Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Four Reasons Book Reviews Make A Difference

Last week I noticed a short video from one of my author friends. She was headed to a bookstore for an event and book signing. As I watched her video, it was news for me the author even had a book. I went over to Amazon, the largest online bookstore on the planet, and typed her name into the search tool. In an instant, I found several new books which had a release date of mid-September (or about two months ago).

Immediately I noticed the incomplete Amazon listing. The page had no book cover, no detailed information about the book and no book reviews. I hope this author had gathered a good crowd at her book signing (which can be lonely experiences). I'm still amazed at the lack of reviews because this person “should” have known the importance of book reviews on Amazon but had zero reviews. It sends out the wrong message when people view the book on Amazon. In this article, I'm going to highlight four reasons book reviews make a difference.  

1. Show Others Are Reading Your Book. When I go to the book page on Amazon and it has no reviews (or only three or four), it makes me wonder if others are buying and reading the book. 

Sometimes there are many reviews on the Amazon page for another reason. For example, Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly recently released her book, Settle for More. I listened to the audio book. Two or three days after the book released, I went to the Amazon page, there were over 200 reviews. Many of the reviews were one or two stars and obviously from people who disliked Kelly and had not read or heard any of her book. Amazon has recently cracked down on these reviews. I reviewed the audio book and posted it on Amazon but my review was not “a verified purchase” since I didn't buy the book on Amazon.  I looked for my Five Star review of Kelly's book and Amazon has removed it—the first time this has happened to me that I know about. With all of the controversy tied to this book, I can see how removing reviews which were not purchased directly on Amazon was a way to thin out the reviews. You can still see my review on Goodreads. I've written over 700 customer reviews on Amazon. In general, reviews on Amazon are proof that your book is being read and bought.

2. Prove You are Promoting Your Book. It's one step to publish your book (traditional or self-published). Every author needs to be promoting your book and if you have reviews (positive and negative but honest), it is proof of your marketing efforts.

3. Encourage Additional Book Sales. Millions of customers are buying books every day on Amazon, Barnes & Noble,Christian Book.com and other websites. Reviews help those customer's buying decisions.

4. Show You Have On-going Readers. Maybe your book has been out for a while. Is it getting new book reviews? If so, these reviews are proof that people continue to gain value from your book. A few weeks ago,Brent Sampson reviewed my Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. While Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams has been out for several years, a new review shows readers the book is continuing to help others.

Reviews make a huge difference and every author needs to be gathering these reviews. How do you get reviews? I have a free teleseminar about getting book reviews (follow the link). Here's some simple yet effective ideas for you:

1. Ask others to review your book. Tim Grahl has terrific insight on this issue in this article. Scroll down to the bottom of this article and you will find a free download. Yes you have to give your first name and email address but it is well-worth this effort. These tools will help you gather reviews for your book.

Whenever a reader emails you with praise for a book, respond to their email with appreciation—and simple request, “Will you cut and paste those words over on Amazon with a Five Star review?” Tell them what you need. Notice how I suggested the star rating—but also send them a short link to the actual page on Amazon. If you make it easy for them to do it, you will be surprised how often people will do it.

2. As you read or listen to books, write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.  It's a simple way you can support others through writing honest reviews. 

Do you write book reviews and gather reviews for your books? Tell me about your experiences in the comment section. 


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