We all know book reviews are important–they generate publicity and improve the reputation of your book on Amazon. But getting good book reviews is not easy, especially when trolls exist. So how do you encourage more people to write reviews of your book without breaking Amazon’s terms of service? Here’s an easy method: ask.
Step 1: Put Your Email Address in Your Book
Some people do not do this. I think there are three rationales:
1) People think their email addresses are private. Newsflash: your email is not your home address. Email is the softest of all possible contact mediums. If you don’t want to respond, you simply delete the email. No one can effectively harass you, because you just report it as spam. Done. (By keeping it private, you are also making it more difficult for media to contact you. That is a bad thing.)
2) People are worried that spam will fill up their inbox. Newsflash: get Gmail. There is no need to do silly things like “email me at williamspaniel AT gmail DOT com” anymore. My email address (as a hyperlink) appears all over the internet. I receive virtually no spam. You will receive virtually no spam as well.
3) People are worried they will be overwhelmed with fan mail. Newsflash: this is a very good thing. But you won’t be overwhelmed. I have sold more than 25,000 books in under a year (with my email address right at the front of the book), and I get about one or two messages a week. That is more than manageable.
Step 2: Wait for Emails
This is probably the hardest part, because you just have to sit and wait for the emails to come in.
Step 3: Respond to Emails
Take five minutes, understand what the reader is saying and what he or she is asking, and construct an intelligent response.
Step 4: Ask for a Review
If the reader responded positively to your work, simply end the email like this:
I am glad you enjoyed the book. Thank you for your feedback, and I always appreciate it when my readers post reviews on Amazon.
Readers will do this for you, especially when you are kind enough to respond to their questions. The best part is that you can be selective of whom you solicit for comments. If the reader is raging at you, you do not mention the review. If he or she really likes you, you do. The reader wins because he gets to hear directly from you. You win because you get a five star review.