Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Writing Wednesday: Gathering Reviews
Why aren't there more reviews on the Amazon page for your book?
All those friends and family members who told you they couldn't wait to read it... did they hate your book baby?
Phone calls and Facebook posts are great - but it's the actual online reviews that get your book noticed beyond your own circle, and launched into the Amazon algorithms that may help it succeed.
My mother-in-law called me several weeks back. She'd finally read the copy of GHOSTS DON'T LIE that she'd bought and downloaded onto her Kindle. She called to tell me how much she really loved it, but that she wasn't going to leave a review on Amazon - even though it was a verified purchase - because it was "just too hard to figure out their system."
Who else has heard that from a friend or relative?
Here's another good one. My father's new wife read my books (my dad has all the signed copies I've given him and mom over the years) but then she asked me at Christmas why I didn't have more reviews for them on Amazon. "You're a good writer, why don't more people leave reviews?"
Did she leave any reviews? No. Why? She didn't buy them on Amazon, she read my dad's copies.
Does that mean people who come to our book signings and events, who buy signed books from us in person... they don't think they're "allowed" to leave reviews on Amazon because it's not a "verified purchase"?
You can leave reviews on Amazon for books you bought direct from the publisher, or paperbacks you bought at your local bookstore. Or ARCs you've been gifted from the author or won in a contest. If you've read the book, you can leave a review on Amazon. They've become the defacto review site, whether they like it or not.
So how do we as authors get more people to leave reviews? To understand it's not supposed to be a time consuming process or an eight page book report. It's choosing a number of stars, and a short reason why you liked the book - or didn't like it, as the case may be.
How pushy would it be for us as authors to follow up with readers who won books from us and ask again for a review? How pushy is it to email those friends and family when they send that note of praise and say, "So glad you liked it - can you leave a review on Amazon too?"
Obviously, I'm not very good at it. As my father's wife points out, I don't have overwhelming numbers in my review column. So I'm asking for input here - what's your strategy?
How do you go about turning readers into reviewers?