How to Get Book Reviews: The Ultimate Manifesto

How to Get Book Reviews: The Ultimate Manifesto

how to get book reviews

How to Get Book Reviews: The Ultimate Manifesto

In this blog post we will detail how to approach getting quality honest reviews for your book, and legitimately—in ways that won’t risk getting your Amazon account suspended.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • How to get Amazon book reviews
  • How to get blogs to review your book
  • How to get video reviews of your book
  • What to do with book review services (which ones to use and which ones to avoid)
  • Endorsements 101
  • What NOT to do
  • And other unique strategies to get more reviews for your book

This is without a doubt the most comprehensive guide you’ll find on how to get your book out there, and into the hands of people that are willing and able to give it a read and share helpful feedback with you.

A few caveats before we get started:

  • This process can be done for any book, whether or not you’re self-publishing on Amazon or with a traditional publisher. Either way, you’ll have to do the majority of your own book marketing.
  • We recommend launching a book on Amazon for maximum visibility, thus our advice below follows this line of thinking. You can certainly follow the advice on how to get endorsements, but the Amazon notes will not be relevant. If you have a huge following, you might be successful in just having the book available on your website and might pull in more royalties, but most of us aren’t faced with this dilemma.
  • If something feels off when it comes to getting reviews, follow your intuition. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to Amazon. Their banhammer is heavy and they aren’t afraid to use it.

If you’re ready to dive in and give your book the attention it deserves, let’s go.

Why Are Book Reviews Important?

If you’re going to launch and market a book successfully, you’re going to need at least a few book reviews. No landing page or book listing is complete without testimonials of other people that have read the book.

Reviews are important for four main reasons:

  1. Reviews provide basic social validation for your book. If a potential reader browses Amazon and sees a book from a new author with no reviews, they will not buy it, plain and simple. You could set up multiple promos, send tons of traffic with ads, buy a giant billboard etc., but no one will buy a book with zero social validation.
  2. Reviews trigger Amazon algorithms allowing your book to rise in the ranks within Amazon’s search engine. A book with few or no reviews will be lower in search rankings, and will not be listed on potential reader’s screens in any other way.
  3. A book with zero reviews will not be accepted by most promotional platforms. You’ll need at least five reviews for most sites, and some require a minimum of ten to even consider your book. And consider the fact that AMS ads are currently growing in popularity as of this writing. Star rating and number of reviews is displayed within the ad which means boosting your reviews will increase AMS ad conversions!
  4. And lastly, the more reviews your book has, the better the conversion rates on Amazon when someone visits your book page. Of course, this approach has a ceiling of effectiveness, as getting hundreds of reviews would take an equal number of hours, but most books on Amazon struggle to get even fifty reviews. Just think about how much your book will be set apart by getting it to a hundred.

You need to focus on reviews and getting the ball rolling. You don’t need to manufacture hundreds and hundreds, but if you don’t get people to review your book, it will be next to impossible to gain momentum and your book will sink.

Getting reviews must be a part of your launch and book marketing strategy—plain and simple.

Amazon Verified Reviews vs. Unverified

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to Amazon’s verified reviews and unverified reviews, so let me clarify.

Both types of reviews are extremely important.

Verified reviews are the cream of the crop. They show up higher in your book reviews list, and from all that I have seen and heard, they count for more in the mysterious Amazon algorithm that ranks your book vs. other books. However, they are harder to come by.

The reviewer has to purchase the book on Amazon in order for the review to be a verified purchase. This means that if you send them a copy (whether digital or print) their review will be unverified.  This makes it difficult to procure verified reviews in advance for a book launch unless folks are willing to purchase your book themselves.

Unverified reviews are reviews that can come in from anyone. While I understand Amazon’s attempt to delineate between these two and look more favorably upon verified reviews, these reviews are still important.

Unverified reviews will come be from people you have sent your book out to in exchange for a review. These reviews provide that initial surge of social proof that you so desperately need, and count toward your total review count. There are buyers that will only look at the review count and total rating and make a decision from that.

The best practice is to plan to get both types of reviews for your book. Work every angle possible to get your book as many reviews as you can. Get unverified reviews to start, and use some of the advanced (but still simple) strategies that we will discuss below to vary your approach and increase review count.

What NOT to do

Before we get rolling with book review strategies let’s start with some methods you should avoid completely. These are things that can get reviews removed from your book’s page, and potentially get your Amazon account banned. Avoid at all costs!

1) Friend and Family Reviews

Amazon’s TOS (terms of service) state that no friends and family can review your book. As such, that is our written recommendation.

But if you’re like me, you like to exist in the gray area from time to time.

I tend to err on the side of caution when following Amazon’s rules, but for reviews I don’t follow them to the letter. Yes, they could remove reviews at their discretion, but I’ve never had them do this. The reason behind this is that I tend to become “friends” with clients, readers, other authors, and the like. What constitutes a “friend” in this case? Why should a reader that is now my “friend” not be able to write a review?

It’s not just that I disagree with Amazon (because let’s face it, Amazon doesn’t care whether we agree or not!). This restriction is really difficult to assess and to avoid.

So just remember, you might be playing with fire here. The last thing we want is for your book to launch with ten reviews and then suddenly, they disappear leaving you with a goose egg. But if your reader that happens to be a Facebook friend leaves a review, Amazon might remove it.

If you do go for only friends and family reviews and this happens, I warned you. Use them sparingly, if at all, but do so at your own risk.

If you want to stay 100% white hat, avoid friends and family completely. Just be willing to bug a few strangers to get that first review and get the ball rolling. It’s all about momentum, but ultimately, it is always good to play it safe when it comes to Amazon.

Be cautious here, but no need to stay up at night worrying that the review your cousin left for you is going to ruin your book launch. 😉

A good rule of thumb is that if something feels super shady it probably is, but we do need to get the ball rolling. As indie authors, we cannot rely completely on organic reviews, it’s just not an option.

2) Review Swaps? Bad Idea!

Many authors ask about doing review swaps with other authors.

“I’ll read and review your book if you read and review mine!”

Sounds great right?

In theory yes, but this one is even more dangerous than friends and family. Amazon can easily see that two of their authors have written reviews for each other’s books, and big brother doesn’t like that.

You’re not guaranteed to get caught, because Amazon has better things to do, but it’s still a risk.

Don’t do it.

I like to naturally find other authors and read their books and write a review. If they ask me what they can do for me, I suggest other things like sharing a blog post or something similar.

I’d rather not risk Amazon punishing me or my book for this reason. It can be hard to avoid, as we can’t control other people, but Amazon will still hold you responsible for your book’s page.

Just try to let things happen naturally and don’t game the system and you should be okay. For the most part, the authors complaining about all their reviews disappearing are the ones practicing shady tactics. Not always, but usually.

3) Paying for Reviews

Don’t do it! There are definitely people out there that will take your money and leave a review. Certainly you could get away with it, but why test Amazon? Amazon has a way of knowing these things.

Whatever you do, don’t associate yourself with paid reviews!

There is a huge difference between paying for reviews directly, and paying a service to reach out to reviewers for you, and we will cover this later on in strategy #6.

To sum up, don’t pay for reviews, don’t swap reviews with other authors, and don’t heckle friends and family to leave reviews (if it happens naturally so be it). Don’t wait for reviews to come in, go out and get the ball rolling.

By all means read Amazon’s TOS, but follow the above advice on what not to do, trust your gut if something seems off, and you should be okay.

How to Get More Book Reviews: 7 Advanced Strategies

These strategies aren’t easy, and take a lot of work, but if you follow them more people will leave a review on your book’s sales page.

Try not to put all your eggs in one basket and go one route. If you have the time and the wherewithal, use a measure of each of these strategies to practically guarantee that your book will have at least a few reviews come launch, and your review momentum will build from there.

Advanced Book Review Strategy #1: Put a Call to Action in the Back of the Book

This is an often overlooked, but relatively simple strategy to get book reviews. Put a page in your book that looks something like the following script:


A Quick Favor Please?

Before you go can I ask you for a quick favor?

Good, I knew I could count on you.

Would you please leave this book a review on Amazon?

Reviews are very important for authors, as they help us sell more books. This will in turn enable me to write more books for you.

Please take a quick minute to go to Amazon and leave this book an honest review. I promise it doesn’t take very long, but it can help this book reach more readers just like you.

Thank you for reading, and thank you so much for being part of the journey.

-Jordan


Naturally, you’ll want to add your own flair to this to increase conversions, but once this is in your book you can set it and forget it! (Remember that old infomercial? No? Just me then? Oh well.)

This is the easiest way you can get more book reviews and capitalize on the sales that your book gets. Sell more books, get more reviews.

Oh, and the best part about this strategy? Your book reviews that come from this method are guaranteed Amazon verified reviews (unless you happened to send your book out for free to the masses). Woohoo for verified reviews!

Advanced Book Review Strategy #2: Search for Readers that have Reviewed Similar Books on Amazon

This is an in depth and complicated strategy. I do this for clients that come in through our best seller package option, but you can do it yourself by following the steps below.

Step #1: Review Tracking Setup

Two things you need to get started:

  1. Click here to download a review tracking spreadsheet. You’re more than welcome to make your own, but mine is specifically formatted to work in sync with our follow up program, which we will discuss more in the third section.
  2. Use Google Sheets to open the file instead of Excel. Google Sheets is free, and is what makes the follow up magic happen.

Once you have the sheet open, start with the first tab, the “known reviewers” tab.

First, you put the name and contact info of everyone you know that has already promised you a review. We want to organize all this info in one place and doing so will save you time later on.

Once you’re done adding those two things, move on over to the “Amazon reviewer tracking” tab.

On this page you’ll see the following:

Name:

Email:

Book They Reviewed: For this step we’ll be looking at other books they reviewed on Amazon. Here we will put the title of the book they reviewed so we can add that in the email later.

Website: The reviewer’s website where you got the contact information.

Books Looked Through: This is where you’ll keep track of the books you’ll be searching through on Amazon.

Notes: Any additional notes you need to add on that specific reviewer.

Once you have a basic understanding of how this spreadsheet works, you’re set and ready to go find potential reviewers.

This is what it looks like:

how to get book reviews

Step #2: Finding Potential Reviewers

We find reviewers by going on Amazon and searching for them.

Find other books that are similar to yours and within the same basic genre. When you find books that have a lot of solid reviews, this is your gold mine.

Start to add these books into the “books looked through column.”

You can also use KDP Rocket to search for books as well, just search for related keywords to find other books in your genre. Not a necessary action, but just another reason to check out that program.

Track which books you look through in a separate column in your spreadsheet.

When you go to the book’s product page on Amazon, click on “customer reviews.”

Make sure that the review page is displaying “all reviewers.”

Now start clicking on the profiles of the people listed. The reviewer name will be listed right below the star rating that they gave the book. Hold control and left click and make it into a new tab to keep the process smooth.

Pro Tip: Only click on reviewer profiles that have a profile picture displayed, as these are the most likely to have websites listed. You might miss a few emails, but the time saved by only looking at the more valuable profiles is worth it.

Now, this is where Amazon recently reared its big bad ugly self and changed the game…

how to get book reviews

No longer is the “email me” link provided on their profile. This has vanished across all platforms.

So now what!? Ugh!

Did Amazon leave indie authors out to dry with no platform? Nope! (Not yet anyways…)

Never fear, we are not dead yet, our lives are just more difficult. Thanks Amazon!

Now we have to look through profile after profile and search for a link to the reviewer’s website or social media platform to (eventually) find an email.

To help in our efforts we need two things:

  1. More time (or a VA) to help you manage the workload.
  2. This chrome browser plugin called Hunter to help pull email addresses from websites.

Once you find someone that has a website listed, click it, search through their page for contact info or use the Hunter program to find an email if available.

Here is a video of me doing this exact process. You’ll see just how slow it can be, but how it is, in fact, still possible to find reviewers this way.

Now pull up your spreadsheet and put that email address, their display name, the book they reviewed, and their website.

Make sure all the information is good to go and move on to the next one.

What if they have no website listed? No problem, move onto the next one as quickly as possible.

The process above works well, but it is time consuming. It depends on how fast you can find those emails and how much you want to work at it.

If you do choose to go it alone, more power to you. Keep on finding those emails and building up that spreadsheet.

Once you get to 200, or pass out from a combination of exhaustion and boredom, you’ll be able to send out emails.

You could just send each one out individually, or you could dive deeper and learn how to set up an email campaign using GMass in the next strategy. Up to you.

Advanced Book Review Strategy #3: Send Emails and Set Follow ups.

This next step will take you to the next level, and you’ll get at least twice as many potential reviewers to respond to your emails. It’s the Pièce De Résistance for getting book reviews, and 99% of authors either won’t do it, or won’t do it well. This is your chance to get a leg up on the competition.

Don’t believe me? Fear not, I have numbers for you, because who doesn’t like hard data?

The following are statistics for email response rates from two different campaigns:

Campaign #1: 51 total responses out of 198 contacts = 25.75% total response rate

  • Original message response = 6 out of 51 = 12%
  • 1st follow up message response = 34 out of 51 = 66%
  • 2nd Follow up message response = 11 out of 51 = 22%

12% (6) responded to the original message, and 88% (45) needed a follow up reminder to hit reply.

Campaign #2: 45 total responses out of 126 contacts = 35% total response rate

  • Original message response = 12 out of 45 = 26%
  • 1st follow up message response = 23 out of 45 = 52%
  • 2nd Follow up message response = 10 out of 45 = 22%

26% (12) responded to the original message, and 74% (33) needed a reminder email.

If you follow up with your email campaigns, you could see as much as a 750% increase in total responses.

These results are staggering, and should be enough to convince you of the power of mastering the follow up process.

The fact is that people get busy, or forget, and a gentle reminder can make a huge difference in terms of response rates, and ultimately, book reviews.

In this step you’ll learn how to master the follow up part of getting reviews for your book. This is where most authors fail, as they don’t have a firm grasp on the “how” of following up.

What you’ll learn here:

  1. How authors can master the follow up process through tracking.
  2. How to use GMass for auto follow ups for initial emails.
  3. The two level follow up process (initial email follow up vs response follow up).
  4. Email templates to use for follow ups.
  5. Why the focus must be on building relationships, and why and when you should switch from the auto follow up procedure once you get a response.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Setting Up Tracking

To do this section, you do need to be using my Google spreadsheet that I shared earlier. Here it is again for you.

Remember that the focus should be on building relationships with potential reviewers, but it’s important to make sure you’re tracking the follow up process. You don’t want to send several follow up emails to the person that already left you a review. This would be like asking the barista to make you a double shot espresso, when you already have one in your hand.

Actually, that would be great. I’ll take a double-double, why not?

I jest, but without tracking the process, it’s easy to forget who did what. Best to track in order to keep everything organized.

Remember, we are using the Amazon reviewer tab that you completed above.

Starting up GMass

Go ahead and add GMass to a Gmail account here. It’s free up until fifty emails per day, so you can get a good feel for it before you buy. Once you decide you love it, buy it. Don’t hesitate. At only twelve bucks a month it’s a steal, and that link above isn’t an affiliate link, I just love GMass that much.

What GMass does for you:

  • You can send mass emails to a group of people, but each person gets the email individualized by you. But, instead of typing out and sending each email individually, GMass lets you do it in one click.
  • Auto follow ups for people that do not respond to your initial email. Instead of reaching out and resending emails to each person that doesn’t respond, the system will do it automatically for you after a set number of days.

Once you add Gmass, your Gmail page should look like this:

How to use GMass for Book Reviews

Same old Gmail, but now with a few upgrades. In the picture, you’ll see two arrows. The top one points to the button that will connect GMass to your spreadsheet. The second points to the GMass send button.

Go ahead and hit the button on top to connect a spreadsheet, and you’ll see this screen:

As long as you use the same Gmail account that is connected to the Google spreadsheet, your review tracking spreadsheet should be listed here, and you can connect to it.

Next you’ll see that GMass has opened up a new message with email recipients already loaded in from your spreadsheet:

using gmass to get more book reviews

Now, you can write out your initial outreach email to all of your potential reviewers. But, as you do so, add in the fields from the spreadsheet by following the steps below:

*GMass will remind you several times, but it’s worth noting that you should never ever hit the normal “send button when using Gmass. Instead, always use the red GMass send button.

Click the Up Arrow Next to the GMass Send Button Seen Below

Add in Spreadsheet Prompts

Write Out Your Email Using Those Spreadsheet Items

When you do this and then hit send, GMass will only send one email to each person, and it will match their line items on the spreadsheet.

This is what a final email might look like:

email scripts for book review outreach

You also should proofread your emails, as I apparently neglected to do above (3rd paragraph). In all seriousness, most people will overlook a small error, but some will stop reading at the first typo, assuming that your book might have more of the same issues. Proofread several times and then hit send!

Schedule the Auto Follow Ups

Before you hit send, set up the auto follow ups for your email. These auto follow ups will send to anyone that does not respond to your original email.

Hit GMass Button Not the Blue Send Button

The fifth and final step is to send them email but again, be sure to hit the red GMass send button, and NOT the regular blue send button, that would be bad. That would be like shouting a love letter over a school intercom… Please don’t do that. For real though, if you hit send, it will send a mass email to all of the contacts listed and won’t personalize a thing and will make you look really bad.

Now here is an email script you can use and can copy if you need a starting point. (Just make sure that you connect the spreadsheet, and please personalize the email and don’t just use my script word for word… That′s never a good idea.)


“Subject: (Title of your book) Review Request for {Name}

Hello {Name}

I am reaching out to you because I noticed you did a review for {book they reviewed}.

My new book is called (your book title) and then (Write a unique introduction to your book, tell them why they might like it compared to the book they reviewed)

All you have to do to get your free copy is reply to this email and agree to leave me an honest review on Amazon. Reviews are of tremendous importance to authors, and will help the book propel the ranks of Amazon.

(Tell them when the book will be on Amazon)

If interested, hit reply and let me know, and I will send you over a copy in PDF, MOBI or EPUB format so you can read it on any device that you choose.

Have an awesome day,

-(Your Name)


Now just wait for your email replies to start coming in. GMass will only send the auto follow ups to those that don’t respond, so that system will run itself.

Isn’t automation with personalization a wonderful thing? You can indeed have the best of both worlds! 🙂

What to Do When You Start Getting Replies

First Reply

When “Yes!” replies start to come in, send them the following email (or something like it):


“I have attached a PDF copy of the book to this email. The book will be live on Amazon on (book launch date). I will check back in at that time and provide the link to the book’s page on Amazon for leaving the review if you’re willing and able to do so.

Thanks again for agreeing to leave a review. I hope you have a great day!

-(Your Name)”


After you send this email (or something like it, the more unique you can make it the better off you’ll be) switch over to the second tab on the spreadsheet.

You should see this:

At this point in the process you have to give the reviewer ample time to read and review your book. You’re asking for a big favor, especially since some will actually take the time to read the entire book and provide a thorough review. This is what we prefer—well thought-out, quality reviews.

Mark in the spreadsheet what date you sent the ARC (advanced review copy), and wait about two weeks before you send them the link to the book on Amazon.

One additional note here: This part of the process could conceivably be done via GMass as well, but I don’t suggest it. It’s important to utilize outreach tools to start conversations, but I think it’s equally important to nurture relationships with reviewers and be as personal as possible. You might take a different route here, but I think my approach is a good middle ground of automation and relationship building.  

First Follow Up

After giving the reviewer ample time to review your book, send them the following email:


“Hope you have had a chance to read the book and enjoyed it.

It is now live on Amazon and you can find it here: (Book’s link: Hint, don’t use an affiliate link here, no reason to potentially alienate reviewers)

If you could take the time to leave us a quick review of the book, we would very much appreciate it. If you particularly enjoyed the book, consider sharing it via Facebook. (optional)

Thanks,

-Jordan”


When you send this email, mark the spreadsheet with the date that it was sent, and then wait for their reply and review.

If they do reply saying they left a review, thank them immediately and profusely. Remember that you’re asking for a big favor and the reader just delivered. Make sure to let them know how thankful you are.

Second Follow Up

If the reviewer hasn’t left a review within 7 days of the first follow up, send them another gentle reminder to get their review up there. At this point you might start to feel like you’re bothering them, but don’t stress about this.  After all, they did agree to read and review the book.

You can send them something like this:


“Just wanted to send a friendly reminder that this book officially launches tomorrow (or whenever the book launches). If you would be willing and able to post a review before that date, we would very much appreciate it.”

You can find it here: (book’s page)

Enjoy the rest of your day!

-Jordan


After this email, I tend to space out the follow up process, but I do continue to send out reminders to those who haven’t yet read and reviewed.

Above all, remember to personalize the emails whenever you can and build the relationship. If someone told you that they won’t have time to read the book until the new year, don’t send them multiple emails over a week’s time.

Pheww! That was a lot, but don’t worry, once you have it setup and going it gets easier Just remember to always, (always!) personalize when you can. It will not only increase conversions, but will make it so you don’t come off as spam.

Pro Tip: Once you start getting responses back you’ll inevitably receive critical reviews as well. Some offer not to post it to be courteous and not bring down your rank. Fly in the face of conventional wisdom and ask them to post the review anyway. As long as you have other positive reviews (and you believe in your book’s content) critical reviews can add a sense of legitimacy to your sales page. Does anyone take thirty 5-star reviews seriously? Maybe, but having a mix is much more common.

Advanced Book Review Strategy #4: Use an Email Follow up Sequence

Similar to advanced strategy #1, once you set this up and get it rolling you can forget about it and move on.

As part of the many book marketing strategies I recommend, building a lead magnet in your book is a must.

Not only do you benefit from capturing leads of real people that you can begin a dialogue with, you can utilize these emails for so much more.

Like getting more book reviews. 😉

For example, I have the following email setup as an auto follow up sequence for all of those who sign up for the bonuses that accompany my latest book release Volcanic Momentum.


Jordan here.

I do hope this email finds you well and making the most out of this beautiful day.

I wanted to check in and see if you’re enjoying Volcanic Momentum?

If so, would you mind going to the book’s page and leaving a quick review? One of my BHAGs is getting this book to 100 Amazon reviews and I need your help to do so. Thanks in advance for your time and participation in this lofty goal.

You can go here to leave the book a review:

http://www.jmring.com/review-volcanic-momentum/

Till we speak again may you continue to seek and live out your divine destiny!

-Jordan

PS: I still have free audiobook codes available if you would prefer to set Destiny Goals while driving or walking. Just email me and I’ll send the code with instructions your way! 🙂


This email adds just another layer to the review gathering system. It’s a quick reminder to the reader that 1) they are on my list (I want people on my email list that actually want to be on it) and 2) that I want their feedback in review form.

I use ConvertKit for my email management, so this setup is very simple. Basically, once someone signs up for my bonuses they get automatically added to this sequence. This process will look pretty similar for any type of email program that you have.

This is yet another reason to make sure to capitalize on book sales by building your platform.

Advanced Book Review Strategy #5: Go Beyond Amazon and Find Book Review Blogs on Google

This strategy is a fun and easy way to reach new audiences and get more book reviews and is good for many different reasons:

  • They spread your message about your book to several different audiences which is good not only for potential sales, but also for building your platform and brand.
  • It’s not just you selling your book, it’s others providing their thoughts and endorsing your book.
  • It helps you to build connections with other authors and other readers in your genre which is good for long term growth.

Step #1: Make Your List of Books to Look Through in Your Spreadsheet

The method of searching for other book reviews is relatively simple. If you followed advanced review strategy #2 (find reviewers from similar books on Amazon) you already have a nice list made from your spreadsheet that you can copy over.

Now, you’re bound to get repeats from doing this, as some people will leave an Amazon review AND a blog review for a book, but again the magic of GMass saves us. You can set it to suppress emails to contacts that may have already received an email from you. Winning!

Step #2: Search Google Using Advanced Search Strings

You can type the following into Google to find blog reviewers:

“Book Title” + “Book Review” (with the quotes)

As you start looking through the results, ignore any Amazon links, Google book links, or any place that the book is on sale.

You’re looking for unique blogs that have reviewed those books.

Once you find a good one, go in and search for the contact information for that website. Put that in the “website” column and be sure to add the person’s name too.

Here is a short video of me doing the above process and how it looks in practice:

Step #3: Send The Emails

Once you have this list, you can build out the email in GMass much like the step above, but with slightly different verbiage. You can try out a version of the email script below:


Greetings {Name},

I am reaching out to share that I just put the finishing touches on a book and I think it’s right up your alley.

I saw that you did a review the book “{Book they Reviewed}” and I thought you might be interested in reviewing a book in a similar genre?

My book Volcanic Momentum is currently live on Amazon, and I’d love to send a review copy your way if you think it might be a good fit.

The book shows people how to not lose steam when reaching towards their goals, and propels them to keep moving forward and finish strong while still having fun. It also has personal faith components sprinkled throughout, and shares how that has helped me succeed by giving me a greater purpose.

Mark Matteson, Author of the book Freedom from Fear, says this about the book: “Volcanic Momentum is a must-read for those seeking renewed energy to complete their goals.”

I’ve attached a one pager with the book’s cover and more information for you.

If interested, hit reply and I will send over a digital copy (MOBI, PDF or Epub).

Talk soon and thanks for your time,

-Jordan

PS: You may unsubscribe here to stop receiving my emails, no questions asked.


Again, the magic of GMass auto pulls the email address, and when you use the “{name} and {website} scripts it will auto pull those as well, effectively personalizing your message.

You want to make sure to grab attention early, convince them that your book is worth it, and offer a clear call to action at the end for them to reply with a “Yes! I’d Love to read your book!”

And don’t forget to set up the auto follow ups! Remember that most of your conversions will come from the auto follow ups being sent out. People need reminders. Sure, some will be annoyed, but honestly most will thank you for following up! (I know this is hard to believe but it’s true, trust me.)

Step #4: Reply to the Replies

Once email replies start to come in, send them your book and let them know you’ll be following up with them soon and that you look forward to their feedback and review.

And then once the reviews start coming in, be sure to save the URLs to share in your own marketing efforts, or to send a thank you out at a later date.

Try not to be too pushy since reviewing your book is a big ask and takes time. Give them time to read and review the book.

Pro tip: Be willing to send out physical review copies to those that ask. It is costly, but most people like the feeling of an actual book. I don’t have numbers to support this, but I think this also increases conversions on people following through and writing a review too because it shows that you’re serious in getting your book out there. Any author can send a digital copy along, but not everyone has the budget or willingness to shell out money to print and then send out physical copies. Personalize the books too! Sign them and write personal thank you cards as well, your reviewers will love that you took the time to do so, and you may even create a new true fan.

Advanced Book Review Strategy #6 Book Review Sites? (Be Wary!)

Now is as good a time as any to make a distinction between sites that offer paid book reviews and services that offer to find book reviewers for you.

What we do here at Archangel Ink (as part of the book launch and marketing package) is manually reach out to potential reviewers. We send them a review request and when interested readers respond, we send a copy of the author’s book and include the author to facilitate a new relationship and bridge the connection). Once the client’s book launches, we follow up and ask them to leave their review on Amazon.

The reviewer is not compensated other than receiving the free copy of the book, and they are not required to leave a review.

What’s not allowed is paying directly for folks to review your book, or providing any type of incentive to do so. (Again, any incentive other than a digital or print copy of your book.)

Let’s compare two other book review services side by side so you can see what I am talking about here.

The first one is called Happy Book Reviews which is a service from Author Marketing Club.

What makes this service a good pick is:

  • The reviews aren’t guaranteed.
  • They don’t promise positive reviews.
  • They offer to send your book out to reviewers looking for book’s just like yours.
  • They follow up with the reviewer reminding them to leave a review.

The second service, and one we don’t recommend, is called USA Book Reviews and can be found here.

What they offer is enticing, but if you read between the lines it appears shady. I would avoid a service like this like the plague.

There is no FAQ page that I can find, and they don’t seem to address the whole “paying for reviews” issue. What’s more, they commit the cardinal sin of guaranteeing reviews! Stay away.

Always ask two simple questions before you buy a review service:

  1. What is their process for gathering reviews? Make sure it’s white hat!
  2. Do they offer a guarantee for reviews?

If they don’t share how they get reviews, and they offer a guarantee, move on. Remember that it’s your book and personal Amazon account that’s in jeopardy here, not theirs.

One last service I want to discuss is called Hidden Gems.

I’ve not used this service, but it hits green on both of the above questions, as they do not guarantee reviews and their process involves getting your book out to readers.

Two problems though:

  1. While they list prices for up to 140 reviewers, the average number of reader requests for two categories that I checked (non-fiction, and religion/spirituality) is between five and fifteen. And the reality is that if fifteen people get the book, only a handful of those will leave a review.
  2. They’re booked out more than six months in advance for those two categories! Yikes! Maybe it’s because I am a millennial and I want it now, but I am not going to pay a service to send my book out in June when it’s currently November!

The bottom line: If you can get in with them, you’ve got the green light from me to give them a try, but add them to your list of other strategies, don’t fully depend on it for results.

Other review sites to consider and look into (I do not endorse any of these at this time):

Advanced Book Review Strategy #7: Have an Audiobook? Get that Reviewed Too

Getting an audiobook reviewed is a different ball game, but you can still use lot of the strategies above. You can even amend the emails above to include that you’re willing to give away your audio codes. I do this, and it’s a good way to share your book in multiple formats.

How do you get audio codes for your book? Easy, just email ACX support and ask (assuming you uploaded your book to Audible using ACX). They will give you 25 codes that you can share with whomever you choose. All they need do is enter your promo code and voila! They will get a free audiobook. (Full download instructions here that you can share with your reviewers.)

Alternatively, you could send them the raw files for your audiobook, but this might be clunky and unwieldy for the average reviewer. Best to stick to audible download codes.

Need even more visibility for your audiobook? Here are four more ways to increase visibility:

1) Beyond asking your list or giving away free audiobooks by other means, you can pay for increased exposure with a site like Audiobook Boom.

For only ten bucks, they will share your book with their audience and setup a shared spreadsheet for the responses that come in. It’s your responsibility to reach out to folks, but that’s fine with me, as I prefer to do my own outreach!  

Connect with folks and offer your audiobook codes and politely ask for a review.

I like Audiobook Boom, but I haven’t had a ton of results from it yet. I’ve emailed twelve people audiobook codes and so far only one person has left a review on Audible. Either my voice scared people away, they haven’t listened all the way through yet, or I was left in the dust.

I plan to follow up with these folks again in an attempt to get a review, but I’m not holding my breath.

For $10 though, it’s worth it to add to your overall approach.

2) Offer the ACX codes as an incentive to your email list, or to select readers. Some people will love the chance to get a free audiobook and will be happy to leave a review.

3) You can also share that you have free download codes on audiobook seeker Facebook groups, but be wary here. Don’t send the book to just anyone!

4) Want one more?

If you have a book in the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Game-Lit, Mystery, or Thriller genres you can submit your audiobook for review here. If accepted they will help promote your audiobook.

I don’t have an audiobook in these genres, so I haven’t tried this out, but it might be worth at least submitting to.

Endorsements 101

We’ve established that reviews are important for your book’s launch and marketing strategy, but what about endorsements? What makes endorsements different than book reviews?

Endorsements help give your book an initial blast of credibility that can help readers put their trust in you. They are the first line of defense against the doubt that new readers feel before trusting you with their time and ultimately their problems.

Endorsements are also known as “early reviews” or “editorial reviews” but to keep things simple we call these endorsements.

Check out any book listing on Amazon and chances are it will have an “editorial review” section where the book’s endorsements live.

You’ll definitely want to get ten to fifteen endorsements and fill this section in to make your sales listing on Amazon as striking and memorable as possible. You won’t sell your book unless you can quickly get the potential buyer hooked and interested enough to invest their money and time into purchasing and reading your book.

Pro Tip: You can fill in your editorial section of your sales listing from your books page on Author Central, NOT within KDP itself.

How to Get Endorsements for Your Book

The easiest way to get endorsements is to use your current network, but not all of us have a giant list of folks we can reach out to.

This is one of those activities that gets easier as you start building your platform and relationships in your field, but this also means that a newbie author just starting out might seriously struggle.

Here are some ideas to grab those initial endorsements:

  1. Make a list of top level influencers in your field, folks that have given endorsements on similar books to yours, or your heroes. Find their contact information and send them an email to ask for a review. You can use a similar email to the one above in strategy #2 for your outreach. However, be cognizant that the higher level of the influencer the more likely it will be that they don’t agree, or won’t even bother to read your email. Personalize whenever and wherever possible.
  2. If you’re feeling particularly outgoing, give top level influencers a phone call. The endorsement for my latest book—which I added to the front cover—came as a result of an initial phone call. If you can get through, it shows that you’re genuine and serious about your book and your message, AND that you personally chose them to help tell your story.
  3. Use Strategy #2 or #3 above to find other bloggers and reviewers. If they leave a particularly positive and enlightening review, you can use their words as an endorsement beyond just a review for your Amazon page.
  4. Ask fellow authors in your field. Authors are very familiar with this process, and will be more likely to give you an endorsement as it builds their brand as well.
  5. Be willing to write the endorsement. This may seem odd, but most endorsements out there are written by the author or publisher and signed-off on by the endorser. This saves the endorser time, making it more likely they will agree to help you out. Don’t assume they won’t want to write it, but if they ask you “what should I say?” Offer to write it for them—pending their approval, of course.
  6. Send out paperbacks to influencers with a personal note. They might be more apt to give you a chance if you send them a physical copy! They also might be just as likely to toss your book in the trash, but it’s worth the risk.
  7. You can pay for a professional endorsement service like Kirkus book reviews or NPR book reviews. I personally find these are costly, and can’t really see how they would make a huge difference in book sales. I don’t suggest against it, but for an author on a tight budget I’d recommend these guerrilla tactics I’ve mentioned here.
  8. Always follow up! No matter what you do here, always follow up! Follows ups are key. Don’t get lazy and drop the ball.

Pro Tip: Send a thank you card to everyone that endorses your book. Thank you cards aren’t dead and will show your gratitude! I learned much about gratitude from author Scott Colby’s book The Grateful Entrepreneur.

Double Pro Tip: Make personal ask videos for your endorser. If they are willing to open and watch a video addressed specifically to them, they will know that you mean business!

I have a Bunch of Endorsements (Yay!), What Now?

Congratulations, you did it! You pulled strings and got folks to read your book. Now what? What can you do with these endorsements? Let’s find out:

  1. Add one to your front cover. If you absolutely love the endorsement, add it to your front cover. You can see what that looks like on my book cover below, but it makes the book look that much more professional:
  2. Add it to your back cover. Some books only list endorsements on the back of their books, but just one is usually enough. Have it at the top right before your book description for best results.
  3. Add all your endorsements to the very beginning of your book with a heading like “See What Others are Saying. This isn’t absolutely necessary (and I personally find this part of a book quite distracting), so use your personal judgement. As indie authors, this part doesn’t matter as much because we can use the endorsements in other ways, and most of us aren’t selling our books in brick and mortar stores.
  4. Add them to your editorial reviews section of your book’s listing on Amazon. Don’t forget this step!
  5. Add them to your book’s website as a series of testimonials about you and what you have to offer.
  6. Share these endorsements on social media as proof of your book’s awesomeness.
  7. Use them to continue to build your marketing materials. Endorsements from other folks are one of the strongest ways to build trust and get people to give your book a chance.

Go out, get those endorsements, and use them to boost the marketing for your book!

Book Reviews with Benefits: Other Benefits of Focusing on Reviews

When you use the above process, the main goal is to get reviews. Duh right? But a cool side benefit is increased visibility for your book.

When I followed this process, I received several emails asking for more from me:

  • I was asked to come on podcasts and do an interview about my book.
  • One lady even did an in-depth video review of my book! How cool right!? And;
  • Two bloggers offered a copy of my print book to their audience as part of a giveaway!

Now, this will definitely only work if your book is memorable and, of course, good.

Remember that the #1 most effective marketing tactic is to write a good book. The better the book, the more of a chance that your review outreach will have added benefits beyond just book reviews.

I didn’t ask for podcast interviews from these folks, I just asked for a simple book review. It’s validating to get emails from folks that say something to the effect of, “Wow, your book is incredible, and I want more from you! I want to partner with you in the journey to bring this book to the masses.”

It’s not only satisfyingly effective, it’s pretty darn cool too.

Get more reviews for your book, increase your exposure and you’ll find success as an author.

I hope this has been helpful, practical and applicable for you to increase exposure for your book. We’d love to hear your feedback. What has worked for you? What hasn’t?

Good luck, and all the best to you!

-Jordan and the Archangel Ink Team

2 thoughts on “How to Get Book Reviews: The Ultimate Manifesto

  1. That’s an excellent article. But would argue about Hunter. IMHO tools like Oxyleads to name one is a far better alternative to Hunter. One reason being it’s cheaper.

    1. Shane,

      Thanks for the kind words on the article. I’ve never heard of Oxyleads, but would love to look into it.

      In this case, I only use hunter as a last resort, and thus I am able to stay in the free plan of under 100 searches. So far so good.

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