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How to Get Book Reviews

How to Get Book Reviews on Amazon

How to Get Book Reviews

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 know this is a challenge for authors, which is why we do NOT have a minimum review criterion for our Freebooky and Bargain Booksy promotion services.

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.

In Summary

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.

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21 comments on “How to Get Book Reviews on Amazon
  1. If you put your book on kdp select, do you have to set it for FREE? and does it automatically put you into KDP unlimited for the 90 days? Do you have a choice?

    1. Hi Nancy – If you enroll in KDP Select, you have 5 free promotion days available to you but you do NOT have to use them. As a KDP Select author, you can also run a Kindle Countdown Deal that enables you to discount your book for specific periods of time. Within each 90-day period you can run a free promo OR a Kindle Countdown Deal. Or you can choose not to use those marketing tools at all. If you enroll in KDP Select your book is automatically enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and you cannot remove it from the Kindle Unlimited library. If you do not want your book in Kindle Unlimited and you do not want the free or countdown marketing tools you are best publishing through KDP but not enrolling in KDP Select. I know it can be confusing! I’m happy to answer any follow-up questions. Ricci

      1. I found that the 90-day free book offer is automatically renewed. I was not told that when arranging for the program. You have 3-days to remove it. I removed it now, to take effect at the end of this last 90-days.
        You may wish to mention this to your readers. ????

        1. Hi Irene – Are you referring to enrollment in KDP Select? If so, there is an option to auto-renew but you can also choose not to check that box if you don’t want to auto-renew. Thanks for alerting authors to this as it can be easy to miss! Ricci

  2. i have done that more than once and i still don’t get that many reviews. I have one coming up next month for two of my novels. i have done everything you have listed above and very little reviews. not sure why?

    1. Hi Rita – I see you have some Bargain Booksy features coming up, thanks for being a customer! There are markedly different results when running a free promo on Freebooksy vs. running a price promo on Bargain Booksy. You will get reviews from discount promos but they are much fewer as the number of books in readers ‘hands are fewer. For example: a Freebooksy feature for a cozy mystery may result in 3k downloads and if 1% of readers review the book you would receive 30 reviews. A Bargain Booksy feature may sell 100 copies of a book and if 1% of readers reviewed the book you would receive a single review. Also, readers have to get to the end of a book to see your review ask and to feel comfortable reviewing the book, so it is possible that a lack of reviews means readers are not completing your books. Unfortunately, Amazon and other retailers do not provide completion rates so the only way to figure this out is to ask beta readers and fans to give you feedback. I hope this helps, Ricci

      1. my kenp numbers are very high so i assume readers do get to the end of the book. thanks for your comments.

    1. Hi Kiesha – you can still run free promos with KDP however it is trickier to do as the only way to get your book listed as free is to get Amazon to price match. We have an article here that goes through the process. Hope this helps. Ricci

  3. Hello Ricci: Adding to the discussion. I use a non-guilt-maneuvering gentle plea for a review right after THE END in my books. As a general rule of thumb, a free promo with 7K downloads will generate not less than 75 reviews. However, that review plea must be reader centric, so thank the reader for reading one’s book comes first.

    The review plea MUST be on the same page as THE END, or Amazon bots will grab your reader to promote sponsored books or others. But no review plea/call to action will get a response unless the story resonates with one’s target audience. Also, if there is more back matter, the reader must be told: “Turn the page for a note from the author” or “turn the page for more.” These elements are done in formatting. Thus, if one uses a commercial formatter he or she must be told where to place these call to actions.

    Fact: Some readers will NEVER post a review. A book buyer is not obligated to post a review. All of my units are in Amazon Select, thus I may only use one of two promos each 90 day cycle. Free or a 99c KCD. I never use increments. When I have a book in a KCD at 99c I also buy 20 to 30 units to run an amazon giveaway to build my followers on Amazon. Because Amazon sends out a dedicated notice to followers upon an author’s new release.

    A perma-free unit only has value if the author promotes it and keeps it high in stats so that it draws attention to the authors list.
    #Kiesha Collins asks: With KDP can you still do a free promotion for a day or two, or does it have to be KDP Select only? The answer: Select Only. When I run a KDP Select Free promo, I use all 5 days, and promote the book all five days. Other author opinions may differ.

    Hope this helps. Best, Jackie Weger

  4. Good luck. Amazon will remove any reviews written by friends or relatives. Now they are also blocking Book bloggers from posting reviews and removing their former reviews.

  5. Hi Ricci,
    I am trying to better understand the terms and conditions of using KDP Select for my upcoming book.

    Two questions :
    1. If I use KDP Select, can I still offer my book in hardback version on Amazon.
    2. Does KDP Select only mean that the electronic/digital version must be exclusive to Amazon/Kindle? In other words, can I still distribute a physical hard copy version elsewhere?

    Thanks,
    Ian

    1. Hi Ian – Yes, you can still offer your book in hardback on Amazon if you are enrolled in KDP Select. The exclusivity applies only to the digital version of your book, so you can still distribute the hardback at other retailers. The exclusivity clause reads “When you enroll an eBook in KDP Select, you’re committing to making the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP while it’s enrolled in the program.” You can read the full exclusivity terms here. Thanks for the clarifying questions, Ricci

    1. Hey Sara, your book must be enrolled in KDP Select to be made free for a limited period of time. Another option you can try is to make your book free on other sites and ask Amazon to price match, but this doesn’t always work. Good luck!

  6. Ricci, I just signed up for a Freebooksy feature and promotion. But when I tried to set up the 2-3 day promo, I discovered that I had already used up my 5 days of free promos for this enrollment period of KDP select. Now what?

  7. I’m really wondering about the viability of this strategy as I’ve now run 3 free promo ads with Freebooksy. While I’ve received several thousand downloads across the three promotions (over 4,000)—I’ve yet to receive a single review.. I do have the CTA in the back of the book asking for reviews so I’m not sure what else I can do. Are any other authors having this problem? Perhaps Amazon is refusing to let readers leave reviews?

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