Want more reviews? Great reviews?
We all do. But there’s a limit to how we go about getting them.
The big seven Naughty Tactics
If you’re doing any of these, you could wind up (quickly) in Amazon’s Naughty Books (and yes, I have seen all of these):
- Trading reviews
- Buying reviews
- Asking relatives for reviews (or anyone with whom you have a “close personal relationship”)
- Reviewing your own books
- Asking for 5-star reviews
- Pasting paid “review service” reviews in under a bogus customer name
- Paying readers back for their copy of the book after they post a review
Basically, the only reviews Amazon wants are REAL reviews. That makes sense if you consider that they’re out to sell books.
Some fiverr sellers will tell you, “I’m not really selling reviews.”
They’ll insist that the $5 compensates them for reading the book, after which they will leave a genuine, heartfelt review. That way, everything’s on the up and up. Right?
Nope. If they’re taking your $5, they’re selling reviews. And if they’re doing it a lot, how closely do you really think they’re going to read your book, anyway?
Once Amazon catches on, then they will wipe that user along with all their reviews. So you’ve basically flushed your $5 down the toilet with nothing to show in return.
Even if they do stick for a while, a few bogus reviews may look good next to your book’s title, but they’re still bogus. Once real customers come in for a nibble, they’re going to start reviewing the thing honestly and your book will inevitably tumble down from whatever echelon it reached artificially.
So how do you get reviews?
Really, there’s only one thing you’re allowed to say, though you can vary it up to suit your mood:
"I’d really appreciate it if you’d give my book a fair review."
You ARE allowed to give away free review copies. And reviewers don’t have to disclose that they got the book for free, though many do for their own personal integrity.
Here’s one thing you might not know, by the way: you’re not allowed to post a negative review of a “competing product.” I don’t know how closely they patrol this, in terms of children’s book authors.
But if I’ve written a book about Hanukkah, and then I give lousy reviews to three other writers’ books about Hanukkah, that could technically be considered a violation. More than that, though, it’s not very sportsmanlike.
It’s not nice, and if I ran the world, that would be the Prime Directive: be nice.
Be honest would come in a very close second.
And somewhere in there would be the golden rule. When you buy books, you probably rely on reviews… so you know other people are counting on yours to be as fair and honest as possible.
Have you found a way around any of these 7 no-no’s? A killer secret strategy that’s helped you haul in great reviews? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments!