Easily one of the most important things an author can collect, reviews are the basis of how books are sold. Covers are important, but readers look at what other people are saying about a book to decide if it is worth reading.
Even negative reviews can be a benefit because they lend legitimacy to your work. No book in history will be loved by all readers, so a book that is purely positive will be viewed with skepticism.
Reviews translate into money, because Amazon’s algorithms take review count/quality into effect for determining what books to show to readers. To do this effectively, you need to do a couple of things:
First, ask readers at the end of your book to post reviews. Tell them how important reviews.
Second, give copies away. ARC copies and reader copies of books are a staple of the industry, and don’t be afraid to give away hundreds of books to prospective readers.
Third, sell books. If people aren’t reading your book, they won’t review it. Advertise, market, reach out to people, and do everything you can to keep your book flying off the shelves.
Which means that authors need reviews above all else. Here are some tips about how you might go about generating those reviews:
- Backmatter - There is a trick to this one whereby you can put links to your review in the backmatter of your book that will send people directly to the review page on amazon with your book prepopulated. Basically, you just need to click as if you are going to review your own book, get the link, and then put that link into the book. This can be paired with a simple little note reminding readers just how important reviews are and asking them for feedback to help other readers make intelligent choices.
- Blogs - Sending your book out to blogs is a great way to generate reviews. There are thousands of them out there, and some have way more traffic than others, but many of those blogs need content. A lot of them do reviews, and many of them have a 'pitch' section where you can offer to send them a copy of your book. Keep in mind with this option, however, that you can pay for a review on a blog, but that same review cannot also be posted on amazon because at that point it is an editorial review. Make sure the blogger knows that, as well.
- Amazon readers - Who better to ask for review than people who read books a lot? If you search amazon, there is a list of top reviewers. On this list, many people include their email addresses and invite authors to contact them to offer their book. However, don't be spammy, and make sure they actually want a copy of your book. Don't just send it. Also, be courteous and make sure they are actually looking for your kind of book, not just books in general. Amazon has a great community of people who take free books in exchange for a review, and you don't want to mess that up.
- Giveaways - You can host giveaways on a lot of different websites where you get your book into the hands of readers who want it, and this can be a great way to get reviews. I've had fairly good luck with this, especially with goodreads giveaways. They have resulted in quite a few reviews for my books from readers who truly enjoy my style and genre. Amazon giveaways, on the other hand, don't result in as many because those people just want to win something and usually won't read it.
Keep in mind that when you are asking for reviews, a huge part of it comes down to finding readers. You will need to market, promote, and reach out to readers to make this happen, but it will be worth it in the long run. A large part of getting reviews is simply hustling for them, and the quicker you learn this lesson the better off you will be.