Using Social Media to Maximize your Amazon Reviews

Those of you who follow me on my Heroic Fantasy Facebook group know that I sound like a broken record when it comes to reviews.  The first thing I ask any new member is if they are willing to write book reviews.  Honestly, anyone who aspires to be a writer should be willing to read the work of others and review it.  Writing reviews benefits both the author of the book being reviewed, and the author of the review.  In this article, I will explain how you can get the most out of your Amazon reviews, and how it will benefit your sales.

In the modern marketplace, Amazon is king.  Think about it, they have the emails and the buying tendencies of every individual who purchases regularly on their site.  It's in Amazon's interest that your book sells because Amazon then gets their cut, and Amazon will actually push your books once they reach a certain level.  In my experience, there is no better way to jump start sales than to have Amazon flogging your book for you.  Once your book hits 30-50 reviews, you'll start receiving emails from Amazon listing your book as a "suggestion of the day."  You might also start to see an advertisement for your book on Facebook.  This is great because if you're seeing it, you can guarantee that other people are seeing it as well.  

You want reviews, that's a given, but there are plenty of people who have a hard time understanding how to write an Amazon review.  Folks, nothing could be more simple.  To write a review, you just have to go to the Amazon listing of the work, then you scroll down until you see this button:
Contrary to popular belief YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE PURCHASED THE BOOK TO REVIEW IT.  Amazon wants reviews just as much as you do.  To write a review, all you need is an Amazon account that has made a purchase.  Again, it can be any purchase, not a purchase of the item you wish to review.

Your reviews can be quite minimal.  Amazon lists 20 words as a requirement, but judging from existing content on the page even that is flexible (I usually shoot for 1,000-1,500 words).  I won't say much about writing reviews, however, I would like to mention one thing.  All new releases, whether they are through Penguin or some small Independent publisher, are going to have 5-10 minor grammatical errors.  Books like The Catcher in the Rye have few to no errors because they've been in circulation for more than fifty years and the original 10 or so mistakes have since been corrected.  Mentioning grammatical errors is the kiss of death for an Amazon review--it's the one thing you can say which will cost the author sales.  You should only bring it up if the number of errors dramatically exceeds the standard baseline.

Most people have web pages these days, so it's of great help if the same review is posted on Amazon, a personal web page, and Goodreads.  There are an almost limitless source of venues to publish reviews, but those are the three big ones.  I've even experimented with publishing on the Yahoo Contributor Network.   Again, you don't have to write different reviews for all these places.  Just keep publishing the same review.  

A quick note: when you publish the review on your personal web page, please put a link to the Amazon page at the bottom of the review.  Don't just cut and paste the Amazon listing.  For example it should look like this:
To purchase your copy of this book, click here.
Not like this:

Authors, promote your reviews/interviews/etc.!

When somebody does you the courtesy of reviewing your book and posting the review on their web page, please use your social network to promote that page!  Too many writers just sit around statically and wait for everybody else to do the heavy lifting for their book.  Most web pages have a Facebook button.  Not only should YOU click that button, but you should encourage all your friends to click it as well:
This is from my review of "Oblivion's Forge" by Simon Williams and it appears Mr. Williams is pretty savvy about the internet since this review has received 76 "likes."  Has that lead to any sales?  Who knows?  But it certainly can't hurt.

Clicking the Facebook button is just the beginning.  You can also take the URL and post it on Facebook.
Notice how I posted the URL (in this case of an interview) into my status update (here's the link if you want to read that interview--see what I did there?).

As an author, you really need to make it your responsibility that every time somebody reviews or interviews you, they see a massive surge in traffic to their web page.  Book promotion becomes a lot less frustrating when you realize that newspapers, magazines, radio stations, etc., are only going to be interested in you if it helps them get attention...not vice versa.  So get it through your head--when the review/interview/whatever appears, your work begins!  It goes without saying that if webmasters and editors see surges in attention when they discuss you--THEY'RE GOING TO DISCUSS YOU AGAIN!

Flogging Amazon Reviews
You can grab a link to individual Amazon reviews by clicking on the "permalink" button at the bottom of the review.  Here's an example from a particularly good review.
Once you click on "Permalink" it will take you to a new URL that contains only the review, not the entire Amazon listing for the book.  You can use this link to update your Facebook account, or include links to various different reviews when you're doing interviews.  The point is to ALWAYS FLOG YOUR POSITIVE REVIEWS!

Another vital task for any author is to utilize the "Was this review helpful to you?" button seen here:
Again, don't just click on this yourself.  Focus the total power of your entire social network to click "yes" on this.  This is helpful for several reasons.  It shows Amazon that a lot of people are reading the review, and it helps with the "reviewer ranking" of the person who wrote the review.

It is in your interest as an author that the people reviewing your books have a high reviewer ranking.  Every reviewer on Amazon has a reviewer page that lists their "reviewer ranking."  Here's mine for example:
Having a higher "reviewer ranking" helps the clout of the review.

All of this seems like a lot to remember, but once you get in the habit of flogging your reviews, you'll find it comes second nature.  To summarize, when you receive a new review you should:

  • Hit "like" on the reviewer's personal page
  • Take the URL of the review and post it to Facebook
  • Hit "Yes" on the "was this review helpful to you?" option on Amazon
  • Take the Amazon "permalink" URL and post it to Facebook
  • Rinse and repeat ad infinitum
This helps YOU the author and it also helps the reader who reviewed your book.

I currently have a vast list of books that I'm scheduled to review.  If you're an author of one of the books on that list (or you would like to be), it would help you (and me) if you went to my Amazon reviewer page here and clicked "yes" on the "Was this review helpful to you?" option on some of my reviews.  But don't just do this for my account.  Do it for anyone who has the courtesy to review your books.

Amazon is a numbers game, and if you actively use your social network to pad the numbers in your favor that will be to your benefit.  It literally takes only a few seconds to click "like" or "yes" so what are you waiting for?  All it's going to do is lead to more sales!

About the Author:
Walter Rhein is the author of "The Reader of Acheron," "Beyond Birkie Fever," and "The Bone Sword."  He is also the editor of "Nine Heroes."  He can be reached at: walterrhein@gmail.com.

7 comments :

  1. Okay, I tweeted this and shared it. Walter, now if you'll please do all those things you discussed for my books too, I'll be very grateful.

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  2. Yup, I absolutely do all those things Janet :) although I can be forgetful too!

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  3. Thanks, Walter.

    And if you link your Facebook page to your Twitter account, every post gets extra mileage: facebook.com/twitter/

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Tweeted, I think I shared it already:)

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