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How you can obtain a 5 star rating on Amazon, it’s easier than you think!

After helping a client, Rob Purfield – author of ‘The Ultimate Knockout Closing System’ convert his printed book to Kindle , we were checking his Amazon listing and noticed that his reviews all had 5 stars – a fantastic accolade, and something that happened without him realising it!

Rob can now use this ‘5 Star’ rating in his marketing and promotional material as well as encouraging his potential customers to click the ‘add to basket’ button. (I’m not sure about you, but reading great reviews always helps me when it comes to buying a book – especially if I don’t know the author.)

Of course there are other ways of making your books more enticing to potential buyers. Implementing all of the features Amazon offer, including ‘Look Inside’ as well as converting your books to the Kindle format, are a must in order to appeal to the diverse way of how books are now read.

The first step to take, however, is to list your book with Amazon – and although it may seem like a daunting task, as long as you have a few key processes in place first, then making your book available on Amazon is relatively straight forward.

How to get your book listed on Amazon
I have written a comprehensive guide ‘How to Get Your Book on Amazon.co.uk’ which includes how to upload your files for the ‘Look Inside’ feature, as well as a report on how to get your book converted for Kindle Readers.

Simply click this link to learn how.

How to get reviews on Amazon
Once you have your book listed on Amazon, you now want to get some feedback. Rob was fortunate that his 5 star reviews were organic, but there are ways of actively encouraging customers to post their reviews on Amazon.

Here are two ways that have worked for my clients

  1. Pre-publication offer
  2. Email your list and ask for a review (in return for an upgrade or mention on your next blog post)

1. Pre-publication offer;
If you, like a lot of other savvy business owners, are making your books available as a free download, with a chance of buying the physical copy – then offer to send your ‘reviewers’ a free paperback edition in return for their feedback (you can then copy and paste this onto Amazon once it’s listed). This is a smart way of getting some great testimonials, and it means they don’t have to do anything, other than email you once they’ve read the book, as you will be uploading it to Amazon on their behalf later.

2. Write to your list;
If your book is already published, and you want some reviews on your Amazon listing, simply ask your customers or clients. Perhaps hand pick a group and in return, offer them an upgrade to a programme they already have, or if you have an active blog, say you’ll post their name and web address (with a bit about their services) in your next article.

However, do make sure you ask for truthful reviews. You’re not trying to bribe anyone, and if you get a mixture of 4 to 5 stars then that is still fantastic.

But Beware!
However, as easy as this may sound, do be aware of saboteur’s. There’s always a chance of getting a really nasty comment, or remark by someone who hasn’t even read your book! My colleague Ed Rivis had this happen to him. One of his reviewers thought he had made all of his testimonials up – and said as much on Amazon, resulting in his fantastic rating being reduced (as well as questioning his credibility as an author). Ed was able to get this review off Amazon, so do keep an eye out for updated comments and contact Amazon if anything untoward happens. (TIP. One of reasons why this person thought Ed’s reviews were made up, was becasue they were all posted on the same day; Ed sent out an email to his list, asking for feedback, and the response was overwhelming, even if it did cause a few hiccups along the way, so keep this in mind when asking for your reviews!)

Celebrate your success!
Getting 4 or 5 star reviews on Amazon is a real achievement and using those comments for extra exposure is a smart tactic. Being able to impart useful, valuable information will help your prospective customers make an informed buying decision, and if you’re able to educate your target audience, then this will help elevate your knowledge to ‘expert’ status, (one of the reasons you wrote the book in the first place) so don’t let modesty hold you back in celebrating your writing success.  

  • Eric Wachtel

    Sounds all too familiar. Well done!
    http://www.sericwachtel.com

  • Richard Davison

    I like what I am reading here. My book is listed in both softbound and eBook editions with Amazon.com and that is a great thing! Thanks for this artilcle. It means a lot.

    http://www.amazon.com/Puddles-of-Ithaca-ebook/dp/B006JUCDY6

    • I have a question. My inspriational novel (Mending Fences) is self-published. No bar code. I no longer have any paper copies available. Three weeks ago I lost my job and can’t order any new copies at this time. I like the idea of encouraging people to write reviews but other than a mention on my blog I’m not sure what I can offer. What do you mean by an upgrade? Thanks for your input.

      • Alexa_Whitten

        Hi Kaydye22,
        Thanks for your comments, and I’ve been thinking about your question…novels are such a different breed to business books (which is what I help my clients write, and I encourage my clients/authors to give PDF versions of them away in exchange for name and email info, which can then be used to market too.)

        The problem with novels, especially if sold through Amazon or book shops, is that you have no idea who is buying your books. Which, if you want to then ‘ask’ for reviews, you can’t.

        However there are ways round this. I’ve noticed that well known authors like Mo Hayder, Lee Child and Jo Nesbo all have websites, where the reader can find out more about the characters. This then encourages the reader to visit this website, and no doubt get on a ‘mailing list’ so that the publishers can then let the reader know when up coming events like book signings are going to happen, and when the latest books are hitting the shelves.

        I’m not sure how you sell your books, as if you have no ISBN number, then I was under the assumption you can’t sell it through Amazon?

        So I guess my advice is, when you can, and if you can, put a website on your cover linking to your blog, with some incentive for the reader to visit your site… perhaps offering more info on your protagonists… then you can ask your readers for reviews – perhaps offering some sort of incentive (perhaps a pre-release offer on your next novel…) that was what I was meaning by an ‘upgrade’ – as most of my clients write business books, the have back end products they can offer potential readers.

        I hope that’s helped?

  • Alan Northcott

    Upgrades, physical copies, etc. – all these things are done, but could be construed as bribery, giving something of value. I don’t think Amazon are on to this so much as straight paying for reviews, which they are chasing, even by putting their own advertisements out offering reviews to see who bites – but who knows when they may clamp down?

  • How much do you think the date of a book review matters?

    • Alexa_Whitten

      I’m not sure I understand your question?
      I don’t think the date matters, as long as it pertains to the book (of the same edition…)…

  • Alexa,

    I second all of your info here as being tried, true and on target. Also, if you get the pre-pub reviews early enough they can even become back cover blurbs.
    Personally, I read reviews of anything and everything I might buy on Amazon or elsewhere at a cheaper price (but on a site w/o reviews).
    Happy Hump Day everyone!
    Roger
    http://www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com

    • Alexa_Whitten

      Thanks Roger, yes reading reviews will almost always sway my decision (if I was in doubt) and find them invaluable. Thanks for posting!

  • Alexa_Whitten

    Hi Alan,
    Yes, I guess there is a fine line – but sometimes in order for people ‘to do’ something (like visiting a page, and typing a review’ you need to incentivize. Everyone seems so busy… it seems you can’t just ask anymore… there has to be a carrot, sad, but true!’
    The wording that accompanies the email (asking for the review) should state that ‘honest reviews’ are what you’re looking for.
    However organic, unsolicited reviews are the ideal… it’s just the harder ones to obtain!
    Alexa

  • LKWatts

    Hi Alexa,

    I do respect your tips on how to get reviews on Amazon but I’m still not convinced 4/5 star reviews help sell books. I mean they might be genuine but I always think lower ratings makes the book look more authentic. The ideal situation is to have a mixed bag of ratings and reviews – not all high but not all low, either.

    Regards
    Laura

    • Alexa_Whitten

      Hi Laura,
      Thank you for your comments and to an extent I can understand where you’re coming from, however when I am looking for a book to help me with something, I absolutely look at the reviews (especially if it’s a £20+) – I want to make sure that what I’m buying actually delivers what it says it does.
      If I am given the choice of two books, the first has 4/5 stars, and the second book has mixed reviews, with some 1, 2 or 3 stars… followed by comments like “This book was not helpful for me, and didn’t cover what I was looking for” – then that will affect my buying decision.

      Novels are a different breed…. if it’s an author I know and love, then I rarely look at the reviews. It’s not going to affect my buying decision, I know what I’m getting.
      If it’s a novel that has been recommended to me (by Amazon) then I will take a quick peek… but I was always gravitate to books with a higher star rating, than those that have lower scores.

      So, therefore, when I’m looking for a solution to a problem (my first example) then I’m not looking to see how ‘genuine’ the reviews are, I’m looking to see how effectively the book has solved other readers problems.

  • Hi Alexa – you mentioned my experience about the chap who left a nasty review about my fake reviews on Amazon.

    Just to clarify – there were two reasons why I asked Amazon to remove the review.

    Firstly his comments were libellous… because he not only suggested that I personally made up the 30+ four and five star reviews, but he also went a step further and said he thought I had ‘seeded’ *other* websites around the Internet with great reviews about myself!

    I’ve never done that — any comments people have said about me online are genuine and unsolicited — so to say I was ‘a tad upset’ is something of an understatement.

    The second reason why I was annoyed is that in his 1 star “review” he admitted he hadn’t even read my book!

    In other words, his review wasn’t a review, just him expressed misguided opinions and attacking my character.

    For these reasons I wrote a letter to Amazon’s legal department asking them to take down his comments.

    Also at the same time I put up a post on my own website (blog) about his comments, and emailed my subscribers – the people who left the reviews – to let them know this chap thought they didn’t exist! 🙂

    Suffice to say they were none too pleased with him. They left loads of comments on my blog post expressing how offended they were, (and many of them also gave their real contact details to prove they really did exist!)

    In the end I got an apology from the chap in question – on my blog, and the review was taken down from Amazon.

    I can accept low 1, 2 or 3 star reviews from people who read my books – because of course you can’t please all the people all the time, and of course it’s a mistake to try and do so – but when reviews include defamatory remarks and an admittance they hadn’t actually read the book they were reviewing then I feel those kind of reviews don’t help anyone.

    The other important thing I wanted to clarify… when I emailed my list asking for the reviews I did not ask for ‘good reviews’, just ‘reviews’ and I did not offer any kind of incentive, free gift, upgrade or offer to put people on my website.

    I didn’t want to be seen to try and influence anyone either way, because I felt it would not only look bad but also result in made up reviews from people who only wanted the freebie.

    This is of course just my opinion and approach – other authors may have more success with a different approach but like you say, it’s important if you do offer an incentive to emphasize that you only want genuine feedback — good or bad — because that will be infinitely more helpful when you come to write your second book!

    Thanks for the mention.

    All my best,
    Ed Rivis

    • Alexa_Whitten

      Hi Ed,

      Thank you for your full explanation on your experience with Amazon, and I hopefully clarified that this person hadn’t even read your book! (I too agree that people should be honest about their reviews, be it 1, 2 or 3 stars.)

      I perhaps should have made it clearer that offering ‘upgrades’, or ‘mentions on blogs’ was not in any way trying to bribe people in posting ‘Good’ or even ‘Great’ reviews, but just an incentive to leave ‘any’ review. We are all so busy these days, and people seem to not have the time to do these types of things, without some sort of reward!

      I’m sure your comments and suggestions will help others when it comes to getting their reviews posted on Amazon. (or at least give them food for thought)

      Really appreciate the feedback.
      Alexa

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