In Part 3 of getting reviews for your books on Amazon, I revealed how to connect with authorities in your niche to get reviews.
The key to getting authority reviews is to make a genuine connection, and to focus first on what you have to offer them. This means going in with a no-strings-attached mindset of offering value. Instead of thinking in terms of “give and take,” think in terms of “give and receive.”
In this article, I’m going to share with you how to get genuine feedback, and how to manage bad reviews.
How Do You Get Real Quality Feedback?
Have you ever asked someone what they thought of your book only to have them blow smoke because they didn’t want to hurt your feelings? Alternatively, have you ever asked someone for their feedback only to have them demean and criticize your work, without offering any practical suggestions for how to improve it?
We hear all the time how important it is to get feedback for improvement, but if that feedback isn’t presented in the right way, we can be spun in many different directions by conflicting opinions. The good news is that by switching around the language you use, you can force people to give you better feedback!
How is this done?
My go-to phrase when I want someone’s constructive feedback is “How can I make this even better?” I should note, this is a great question to ask yourself as well!
The reason this simple phrase works incredibly well is because it first implies that the quality of your work is good to start with. The part “even better” makes an assumption that things are fine as they are, but could be taken to the next level.
If I ask my mom what she thinks of my books, of course she’s going to say they’re the greatest thing ever. If I ask her, “How can I make it even better,” I’m now forcing her to give me something that can be done to improve it without her feeling like she’s criticizing my work. Genius!
Now on the flip side, you can see this phrase also forces more critical people who may just say “this sucks” to actually come up with a way to make it better. That’s because “How can I….” is a question that compels a person to provide an actual actionable step that can be taken for improvement.
Ultimately, this question will force others and yourself to look for areas of improvement without all the emotional ups and downs. The one thing to be aware of is that you will get conflicting opinions because you can’t please everyone. My biggest suggestion is to get very clear on your ultimate objective so you’re not taken off track by those who don’t understand your books as well as you.
How Do You Manage Bad Reviews?
If you don’t have any bad reviews on your books, then you probably haven’t sold very many. Bad reviews are simply one of those things that comes with success. ALL of the most popular books get bad reviews simply because you can’t please everyone.
One thing to keep in mind about bad reviews is that if you’re pushing the envelope with your message, a certain percentage of people are going to hate it. In the non-fiction arena, a simple difference in how people learn can mean some people love the way the information is presented, and others hate it. The only way to avoid bad reviews is to be overly bland and “safe” with your books in hopes not to offend anyone. The problem with that is you probably won’t have too many people love your book either! Instead, go in with the attitude that “this is my message and I’m proud of it!” and let the cards fall where they may.
So what do you do if you do get a bad review? While Amazon lets you comment on reviews, ask yourself if you really need to. People expect to see the occasional bad review. If you comment on every bad review trying to explain why you’re right, it can just make you look defensive. Also ask yourself if they have a point. I might not agree that a book should be 1-star simply because it has a few spelling and grammar errors, but I can certainty get the hint that hiring an editor can be useful.
If you are going to comment on a review, I would have these suggestions:
- NEVER attack the reviewer no matter how wrong they may be. If anything, thank them for taking the time to leave a review and provide you feedback.
- Focus on the book and the material itself, and keep it objective.
- Utilize the honest feedback method.
For instance, I had a person say one of my books was not helpful at all. My response was to thank them for leaving the review, point out some things in the book that they could find helpful, and then said “I would love to hear what you would have liked to know that wasn’t provided in the book to help even more people. Thanks!”
While this wasn’t phrased as a question, it’s essentially asking them for how I could make the book better. Although the reviewer never responded, the positive votes my comment got indicates people found my non-defensive and open-minded welcoming of feedback was appreciated.
If a person is downright lying about something or misleading people, it may be prudent to clarify something in a comment, but once again NEVER attack the reviewer.
If you find a bad review is hurting your sales, realize a few things. One is that sales can go up and down sporadically, and it may not be the review itself hurting sales. I also had a #1 bestselling book with only five reviews, including a 1-star, so a bad review doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Finally, the best way to fight against bad reviews is to get more good reviews. If you’re thinking about this in the long-term, what does one, two, or even five bad reviews matter if you have over fifty glowing reviews?
Remember that successful people embrace all feedback, good and bad. It’s your job to help guide people to provide you feedback in the way that most benefits you. If someone simply wants to bad-mouth your work, then let them be, and focus on delivering even more value to your avid fans whose voices can outshine the detractors.
In the next and final article, I will be revealing some of the best-ever methods and resources for getting reviews quickly even if you’re a brand new author.
Stay tuned for Derek’s upcoming articles on how to get more Amazon book reviews.
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