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  1. Bruce W

    Bruce W New Member

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    How to build reviews?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Bruce W, Nov 28, 2019.

    Hello everyone!

    I recently published a book about an unfortunate episode in my life (i.e. jail) but I still feel its important to share my story. Anyway, I've had two sales so far and made about enough to just about buy half a sandwich LOL

    However, none of my readers left reviews - good or bad. Any suggestions on the best ways to get reviews. Preferably people who are not too critical.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2019
  2. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Moderator hat on here. We're trying to restore this member's membership, which I mistakenly applied. He is still showing 'banned' and we're waiting for the software to catch up.

    Anyway, please feel free to respond to his question. And apologies for the mistake.

    Edited: Aha ...he's restored. And life goes on....
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    This is a very common question in the self publishing sphere

    There are basically three ways to get reviews

    a) build your mailing list and build a street team from that
    This is difficult on book 1 because you are just starting and have nothing to build your list from - a suggested route is to write a side story as a novella and then use it to take part in giveaways via prolific works or book funnel and/or run lead gen facebook ads... whole books have been written about building your mailing list - i'd suggest 'newsletter ninja' by Tammi Labreque

    Having built a list you then ask your top fans to join your street team (also called ARC team for advanced reader copy) - basically you provide them with free copies of your book and ask them to leave reviews as soon as it goes live - note that under amazons ToS you can't demand a review or do anything to influence the rating.

    The key here is that you don't want too many people on your street team because ideally you want your list to buy to spike the rating, and having too many people receiving ARCs canabalises those sales.

    b) use a reviews service like booksprout or hidden gems (etc there are others)

    This is the easiest route, essentially you are hiring a third party street team, and isn't that expensive - however the problem can be that you are getting reviews from people who think of themselves as reviewers rather than readers which can make them harsher and more judgemental. In general booksprout reviewers are kinder but you will get fewer reviews.

    You can also send ARC copies to book review blogs and such which will get you editorial reviews to use in marketting but not amazon reviews.

    c) Optimise your back matter to ask for reviews and make it easy for people to leave them.
    This is probably the route that gives the highest quality, but also slowest option. Ask directly for a review in the back matter something like "If you've enjoyed this book , it would make this author very happy if you could leave a quick review - link" It also worth asking your list periodically (ie in the onboarding sequence and then after each launch)

    Ideally you want a link in your back matter of your mobi that takes readers directly to the reviews page (to get this you need to publish, wait for it to go live then zap the link and update your manuscript before reuploading) If you don't want that kind of hassle just put a link to the sales page.

    Also if you are wide (ie not in KU) make sure you aren't putting requests for reviews on amazon in the back of the copy on kobo or wherever

    Lastly a quick do not - don't ask friends and family (or FB friends) to leave reviews - they'll just get nuked by Zon and too many will make them think something funny is going on (Also don't for the love of god use any service that guarantees good reviews - they are using bot farms and that way account suspension lies)
     
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  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Also not to be harsh but to get reviews you need to sell books - and do that you need a much better cover and and a better sales blurb... again whole books have been written about both those topics, notably "Write a sizzling synopsis" by Bryan Cohen "Better Blurbs and Hooks" by Adam Croft and "the Authors guide to cover design" by Stuart Bache.
     
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  5. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Wow. Thank you @big soft moose for that detailed and focused (and experienced) approach to the subject. I know I've read books where, at the end, the author has asked for reviews. Sometimes I've been motivated to give a review by this reminder. It can't hurt to ask.

    I've also read reviews on Amazon where the reviewer has admitted they've received free copies for review purposes. The reviews are often NOT 5-star, but are usually thoughtful and helpful to the reader. That's the chance you take with this approach. The reviews you get may not be favourable. But they will be reviews.

    Moose's reminder about the quality of the book cover and blurb is also important. Like any other aspect of writing, this needs to be as professional-looking as possible in order to get the kind of attention you want. If you're self-publishing, you need to look and sound as if you're not, if that makes sense! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 7:49 AM
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