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message 1: by William (new)

William Markham | 14 comments I read a blog post earlier this week about how important reviews are to Amazon's recommendation algorithms. You need 50 before they really kick in. Get 100 and they basically start advertising your book for free. So how to get more reviews? I only have 8 on Amazon. Any suggestions? I've done giveaways and asked lots of people politely, but that hasn't really done much. I've traded reviews with other authors, which has worked better. But how do you get that many when its so hard for people to discover your book in the first place?

message 2: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 193 comments Organic reviews are pretty solidly relative to sales, and the percentage is not high. Some authors report some success with a page at the back of the book essentially asking "Like this? Please review it" (but don't beg, that's pretty offputting to readers).

Review trades with other authors is against the TOS on both GR and Amazon by the way.

message 3: by Marie Silk (last edited Oct 19, 2017 11:23AM) (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments I think the 50 or 100 Amazon review thing is just a rumor, or perhaps it was true at one time years ago (?), but I haven't seen evidence of it. My book has well over 200 Amazon reviews and I'm not aware of Amazon doing free advertising because of my review number. The "free advertising" I've observed comes in the form of Amazon listing your book alongside others that have been "also bought" by readers. But this has to do with frequency of sales/downloads, not reviews.

Reviews are really hard to get. IMO, readers are either reviewers or they aren't. So I don't know how much good it does to add a note in the book requesting a review. I haven't done this in my books but I know a lot of authors who do. I agree with Krazykiwi that it shouldn't sound like begging. I recently read a book that stopped halfway through and asked the reader to stop reading and post a review right then! I thought that was bizarre and tacky. I don't mind polite review requests at the end of books, though.

My advice is to steer clear of review swaps and focus on marketing your book, possibly offering it on free promotion, to get as many downloads/sales as possible. The reviews will trickle in once you get enough. I've had several reviews come in as a result of Goodreads giveaways, but probably only 1/10 of winners have left a review.

message 4: by William (new)

William Markham | 14 comments Krazykiwi wrote: "Organic reviews are pretty solidly relative to sales, and the percentage is not high. Some authors report some success with a page at the back of the book essentially asking "Like this? Please revi..."

Where is this in the TOS. I see no mention of it. Also, I fail to see how agreeing to read someone else's book and give an honest review would violate any code of ethics.

message 5: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 193 comments I don't have all my bookmarks to hand on this device, but here you go.

The GR and Amazon site (and their TOS) are in the US and are subject to the FTC rules. The FTC explicitly requires a disclosure on all reviews where there is a financial or personal relationship. ("I received a copy of this book free in exchange for a review" or "I am the author's mother".) These are considered commercial reviews by the FTC.

The Amazon TOS explicitly disallows commercial reviews in the consumer review space, although they may be posted in the editorial review section by the author. There is an explicit exception for free-in-exchange reviews to allow for the publishing tradition of ARC's and reader copies.

In order to preserve the integrity of Community content, content and activities consisting of advertising, promotion, or solicitation (whether direct or indirect) is not allowed, including:

Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative's, close friend's, business associate's, or employer's) products or services.
Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your competitors' products or services.
Creating, modifying, or posting content in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products, refunds, or reimbursements) or on behalf of anyone else.
Offering compensation or requesting compensation (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating, modifying, or posting content.
Posting advertisements or solicitations, including URLs with referrer tags or affiliate codes.

That's pretty clear: You are not allowed to post a review received in exchange for a review. That is posting content in exchange for compensation, where the compensation is again posting content. Amazon can (and does) remove reviews if they are flagged for this.


GR is less explicit, but staff have been clear about it in the past, and definitely remove flagged reviews (sometimes in bulk.) In any case:
"Subject to the terms and conditions of this agreement, Goodreads grants you permission to use the Service for your personal, non-commercial purposes only." and the very clear warning about commercial reviews stickied at the top of the author group (and whether you think they are or not, the FTC defines review exchanges as commercial reviews, and the GR TOS also contains wording to the effect that the applicable laws are those of California and the US.)

That and I flag them all the time if I see them, and they are routinely removed, if you want to just take my word for it.

message 6: by William (new)

William Markham | 14 comments good to know. thanks.

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