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Digging for Gold – Getting Those Coveted Amazon Reviews

by Lois W. Stern

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Reviews have a more important function than stroking our egos. A decent number of reviews shows readers that our books are stirring interest. How do we go about acquiring reviews? We’ve already dropped subtle hints to our circle of family and friends. Now what?

Like it or not, Amazon is still king of the book industry, so you might as well use what they have to offer. Amazon keeps lists of their frequent reviewers. Click on to find their top reviewers. You will discover a daunting list before you which takes time to sort through. Click on any name, and you will be taken to a page listing all their reviews – not just of books, but also products. You can find each reviewer’s e-mail address in the lower left corner of that screen. Take your time and be selective. Approach the reviewers you think might be interested in your genre with a personal e-mail request.

It doesn’t hurt to ask and sometimes you strike gold. Case in point, I contacted THE FAMOUS Dr. Bernie Siegel and he responded generously with reviews to two of my Tales2Inspire books. True, he didn’t post those reviews on Amazon, but when I asked him if there were any restrictions to how I might use them and he responded “none at all”,  you can bet I spread his words far and wide. Did you know that you, the author, can still place those unposted reviews yourself under Amazon’s Editorial Reviews?

You can also use Amazon to locate reviewers by searching for books with similar key words. For example, I would look under “Motivational stories” and “inspiring stories” for my Tales2Inspire books and “Anit-aging”, “Cosmetic Surgery” and “Beauty ‘ for my books on those particular topics. Once you discover someone who has reviewed books of your specific genre, follow that reviewer’s link to their Amazon profile page, look for an email address, and send them a soft sell request. You can also suggest swapping reviews with other authors whose work you admire.

After publishing eight books, six in the Tales2Inspire series, I am facing a new problem. After all, how many times can I approach the same people to review just one more book? Furthermore, Amazon has gotten tough, warning that they will remove reviews that seem collaborative or bogus, so I knew I could no longer rely on my winning authors to write and post reviews. I am now experimenting with a limited time FREE coupon offer through Smashwords. If you care to try it out, you can request a coupon for a FREE Kindle or Nook e-book of Tales2Inspire ~ The Crystal Collection (Stories that Tickle the Funny Bone) in exchange for an honest review.


T2I 5 books




26 Responses so far.

  1. Great article, Lois. I have shared it on Twitter and will share it on FB as well. Thanks for all your hard work.

    • LoisWStern says:

      Glad you happened to notice it Mark, and do hope it helps you and others. I have created a special gold cup blog award, open to all authors, awarded to the most helpful marketing advice article I receive each month. I hope we can continue to slew the marketing dragon together.
      Warm regards,

  2. CC Hogan says:

    Nice article, Lois.

    In addition to the above, I don’t think it hurts to remind ordinary readers to leave a review – very few will, but some might and a nice reminder doesn’t go amiss. I have created a series of icons for any author to use (either digital or print) which are a fun way of prompting for reviews and comments.

    You can get them here and use them how you like:

  3. Very helpful article Lois. I will be looking at Amazon frequent reviewers soon.

    J Melvin Smith

  4. Very helpful post Lois. I will be looking at Amazon’s frequent reviewers list soon.

    J Melvin Smith

  5. LoisWStern says:

    CC, thanks for a cute way of amusing readers while encouraging them to write reviews. Love the icon and will use it in some way myself. This is what I mean by “Authors Helping Authors”.

  6. Tony Damian says:

    Thank you Lois, this has been a brick wall for me, (not that most everything hasn’t been being a newbie author). I am checking those out right now. It seems a bit harder being a non-fiction writer for some strange reason. Anyway, it is so wonderful to see authors helping authors. I never would have thought that to be the case.

    • LoisWStern says:

      And thank you Tony! Last night I had mentioned to my husband and friends that it seems people are in such a rush today that some of those niceties (like just saying “thanks”) seem to have flown out the window. So your comment was both timely and refreshing. Thank you. As serious authors, I think it is great when we can reach out and help other authors. Tht is why I started the Tales2Inspire project to begin with. So I do hope others will make send in helpful articles from time to time and win the BLOGER OF THE MONTH award.

  7. I think I’ve read this before perhaps not here but somewhere else. Great info on Amazon reviewers!

    • LoisWStern says:

      Thanks P.I. Who was it who said,”No idea is new under the sun?”, so I’m sure others before me have shared some of these ideas. I learn from my own hard fought experiences and what I learn from other authors. Hope some of these ideas help you.

  8. Very helpful. I will try the review method and let you know how this went.
    Thank you!

    • LoisWStern says:

      Good luck, Peggy and hope it works out well for you. It does take patience and you will reach some dead ends, but keep on digging. Eventually you will find a few names that you can connect with.

  9. Hi…I’m always looking to read and share about book reviews… I thought I’d share a few thoughts of feedback or clarification…

    Re Smashwords…the coupon number that the writer acquires must be given to the reviewer, I believe…so doesn’t that get back to the same issue of where to get reviewers? Just a thought…

    Re Amazon List of Reviewers…There has been quite a controversy on Amazon about Reviews, especially within the last year or so because it has become a popular scam. Many are selling reviews and even categorize them as verified or unverified… Also reviews for non-book related products, e.g., shoes, perfume, food products, may get reviewers a high rank…but be careful of the quality of the reviews…you should check samples of “book” reviewers from their Amazon profile.

    Also, be on the alert for individuals offering to “swap” reviews…if you don’t know them or they don’t publicize the book…be careful that you are contacting a “real” author rather than a scam representative…

    Also, there are quite a number of groups on Facebook that can be checked. My reviewers roundup group has nearly 15000 members and we have those who do audio, children’s and just about any genre…also non-fiction…

    But, always, please be sure to check out the reviews of those who contact cold turkey…You will definitely be able to tell who can help you in providing reviews…

    Sharing your article across the net…

    • LoisWStern says:

      Thanks for your input, Glenda, and for some good additional information on getting reviews. Dan Poynter had a wonderful newsletter that went out to hundreds of thousands monthly, with a spot where we could describe our books and ask for reviewers. Unfortunately Dan passed on several months ago and with it, his newsletter. I did go to your blog spot and see that you do reviews, but I didn’t see any description of how you select books or how to contact you. Would you care to share?

  10. LoisWStern says:

    Just to clarify Glenda’s question about the Smashwords coupon code. I have used it as an incentive in asking for reviews. People like to get something for free. Just use it discriminately.

  11. Hi…Mentioning Dan’s group reminded me also that Bostick Communications is another possibility for reviewers…I’ve reviewed for them for years…Authors contact them for assistance and this organization has a list of reviewers…They do the contact. I have no idea of cost to author, however…but do consider them reputable…reviewers are not paid…this is merely a communication connection service.

    Me…I do reviews/blog and send them across the Internet. Therefore I get requests from everywhere. But the best is to contact me at my review address… Please note that I do more than review…some have called it a fan page…so anybody interested should be sure to check my blog at Book Readers Heaven to ensure that is an acceptable alternative… I post at Amazon, Pinterest, Google, AboutMe, LinkedIn, Wattpad, and GoodReads sporadically, plus 3 places on Facebook, and Networked Blogs. I should also point out that because of the volume of requests, I give priority to print books, then to mobi/Kindle and do not do PDF, unless as a special need. I also review for publishers, PR/book marketers and other review-related sites…But I’m not trying to get business…LOL…I’m wanting you to realize that there are lots of book bloggers out there…some do reviews… so another place is Blogger directories…

    • CC Hogan says:

      Love the sound of the fan page, Glenda. I love the idea of giving lots of extra stuff to reviewers – interviews, character interviews, drawings, even exclusive content. I think it makes more fun for reader and is good for the reviewer too, which seems fair!

      I will drop you a line.


  12. LoisWStern says:

    There are quite a number of reputable companies/services that do reviews for a fee. Most charge for fast track and with some you can post for free and hope one of their reviewers picks it up.

    Book Pleasures and Readers Favorite are high on my list – very professional and honest. I believe neither of them posts on Amazon any longer. Another service, Apex Reviews, used to be a reliable reviews service, stopped doing reviews and only recently picked up that service again. I have used all three services, and I’m sure there are many more, but wanted to share some do-it-yourself methods in my Digging For Gold article.

  13. Amazon does not accept reviews from review groups. I was working at one when I first started doing this full-time. That site closed down when Amazon deleted all of their reviews. I have thought about this within my understanding of Amazon regulations. If the author has paid for a review, they could add it themselves under editorial reviews at the top; i.e., if they are creating their own book page there…Anybody have experience doing that? I know we did it when I worked at a publishing company and added reviews as part of the page setup…

  14. LoisWStern says:

    Yes, I always make a point of adding those reviews on Amazon under “editorial reviews”. I was so fortunate to get reviews from Dr. Bernie Siegel for two of my Tales2Inspire books. I was careful to ask him if he had any restrictions as to where I placed them and he answered “none at all”. I not only placed them on the “editorial reviews” Amazon pages, but also used an excerpt from each for back cover material. That’s another tip: Use your back cover as a billboard to promote your book.

  15. LoisWStern says:

    The above idea is something I learned from one of my winning Tales2Inspire authors. Thank you Mark Newhouse.

  16. alison says:

    Getting book reviews is crucial in helping get sales – there is clear market research supporting this. But getting reviews is so darn difficult. Michael Alvear (in his book “Making a Killing in Amazon”) estimates that just 0.0002% of readers of one of the best selling books will post a review. Other sources, such as Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubner in their blog, Freakanomics) estimate that only 1 in a 1000 book purchases will post a review!

    I’m more inclined to think that it’s closer to 1 in 100, but either way, it’s clear that getting book reviews is difficult.

    The problem here is that these figures are based on authors seeking reviews from the general public or social media. Wrong approach!

    As you rightly point out, the secret is in finding reviewers not reviews. Top Amazon Reviewers, by their nature, are simply much more likely to post a review of your book once they have read it. And there are far more reviewers out there than you might think.

    Just look at the top reviewers on Amazon (thanks for the link). If you were to examine their profiles and see the type of reviews they write, there is one thing that stands out. These people love to write reviews. Some of them write as many as ten reviews a day, and clearly they want to have their voice heard. They are simply a different kind of people to the rest of us. They are motivated to write reviews for their own reasons, and that’s just fine – as long as they carry on writing reviews because this is what you, I, and every author want from them.

    But they are extremely busy people and just finding their contact details can be very difficult. That’s why I use – the service is not cheap but they have been working with Amazon reviewers for years, and provide guaranteed results. I kiss the money I have spent on them since it has saved me days, weeks, maybe months of time chasing up reviewers.

    • LoisWStern says:

      Another idea worth considering for those of you who have set aside a budget for promoting your books. Alison, thanks for sharing. This is exactly what I mean by the words, “Authors Helping AuthorS”!

  17. Love this, Lois, especially your information about posting reviews yourself under Amazon’s Editorial Reviews. i tweeted your post for others to read.

    • LoisWStern says:

      Great, Marilyn. I’m glad you found this hint helpful. I have used this technique a number of times and although those postings don’t count toward your total number of reviews, they are very noticeable when readers click on your title(s).

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