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Daffyjkl
12-10-2016, 01:43 AM
Hi AW Members,
What is the best way to get reviews? I have had at least 30 people say they would download my book and write a review, but so far I've had about 20 downloads and just 2 reviews. I know Amazon rejects family and friend reviews, but surely most early reviews will come from those people. I don't want to be known as one of those people that bugs you for a review every time I see you. I rewrote my book 8 times, paid for an assessment from a recognised assessment service (from the Writers and Artists Yearbook - Excellent review by the way). I'm working on new titles, but what do I do to get those crucial 10+ reviews I need to stand out? I always think that people are unlikely to take a chance on a 2.99 book with 2 reviews when there is another with 10+ reviews. Any tips would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Jason

Whibs123
12-10-2016, 07:53 PM
Honestly, Daffyjkl, that is the million dollar question. For over two years I hunted and solicited reviewers to take a shot on my books, all the while building up, very slowly, a mailing list of people who read and enjoy my stuff. It wasn't until this year that I had sufficent numbers on my list that I was able to email about an update and casually mention that if they'd read the books I'd appreciate an honest review. I made it clear there was no obligation and that honesty was key. I was inspired by the results. I know some writers have thousands and thousands of subscribers and when they launch a new book they have hundreds of reviews within days.

So my advice is try to get those initial 10 reviews so you qualify for some of the promotional opportunities (e.g. Bookbub) and then just slow-burn with more titles and get a mailing list and treat that list like gold.

Good luck!

Dhewco
12-10-2016, 10:05 PM
It took me almost nine months to get those 2 reviews..so, I'm not sure I feel for you, lol. Still, best of luck.

Daffyjkl
12-10-2016, 10:19 PM
Thanks Whibs123 & Dhewco for the honest replies. What do you think is the minimum number of reviews to become considered legitimate? I mainly read paperbacks and I always check Amazon reviews. I look for 4+ stars. If the book has 100+ reviews I buy it. If it has a handful of reviews I'll delve into the reviewer details. If I see that the reviewer has only 1 review I know it's from friends or family. If they have reviewed dozens of similar books I know it's legit. Is the number of legitimate reviews a key to making sales?
Thanks again,
Jason

Old Hack
12-10-2016, 10:32 PM
You're legitimate already. You've written a book, you've made it the best you can, and you've self published it. That's far more than most people ever manage, and if that doesn't make you legitimate then I don't know what will. So try not to be so hard on yourself, please!

As for reviews, well. They are difficult to get. People like to read, but are reluctant to make the effort to review. It's best to avoid the trap of paid-for reviews, as they're notoriously bad value for money: often they'll have little to do with your book, will be poorly written, and will probably be deleted by Amazon et al.

I assume you've seen this thread in our Promotions room:

How to promote your book like an intelligent human being and not an SEO Dweeb (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?241431-How-to-promote-your-book-like-an-intelligent-human-being-and-not-an-SEO-Dweeb)
It might well give you some help. And while we're on the subject of our Promotions room I'm going to move this thread there, as it is a better fit, I think.

Dhewco
12-10-2016, 11:22 PM
I'll be honest about that, too. I don't read reviews for books unless it has a reputation that I've heard of for being bad. Reviews of notoriously bad stuff is funny to read. To find new stuff, I peruse book store shelves or use the Amazon search engine for subjects I'm interested in. I read the blurb in the store and either buy it or go home to look for the e-book version. If I'm using search engine, I use the description and 'look inside' feature to make my decision.

David

Whibs123
12-10-2016, 11:30 PM
Thanks Whibs123 & Dhewco for the honest replies. What do you think is the minimum number of reviews to become considered legitimate? I mainly read paperbacks and I always check Amazon reviews. I look for 4+ stars. If the book has 100+ reviews I buy it. If it has a handful of reviews I'll delve into the reviewer details. If I see that the reviewer has only 1 review I know it's from friends or family. If they have reviewed dozens of similar books I know it's legit. Is the number of legitimate reviews a key to making sales?
Thanks again,
Jason

I don't look at reviews as being the benchmark for legitimacy. Instead, look at reviews as your way to reach more readers b/c the bigger promotion sites like Bookbub require x# of reviews before they'll consider offering your book on their sites. That is the real reason to get those first few reviews. After that, it's all gravy really. 100+ reviews to be legit? No way. There are so many books I LOVE that have only a few reviews. Especially if you go deeper into a series. Book 1 might have a lot, but book 3, 4, 5, etc tend to have fewer and fewer.

Daffyjkl
12-11-2016, 12:22 AM
Thanks all. Great feedback. I've looked at the link from Old Hack and I have a lot to do. Fortunately, I have the week before Christmas off so I'll look at websites and social media.
I must say it's good to get such quick responses to posts. It seems kind like a great online community. Thanks again.

marinapr9
12-30-2016, 06:53 PM
I've set up a Facebook group where you can give and receive reviews. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1635434546472418/

mlred
02-03-2017, 10:21 PM
I went through NetGalley. It was $300 for the book to be available to a million book reviewers and in that month, I got over 20 reviews on amazon, blogs, and goodreads. My sales increased to over 1000. So, I guess it all depends if you think the money is worth it. To me, it was, but I had the extra money to invest in marketing.

Arpeggio
02-14-2017, 01:41 AM
I went through NetGalley. It was $300 for the book to be available to a million book reviewers and in that month, I got over 20 reviews on amazon, blogs, and goodreads. My sales increased to over 1000. So, I guess it all depends if you think the money is worth it. To me, it was, but I had the extra money to invest in marketing.

Noteworthy, thanks.

James W
02-19-2017, 04:51 PM
One approach that a lot of people advocate is building an advanced list of people who agree to post an honest review of your book around launch time. You have to be careful with not offering free copies in exchange for reviews, but if you did a free launch day, and had everyone download and review it then, I think you'd be fine.

If you had 20 downloads resulting in 2 reviews, scale that up. Shoot for over 100+ downloads to get those 10 reviews, % wise.

Also, what are you doing to build a long term platform? Off Amazon, advertising on Facebook (www.thecreativepenn.com/2016/06/06/facebook-advertising-mark-dawson/) is a great way to drive traffic to your books, therefore increasing the likelihood of reviews. On Amazon itself, building an Author Central Page (https://kindlepreneur.com/amazon-author-central-page/) is a really effective way to build an engaged fan base who are more likely to review your books in the future.

Old Hack
02-19-2017, 10:18 PM
One approach that a lot of people advocate is building an advanced list of people who agree to post an honest review of your book around launch time. You have to be careful with not offering free copies in exchange for reviews, but if you did a free launch day, and had everyone download and review it then, I think you'd be fine.

Trade publishers commonly send out many ARCs to reviewers, bloggers, and people influential in the book world such as booksellers, colleagues of the writer, experts in the field, etc. These ARCs are not paid for. It's not good protocol to offer free books in exchange for a positive review, but you can offer them in exchange for an honest one.

Twick
02-19-2017, 10:39 PM
Hi AW Members,
What is the best way to get reviews? I have had at least 30 people say they would download my book and write a review, but so far I've had about 20 downloads and just 2 reviews. I know Amazon rejects family and friend reviews, but surely most early reviews will come from those people. I don't want to be known as one of those people that bugs you for a review every time I see you. I rewrote my book 8 times, paid for an assessment from a recognised assessment service (from the Writers and Artists Yearbook - Excellent review by the way). I'm working on new titles, but what do I do to get those crucial 10+ reviews I need to stand out? I always think that people are unlikely to take a chance on a 2.99 book with 2 reviews when there is another with 10+ reviews. Any tips would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Jason

One simple thing you can do is put a link to your book in your signature. Writers are also readers, and I've purchased books I've spotted here, and reviewed them afterwards. No exchange of favours, just I tell it like it is.

The more people you can make aware of your book, the more reviews you'll get.

Daffyjkl
03-02-2017, 12:50 AM
Thanks for the replys. It's early days, but one bad review can really hurt your chances. I'll try the signature option when I have earned the right. I think I also have to consider Facebook advertising and adding more detail to the Author Profile on Amazon. I have Amazon advertising running, but I don't think the stats are very accurate. I'll keep trying and keep on writing.

ACAuthors
03-23-2017, 06:21 PM
I went through NetGalley. It was $300 for the book to be available to a million book reviewers and in that month, I got over 20 reviews on amazon, blogs, and goodreads. My sales increased to over 1000. So, I guess it all depends if you think the money is worth it. To me, it was, but I had the extra money to invest in marketing.

I heard that NetGalley was a risky investment. A lot of reviewers request the books, download them, and then never review them. Is that something that you experienced?

shootseven
03-24-2017, 06:27 PM
I heard that NetGalley was a risky investment. A lot of reviewers request the books, download them, and then never review them. Is that something that you experienced?

If you're going to use Net Galley, I'd recommend joining a co-op. It will drastically cut the cost down.

As for whether I'd recommend it; I'm too early out to say. I've only received two reviews (had many more requests) so far, but the book hasn't been out that long so others may come in. I have also heard that NetGally reviewers tend to be harsher than average (like a full start rating below what others might say). Because of this I avoiding those who were only consumer reviewers, which also might be why I haven't had a big return on reviews yet.

TaylorSaville
05-15-2017, 06:14 PM
I too have wondered how to get reviews. My book has been out over a month and I have one, very short "review". I'm thankful for it! Don't get me wrong, but I made the mistake of assuming a few people would leave a review that haven't. I'm guessing the longer you market your book, and the more books you have out in general, your work just generates more traffic. I think patience and promoting is key.

foxesfairytales
05-15-2017, 07:36 PM
You could try e-mailing book bloggers who have positively reviewed similar books and offer them a free copy to review. A side benefit is that when a blogger really likes a book they often do a lot of 'free advertising' by promoting it on social media, top ten lists and the like. You could also stick a (polite) note next to your About the Author page, just to remind readers how much you'd appreciate a review.

Daffyjkl
05-16-2017, 12:43 AM
I don't want to give my book away to everyone for free. So how do I offer a free book on Amazon for selected people? Thanks in advance.

WriterBN
05-16-2017, 08:17 PM
You can't really do that on Amazon itself, without incurring some cost (see #2 below).

1) The easiest way is simply to e-mail them the .mobi file you downloaded during the "preview" stage of publishing.

2) If you have to do it from Amazon, you can set up an Amazon Giveaway, which means purchasing X number of copies (you still get your royalty on those purchases, so it's not as bad as it sounds). Choose the option to have a private URL for the giveaway, and then send that URL to your prospective readers.

Daffyjkl
05-16-2017, 11:02 PM
Ok, interesting, thank you.

EvieDriver
05-16-2017, 11:40 PM
Giving away free copies or gifting them is one way to do it. If you read anything at www.CreativIndie.com (http://creativindie.com), you'll know Derek Murphy swears by his structure of sending out your books to a few hundred (or thousand depending on your comfortability). According to him, it boosts his Amazon visibility as well as ranks him higher. His books are around 200 reviews, and none of them have been out for too long. He also keeps him book on "permafree" for at least a few months. Theoretically, he doesn't make money those first few months, but when his reviews sit at 200, it kind of makes me wonder how his model is.

I think there are pros and cons, of course; however, you need to let go and take a chance. Run a promotion, and see if you can find people on similar-genre, popular books with higher ranking reviewers willing to receive a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Experiment. If you're not already selling copies of your books, you may as well play around with these tactics now.

Just a thought.

Arpeggio
05-17-2017, 12:33 AM
Giving away free copies or gifting them is one way to do it. If you read anything at www.CreativIndie.com (http://creativindie.com), you'll know Derek Murphy swears by his structure of sending out your books to a few hundred (or thousand depending on your comfortability). According to him, it boosts his Amazon visibility as well as ranks him higher. His books are around 200 reviews, and none of them have been out for too long. He also keeps him book on "permafree" for at least a few months. Theoretically, he doesn't make money those first few months, but when his reviews sit at 200, it kind of makes me wonder how his model is.

I think there are pros and cons, of course; however, you need to let go and take a chance. Run a promotion, and see if you can find people on similar-genre, popular books with higher ranking reviewers willing to receive a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Experiment. If you're not already selling copies of your books, you may as well play around with these tactics now.

Just a thought.

I did this and got 278 interested readers download which got me 27 reviews. This is definitely the way to go. I suspect it might be a numbers game, in that a book with many reviews at an average of 4 stars will sell better than a book with less reviews and an average of 4.5 to 5 stars.

By putting yourself on the line for genuine reviews you are also doing Amazon a favour, and paying for it if you use Bookbub et al. c'est la vie if the author benefits though and good books stand out as a result.

There's no incentive for Amazon, or anyone else for that matter, to spend time or money policing their own customer reviews and make sure only genuine ones occur. In other words, that is to say that there is nothing to oblige a customer to buy something from the same place they read the reviews, while a competitor with a cost advantage of not having the expense of policing customer reviews / doesn't have customer reviews, may undercut and get the sale.

P_Garv
05-17-2017, 05:00 AM
My novel was published by a boutique publisher. I am happy to be published by them and have been pleased with my early sales, which have unfortunately tapered off. They offer editing, cover design, and publishing (both electronic and print), but no marketing. There is an author loop with authors who are supportive of each other, they blog, some write reviews, and do author interviews. They use twitter and FB to post info, enter contests, attend festivals and conventions. I love the comradery. The problems is, we're all in the choir. Who's the audience? That's who we have to reach.

I participated in a promo tour with some decent results, five reviews and tons of social media posts. But, it didn't last. So, now I'm trying to come up with new ideas. I've ordered postcards to send to local high school media specialists. Just started that, so the verdict is still out. But, I'm also wondering...is it unethical for us to reach out to each other to write honest reviews?

Just signed on with another promo with another Book Tour site, a blitz and review request.

Cost so far? $50.00 first tour $53.00 for 150 postcards $20.34 post card stamps $75.00 Blitz and Review Request tour

So, I'm curious to know if anyone else has come up with something innovative, and on the affordable end. (BTW, I can't afford the earlier suggestion to purchase 200 copies of my novel to send out as a promo hoping word spreads.) But, I'm very much into networking.

EvieDriver
05-17-2017, 04:13 PM
My novel was published by a boutique publisher. I am happy to be published by them and have been pleased with my early sales, which have unfortunately tapered off. They offer editing, cover design, and publishing (both electronic and print), but no marketing. There is an author loop with authors who are supportive of each other, they blog, some write reviews, and do author interviews. They use twitter and FB to post info, enter contests, attend festivals and conventions. I love the comradery. The problems is, we're all in the choir. Who's the audience? That's who we have to reach.

I participated in a promo tour with some decent results, five reviews and tons of social media posts. But, it didn't last. So, now I'm trying to come up with new ideas. I've ordered postcards to send to local high school media specialists. Just started that, so the verdict is still out. But, I'm also wondering...is it unethical for us to reach out to each other to write honest reviews?

Just signed on with another promo with another Book Tour site, a blitz and review request.

Cost so far? $50.00 first tour $53.00 for 150 postcards $20.34 post card stamps $75.00 Blitz and Review Request tour

So, I'm curious to know if anyone else has come up with something innovative, and on the affordable end. (BTW, I can't afford the earlier suggestion to purchase 200 copies of my novel to send out as a promo hoping word spreads.) But, I'm very much into networking.

You might want to check out StoryCartel (https://storycartel.com/tokens). Haven't used it myself, but they have tons of affordable options! Also, I really love the idea behind BookRazor (https://www.bookrazor.com/)! They're Amazon review safe and are somewhat decently priced!

P_Garv
05-17-2017, 08:54 PM
BookRazor looks promising! Thanks! I'll look into both BookRazor and Story Cartel this weekend! :)

Fallen
05-19-2017, 03:05 AM
I got together with a reviewer from a reviewing company, and we set up a Facebook group for reviewing blogs to come and provide their contact details for authors: a reviewing blog directory, author resource. It's free, and it's open to the public. There's no promo there for authors or reviewing blogs. All comments to posts are also disabled. It's purely a directory for blogs to list how to contact them for a review, what they accept, if they prefer audio etc. Authors are welcome to use the information, but if they want to contact a blog, then they do that via the traditional way: contact the blog privately, away from the directory. No paid for reviews are allowed from blogs or authors (we've had reviewing blog owners say they've had authors ask them for payment for receiving their ARC). And to keep it impartial, I deal with any author questions/suggestion for improving the directory, and my reviewing colleague deals with reviewers.

Getting interest from reviewers is tough, especially when it comes to knowing where to look and who to ask. But reviewers get a tough side too: either not even contact details are provided, authors haven't reviewed their guidelines and sent to the right reviewing blog, or authors come in demanding 'no lower than three stars, please'. The directory works for my genre, but it's tailored towards authors and reviewing blogs who write/review in our genre, and the information both sides might need when looking to obtain reviews.

Could this be something you do for your genre?

BookRazor
05-24-2017, 11:59 AM
Hey there, Dane from BookRazor here just chiming in.

If you have any questions about our service, please feel free to ask! I noticed Derek from CreativINDIE was mentioned earlier. He's also used our services, and I believe he includes a link to our site in his training, as well as mentions us several times on his website (a quick search found one mention here: http://www.creativindie.com/how-to-find-1000-new-reviewers-who-will-review-your-books-for-free/).

We've done work for a number of best-selling authors, as well a ton of Kindle Scout "winners" and medium to large publishers, but the vast majority of our clients remain indie authors. To be frank, I kind of like it that way.

StoryCartel also looks really interesting. I hadn't heard of them before, but now I'm keen to try them out myself! Thanks for the tip, EvieDriver!

Arpeggio
05-28-2017, 03:09 AM
I wonder if Promo & Discount Promo services also encourage reviews alongside the promo? (within Amazon rules). Places such as BookBub and BKnights, BookSends etc.

Discount eBook promos and Exchange for review giveaways might be different things but there's nothing to lose for a Promo service doing this.

So for example a promo service like BookSends, for example, might include a polite request to the reader when they get the book and / or perhaps a polite request couple of weeks later with something like: "You don't have to review but genuine opinions always help". If inconvenient, include the request with a communication or webpage that needs to be seen as part of the book Promo process anyway. This is well within Amazons Terms of Service.

Perhaps they already do this and I'm not aware? Anyone know any that do? If not I think they should.

I once used Story Cartel, if your book is good then its worth it. BookRazor is an approach I have yet to try but should.

BookRazor
05-28-2017, 04:25 AM
So for example a promo service like BookSends, for example, might include a polite request to the reader when they get the book and / or perhaps a polite request couple of weeks later with something like: "You don't have to review but genuine opinions always help". If inconvenient, include the request with a communication or webpage that needs to be seen as part of the book Promo process anyway. This is well within Amazons Terms of Service.


I agree with this, and this is what we recommend at BookRazor, too. From how Amazon's revised Promotions ToS reads, the most important part is not requiring that a review be given in exchange for the free/promo copy.

With that being said, I personally don't trust anything anyone says or posts about what is/isn't allowed by Amazon, and I always refer to the Big A directly.

These are the links I typically reference:
https://www.amazon.com/p/feature/abpto3jt7fhb5oc (note the last part in particular, regarding the changes being applied to everything except books)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=202094170

Arpeggio
05-28-2017, 04:47 PM
I agree with this, and this is what we recommend at BookRazor, too. From how Amazon's revised Promotions ToS reads, the most important part is not requiring that a review be given in exchange for the free/promo copy.

That's right. Most of the discount promo websites for general consumer goods are doing this. Here's an example:

https://www.loothoot.com/blog/post/is-loothoot-100-amazon-review-guideline-compliant-yes The main points can be found under "How is LootHoot compliant with Amazon's Guidelines?"

Consumer goods sites only work with discount codes which are available to Amazon sellers with Amazon seller accounts, so can't be used by most authors and publishers as they are with CreateSpace / Lightning Source / KDP etc. I think the reason the consumer good sites only work with coupon codes is so they get exclusivity over the deals, rather than a product being publicly priced at a discount on Amazon (in the way eBooks are through BookBub et al).

The average review rate mentioned by the ToS complaint consumer goods discount sites is around 5% to 10%. There's a gap to be filled I think. Either book discount promo sites similarly encouraging reviews ToS compliant. Or ToS complaint consumer goods discount promo sites doing discounted Books / eBooks in the same way that the book promo sites we are already familiar with do (BookSends etc.)

Lastly (and this was a rare window of opportunity as they don't appear to be doing it anymore). I have used one of the consumer goods promo services for an eBook (although not the above one), basically doing exactly the same as you would on somewhere like BookBub by reducing the price on Amazon. I got 26 reviews from 280 downloads, mostly positive with some healthy criticism too, and when looking at the review profiles of those that had reviewed me, it was easy to find 3, 2 and some 1 star reviews to imply they were discerning. I tried another eBook and it only got one review, but that book was a niche of a niche.

Bradley Shiner
05-29-2017, 10:21 PM
Hello to all of you! Though I haven't polished my MS yet but I do unbderstand the significance of marketing tools to boost sales and attract reviewers. Have you tried perhaps google adwords? Is it cost-effective? I was also wondering whether it would be possible to offer a discount to those buyers who also published a review ( I mean partial return of funds if proof of publishing a review were delivered.) Best

Old Hack
05-30-2017, 10:10 AM
Hello to all of you! Though I haven't polished my MS yet but I do unbderstand the significance of marketing tools to boost sales and attract reviewers. Have you tried perhaps google adwords? Is it cost-effective?

I don't think I've ever bought a book because of Google adwords, but others might have done so. But this thread is about getting reviews, not placing ads for the book.


I was also wondering whether it would be possible to offer a discount to those buyers who also published a review ( I mean partial return of funds if proof of publishing a review were delivered.) Best

That is the same thing as paying for reviews, which is generally ineffective. Paid-for reviews are bound to be skewed, and are usually pretty worthless; and several sites won't allow paid-for reviews, and will delete anything which looks like that's going on. I wouldn't try it.

And anyway: it takes a lot of time and effort to write a good (not necessarily positive) review. Half of the cover price of a book doesn't go anywhere towards covering that time and effort.

RightHoJeeves
05-30-2017, 10:15 AM
Have you tried perhaps google adwords?

I haven't tried, but the sound logic I've heard is that when you're searching for stuff on Google, you're generally busy doing something. That might be trying to find the nearest movie theatre showing Star Wars, for example. While that may sound like a good opportunity to place an ad for a space opera novel, the Google user is already trying to find out specific information. Ads on social media sites are thought to be more effective, because a social media user is usually just loitering and not doing anything in particular. They're more suggestible to advertisements than someone who is trying to do something already.

Bradley Shiner
05-30-2017, 09:14 PM
That is the same thing as paying for reviews, which is generally ineffective. Paid-for reviews are bound to be skewed, and are usually pretty worthless; and several sites won't allow paid-for reviews, and will delete anything which looks like that's going on. I wouldn't try it.

I would argue that this is the same thing cause your reviewer has to pay for your book beforehand. Then there is a chance that such a reviewer actually reads that book. As a consequence his review might really reflect his opinion what clearly makes it distinguishable from paid reviews(ones when you directly pay for it to be placed without the need to even familiarize with your work). Don't get me wrong but if we follow such reasoning then any discount on your book done on any condition might be interpreted as unethical. What I think is that it is only a part of promo campaign which aims at increasing your sales and your reviews at the same time (which should be the objective of any promo campaign in that context).

BTW: I never tried this.


I haven't tried, but the sound logic I've heard is that when you're searching for stuff on Google, you're generally busy doing something. That might be trying to find the nearest movie theatre showing Star Wars, for example. While that may sound like a good opportunity to place an ad for a space opera novel, the Google user is already trying to find out specific information

I would say that even when one is busy doing something then some subconscious processes are running on. Whether you rush through your work and just glimpse for a second at billboard, or are preoccupied with your deep/not deep internet search trying not to point you attention to omnipresent ads then you are willfully or not influenced by that. Products/ Services advertised via this way obviously benefit from that. It also relates to books(many of them are hunting from walls at metro stations when people are extremely busy so why not Google Ads :P ?)

Best!

Old Hack
05-30-2017, 09:48 PM
I would argue that this is the same thing cause your reviewer has to pay for your book beforehand. Then there is a chance that such a reviewer actually reads that book. As a consequence his review might really reflect his opinion what clearly makes it distinguishable from paid reviews(ones when you directly pay for it to be placed without the need to even familiarize with your work). Don't get me wrong but if we follow such reasoning then any discount on your book done on any condition might be interpreted as unethical. What I think is that it is only a part of promo campaign which aims at increasing your sales and your reviews at the same time (which should be the objective of any promo campaign in that context).


(Sorry, I'm not entirely clear what you mean. I assume you mean that you don't think this is the same as paying for a review, because the reviewer only gets the money after they've written and published their review, so am basing my reply on that assumption.)

You might not agree with me that this counts as paying for a review. However, sites like Amazon et al will consider this a paid-for review, and will delete the review.


BTW: I never tried this.

Good. Don't!



I would say that even when one is busy doing something then some subconscious processes are running on. Whether you rush through your work and just glimpse for a second at billboard, or are preoccupied with your deep/not deep internet search trying not to point you attention to omnipresent ads then you are willfully or not influenced by that. Products/ Services advertised via this way obviously benefit from that. It also relates to books(many of them are hunting from walls at metro stations when people are extremely busy so why not Google Ads :P ?)

Best!

I'm finding your comments rather difficult to understand, Bradley. You might want to consider revising them before hitting "post". This is a writers' board, and clarity of writing is important here.

It's true that the more times people see your book, the more likely they are to be interested in it (assuming, of course, that your promos are competent and compelling, and not embarrassingly amateurish). But as RightHo has already explained, Google ads aren't the most effective use of your money.

Bradley Shiner
05-30-2017, 10:53 PM
(Sorry, I'm not entirely clear what you mean. I assume you mean that you don't think this is the same as paying for a review, because the reviewer only gets the money after they've written and published their review, so am basing my reply on that assumption.)

You might not agree with me that this counts as paying for a review. However, sites like Amazon et al will consider this a paid-for review, and will delete the review.

I mean that one would be eligible for partial refund if:

1) buys your book

2) posts a review

3) shows proof of 2)

I would say that it is only a discount granted when certain conditions( 1+2 ) are fulfilled. I don't know if Amazon would count it as illicit activity since I've never heard of such kind of promotional tool. However if you are so sure about it then that's good to know.


It's true that the more times people see your book, the more likely they are to be interested in it (assuming, of course, that your promos are competent and compelling, and not embarrassingly amateurish). But as RightHo has already explained, Google ads aren't the most effective use of your money.

Obviously, you have to put an effort into that to make it appealing and not repelling. Nonetheless this kind of statement might refer to many other issues. :) :P I did not claim that it is the most effective way of promoting your work but it might not be totally worthless either.

Cheers!

RightHoJeeves
05-31-2017, 05:20 AM
I would say that even when one is busy doing something then some subconscious processes are running on. Whether you rush through your work and just glimpse for a second at billboard, or are preoccupied with your deep/not deep internet search trying not to point you attention to omnipresent ads then you are willfully or not influenced by that. Products/ Services advertised via this way obviously benefit from that. It also relates to books(many of them are hunting from walls at metro stations when people are extremely busy so why not Google Ads :P ?)


Sure, but if you've got a finite advertising budget you're going to want to put the bulk of it where you get the most return. It's the 80/20 principal.

I was going to say "it doesn't hurt" to do that, but you could make an argument that it does because a dollar spent in a less effective form of advertising is a one dollar not spent in a more effective form.

HAVING SAID THAT there are a million exceptions to rules. One big thing that's worth noting with any kind of advertising, is that the quality of the actual ad matters. You could buy a full page ad in the New York Times, but unless the ad is actually good at selling the product, it's a waste of time. I saw a blog post not too long ago about how Facebook ads didn't work. The author had put a lot of effort into learning the back end of the system, which was good. But the actual ad itself was generic, boring, confusing, and had no call to action.

Arpeggio
06-01-2017, 12:37 AM
I don't know if Amazon would count it as illicit activity since I've never heard of such kind of promotional tool. However if you are so sure about it then that's good to know.

With regards to the Federal Trade Commission it's OK so long as the reviewer discloses they were compensated. On Amazon however, it is against their terms, apart from when it comes to books being given for the purpose of being reviewed.

Customer reviews that were done due to an incentive are rife on the internet, most of which don't disclose they were compensated in some way. Restaurants do it, shops do it, all kinds you name it on TripAdvisor, TrustPilot etc. The internet and customer reviews are the Wild West, and like many suckers I bring a little wooden honesty twig to the gun fight and get shot to pieces.

The difference between getting something for free before you review or for free after you review is fairly obvious. When it is before (as in a review copy) the reviewer has nothing that can be withheld from them so are free to say what they like.

When it is after (as in an incentive) there is something that can be potentially withheld from the reviewer. Also there is their motive to get something for free / cheap, which may encourage them to review with the same "currency" of what you could call "generosity" if not for cynicism on both sides.

The reason why the legal type of reviews were no longer allowed on Amazon was because companies chose customers based on getting repeat positive reviews, and customers would pay for free stuff with repeat positive reviews. This meant there was another style of BS review on Amazon, but more to the point one that was easy to spot due to its disclaimer of "I received this in exchange for my honest opinion". These type of reviews skewed the ratings on average up by a wait for it.....massive......*drum roll* 0.40 of a star above Amazon's already high average rating of 4.4 stars.

https://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/09/20/data-analysis-shows-what-you-suspected-all-along-amazon-ratings-are-bullshit/#.tnw_bgCIMBgB

There was much hoo haa and publicity, so Amazon removed and banned this kind of review.

Imagine 2 companies with exactly the same products, prices, delivery times and prices. Identical in every way except one has an average rating of 4 stars across all of its many products, while the other has an average of 4.4. Which one gets the most sales? Now tell me whether you think retail websites police their customer reviews when its not in the headline news.

Bradley Shiner
06-06-2017, 11:33 PM
The difference between getting something for free before you review or for free after you review is fairly obvious. When it is before (as in a review copy) the reviewer has nothing that can be withheld from them so are free to say what they like.
When it is after (as in an incentive) there is something that can be potentially withheld from the reviewer. Also there is their motive to get something for free / cheap, which may encourage them to review with the same "currency" of what you could call "generosity" if not for cynicism on both sides.

That might be avoided if customer were entitled to discount regardless of whether his review would be positive or negative. So as to make it a fair game one should be clearly informed about it beforehand.

In that case he would not be prompted to praise the author since he would receive what he was promised even if he were extremely harsh towards one's work.



Imagine 2 companies with exactly the same products, prices, delivery times and prices. Identical in every way except one has an average rating of 4 stars across all of its many products, while the other has an average of 4.4. Which one gets the most sales? ? Now tell me whether you think retail websites police their customer reviews when its not in the headline news.

You are right that such kind of policy might lead to certain sort of injustice. While we might be unhappy with that it still happens and people will continue to be guided by ratings and "stars" (including that obtained in an illicit manner).

I am not advocating any illegal/immoral activity. I was just wondering whether such a discount amounts to the definition of that.

If Amazon treats any form of " review discount" as inappropriate notwithstanding the situation when one is really offered a discount for absolutely any review then they might do so but I may not fully agree with that. (It might be hard to verify the fairness if one obtains only positive reviews. Nevertheless if one gets rejected by author promising a refund for any review the it might be simply reported.

Cheers !

Arpeggio
06-07-2017, 01:43 PM
That might be avoided if customer were entitled to discount regardless of whether his review would be positive or negative. So as to make it a fair game one should be clearly informed about it beforehand.

In that case he would not be prompted to praise the author since he would receive what he was promised even if he were extremely harsh towards one's work.

This is true but doesn't account for how all customers think. If the reward is with held until after the review, those that only wanted something for free or cheap will likely post a positive review regardless. Knowing how little customers are actually motivated to post reviews, this seems likely.

With scandal in the news about places like VIP deals giving discounts in exchange for 5 star reviews, the customers were complicit and it probably took a few hundred (if not more) of these customers "whoring" themselves for a refund without caring about misleading other customers. https://www.theverge.com/2012/1/27/2751901/VIP-Deals-astroturfing-amazon-5-star

Aside that however.... and ultimately....Customer reviews have shifted the responsibility of pursuing "information symmetry" in the market to the customers.....who are expected to do this for free.....and do not expect to pay for it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Market_for_Lemons

The only reason customer reviews work and are so popular is because they "give a voice to the people". A voice seldom used, perception is reality.

With regards to offering discounts / freebees for honest reviews, this is not allowed on Amazon, which says the following (I quoted from Amazon's Review Guidelines): https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201929730

"Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review."

and: "You may not manipulate the Amazon Verified Purchase badge, such as by offering special pricing to reviewers or reimbursing reviewers."


You are right that such kind of policy might lead to certain sort of injustice. While we might be unhappy with that it still happens and people will continue to be guided by ratings and "stars" (including that obtained in an illicit manner).

I am not advocating any illegal/immoral activity. I was just wondering whether such a discount amounts to the definition of that.

If Amazon treats any form of " review discount" as inappropriate notwithstanding the situation when one is really offered a discount for absolutely any review then they might do so but I may not fully agree with that. (It might be hard to verify the fairness if one obtains only positive reviews. Nevertheless if one gets rejected by author promising a refund for any review the it might be simply reported.

Cheers !

I agree with you. If incentivized to review reviews, were objectively representative to the quality of the product, and customers accepted these to guide their purchase decisions then it should be allowed. They are not allowed however and customers do not accept them as valid either.

Please feel free to read the following article from the paragraph that starts with "In one experiment we had people play a fun online game for a few minutes." http://www.katz.pitt.edu/facultyblog/?p=145

Also (although I guess you know this) what I meant by the example of 2 retailers, is that retailers don't police their own customer reviews (unless there's something in the news about fake reviews).

Arpeggio
06-11-2017, 12:05 AM
If Amazon treats any form of "review discount" as inappropriate notwithstanding the situation when one is really offered a discount for absolutely any review then they might do so but I may not fully agree with that.

Just had an idea Bradley. For every review posted give a certain % of the profit of their purchase to a charity. This way you aren't giving anything to the reviewer. Would it work? I think it would work to a worthwhile extent.

Amazon itself does the charity thing, look up "Amazon smile".

Hypothetically, how would the following headline come across to the average person: "Amazon bans donations to charity being used to encourage reviews"....?

Bradley Shiner
06-11-2017, 03:15 PM
This is true but doesn't account for how all customers think. If the reward is with held until after the review, those that only wanted something for free or cheap will likely post a positive review regardless. Knowing how little customers are actually motivated to post reviews, this seems likely.

You might be right about it. Nevertheless if they decided to purchase a book just because they would have small discount when posting a review(without even being in favor of general concept behind the book) then it would be quite a risky decision on their side ;) I wouldn't buy any book which offered me such a discount just to spare a few dollars.( not to mention posting a favorable review just for the mentioned benefit)


The only reason customer reviews work and are so popular is because they "give a voice to the people". A voice seldom used, perception is reality.

With regards to offering discounts / freebees for honest reviews, this is not allowed on Amazon, which says the following (I quoted from Amazon's Review Guidelines): https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/custo...deId=201929730

"Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review."

and: "You may not manipulate the Amazon Verified Purchase badge, such as by offering special pricing to reviewers or reimbursing reviewers."

I was not questioning that Amazon does not accept such a thing. Thank you for direct references anyway :).


Just had an idea Bradley. For every review posted give a certain % of the profit of their purchase to a charity. This way you aren't giving anything to the reviewer. Would it work? I think it would work to a worthwhile extent.

Amazon itself does the charity thing, look up "Amazon smile".

Hypothetically, how would the following headline come across to the average person: "Amazon bans donations to charity being used to encourage reviews"....?

It might be a good thing to do but I am afraid that it might be perceived as playing on emotions.

P_Garv
06-12-2017, 03:58 AM
What does that mean, "Amazon review safe?"

Old Hack
06-12-2017, 10:33 AM
What does that mean, "Amazon review safe?"

If you read the full thread you'll see that Amazon routinely deletes reviews it considers inappropriate, such as paid-for reviews.

Daffyjkl
06-13-2017, 09:54 PM
From what I understand Amazon will delete any reviews it considers suspicious. Same surname, same address (and they will only allow one review per book per address), reviews will only be allowed if they are from a user that has paid for books with a valid debit or credit card and I believe they will also scan social media to see if a review has been posted by a friend. That said, once you have paid for any book on Amazon, you are free to write reviews about any other book. I buy a lot of paperbacks and review all of them without issue. The best policy is to produce the best work you can and hope for honest reviews from readers. My experience is that I get one review (good or bad) for every 50 ebooks I sell.

WildcatJim2112
09-22-2017, 05:57 AM
We've done a mix of ARC's for an honest review, using book tour sites, giveaways on Goodreads and promoting heavily on Twitter. We recently ran a four day sale where my first book was free and the second was 99 cents. That alone generated about a dozen or so new reviews. That said, it's hard with no magic pill. The 51 Amazon reviews on one and 15 on the second one have been hard fought! Wish I could combine the Amazon with the Goodreads reviews.

One thing you might think about is that a lot of people just don't know how to do a review - how to actually do it and what to say. It sounds like a simple thing, but for those people I know who got the book, I sent them a link to the "Write a Review" button on Amazon for my books with a quick request for them to write a review. In the email, I told them they don't have to write a novel for a review, just rate how they felt about it along with a simple "I loved it", "It was good" or "Worst book I've ever read". Just a thought.

Al X.
09-22-2017, 06:29 AM
I grimace as I read some of these posts. Amazon takes such a high horse on reviews yet they are the most corrupt company I have ever dealt with and their treatment of authors is deplorable.

It's funny how they act like they don't know you're the author of your own book when they ask you to buy a copy, yet try to review it, and you've triggered WWIII.

I really hope they go out of business. They are creating enemies right and left.

redrobin62
09-25-2017, 01:52 PM
Believe me. I'm not being facetious when I say this, but I'm not playing with a full deck anyway. So here goes: Book promotion idea No. 1. I'd like to strip myself naked and climb the Columbia Tower in downtown Seattle during high noon with my book strapped to my back. Yeah. I'll go to jail, but can you imagine the publicity?

Helix
09-25-2017, 01:58 PM
Believe me. I'm not being facetious when I say this, but I'm not playing with a full deck anyway. So here goes: Book promotion idea No. 1. I'd like to strip myself naked and climb the Columbia Tower in downtown Seattle during high noon with my book strapped to my back. Yeah. I'll go to jail, but can you imagine the publicity?

From the inside or outside?

redrobin62
09-25-2017, 02:28 PM
From the outside, like Spiderman. Can you just imagine?

Old Hack
09-25-2017, 03:11 PM
Unfortunately, I can.

Please don't try it.

be frank
09-25-2017, 03:16 PM
Personally, I'm stuck on imagining what view the poor people inside would have.