Getting Amazon Reviews for Your Kindle Books
Positive book reviews can feel like an author’s lifeblood, particularly for authors who’ve self-published books through Kindle. Many self-published authors don’t have the marketing support—or marketing budget—of a traditional publishing house, meaning they rely on self-promotion and word-of-mouth strategies like reviews. Amazon is one of the world’s top booksellers, so it’s even more important for authors to learn how to get reviews on Amazon. If reaching out to everyone you know, and lots of people you don’t, to beg for a review sounds intimidating, don’t fret—here’s some advice for how to get book reviews easily and painlessly.
Why Are Amazon Reviews Important?
First, let’s clarify exactly why Amazon reviews are important. While Amazon reviews in and of themselves will not make or break your career as an author, they’re still powerful tools for a few reasons.
When you get positive reviews for your book, you build your credibility as a writer. This is particularly important for self-published authors and new authors who have not yet established a following. By giving your work their stamp of approval, people are telling their friends, family, and everyone else on the internet that your book is worth the investment of their time and money.
Ranking and sales
Reviews are one of several factors that go into Amazon’s algorithms for product ranking. As your ranking climbs, your book will be listed higher up on Amazon’s product pages. This makes it more likely that your book will catch the eyes of potential readers. More people seeing your book will often translate into more sales.
Book promotion sites
Some Kindle authors use book promotion sites such as BookBub, FreeBooksy, and BargainBooksy to expand their readership. Some promotion sites require a minimum number of reviews to list your book, while others do not. However, even for sites that don’t have a stated minimum review policy, having positive reviews shows your book’s potential. Promotion sites may be more willing to accept your book if it’s proven to be popular on other platforms like Amazon.
While we can hope that all of our book reviews are positive ones, the truth is that’s not realistic. Every writer can expect to receive at least one negative review at some point in their career. Negative reviews are not necessarily bad things, however. If the feedback is truly constructive, a negative review gives you a great opportunity to hone your writing, design, or marketing skills. You can also use constructive criticism to improve your book if you decide to release a second edition down the line. Still not convinced that negative reviews can be a good thing? Watch this video on the benefits of criticism and you may change your mind!
Amazon book reviews may not be a magic bullet but they clearly have their uses. Now let’s look more closely at how to get reviews on Amazon.
What to Do to Get Book Reviews on Amazon
The following are some basic, tried-and-true practices for increasing your Kindle book reviews. This list is far from comprehensive but provides a great place to start.
Line up reviewers before your book launch
When you launch your Kindle book, you want to build momentum quickly to help boost your initial sales and propel you in the rankings. Start strong out of the gate by having some reviews ready to go on launch day. Come up with a list of five to ten people who you would like to review your book. Ideally, these will be people with influence or an established name within your target niche. For example, if you are writing a book about fitness, you might consider reaching out to personal trainers with a large online following or to the owner of your local gym. If you already have an established relationship with these reviewers, great! If not, don’t worry—just introduce yourself, explain a bit about your book and why you’d love their opinion on it, and ask them if they’d be willing to write you an honest review. Share your Amazon review link with them so they can go straight to the review page quickly and easily and make sure they know the date your book will launch so they can get their review up as soon as the book is live. And remember to send a thank-you note or email to express your gratitude for their time!
Reach out to your networks
If you’re publishing a book as part of your business or an established brand, you likely already have some marketing networks in place—email lists, blog subscribers, and strong social media followings. If you don’t, try to get some of these tools in place before you launch your book. Your networks provide numerous opportunities to get reviews for your book. You can use your networks to locate advance reviewers and also to encourage ongoing reviews. While it’s important to have advance reviews, as mentioned before, it’s also important to continue getting reviews over the long-term. Consistent reviews will keep your book relevant in the Amazon rankings beyond launch day and will also show future readers that your work has stood the test of time. Remember to check in periodically with your networks to encourage anyone who’s purchased your book to leave a review. This is as simple as a quick social media post once a month or a P.S. in your email newsletter.
Include a call to action in your book
Some authors use their book itself to connect directly to readers. This is most often done in the back matter, after the end of the content. You can include links to your social media channels and website or you can put in a line or two asking readers to leave you a book review if they enjoyed your work. Remember to include a direct link to your Amazon review page so it’s easy for them to navigate!
What Not to Do to Get Book Reviews on Amazon
There are also some bad practices when it comes to how to get reviews for your book. Amazon has Customer Review Guidelines that stipulate how you can and cannot garner book reviews. Here are a few of the top no-no’s when it comes to getting reviews for your Kindle book.
Write reviews for your own books
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. While it might feel tempting to slip in an anonymous five stars, especially if you haven’t been getting as many reviews as you’d hoped, Amazon does not allow you to post a customer review of your own product.
Ask family and friends for reviews
Your loved ones will be understandably proud of your accomplishments, but technically family and close friends are not allowed to leave customer reviews of your book on Amazon either. Of course, you can ask for their help in other ways, such as sharing about your book on their social media channels or buying copies of your book for their friends. If they leave a review on your Amazon product page, however, there’s a chance the review might be removed for violating Amazon’s policy.
Request a positive review
When you reach out directly to reviewers, particularly to advance reviewers, don’t just ask them to write a glowing review. Amazon wants all reviews of their products to be honest and at the end of the day, so do you. Like we discussed before, genuine feedback about your book will ultimately be more helpful to you as a writer than fake positive reviews. Potential reviewers also want to know that you value and respect their time and expertise; pushing them to only write a positive review might make them feel used rather than respected.
Pay for a review
Customer reviews cannot be paid for in any way—not in cash, goods, or services. You also can’t trade reviews with other authors (review their book in exchange for a review of yours). The only thing that Amazon allows you to give to customers in exchange for a review is an advance free copy of your book.
You are, however, allowed to pay for what is called an editorial review. These reviews appear in a different place on your Amazon product page and tend to come from editors or experts in your field who are providing a more professional analysis of your book.There is no one-size-fits-all recipe when it comes to being a successful author. Many factors will play into your ultimate success, but the bottom line is that Kindle book reviews can help make your book sales easier, more consistent, and more frequent. Ready to learn more about being a Kindle author? Check out this blog about how to sell your book on Amazon more successfully.