By Misty M Beller @MistyMBeller
Elva Cobb Martin, President, ACFW-SC Chapter www.elvamartin.com
So we hear all the time word of mouth is what sells books, right?
The Amazon review is one of the most powerful word-of-mouth tools you'll ever encounter. Is your book well-researched? Your readers will appreciate that and mention it in their reviews. Did you forget to tie up loose ends in your story line? You'll be called out on it, I guarantee. Potential readers often look at the reviews to see if they're willing to spend precious money and time to read your story. Hone your craft and write the best story possible, and your reviews will reflect it.
How many reviews do you need? Many writers say it seems there's something "magical" about reaching twenty-five. After that, they seem to come so much easier and quicker. The more reviews you have with a four- or five-star rating, the more comfortable a potential reader will be taking a chance on your book.
So let's take an extra minute to talk through methods for garnering reviews.
Many of the options in this list work best if you send out ebook files, but you may sometimes need to send hard copies. Not every method works for every person or book, so it's great that we have so many options!
- Friends and family: Most of them are eager to post a review when they learn it will help you.
- Critique Partners and Beta Readers: They've already read the book, so it should be an easy review.
- Launch team: This is something I started with my second book and have enjoyed! Right now I have a group of twelve on my team, but I have an open sign-up form on my website where energetic leaders can request to join the team. The main thing I ask from my launch team is to post reviews. Anything else is optional!
- In the back matter of your book (I put this immediately following the last page of the story), have a page that asks the reader to post a review if they enjoyed the book. Have a clickable link (in your ebook) that takes them directly to the review page.
- Pre-orders. This is one of my personal favorites and one of the main ways I got my first 30ish reviews on The Lady and The Mountain Doctor. I wrote a fairly extensive blog post on pre-orders here.
- Ask other authors if they would be willing to read and review. The upside is authors do understand the value of reviews. The downside is most authors have a To Be Read stack taller than they are.
- Facebook groups like Christian Reviewers where you can post your book to potential reviewers. If they're interested, you email the person an ebook and they post a review. I've heard good things about these groups, however most will only let you post a book to the site if it has less than 10 reviews.
- Websites like StoryCartel.com, literatiauthorservices.com and others where you can post your book to potential reviewers. If they're interested, you send them an ebook through the website and they post a review. General feedback I've heard from this site is you usually get review on about 10-30% of the books you send.
- Free days. This is much harder to pull off if you're traditionally published, but basically you lower your ebook price to free for a day or two (or five). You'll typically receive thousands of downloads each day for a free book. If you have a note in the back matter of your book asking satisfied readers to post a review, those thousands of free downloads result in lots of reviews. You also have the nice side effect of great ranking with Amazon during those free days, which creates VISIBILITY and can help increase sales numbers once you're back to regular price.
Now, I'd love to hear from you! Have you found any of these options to be successful? Are there other strategies you use that aren't listed here? Let's hear them!
Misty M. Beller writes Christian historical romance, and is author of the bestselling novels The Lady and the Mountain Man and The Lady and the Mountain Doctor.
Misty was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. About ten years ago, she made a career change from farm life into the business world, where she now works as a Senior Manager and Director of Process & Training. Her husband and two daughters are gifts from God, keeping her both grounded and crazy.