There’s a lot of confusion among authors about the best practices when it comes to getting reviews on Amazon for their books. Amazon has had to send out a memo about frowned-upon practices, as well as list their rules and requirements, but there always be authors who try to skirt the rules just for those reviews.
One thing Amazon has made abundantly clear, though, is the use of incentives in exchange for reviews is against the rules. Incentives, other than Advanced Review Copies that is. An Advance Review Copy (or ARC) is given to people in advance of the book launch with the hope that those read it can review the book as soon as it’s released.
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Some might wonder if they can have a person buy the book, review it and then compensate them for that review. Unfortunately, that’s not the same as an ARC. Paying someone or compensating them after they already left the review could result in a biased review.
How to send out ARCs to readers
Craig Tuch, our guest today, is owner of Hidden Gems Books – a paid service authors can use to send out ARCs to readers. This doesn’t fall outside of Amazon’s rules and requirements, since these readers aren’t required to write reviews on the book. But the email lists Craig has cultivated are more prone to do so.
We talk a little about some of the practices for getting reviews we’ve seen from other authors that have worked, like offering a personalized bookplate just for buying the book. We also discuss some of the shady tactics used by other authors that Amazon would probably not approve of, like having a contest for those who leave reviews for a book.
The main thing authors should ask themselves when trying to come up with clever ways to gain reviews is, “Am I causing favor?” If that’s the case, you’re doing it wrong.
Bio of the Author in the Case Study:
Craig Tuch has been involved in the writing community for many years, and during that time he was able to identify the difficulties that self-published and independent authors have in promoting, marketing and improving their books. Hidden Gems was started in 2015 and offers an ever-expanding list of services to over 1500 authors to help them reach more readers and sell more books.
Resources Referred to in this Episode:
- Hidden Gems Books — Craig’s Book Review Service
- Amazon’s Memo on Reviews
- Amazon’s FAQ on Book Reviews
- Email Address for Amazon Review Appeals
- Video on Amazon Review Policies
- Kindlepreneur video — What Happened to My Kindle Book Reviews? Why Amazon Deletes Reviews
- Book Marketing Show How to Get Book Reviews