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#1 Paul Dillon

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:09 PM

Getting reviews on Amazon seems to be quite a challenge. I just started trying out this strategy.
http://mikemichalowi...ook-or-product/

Over the last two days, I contacted 20 reviewers. 2 have got back to me asking for a review copy - both are book bloggers. One person was too busy but at least replied. I'm searching for people that reviewed my also-boughts. Just finding the contact info for 20 reviewers takes hours - and, unlike the blogger, I'm not even considering people that don't have an email or website listed on their profiles.

Anybody got other tips for getting Amazon reviews?

BTW, I'm wondering about the ratio of unsolicited reviews to sales on Amazon. I've read anecdotal numbers of 100:1 and 1000:1
One author I know sold who sold well over 100k copies on Amazon had a ratio of round 450:1

#2 Caterina

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:56 PM

I'm not sure if there's really a trick to it, but making friends really helps. Giveaways really helps too. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

#3 Jean Oram

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:36 PM

Holy smokes that is a process. Wow! It makes sense though. And if it works, right? Is it worth the time? (I guess you get faster, right?)

What about a request for reviews right in your book?

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#4 Paul Dillon

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:17 PM

I'm not sure if there's really a trick to it, but making friends really helps. Giveaways really helps too. Sorry I can't be more helpful.


Cat, Guess I don't have enough friends (or family it would appear)

#5 Paul Dillon

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:25 PM

Holy smokes that is a process. Wow! It makes sense though. And if it works, right? Is it worth the time? (I guess you get faster, right?)

What about a request for reviews right in your book?


Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to spread the work over a week to make the 25 contacts. It seems like only a small percent will accept/reply.

Amazon does ask for a review at the end of all Kindle books and they also email purchasers reminding them to leave a review. It seems not many buyers review so it's going to be down to the author to do the leg work.

#6 Caterina

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:21 PM

Cat, Guess I don't have enough friends (or family it would appear)


You have loads of twitter followers. :wink: Do a giveaway on your blog and you can ask that those who get the book, please leave a review.

#7 M. Arthur Stone

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 12:22 PM

I think I'll just buy 10 copies of my book under 10 emails addresses and say wonderful things about myself.

No good?
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#8 Paul Dillon

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 01:42 PM

You have loads of twitter followers. :wink: Do a giveaway on your blog and you can ask that those who get the book, please leave a review.


I tried something similar with giveaways to get beta readers - I think the site was librarything - a couple of hundred people requested the six free copies on offer. Never heard back from any of the 6 recipients.

Athough I am making it clear that a review is optional for the free copy, the likelihood of actually getting a review seems much higher with this method. These people are either book bloggers or regular Amazon reviewers. I aslo have a fairly professional looking review request.
http://bit.ly/VETLyx

That being said, I have three requests from 25 emails. I sent one person a hardcopy from my stock and I gifted a Kindle copy to two others. The Kindle gift copies can be exchanged for gift credit so there's a risk the money is completely wasted with not even a sale being registered with Amazon.

#9 Paul Dillon

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 01:48 PM

I think I'll just buy 10 copies of my book under 10 emails addresses and say wonderful things about myself.

No good?


Yes, this is certainly possible and there's been much publicity recently about authors gettting caught out doing this. Amazon does require a credit card purchase for each new account so it's not practical to do this for a large number of reviews - even ten would be a hassle.

#10 Paul Dillon

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 01:53 PM

One other problem is that Amazon doesn't combine UK and US reviews, so the process has to be done twice. I am building up small numbers but steady purchases on both sites and I need reviews for each.

#11 alessag

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 07:41 PM

A number of years ago I worked as an editor for a regional monthly publication. We received a LOT of free books to review, not to mention emails from first time authors and independently published books. In the beginning, I would respond to say, sure I'd take a look at whatever they sent. Sadly, most of what I got wasn't worth the postage. A couple of authors were particularly rude and demanding of why I wouldn't print a review and what about the cost they just incurred and yadda yadda. After that, I stopped even reading the emails.

I am NOT saying your book falls in this category. I am saying that reputable reviewers have probably had similar experiences, which is why you're getting the low response rate. Plus, they never have a shortage of something to read and review, so you have to make your work particularly stand out because you're asking them to invest hours to read/write something they're not really getting paid to write.

With that, I really would encourage to you reach out to friends, other writer's you know in you local groups, people from your religious community (if you have one) to see if they'll start writing some reviews. Keep in mind, if you write a review for one of your writer friends, they will usually return the favor. Also, why isn't your publisher getting someone - anyone to write a review?

If you really want to try for a blind review, check out your local patch.com or examiner.com sites. Or, try your local print publications. Most of those writers don't get paid so they'll most likely feel all special and professional if you send them a press release with the offer of the free book. It's a local angle story for them (half of which they won't have to write, if they use your press release) and its a review for you.

Good luck.
Alessa.

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#12 Paul Dillon

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:03 PM

Thanks for the reply Alessa.

Your first paragraph reminds me why I didn't try getting reviews from book bloggers or review sites.

I have a few more "Friends & Family" reviews promised - got 2 more today on Amazon UK. The book has only been out a couple of months so I haven't twisted anyone's arm yet. Other authors are a good idea too but I can only manage to read one book every 1-2 months so that's not going to produce many reciprocal reviews.

I'm looking for Amazon reviews in particular - of course I'd be happy for any reviews - but all my marketing focus is on Amazon. I think this (link in first post) strategy has promise - I'm up to 5 requests now out of 25 sent and all 5 reviewers look promising. If I can repeat this each week for a month, that's a possible 20 reviews in the pipeline. I'd be more than happy with 20 reviews. In fact, I'll do a dance and post the video here.

#13 TBruce

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 12:01 PM

I actually have to (respectfully) diagree with Alessa's advice - reviews from friends and family and reciprocal reviews between authors are both practices that are frowned upon by readers and can bite you in the butt. Very few readers put stock in reviews by friends and family as there is an assumption (true or not) that such people are biased. I specifically asked my friends and family to NOT review my book for that very reason - a few did it anyway, but they were all very careful to explicitly state in their review that they knew me to make sure everything was transparent.

I've seen the revelation that authors engaged in the latter practice of reciprocal reviews blow up pretty quickly on the "interwebs" and damage several authors' reputations so I would be very wary of that practice as well.

You have to remember that while, yes, reviews are a good marketing tool for authors, their real purpose is for READERS and readers get very angry when they feel someone is trying to manipulate them (by stacking the deck with good reviews or tampering with rankings/ratings by voting up good results or trying to bury bad results, etc.) [not saying you are doing any of those things at all! - just saying that in general, readers get froth-at-the-mouth angry with anything that feel is venturing into this territory].

I've had very good luck approaching bloggers/review sites, but yes, it's a lot of work. The Making Connections site on Goodreads is a good one - you can post a request for reviews and those interested contact you, so it's quicker/more efficient than sending out individual "cold call" emails.

Hope that helps!

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#14 Paul Dillon

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 01:00 PM

Terri, I know you have put a whole lot of effort into contacting review sites so it's great to see you have been getting results.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with your "No F&F" policy. How would a reader know a review was posted by a friend or not? And why should that matter? Just because they are a friend doesn't mean they will post a positive review if they did not enjoy the book. As long as the review is their honest opinion and they were not hassled into giving it, I say it's a genuine review. Reciprocal author reviews may be easier to detect and it's not something I have solicited. I have no reviews from anyone on AQC for example.

I think the review process has always been questionable. Publishers pay companies like kirkus for reviews - not sure how ethical that is.

I'l take a look at the Goodreads group. I do need to be more active over there, although it is specifically Amazon reviews that I'm interested in. I'm starting to get some visibility on Amazon and no doubt losing potential readers who are unsure of an unknown author, and doubly so due to lack of reviews. I'll go back to my earlier point that unsolicited reviews seem to be quite rare on a sale:review ratio. It's a classic chicken & egg.

#15 KC Rivers

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 03:36 PM

I see both the positives and negatives of friends and family reviewing your book. On the one hand, if they actually read it and enjoyed, I do want the feedback. But I also want honesty. If they're giving it five stars just because they recognize me as the author, well, I don't really want that because it isn't the truth.

I wrote a review for my cousin-in-law's book, and it was favorable because I honestly enjoyed it. If it wasn't as well-written as I'd hoped, I would have made that statement. Perhaps being a fellow writer makes a difference, but personally, I'm assuming that a lot of the people who read my book (especially when it first comes out) are probably going to know me in some way, shape or form.

#16 alessag

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 03:41 PM

Terri,

Thanks for disagreeing! (Seriously, that's how good conversations get going and we can all learn from different points of views.)

Perhaps I left out a very important piece of information in my post, which I thought was obvious, but is: If you're leaving a review for friends/family or for another writer, it should be sincere and honest. If the book is mediocre or worse, then it's dicey about what kind of review you should leave, if any. Leaving a glowing review on a not-so-good book brings your own writing ability/identity/integrity into question, imo. At the same time, writers are also readers and I think knowing about their favorite books is fun and appreciated.

Any chance you can share details about how writer friend reviews have blown up for people?
Alessa.

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#17 M. Arthur Stone

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 03:47 PM

What about writing 5 or 10 different reviews and giving them to friends and family who buy the book and have them post?

Still bad?
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#18 Paul Dillon

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 04:32 PM

What about writing 5 or 10 different reviews and giving them to friends and family who buy the book and have them post?

Still bad?


Nah. That would be a bummer - Imagine the scenario: Friend/Family member buys book and either can't be bothered to read or didn't like it - and you have to badger them to post a review that you've written for them? It's not exactly a confidence booster - I'd rather not go there. I'm going to send out a newsletter in a few days mentioning the importance of reviews and leave it at that.

Contacting Amazon reviewers by the method suggested in the first post isn't a bad idea. It took a while to prepare the request and experiment with the best books but now I've got 10 reviewers in the pipeline. It took 1 hour to get the last 5 reviewers so that's not a bad return.

#19 Alys Cohen

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 12:17 AM

I'm not sure I entirely agree with your "No F&F" policy. How would a reader know a review was posted by a friend or not? And why should that matter? Just because they are a friend doesn't mean they will post a positive review if they did not enjoy the book.


I have a policy that when I post a review of a book by an author I know, I use a nickname and keep it secret. This way no review can be pinned so me, so I can be honest. Even if something is five starts, I will not use my name.

#20 LH Thomson

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 12:20 PM

The way Mike has described is really the only way, Paul. But it does work.

I will add that if you hunt around, Amazon has a comprehensive list of its top 10,000 reviewers that is public. Many have email addresses, nearly all list the genres they like. Their relative weight as reviewers does influence where Amazon positions your book.

J


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