One of the first challenges you’ll face when publishing your book is getting book reviews. Book reviews are important because 1) Books with reviews sell more copies, 2) Many book promotion sites require a minimum number of reviews to use their service and 3) Verified reviews are an additional metric Amazon can use to promote your book.
Most resources about getting book reviews recommend:
– Sending out advanced review copies (ARCs) to readers
– Asking family and friends to review your book
– Soliciting bloggers and popular Amazon reviewers to review your book.
These tactics can work but they have some drawbacks: 1) it takes a lot of time, 2) you have no guarantee that you will actually get reviews, 3) the reviews may not be verified or may be from a person who is not your target reader (which can confuse the Amazon algorithm) and 4) Amazon may pull the reviews done if they suspect the reviews are not legitimate .
The Solution: Get Book Reviews With Book Promotion
Running a book promotion is a proven way to get reviews. Unfortunately, many book promotion sites will not run your book until you have reviews. It is the dreaded chicken and egg problem many authors face: you need reviews to get sales, but you need sales to get reviews.
We work with many authors who run a free book promotion the very first week that their book is published. Why? Because it is the most efficient way for them to climb the Amazon charts and get verified book reviews.
How does it work?
Step 1: Include a Review Request in your Back Matter
Before you publish your book, make sure that at the end of your book you have included a polite request to readers to review your book. The more personal the request, the more likely it is that readers will review your book. If your book is already published, you can easily add a review request to your manuscript and update your file on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
Step 2: Publish your Book and Enroll in KDP Select
The easiest way to run a free promotion is to enroll your book in KDP Select. KDP Select is Amazon’s exclusive program that allows you to run up to 5 free promotion days in exchange for publishing your book exclusively on Amazon for 90 days. An additional benefit of KDP Select is that your book will be included in their Kindle Unlimited (KU) Program and you will get paid out on the number of pages read of your book by KU readers. If your book is already published, you can choose to enroll in KDP Select at any time. If you choose to enroll in KDP Select you will have to remove your book from sale at any other retailers where you have it published. If you don’t want to enroll your book in KDP Select you can try to set your book as perma-free. You can learn how in our article How to Make your Book Free on Amazon.
Step 3: Book a Freebooksy Promo
Go to Freebooksy and pick your genre and the date you want to run your promo. Enter your book information and check out. Viola! You are scheduled!
Step 4: Schedule your Free Promo Day in KDP
In your KDP dashboard, schedule your Free Book Promotion by going to the “Run a Price Promotion” section. The date you pick in the KDP dashboard needs to match the day you have scheduled your Freebooksy promotion. We recommend running the free promotion for 2-3 days.
There are other sites that may promote your free book, and you are welcome to book promos with them too. However, we cannot vouch for their impact on reviews. The data for this article is based on results from authors who have used Freebooksy to get reviews.
Step 5: Monitor your Results
On the day of your Freebooksy promo, you will see the number of free downloads your book is receiving in your KDP dashboard. You will also see your KENP reads starting to climb as many Freebooksy subscribers are also KU members.
For popular genres (Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Fantasy, Sci-Fi):
Within a week of your free promotion, you can expect 2-5 reviews appearing on your book page. Within 30 days of your free promotion, you can expect 7-15 reviews on your book page.
For more niche genres (Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Religion, Children’s):
Within a week of your free promotion, you can expect up to 3 reviews appearing on your book page. Within 30 days of your free promotion, you can expect 5-10 book reviews on your book page.
A note on verified reviews:
Even though your book is free when readers download it on your free promo day, Amazon considers it as being purchased for $0.00. Because the download counts as a zero dollar purchase, when the reader leaves a review it is marked as a Verified Purchase. Reviews left by KU readers will not show up as Verified Purchases because Amazon treats them as borrows. You can expect about half of the reviews you received after your promotion to be Verified Purchase reviews.
A note on review ratings:
The reviews you receive following a promotion are provided by real readers who are responding to your review request at the back of your book, or a review request from Amazon. The reviews will be honest and the rating your book receives will be based solely on how the reader rates your book. You may get one- and two-star reviews if readers don’t like your book. Reviews from family and friends and ARC readers will generally score on the positive end of the scale as these are people who know you, but they may not be verified or they may not be approved. The reviews you receive following a free promotion will be unfiltered.
Step 6: Repeat
In the months following your initial free promotion, you can schedule additional promotions – free promo days and countdown deals. Every time you run a promo and use a book promotion service to market it, your review counts should grow.
Setting up your free promo days in KDP and booking your Freebooksy promotion will take 15 minutes of your time and will cost between $40 and $100. It’s an efficient and effective way to get reviews AND boost your Amazon sales rank. Questions? Please ask them in the comments.