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Welcome to The Book Marketing Action Podcast with Becky Robinson! In this episode, Becky Robinson and Christy Kirk talk about the importance of Amazon reviews and walk you through the steps of creating a successful Amazon review strategy. 

If you shop on Amazon, the answer to the question, “Why are Amazon Reviews important?” becomes exceedingly evident. Whenever we shop on Amazon, we look at reviews as an important social proof marker. With books, it might seem like the process is different because most often, the book you are looking to buy is the only book with that title, so you aren’t comparing products like you would with other items on the internet. 

Yet, even still, if you land on a book on Amazon or if a book has been recommended to you, you want to see other people have read it. For any book, Amazon reviews are important because they provide social proof, credibility, they show readers your book is worth reading, and they help readers decide if your book is right for them.

When you see breakout best-sellers, they are the ones who have hundreds or even thousands of reviews on Amazon. It’s obvious that those are organic reviews that come because the book has been widely bought and widely read. But the reality is, most of the authors we work with don’t always have credibility in the world, the following, or the fame to propel them to best-seller status which would give them the exposure to get that type of organic traction around Amazon reviews. 

As a result, we recommend that authors give a lot of attention to an Amazon review strategy and plan for those reviews. For an author who may not have launched a book before, every single one of those Amazon reviews is hard to get. 

You may be wondering, “How many Amazon reviews do I need?” We recommend setting a goal of 50 Amazon reviews in the first month. Often, this is easier said than done. Even though our baseline recommendation is 50 Amazon reviews within the first month, sometimes we need to reevaluate and have different milestone goals along the way. 

For example, if we are working with an author whose book has been out for four months and they only have 5 Amazon reviews, we might set the goal of getting 15 Amazon reviews by the end of a set amount of time. It really depends upon where you are starting but if you are just beginning to plan to launch your book, you definitely want to craft your strategy toward that goal of a minimum of 50 Amazon reviews in the first month. 

Now, you may be asking yourself, “How do I get Amazon reviews?” First, think about the investment you are willing or able to make in sharing advanced copies of your book with people who know you, like you, follow you, and want to support your book launch. Most often, what we ask authors to do is to work backward. We have seen that no matter how committed your friends, family, and followers are you can expect only about a 10% to 30% return of reviews on advanced copies of your book.

That means, if you want 50 Amazon reviews in the first month, you want to send between 300 to 500 advance copies of your book. If you think you will get a more favorable return from your audience, you can always send fewer copies. 

Oftentimes, authors will ask, “Is it enough to send out just a PDF version of my book?” and it really depends on your audience. Sometimes people are fine with receiving a PDF version of your book and others will find it extremely cumbersome, which means they won’t read your book and leave a review. To create the best possible chance of receiving an Amazon review, we recommend sending a print copy of your book with a personalized letter and multiple follow-up emails reminding people of the commitment they made to leave an Amazon review.

Once you start receiving reviews, it’s important that they aren’t all 5-star reviews. Why? Because if you only have 5-star reviews for your book, people tend to not trust those reviews. Although receiving a 1-star or even 4-star review might hurt, it shows people are leaving real, honest reviews on your book. Don’t stress about receiving a 1-star review because it won’t have an impact on the long-term viability of your book and it shows readers a variety of opinions.

If your book has launched or is launching in the future, here are today’s action steps we encourage you to take:

  • Start thinking about a list. If you are planning on launching a book in the near future, start creating a list of people from your network who would be willing to leave an Amazon review. Write down their names and contact information, and start thinking about what kind of investment you can make in getting your advanced copies into the world. 
  • Don’t stop asking for Amazon reviews. If your book has already launched, we encourage you to choose 1 or 2 people who have read your book and follow-up with a repeated ask to leave a brief Amazon review. 

If you have any questions about developing a launch team to get Amazon reviews, we are always prepared to partner with you, email Becky Robinson here

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