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Chris A. Baird | November 19, 2020
amazon kindle self publishing reviews

If you are wondering how your books could earn more reviews then this article will answer your question. Find out how to get Amazon Kindle self publishing reviews without violating Amazon's terms.

No Reviews Equals No Sales

Today's question has three answers and you are going to want to stick around for the third answer. Because it's a secret as to the one question you are going to need to ask yourself. If you are going to get reviews you are going to need to know the answer to this specific question.

So, let's get into it. The question that was sent to me today was how to get Amazon Kindle self publishing reviews? This is a very common question because we start with the goal of trying to get as many sales as possible.

We used a lot of effort just to get our book produced in the first place and on to the market. Now we are looking to see if we can amplify the sales that we are getting after studying a bit. We begin to understand that reviews play a very important role when we are trying to get those sales.

The thing you need to remember is that if we are going to get the reviews, then we are going to have to follow a series of processes. But which processes should we follow? We begin to see that some of the terms and conditions that Amazon establishes are rather high regarding what we are and are not allowed to do.

So we begin to feel a bit hopeless when trying to follow their rules but at the same time trying to get reviews. Seeing negative reviews coming in and then we are left wondering what are we supposed to do in that and this is exactly what we're going to be answering today.

But before we get into the answers, grab a copy of my absolutely free Self-Publishing Checklist to make sure you are not skipping any of the important steps when it comes to self-publishing.

So, no reviews will be equal to no sales. Well, let me tell you a little bit about my own story. When I first got started, I put my books onto the market and I started seeing nothing coming through.

The number of sales that were being made was so small that it was embarrassing. But I would say that it was a lot less than I would have like to have seen. I was very thrilled just to see that people were interested in buying my book at all.

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That is one of the common things and feelings that authors have when you first get books onto the market. You are just amazed that people even want to read what you have put out there.

Social proof is incredibly important. So, how exactly would they know your book is even good unless somebody actually has reviewed it and left some feedback? I read and watched a lot of videos that were explaining exactly that it's very very important to have reviews on your book.

I thought, okay I need to get some reviews so I tried a lot of different methods. Some of the methods were in alignment with Amazon's terms and some were not in alignment with Amazon's terms. I was doing everything in my power.

I knew that the concepts that were within my books were of high value. They were telling people exactly how to fix problems that they were having in their lives. Going through a whole series of things that were scientifically proven and steps that would improve things that they were doing.

But how would I get them to read it if there weren't any reviews? One other important thing is that many reviews that come through are going to be negative. Because people tend to, if you have a good experience at a hotel or good experience with a book, we just accept that.

But if we have a negative one then we leave a negative review. And there are trolls out there whose value is leaving negative feedback. I mean even on Youtube, it draws people in to leave negative stuff.

So there is a tendency to go on the negative side. That means that we would be pushing people away and that creates quite a bit of a problem. You try to follow as many methods and try the different strategies that people do.

Violating Amazon's Terms

But then a lot of the people I was listening to were getting warnings from Amazon because of the methods they were using which I will explore next when I get to the answers. Then they ended up even getting their accounts shut down.

It is because of the tricks and strategies that they were using to try to get this one figure to be a bit higher in particular. That was like an earthquake who was dealing with review swapping ended up seeing themselves getting forced arbitration from Amazon and a hundred thousand dollars forced arbitration suit against them.

I don't even know how that one ended up but this person was from Canada, I think they were 18 years old or something. They had a lot of reviews they had been taken down. They were dealing with virtual assistants doing review swapping.

That ended up being like an earthquake as a reminder that it's serious business here. Because Amazon is in their best interest to ensure that all of the reviews are actual. Even if the review swapping is done by trying to keep people honest regarding the reviews whether they are positive or negative.

The fact it's within Amazon's rights to go about doing this. They like to use forced arbitration because then it prevents it from coming out what exactly the terms and the agreements that were made. So the thing that I ended up finding was that by running ads and that was a very powerful one.

I could bring traffic in and continue to see the sales coming in. I could ask people in the books to leave reviews and also using your email list to get reviews. So then you start seeing the sales coming in.

I would say that many of the other techniques were a lot more effective at bringing in reviews and increasing sales. But I'm not willing to take it, everybody has to decide what your risk threshold is in terms of the review front.

You are going to be a little bit surprised regarding what is illegal in Amazon's terms and agreements and what is not. So let's get into it. How to get Amazon Kindle self publishing reviews?

Let's talk about the ones that violate Amazon's terms and here are a few. Review swapping would be a violation of Amazon's terms if you pay. If you review somebody else's book and they review your book, this is a violation of Amazon's terms.

The reason being is because you are being compensated. This is not an organic review which is what they want. You would be compensated because if you left a negative review, the person you were reviewing might leave a negative review on you.

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So you would be pushed to leave more of a positive review. The same goes with virtual assistants where you hire somebody to go find some other virtual assistants who would then read the book and leave a review.

They are in the same loop because if they leave negative ones, then other virtual assistants would not be willing to review their books. I hope that makes sense. Let me know if what I'm talking about it here is unclear to you.

So that would also be a violation because there is compensation going on of some sort. The other is friends and family would be more likely to have positive reviews but these are not organic. These are people you already know so asking them for reviews is a violation of Amazon's terms.

The other one would be compensating people like giving some free thing if they would leave a review. Giving people all sorts of areas there. Amazon does not have a problem if they are part of the vine program.

This is like advanced review teams where you are paying a fee to have people review your books in exchange for getting the book for free. And you would pay to be a part of the service.

It is not a violation of Amazon's terms because they are the ones who are setting the whole thing up. So this would be a legal way of doing it within their terms of agreements.

Then the final one that will get you in serious trouble is paying people just right out on Fiverr to leave positive five-star reviews for your books. Those people on Fiverr found themselves also getting sued.

I think there were hundreds and hundreds of people getting sued back in 2018 if I recall correctly. It's for setting up services on Fiverr where they would leave lots of five-star reviews. And since they see magically authors getting tons of positive reviews coming in, they know that those are not real reviews.

I even remember somebody I was recently talking with who had gotten the latest Seth Godin book on Audible commenting that there were a lot of reviews on his that were five-star reviews. The reviews didn't even comment on his book.

They were making comments that would not even relevant for his book but would be for somebody else's book. So this created a bit of chaos and thinking why is this happening? The answer is there is something shady going on here.

There is a violation of Amazon's terms and you can get your account completely frozen for these sorts of violations. But even big-time publishers and authors which I'm not claiming regarding this and it could just be accidents that people happen to be leaving five-star Amazon Kindle self publishing reviews.

Asking For Positive Reviews

They leave reviews that have nothing to do with the book but they understand the importance of the reviews. So you'll see a book that comes out onto the market and suddenly it has a thousand positive reviews. Let's just say this isn't organic, they are doing something that's triggering these reviews.

Usually, it's going to violate Amazon's key rules. So this is something you are not going to want to do. Number two, if you wish to be following Amazon's rules, you need to ask your readers to leave positive reviews.

But if you say, I will give you something for that positive review like a free copy of my book or anything along those lines, then suddenly it's no longer free. You can also try this on your email lists.

Setting up an advanced review team where these people would be receiving emails from you. And you would give them free advanced copies of your books in exchange for reviews. The problem with this one is it's still not organic.

They are getting compensated so we violate the terms there. But this is just very common practice. That's why on the third point, I am going to hit this key issue which is what are we supposed to do?

The final one is giving out free copies of your book. You can set your book to be on a free promo where the book will go out onto the market for like 5 days. You can do it if your book is in the Amazon Kindle Select program.

You can put your book as free for 5 days and you'll see a ton of downloads. The downside is it attracts trolls, people will be very negative. So this also can trigger you to get negative reviews against your book.

That can cause you to lose a lot of sales that otherwise you would be making for your books. It can be a very painful experience for a lot of people to discover that they put these books onto the market and getting only all these negative reviews. And that causes their sales to drop.

There is one positive light here. If you take some books with low reviews like even three-star reviews, they still make sales. Because they can at least see some people are positive and some people are negative.

Fifty Shades Of Grey was one of these books where it had a lot of negative reviews. It was like three-star but it was still a best-seller. So, just because it gets lower reviews, doesn't mean you are sunk.

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If it's only one-star reviews, then we have a problem. This is a reason why we want to optimize our book and make sure that there aren't grammar mistakes and things like that. Looks like it was written by somebody from a non-English speaking background which is not a problem.

It is just that your readers are expecting a higher quality book. So we need to make sure that the book is as high of quality as possible when we are going about doing that. So those are a couple of the ways to follow the rules.

How to get Amazon Kindle self publishing reviews? Let's get to the secret answer of today. It is that you have to decide what levels of risks you are willing to take in getting reviews. I know a lot of people are like, "Oh no! you need to not do this or not do that".

But then they tell me about their advanced review teams that they have set up to get reviews or asking friends and family. These are all violations of Amazon's terms. So you are simply not allowed to do that if you wish to follow their rules.

At the same time, following the rules can also trigger you not to get the reviews that you need to get the sales. Because at the end of the day, we are trying to help people get the content of our book.

Even if we are doing fiction, the entertainment value that comes from our books, they are not going to do it if there is no social proof. So there is a tight-lying balance here between following the rules and guidelines that you find within the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC's requirements of noting that you have notif that these people are being compensated. Also, keeping Amazon's terms and agreements and trying to figure out how that balance works. At the same time running ads against it which can get you sales even with zero reviews.

That's a very important point that you are also going to want to keep in mind when going this particular route. So, do you have a system in place to get Amazon Kindle self publishing reviews? If you do, do me a favor and write "Yes" below in the comments so that I know exactly what is going on.

If you have no system, then write "No" below. You don't have a system as to how to go about getting reviews. That will help me know that we are on the right track here and what exactly I need to do in future articles.

And check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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