The Art and Science to Amazon Editorial Reviews
Are you using the Amazon Editorial Review section for your book? It’s that section midway down on your book’s sales page, and, according to Amazon, you can basically put whatever you want there.
Unsurprisingly, this section is very important to your customers.
As I’ll explain later in this article, we conducted a test and found that not only do shoppers pay attention to editorial reviews, but these reviews influenced shoppers to buy at a noticeable rate…when done correctly.
Plus, it takes only a couple of minutes to put yours together.
Getting editorial reviews is very easy. You can even ask your friends for editorial reviews — Amazon doesn’t have super strict rules for them as they do for customer reviews. You can check out the rules in in detail here.
So, in this article, you will learn:
- Why editorial reviews are powerful
- Where readers/buyers look when they’re checking out your editorial review section
- Where you can get editorial reviews
- A step-by-step guide on how to set up your editorial review section
- How to design your editorial reviews for more engagement
- The rules for an editorial review
Heatmap Experiment: Editorial Reviews Are Important!
A while ago, we conducted an experiment where we paid a company to bring in random Amazon shoppers to sit down at a computer and look at certain book pages. The computers they were using were designed to track the eye movements of the users, and where they clicked.
By doing this, the system was able to generate heatmaps like the one below:
From the collection of heatmaps, we learned an incredible amount about what shoppers do on an Amazon sales page, what they pay attention to, and what factors play into their buying decisions.
But for the purposes of the editorial review section, we learned the following:
- Shoppers definitely take notice of the editorial review section if it exists and follows #2 and #3 below.
- Most don’t read the actual review of the editorial review, but instead pay more attention to who said it and what makes them qualified to speak about this book (something I call the “qualifier”)
- Having 6-10 editorial reviews seems to be the sweet spot. If you have less, shoppers tend to skip it, and if you have more, shoppers generally disregard it.
So, in order to help you create effective editorial reviews, we’ll start by discussing what makes a good editorial review. Then we'll cover where to get powerful editorial reviews, how to design those reviews for maximum engagement on your book sales page, and finally how to publish editorial reviews on Amazon.
With that, let’s begin.
What Makes a Good Editorial Review
Before we get into where to find editorial reviews, let’s talk about what makes an editorial review powerful enough to influence shoppers to buy. This way, you’ll have a better idea of how to find them.
First, it’s not really the words the reviewer uses. As the heatmap shows, people rarely read them or spend little time on the review itself. Instead, it’s what qualifies a reviewer that seems to count with shoppers.
So, what is a qualifier? It’s anything that helps a shopper recognize the reviewer as someone of importance, or connected to the genre itself.
“This was an amazing book and one of the best reads of the year!” ~ Bryan Micheals
Do you know who Bryan Michaels is? Probably not. So, without any context, would Bryan’s review mean anything to you? Probably not — heck it could be completely made up. Hence, you and the shopper would probably not be impressed with this statement. But getting an editorial review doesn’t mean you need to be friends with famous people in order for them to be effective. Instead, you need to help the shopper know that the reviewer is legitimate by giving them a qualifier when you can.
Here’s another example where a qualifier makes a difference:
“This was an amazing book and one of the best reads of the year!” ~ Bryan Micheals, International Bestselling Author in Fantasy
The shopper probably doesn’t know who Bryan Michaels is still, but they do know that he’s a legitimate fantasy author….and if he thinks this book is good enough to leave a review, well, that says something.
And THAT is what makes an editorial review awesome!
So, how do we construct qualifiers?
Well, some qualifiers will be easy to come up with. But many times it takes a bit of creativity and an understanding of what will ‘pop’ best for your type of book shopper.
For example, if you ask another writer in your genre or niche (which I HIGHLY recommend you do and will discuss that below), there’s a great chance the shopper won't know that particular author by name — unless you’re friends with uber-famous authors. Therefore, add the qualifier of their level of bestselling status and or the genre they write in as I did in the examples above. Here’s another example:
“Don’t miss this masterfully told story of sisters and secrets, damage and redemption, hope and healing.” — Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Definitely one for the shelf!” ~ Grace Greene, author of The Memory of Butterflies
“A must read. Sarah J. Maas has set the new standard with this book.” — Laurell K. Hamilton, #1 NYT bestselling author
Another example is if you get a review blog to do an editorial review. The editor isn’t famous, nor recognizable. Therefore, the name of the blog/website should be the only qualifier used. This is even more powerful when the name of the review site is either recognizable, like Kirkus Review, or has a name that is meaningful, like Top Sci-Fi Books. Here’s an example:
“Hell’s Horizon is the book fans of military sci fi have been waiting for. Don’t miss it!” Editor in chief, TopSciFiBooks.com
“An emotional story about the relationship between two sisters and the difficulty of facing the truth head-on.” — Today
“Learn from Dave Chesson on how to optimize your books for greater sales” ~ Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
That last one is true, and they did publicly say it. 🙂
Step 1: Where to Get Editorial Reviews
Okay, so now that we know what makes a good editorial review, let’s look at how we can get some. When it comes to editorial reviews, there are five general places authors should look at for them:
- Other authors in their genre or niche
- Review blogs
- Genre Websites
- Press Release outcome
There are others out there, but for most authors, this list can really do the trick. Let’s analyze each so that we know where and how to best get them.
Other authors in your genre or niche: Joining groups on Facebook is a great way to interact with other authors in your genre. Try to establish a rapport with authors rather than cold-calling them for reviews right away. Here’s a guide I created that will help you with the best methods of partnering with other authors.
Review Sites: Review sites are either a website that was created to professionally review books or a blog where an author writes about many things including book reviews. Sometimes you need to pay them to review your book and sometimes not. These are “website reviews” and not Amazon reviews, so you aren’t breaking any rules by paying someone to review a book in this context. The good news is that you can use their words in your Editorial Review section, even if you paid for it. There are a LOT of sites like this online, and many more are added every week. But to help you get started, here are a couple of ways you can find them:
- Google search your genre plus the words “review blog”
- Use Fiverr to look up book review services — make sure it is for a blog and doesn’t offer Amazon reviews as well. And check their site beforehand.
- Check out this list of Review Sites
Genre Websites: There are plenty of websites that specialize in specific genres of fiction — ones that are passionate about sci-fi books for instance. Reaching out to the editors of these sites is a good idea! To find them, it's usually best to do a google search for sites like that or use some of the lists and steps above.
Bookstagrammers: Bookstagramming is the ‘in thing’ nowadays, and many of these reviewers are use to receiving requests for reviews. It’s a good idea to reach out to influencers who enjoy reading books like yours and politely request an editorial review.
Press Release Outcomes: If you did a press release, there is a great chance it was picked up by a couple of media outlets. If you see any that look great, put them in your Editorial Review. If you don’t know how to do a book press release, check out this article for more guidance.
Bear in mind that, as the heatmap above showed, qualifiers are one of the most important parts of this. If you get a review from a website or review, would you rather have an editorial review by“Top Sci-Fi Books” or “Jane Doe” if you’re a sci-fi author?
Probably Top Sci-Fi Books because that gives the review more credence and is a more powerful qualifier.
Step 2: Designing the Perfect Editorial Review
From the heatmaps, we found that best style to use for editorial reviews is something like this:
To create a perfectly designed editorial review, you should:
Italicize the review portion and don’t make it bold: The difference between italicizing or not was minimal, but our data showed that italicizing the review section of the editorial review caused shoppers to see the qualifiers more, which we’ll cover next.
Bold the reviewer and qualifier: This is key. Bold just the reviewer and qualifier so as to make them stick out more. This will cause the shopper to stop scrolling and look at the amazing reviewers that think your book is awesome.
Place the reviewer and qualifier at the end: Some people put these below the quote, instead of at the end. However, those were not looked at as much. Therefore, put yours at the end of the quote.
The key is, you don’t want to bring attention to the review itself but instead want to draw the reader's eyes to the qualifiers by making them bold and putting them at the end. When you do this, it causes the shopper to stop scrolling and take a look.
Not sure how to do the HTML for this and construct editorial reviews with bold and italics on Amazon?
No problem. Our newest version of the Free Book Description Generator has an “Editorial Review” feature at the top.
You simply click on the Amazon Editorial Review button at the top, insert your text, and play around with all the formatting options like italics, bolding, and icons to format your review. Then hit ‘Generate My Code’ as seen below.
The generator will then produce the HTML code that you need to insert into your editorial review section in Author Central.
Now that you’ve got your review and it’s nicely formatted, let’s dive into a step-by-step guide on how to upload your reviews to your editorial review section.
Step 3: Setting up Your Editorial Review Section
To set up your editorial review section and enter your editorial reviews, simply follow the following steps:
- Go to Author Central and login to your account.
- Navigate to the ‘Books’ tab.
- Select your book.
- Here, you’ll find you can edit several areas: Review, Product Description, From the Author, From the Inside Flap, From the Back Cover, and About the Author.
- Hit the ‘Add’ button.
- You’ll be given a text box to add reviews and general guidelines for adding them according to Amazon’s specifications. Copy over the text you generated previously.
- Once you’ve added your review, simply hit ‘Preview’ and then ‘Save Changes’ and you’re done.
If you don’t yet have an Author Central account, I’ve created an article on how you can set up your author central account right here.
Rules to an Editorial Review
Now, there are a few rules you should be aware of when it comes to editorial reviews. Granted, there are a lot less than there are for customer reviews.
Amazon’s rules for editorial reviews are they can't include:
- Phone numbers, addresses, or URLs
- Time-sensitive statements or statements that are specific to one edition or listing
- Promotional materials
- Availability, price, or alternative ordering and/or shipping information
- Profanity or spiteful remarks
- Obscene or distasteful content
Basically, you can get your reviews anywhere and format them in any way you like, as long as you stick to the guidelines above. Neat!
The Amazon Editorial Reviews section is more important than you think. It’s a powerful marketing tool that provides social proof for potential buyers. Make sure you make full use of this section by following the steps we laid out in this article.
Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.