Thank you to Penny Sansevieriand Writers in the Storm for this excellent article.
Getting readers to write reviews, and encouraging them to do so, is a big part of what authors do to gain more visibility for their books. We know though that it’s not just any review, but a quality one that truly benefits your book. Quality reviews, meaning reviews that are more than “I liked this book,” can actually help to sell the book better than shorter, less specific reviews.
I’ve heard from numerous authors who have readers that post Amazon reviews, for which they are extremely grateful, but wish they were more detailed. You’ve all seen those short reviews on Amazon that say little more than “Loved this book!” While it’s fantastic that someone took the time to leave a review, short reviews like that do little to help a book along. They are often frowned upon by Amazon and could get pulled if the review seems disingenuous.
So how can you encourage your readers to not only review your book, but leave one that is meaningful?
First, let’s talk about what we look for in reviews as consumers. When a book has several great, detailed reviews, we tend to scan them for highlights on the things that matter to us. That’s how we often buy books. Both good and bad reviews can help us decide, and, frankly, I’ve often bought a book after I read a bad review because what the reviewer didn’t like was exactly what I was looking for. That’s why detailed reviews are not only helpful, but they’re a must for your Amazon page.
So, if you have readers who love your work but aren’t savvy on posting reviews, here are some tips you can share with those who want to post something about your book:
- Whenever possible or appropriate, ask the reviewer to add their expertise on the topic if your book relates to nonfiction.
- If you have identified your keywords, share them with any friends who are posting and ask them that, if appropriate, they include the keywords in the review.
- Ask readers to post reviews that are between 100 and 450 words.
- If a reader feels compelled to include a spoiler, ask them to post a warning first so the customer can chose to read on—or not.
- Never, ever, ever offer to edit a review. You want honest appraisals, not watered-down reviews that all sound alike.
- It’s important that the reviewer cite why the book mattered to them. This also personalizes the review for the reader.