Need Book Reviews For Your Kindle Launch? This Is How You Do It

Need Book Reviews For Your Kindle Launch? This Is How You Do It

This is how you get Amazon book reviews the right way. No spamming, no begging, and no depending on fake reviewers. We want quality book reviews that will make Amazon shoppers stop, read, think, and then buy!

One of the many “cogs in the wheel” of book marketing is getting reviews for your new book. It takes advanced planning, carefully executed emails, and a system to follow up.

But this review gathering process can be quite frustrating, especially for a new author, since you probably don’t have prior contacts, a huge following, or any idea where to begin.

But don’t worry, we got you. It’s indeed possible to leverage a little bit of knowledge, some excellent tools (that I’ll share with you) and a good process for getting it done.

In this article you will learn:

  1. An overview of Kindle book reviews: Why reviews are important, how many reviews you need for your book launch date, and a discussion on Amazon’s review policy.
  2. The process for getting book reviews (Relevant for 2018, including Amazon’s most recent change in removing reviewer email listings.)
  3. The secret sauce that makes your life that much easier: mastering the art of the email follow up.

Ensuring your book has reviews by launch day is an essential part of your book launch strategy. You cannot rely on good looks or good luck to have organic reviews posted in time for your book launch.

You need to take matters into your own hands and do the advanced leg work to ensure that, come launch day, you are sitting pretty with at least 10 reviews. Books that launch with zero social validation are primed for failure.

Getting reviews for your book is not an easy process. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s doable if you are willing to put in the work.

How do we do this? Easy, we find people to ask, email them, grind out follow up emails, and stay in touch with those that promise a review. We make it as easy for them as possible to go to Amazon and hit the review now button.

Section 1: Amazon Kindle Book Review Overview

Why Are Reviews Important?

If you are going to launch a book successfully, you are going to need at least a few reviews. Reviews are important for three main reasons:

  1. They provide basic social validation for your book. If someone browses Amazon and sees a book from a new author with no reviews, they will not buy it. 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 for your book to be able to rise in the ranks within Amazon’s search engine. A book with little to 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 will need at least 5 reviews for most sites, and some require a minimum of 10 to even consider your book.

You need to focus on reviews and getting the ball rolling. You don’t need to manufacture 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.

Book’s don’t like water, or getting wet for that matter…

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

Start This Process Early

“Oh no I didn’t get any beta readers, won’t everyone who reads my book just give me a review?”

*Facepalm…

Someone asked me that question once. For real.

Sorry dude, if you don’t think about this early on, you make it much harder on yourself. If you launch your book and then try and get reviews, you will be swimming upstream. Through mud.

It is much better to plan in advance and give people time to read your book, then go on and leave you a review. If you start early, you can also follow up with these readers periodically without having to resort to spamming them 3 times on your launch day begging them to “please leave a review right now I need it!!” Crickets… “Please?” More crickets.

Asking people to write a review for your book is not a small task. You are asking them to take quite a bit of time out of their day to read a book (which isn’t an easy thing) and then go out of their way to think about what to say in a review of your book.

People have asked me to do a review for their books, and while I am glad to do it, it does take a significant amount of time to accomplish.

We need to remember that when we ask people to give us a review we are asking a lot. Yes, we will need to follow up and remind them, but we need to also be courteous and always grateful for their time.

Don’t wait until the last minute, follow the process I outline in this post and you should be able to get at least 10 real reviews for your book come launch day.

How Many Reviews do I Need?

The answer to this one is simple. You need to hit 2 main goals, anything more than that is just a bonus.

Your one and only priority: Get the first one! You must put everything you have into getting at least one review. As we discussed earlier, reviews are key for social validation.

Book’s with no reviews won’t go anywhere.

This is important, not only for the social validation from the reader’s perspective, but potential reviewers as well. It can be very hard to be the first person to review a book, even if they promised to do so.

Focus heavily on getting that first review, and things will start to fall into place for you.

Get 5-10 more: You want to shoot for 10 reviews come launch day (don’t worry, I’ll show you how). If you can get more, that’s fantastic, but this is a numbers game, you will need to get a lot of people to commit in order to get those 10 guaranteed.

I recommend focusing more on other outreach and marketing opportunities once you get to 10 reviews.

If you can get 50 reviews, or even 100, that would be great! But let’s consider the time cost involved in getting these reviews, vs. the gain. Your time is better spent elsewhere after a certain amount of reviews come in.

The Lowdown on 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 are 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 have never had them do this.

Just remember, you might be playing with fire here. The last thing we want is for your book to launch with 10 reviews and then suddenly, they disappear.

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 sister left for you is going to ruin your book’s launch.

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

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 are not guaranteed to get caught, because Amazon has better things to do, but it is 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.

Section 2: The Review Gathering Process

The basic process isn’t all that complicated. The difficulty comes with the execution and follow through.

The process begins by setting up tracking, finding potential reviewers, and then following up with them over time using automation.

Let’s get into that, shall we?

Step #1: Review Tracking Setup

Two things you need to get started:

  1. Click here to download a review tracking spreadsheet. You are 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 magic happen.

Once you have the sheet open, start with the second tab, the “follow-ups” tab. This tab will be our final tracking for all of those that promise a review.

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 in one place, and by doing so, will save you time later on.

Once you are done adding those two things, move on over to the “review tracking tab.”

On this page you will see the following:

Name:

Email:

Book They reviewed: When we find reviewers, we are going to be looking at other books they reviewed on Amazon. Here we will put what book they reviewed so we can add that in the email later.

PS: This PS section is where we will personalize the email based on whoever we are sending the email to.

Profile URL: This is the Amazon reviewer profile URL, so we can go back to it later if needed.

Review Promised: Yes or no, and then highlight green or yellow respectively.

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:

Step #2 Finding Potential Reviewers

To find reviewers we are going to go on Amazon and search for them.

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

You can 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 within 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 customer reviews.”

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.

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

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 with no platform out to dry? Nope!

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. Even more time.
  2. Download and install this chrome browser plugin called Hunter to help pull email addresses from websites.

Once you find someone that has a website listed, click it, and either use the Hunter program to find an email, or search through their page.

Here is a video of me doing this exact process. You will 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 a personalized note into the PS section. (If they have any information about themselves in their profile or website that you can relate to, then write something unique for them. Put the URL of their profile page in there as well.

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.

This process can take hours, which is a bummer, but it’s free, so yay!

Keep going until you get 200 email addresses. You will have to look through a ton of different profiles in order to get these, but if you are dedicated, you can get there.

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 move on to the next step of this phase.

Section #3: Mastering the Art of the Follow Up for Mind Blowing Conversions

This step will take you to the next level, and you will 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% 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% 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 section you will 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 will learn here:

  1. How authors can master the follow up process through tracking
  2. Introduce Gmass for auto follow ups for initial emails
  3. Explain the two level follow up process (initial email follow up vs response follow up)
  4. Share 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 are 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.

This is what the spreadsheet looks like before you do the process outlined in Section Two above:

Starting up GMass

Go ahead and add GMass to a gmail account here. It’s free up until 50 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 12 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:

Same old Gmail, but now with a few upgrades. In the picture, you will 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 will 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 will see that GMass has opened up a new message with email recipients already loaded in from your spreadsheet:

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:

Step #1: Click the Up Arrow Next to the Gmass Send Button

Step #2: Add in Spreadsheet Prompts

Step #3: 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:

Step #4: 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.

Step #5: Hit Send with the GMass Button

The fifth and final step is to hit send, but be sure to hit the GMass send button, and NOT the regular send button, that would be bad. That would be like shouting a love letter over a school intercom… Please don’t do that.

Now here is that sample email seen above, so you can copy it 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 is 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 uber 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)

PS: {PS} (This is your personalization from the spreadsheet)”


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?

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 are 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 will 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 are 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 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 are 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 are 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 bookcofficially 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 end the follow up process, as you probably already captured most of the people that are going to actually leave a review. If you are struggling to reach your target number of reviewers, then by all means, set a 3rd and 4th follow up date, but be sure to space them out appropriately, and don’t hold your breath for a response.

Final Thoughts

Getting reviews for your Kindle book can be a fun process. Sure, it’s extremely time consuming, but interacting with new people is always a good thing. Who knows? One of the many people you contact could end up being one of the biggest supporters of your book.

Stay vigilant with this process and keep working it.

Good luck getting reviews for your book, and best wishes for your continued book marketing success!

-Jordan

PS: Need help with your book launch and marketing plans? Contact us @ Contact@Archangelink.com and we would be glad to help.

“Jordan Ring is the marketing and launch guru with Archangel Ink Professional Publishing Services. You can follow him on his blog, jmring.com, or for a copy of his and Rob’s latest books, get the Entrepreneur’s Starter Package right here

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