- “Take a letter please Miss Skelton…”
Did you know that in Victorian times, and right through to the 1970s, the very first thing a business manager would always do was hire a dictation typist?
The number #1 reason is that typing a letter was the most tiresome chore a manager could imagine. It was also an inefficient use of their time. So they were more than happy to pay someone to do it for them – a person who’d note down their ideas, and tidy them up into a letter.
Unfortunately, a similar dislike of such work applies to fiction readers today.
Reading your book can be a delightful experience and an enjoyable escape, but writing an Amazon review is a mentally taxing task most readers simply don’t want to do, and will almost invariably avoid.
Even readers who’ve promised to review your book will usually fail to do so.
So, How To Get Amazon Reviews If No-one Will Write Them?
Well, let me outline a way for you to get more reviews. (Even though this is very obvious, it seems to escape most writers.)
The secret is to remove the roadblock. Think about it: Over 90% of your readers will be perfectly happy to talk about your book. So let them do exactly that; let them talk about it while you record or take notes, and then transcribe it for them – as a review.
Be their ‘dictation typist’ to save them the task: Interview them, record what they say, and type it out. Of course you must accurately reflect their views so it’s authentic.
Once typed, send it back to them with an exact link to your book’s Amazon review page so they can upload it. Remind them to check the review to be sure it genuinely portrays their opinion, and edit it for ‘personality’ if they’d like to.
With this one action, you’ve removed the roadblock that’s preventing them from reviewing your book on Amazon.
The sad truth is that Amazon’s review system has been significantly damaged by fake reviews, but in this case, these are genuine reviews from your readers – precisely the type Amazon wants.
It all comes down to how strongly you want more reviews, and whether you’re willing to make it easy for your readers to write them.
Crucial point: The Review Must Maintain A Reader’s Unique Objectivity
This method not only avoids interfering with the normal objective reviews posted by readers, but also gathers the honest opinions of readers who would never write a review at all otherwise.
Crucially, interviewed readers must be encouraged to view the text you send as merely a draft, and edit it to make it entirely their own – with their unique objectivity. This method is essentially to get them moving, rather than make up their ideas for them.
What To Ask A Reader?
Have a set of these types of review questions ready:
1. What did you think of the story?
2. Was it exciting?
3. Extremely romantic?
4. Did it hold your attention?
5. Did it provoke emotions?
6. Did you care about the main character?
7. Did you like the writing style?
8. Would you recommend it to a friend?
Note: There’s no point in just sending these question to a reader so they can write a review. That means they’re still having to do 90% of the work. Instead, you must do all the work byinterviewing, recording and transcribing to get them going. You are the catalyst.
Do this every couple of weeks, and over time it will build up a sizable number of genuine reader reviews.
How To Find And Contact Readers To Interview?
On Amazon you cannot directly promote your book for free in exchange for a review. It would be VERY easy to misinterpret this article as being about swapping free books for reviews. Absolutely not. You need to contact your readers and form a connection first.
For example, search for readers who talk about your book on Twitter and Facebook, or by offering an unrelated book for free as a PDF in exchange for an email address – not the book you want reviewed. Remember – this is not to be directly in exchange for a review.
Once you have developed a relationship, and are in touch by email, phone, Skype ,Viber or Whatsapp etc, ask them for honest opinion of your book for a reader review, and point out that that you’ll do the tedious typing part. They can then check and edit the review to be sure it accurately portrays their opinion.
Most readers will feel privileged to be contacted by an author, and pleased to be involved in your writing career.
The Bottom Line: Are These ‘Real’ Reviews?
Truth is, this is not anywhere near a perfect solution, because it’s difficult to genuinely mirror a reader’s thoughts and unique, objective views. But one thing of which I am absolutely certain is that this approach is far more likely to produce a review that’s close to the genuine views of a reader than the gazillions of fake reviews that litter and corrupt Amazon.
Article written by Jonathan Gunson
Author / Book Marketing Coach