by Steve Weber ~ June 13th, 2007.In 1988 a first-time author, British mountaineer Joe Simpson, wrote of his disastrous climbing accident in the Peruvian Andes. His book, Touching the Void, got good reviews, but wasn’t too popular outside England. It sold modestly and then, like most books, began fading into obscurity.
A decade later, another climbing book was penned by Jon Krakauer, an American journalist who scaled Everest on a harrowing expedition that claimed eight lives. Into Thin Air, with a boost from its conglomerate publisher, was an instant No. 1 bestseller and worldwide blockbuster.
And then something really interesting happened. Bookstores started getting requests for the earlier book, Touching the Void. Weeks before, stores couldn’t give it away, and now the book was sold out. Library copies went missing. The original hardback, if you could find one, was going for $375. Harper Paperbacks rushed a new edition onto shelves, and Touching the Void started outselling the new “blockbuster” by two to one.
What happened? Was it a stroke of brilliance by some publishing mogul? No, it was Joe Six-Pack, reacting to book recommendations from Amazon.com. The online store began recommending the older book to millions of people whom it knew liked climbing books, based on their buying history. Many of the new readers liked Touching the Void so much, they wrote rave reviews on Amazon’s site. These “amateur” book reviews, written by real climbers and armchair explorers, resonated deeply with the next wave of shoppers. More sales, more good reviews.
Ten years after the book’s launch, Internet-powered word of mouth did something that no team of marketing wizards could do—it landed Touching the Void on the bestseller lists. The story was adapted for an acclaimed docudrama. Simpson, his writing career turbocharged, followed up with four successful adventure books, a novel, and lecture tours.
You, too, can get Amazon customer reviews for your book and boost your visibility with Amazon’s recommendation system. If your book is a good one, all you need to do is ask people to read and review it. The more Amazon customers who review your book and award it four or five stars, the more often your book will surface in Amazon’s book recommendations on its Web site and e-mails.
TIPS FOR GETTING GOOD REVIEWS ON AMAZON:
The key to getting lots of good reviews on Amazon is to make it a habit of inviting people to review and read your book. Provide a free review copy when necessary. Here’s where to find reviewers:
– From Amazon’s list of Top Reviewers who regularly post reviews of books similar to yours. See www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/top-reviewers.html
– Seek out Amazon users who have reviewed related titles, or books by authors with a writing style similar to yours.
– Acquaintances and colleagues interested in your book’s topic.
– Participants in Internet discussion boards and mailing lists relevant to your book.
HOW TO APPROACH REVIEWERS
– Click on the pen name for anyone who’s written an Amazon review, and you’ll find their Amazon profile containing biographical and other information they’ve posted about themselves.
– Ensure your book is of interest. Some reviewer profiles explain what types of books they prefer — some reviewers stick with fiction; some review only movies or music.
– Contact potential Amazon reviewers from their profile page, clicking the link “Invite to be an Amazon Friend.” This generates a pop-up form where you can enter a message, and Amazon will forward it in an e-mail.
– Safeguard yourself a bit by requesting that readers not post a review if they simply hate the book. But it’s the reviewer’s call, don’t do anything to suggest you’re expecting favorable treatment.
– Avoid sending your book to reviewers who usually post harshly negative reviews, but don’t shy away from those who offer frank criticism. These voices lend credibility to your book.
– Ask readers who praise your book to post an Amazon review. For example, whenever you receive an e-mail from a satisfied reader, you might respond this way: “Thank you for the kind words about my book. If you ever have a spare moment, it would be a great help if you could post a review of it on Amazon and let other potential readers know why you liked it.”
Positive reviews on Amazon boost your sales not only on Amazon, but everywhere people are buying books. Amazon’s reviews are one of the Web’s most popular features, and good reviews will help sell your book. the main benefit of reviews is in giving your
book credibility, so that once someone notices it,
they have the confidence to buy it.
*reprinted from an article by Steve Weber on his blog Publishing Basics.
Read the original article online.