In Part 2 of getting reviews for your books on Amazon, I covered one of the most powerful types of reviews you can get – a review from someone who is just like the reader.
The key to getting these types of reviews is to make sure your book gets in the hands of people who are most closely aligned to your target demographic. It’s also for this reason that asking for reviews from family, friends, and total strangers doesn’t have as much of a payoff. Instead, opt for leveraging established platforms where your targeted readers are likely to be found. Guest blogging is a great example of this.
In this article, I’m going to go over how to get the second best type of review – a review from an authority.
Authority reviews can be reviews from experts on a subject, reviews from librarians who are avid readers, or reviews from an established book review website.
We look to experts to help us make decisions because we believe they know better than we do. A review from an authority gives you a huge boost in credibility – especially if you’re an up-and-coming, “no name” author. If you’re writing a book on health and fitness, and you’re not a doctor, you can significantly enhance your credibility by having a review or testimonial from a doctor. If you’re writing a romance book, having a review from a top romance book blogger would also be considered an authority review.
The challenge in getting authority reviews is that authorities are often busy, and if you don’t have a prior relationship with them, it can be difficult for them to take their time to help you out. However, is this really a problem? By now you should know if you’re following the principle of giving rather than getting. Your attention needs to be on how you can help them out, rather than how they can help you out.
If you already have a close relationship with the authority, it doesn’t hurt to ask a favor in the form of a review or testimonial. For everyone else though, I recommend going in with a “how can I serve this person?” attitude. I’ve condensed this whole process down to 4 Cs that will grab their attention, create a genuine connection, and then inspire them to want to check out what you’re doing.
Step 1: Compliment
The best way to start an introduction, either via email or in person, is with a genuine compliment about what this person does. Be sure to include specific details about what you appreciate about them and/or admire about them.
Let’s say you’re writing a book on becoming a happier person, and are reaching out to an authority on depression. You’d want something like, “I read your article on battling depression, and what you said about the types of questions we ask ourselves really hit home. It has helped me become a much happier person. I find your work to be inspiring. I want to thank you for making my life and those of so many others more fulfilling.”
The compliment gets their attention and helps them see why you’ve chosen to reach out to them vs. all the other authorities on the topic. The key here is to not blow smoke, but to make sure the compliment is genuine.
Step 2: Connection
The next step is to establish a connection where the authority can see how both of you are similar in some respect. This can even be done with something as simple as noticing you’re both from the same hometown, have the same hobby, or know the same person. In the case of book reviews, it’s best to stick with the fact that both of your have an interest in the same topic.
Using the book on happiness as an example, the author could state, “I’m a self-help author who is helping empower people to overcome depression and to live a more enriching life like you.”
Using another example of reaching out to an authority-review blog, one could state something like, “As a romance book fan and writer, I wanted to connect with you because we both share a passion for romance novels.”
No matter how you phrase it, you want to leave the person you’re connecting with feeling like both of you are just like each other in some respect. Use your own words to avoid sounding contrived.
Step 3: Contribution
The third step is to offer them something of value. Many times when I reach out to someone, I literally have no idea if, when, or how this person could ever help me out. Instead, I find some way to enrich their lives. If it just so happens down the road they do something for me, then great. The contribution is done with no string attached. Another way of looking at this is that it’s not about “give and take” but “give and receive.”
If you’re offering them a free copy of your book with the hopes they’ll review it, you don’t make your offer conditional on them giving you something in return (a review). Rather, you offer them a free copy simply because you believe they and/or their followers will enjoy it. Let them know this!
Notice the difference between these two requests:
“I have a book on happiness in which I talk about the best ways to overcome depression. I am looking for honest reviews. If you are interested, I’ll send you a copy.”
“I have a book to help people become happier and overcome their depression. Inside the book, I have recommended your website as a great resource, as I consider you to be one of the foremost authorities on the topic. To thank you for all your great work, I’d be more than happy to send you a copy, if you’re interested. If you have the time to offer me any feedback, it would be an honor to learn how I can improve this book to help even more people overcome depression.
The first approach isn’t “bad,” but it’s making a big request for this authority to take hours of their time to check out a book and leave a review when they don’t even know the author at all.
The second approach is better for a couple reasons. First of all, the focus is on helping people overcome depression and not on the author getting a review. This is something both the author and authority can relate to. If you can position yourself and your book as benefitting the authority’s followers, then you’re doing them a favor by giving them a valuable resource they’ll get to recommend. The difference in attitude is “share this with your fans to help me” which is usually a turn-off VS. “share this with your fans to help them” which is appealing.
The second reason this approach works is because the author has already done something for the authority – that is, recommending the authority’s website in the book. The big thing here is that this is done with no strings attached.
The third reason this approach is better is because you’re not asking for an honest review, but rather honest feedback. Is there a difference? Yes, the simple shift in wording implies that they don’t have to go on Amazon to leave a review, but rather can give you their candid thoughts any way they want. If they check out your book and leave you positive feedback in a private message, then you can let them know a positive review posted on Amazon would be appreciated.
Step 4: Curiosity
This last step could be considered optional, but I think it’s very helpful to incorporate. This is where you add something to your email to make them more curious about you and your work.
For instance, if something was included in the message for the book on happiness like…
“In my book, I share one thing that took me years of research to finally uncover, which turned out to be the missing link for many people to finally overcome depression. I haven’t ever heard you talk about this, so I’m not sure if you’ve even heard of it. I’d love to know your thoughts.…”
Then you can bet that the person reading that email will be very curious as to what that one thing is. This works even better on authorities who often think they’ve “seen it all,” but may in fact be missing something.
Another example is…
“I know you review a lot of thriller books on your blog, but I’m not sure you’ve seen anything like what’s in this book. I don’t want to spoil the surprise though.…”
Curiosity is one of the most powerful triggers you can use to get a person’s attention and encourage them to take action. Just think about how people will watch TV shows week after week when they’re left with a cliffhanger after each episode.
This entire process is really just the first part in what might be establishing an on-going relationship. If you get anything out of this, it’s to remember that you’re simply trying to make connections with as many people as possible. Whether those connections come back to help you or not isn’t what your focus should be on. Instead, focus on giving value to others and allow them the opportunity to offer you something in return on their own time, if and when they feel like it.
In upcoming articles, I’m going to reveal how to manage bad reviews, how to get real genuine feedback for improvement, and how to recommended resources for getting book reviews quickly.
Stay tuned for Derek’s upcoming articles on how to get more Amazon book reviews.
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