

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  3. Lori,

    Thank you for these wise insights about Amazon reviews. I loved your point on honest reviews rather than a Five-Star reviews. A "realistic" set of reviews includes a variety of stars where if someone has all Five Stars, it looks like they completely stacked the reviews. I've often had my authors call in tears asking what to do about the one star review they received. I tell them to be glad because that one star review just validated all their Five and Four Star reviews. It is sort of counter-intutitive but true.

    Terry
    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

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    1. As painful as those negative reviews are, they certainly add credibility to the others :) Thanks for reading today, Terry, and for all you do for the writing community.

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  4. Thank you for this very detailed and specific list. Very helpful. : )

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    1. You're very welcome. I'm a very linear person, so I LOVE numbers, steps, and bullet points. You must be, too :)

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  5. I'm a book reviewer and usually write something for all the books I read (for my own site and for Amazon). I've had Amazon quash a review for no reason that I could discern. I rewrote it in simpler language and they excepted it. Go figure! But I won't write a less than a 3 stars review.

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    1. Amazon is fickle, that's for sure. But you've given us a great example of perseverance. And you're very kind not to post negative reviews. This makes another point -- when asking for reviews, be sure to ask those who enjoy your genre. Then we're more likely to gain positive reviews, because the reader is familiar with the genre and mor likely to comment favorably. So please, Amish Vampire novelists, don't ask me for a review. You won't like it!

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  6. So helpful to know this information as I await my book’s publishing. Thank you!

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