If, like me, you frequently buy things from Amazon, you are familiar with the emails they send out asking for a review of the product. These reviews are helpful for the seller and for other shoppers on the website, so I always complied, but I found it extremely irritating when Amazon wouldn’t accept a review without a minimum number of characters. Sometimes the only thing I wanted to say was that the product was as described. Eventually, I began to repeat the last word or letter of my final sentence in order to fill the characters gap and, lately, I’ve simply quit responding.
As an independent author, I rely on good reader reviews to promote and sell my books, but I wonder if readers are getting as tired of being nagged for reviews on books as I was on those other purchases.
The struggle for book reviews has led to the creation of paid review services and groups offering honest reviews in exchange for making a free copy available to their members. I resist the paid option as not quite ethical, I have had mixed results with a review group, and newsletter pleas to my readers are mostly ignored.
What is an indie author to do?
Although Amazon has made things more difficult for indie authors by rejecting reviews from anyone with a social media connection to the author, they have also given us a helping hand by including a review form and invitation at the back of each Kindle book. After the last page is read, the message, “Before you go…” comes up. A review written here is posted immediately to both Amazon and Goodreads. I’ve found myself much more likely to write the requested review immediately after reading a book, especially if it is one I enjoyed.
Many of us include a newsletter sign-up link and an invitation (plea?) to write a review in the back matter of our eBooks, but I would love to be able to add a link to a review site in my ePub editions like the one Amazon does for Kindle. Anything I can do to make the review process easier and less annoying for all my readers, the better.
If you are an author, please comment to share your own successful strategies for encouraging reader reviews.
If you are one of my precious readers, please tell me what would make you want to take the time to submit a review.