Everyone knows the power of a positive book review from an Amazon Top Reviewers. But what does it take to get a look from these exclusive readers? What do they want in a review request?
In this post, I’ll provide self-published authors with critical insight about Amazon Top Reviewers. My hope is that this info will help you move from the bottom to the top of their piles and earn your book a positive review!
Let’s get started!
1. Use good old-fashioned courtesy
If you’ve submitted a title for book review consideration, remember that nobody owes you a review. To connect with quality reviewers, be kind, thoughtful, and personable. Say please and thank you. Use the reviewer’s first name in your email and be aware that simply reading your request is an act of generosity. Sound simple enough? Good old-fashioned courtesy might just be!
2. Write a polite and personal introductory letter
Reviewers are real people. As you share a bit about your author background, include the reason you wrote your book and tell the reviewer why you think this reviewer (in particular) might be interested in it. While you’re at it, tell them a sentence or two about your plot. And *important* be sure to explicitly ask for a review! In your ask, include any important soft and hard dates a reviewer might need to know (like when you’d like the book review posted). Keep in mind: a well-written letter will definitely improve your chances of an Amazon top reviewer accepting your title for review.
3. Be succinct
Amazon Top Reviewers are busy readers. Respect their time by writing a short pitch. Don’t ramble or run off-course with needless details or information. Instead, be targeted in your approach and include only the critical info they need to assess your work. Make a connection with the reviewer, pull them in with your email and with the nature of your book, and make your ask!
3. Send reviewers a hard-copy of your book
Many Amazon Top Reviewers are old-school readers who love a real physical book. But don’t jump the gun and immediately send them yours. After writing an intro letter, wait for the reviewer to respond. If they request your manuscript, send them a hard-copy of your book. Also, include a link in the email to download your book for free on Kindle. As a general rule, avoid sending PDF files. But do include links to your author website and any previous work on Amazon or Goodreads.
**Note: You can not require a review and you are not sending your book in exchange for a review. The reviewer is not obligated to write the review.
4. Do not mass email a review request
Come on, nobody likes an impersonal mass email. Instead, contact individual reviewers individually. Use their first name and preferred email address. And never use a generic request that you’ve simply form filled with their name!
5. Respond promptly to reviewers
If you’re fortunate enough to have your review request accepted, respond promptly. Don’t wait days and weeks to respond with your material. This shows a lack of organization and respect.
6. Never offer anything in exchange for a review
Know the rules of the game. Never offer anything (even a copy of your book) in exchange for a review. If this information is new to you, review Amazon’s Terms of Service (TOS). While the retailer allows books to be sent to reviewers, it clearly states that the book is not allowed to be traded for a review nor influence it. Often, reviewers will write that they received a book so they could give their honest opinion.
7. Send Reviewers a well-edited manuscript
Unedited books full of grammatical mistakes and misspellings are annoying to read. If you can’t afford to have your book professionally edited, do everything you can to read and re-read your work. In the end, a poorly edited book will get poor reviews. So take the time to make sure your book has proper grammar and spelling. Get these details right before seeking reviews.
8. Never ask an Amazon top reviewer to buy your book
Send your book at no-charge. Or, gift an Amazon Top Reviewer with your book via Amazon. But, don’t send it to them unsolicited. And never-ever ask a reviewer to buy your book in order to review it. That’s a sure-fire way to tick them off and earn an automatic “no” to a review request.
9. Show appreciation
Reviewers will spend valuable time reading your book and writing a well-conceived review. These write-ups are powerful, critically important, and can open doors to new and emerging authors. So take time and be genuine when you write to say thank you. Tell them why their review mattered. Tell them what you appreciated. These gestures go a long way.
10. Schedule review requests early
Don’t rush a reviewer. If you have soft and hard dates, tell them these dates from the get-go. And, if you are on a major time crunch, remember that’s your fault. To avoid this, start your marketing now with early review requests. Schedule properly and don’t pass on your own stress to a reviewer.
11. Never approach reviews through the comment section
Email reviewers individually and directly. Never stick a link in the comments section of another review they’ve done. That’s just lazy, presumptuous, and bad etiquette.
12. Don’t pressure reviewers
Amazon Top Reviewers are under pressure to complete reviews. So, saying something like “no pressure/no obligation” can help ease that pressure and get you a solid review. Important: never nag and ask a reviewer for a completion date. They probably have other books in line ahead of you. Expect a significant wait time (weeks or even months), particularly if the reviewer is in the top 100. Trust that you’ll get your review as soon as it’s ready!
13. Send a thank you note
Gratitude helps to forge a personal connection with your reviewer. After sending a copy of your book, include a personal thank you note. Many reviewers save these small notes. Also, consider including paid return postage that reviewers can send back to you (hassle free) to confirm that they’ve received the copy of your book.
14. Choose the right reviewer
Know your reviewer. What books do they like? What have they read? What have they positively and negatively reviewed? Save yourself a lot of trouble by researching your reviewer’s taste and sensibility to be sure you are targeted in who you do and don’t approach for a review.
15. Follow up appropriately
If you’ve submitted a title for book review consideration and haven’t heard back from a reviewer, send them a follow up to confirm receipt of your email. However, avoid too much communication. Reviewers deal in high volume. Maybe they simply missed your email. Maybe they didn’t. It’s okay to check-in and ask if your reviewer needs anything further. Most likely, everything is fine, but it never hurts to check.
16. Say thank you, thank you, thank you
When the book review is complete, send a prompt and genuine thank you note and speak to the value of the review and its helpfulness. Are you picking up on a trend here? Gratitude and courtesy matter a lot!
A few final tips
Remember, Amazon Top Reviewers are people. By connecting with a reviewer, you’re fostering a real-life relationship with a real person. Strengthen your connection through creating a thoughtful pitch and personalized introduction. Use your manners. Respect your potential reviewer’s time and attention. In the end, thoughtful, well-worded, not-too-long lengthy communication might be the best way to get your title considered for book review.
• Check out this video series on the subject.
• A blog about getting a reviewer’s attention.
• Examples of solid review requests.
• The life of a book reviewer, a book.
I’d love to know what your experiences have been pitching Amazon Top Reviewers, let me know in the comments!
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