How to Get More Book Reviews
Part 2: Motivate Your Fan Base
If you want to generate some healthy buzz around your book, it’s going to be crucial to start poking your readers for feedback. And of course, the best way to go about this would be via digital means. By sparking online reviews for your book, you’ll stir up an ongoing conversation that ideally will spill into the everyday conversations that take place in living rooms amongst family and friends, or office break rooms amongst co-workers.
There are different ways you can be proactive about directly asking your close connections and friends, as we covered in the first edition of this How to Get More Book Reviews series. The next step in gathering reviews is creating and optimizing your fan base, and understanding that there are multiple positive side effects of doing so.
How to Motivate Your Fan Base to Get Reviews
- Start Your Email List
If you have not already started an email list, now is the time to check that off the list. In fact, yesterday was the time, but today is always better than never! This is another very simple yet very powerful tool of direct communication with the customer. Not just creating, but optimizing your email list, will enable you to send out mass messages to your subscribers and give a voice to your burgeoning brand in one fell swoop (as opposed to reaching out individual by individual). If you don’t already have an email list created, start with the people you reached out to in part one of this series. Ask your close friends and family if they want to be added to your list. Keep your messages to them focused and aligned with goals for current campaigns, and be sure to constantly reinforce key messaging through thoughtful, professional, and high quality content.
- Incentivize Subscribers and Prospective Fans
It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the perfect incentive for your fan base in order to inspire them to actually sit down and take the time to leave you an online review.
You do need to locate the fine line between pushy and proactive when it comes to communicating these incentives, and in engaging your fan base in general. And understand that there are many ways to genuinely provide your supporters a positive benefit in return for their engagement. Anything from premium or early content, to free downloads, to pre-releases, to discounts and deals, to special customization, etc. The list truly goes on depending on how creative you want to get with it!
It is important to note that Amazon has recently banned incentivized reviews tied to free or discounted products. The good news for authors is that these changes will apply to all product categories except for books. Amazon has always allowed advance copies of books to be distributed.
You also want to motivate prospective fans with incentives to join your email subscribers list in order to grow the list and continue to reward loyal subscribers. Perhaps something like a digitally signed copy of your most popular book to all new subscribers.
Some authorpreneurs choose to offer incentives for social media “likes” as well, which are great to collect as positive little drops of brand awareness. Email subscribers and social media likes are all good and well, but understand that they pale in comparison to legitimate written reviews, which show an extra level of engagement and thus will truly boost your online reputation.
- Make the Message Genuine and Deliver It Consistently
While it is important to constantly focus your efforts on expanding your email list, it is equally important to constantly engage with your current subscribers with high-quality content as you branch out your brand. The best way to do this is to deliver genuinely beneficial messages to them on a regular basis. We’ll leave it up to you to define regular, as long as you don’t interpret it as daily and realize that any level of consistency is great–even if once every three months is all that you can manage. Avoid filling up their inboxes with bright gimmicks; instead fill them up with relevant, incentive-packed content. This is the best way to truly communicate to fans and customers that you and your brand are worth the time and energy it takes to post a review.
Make sure to stay tuned for the next steps in generating reviews for your books, where we will discuss the extremely useful topic of call to action placements!
— Marquina (@Marquina) October 12, 2016