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Amazon Reviews and the War of the Words

By Rob Eagar

The power of the collective voice on Amazon works as a major influence over many people's buying decisions, especially when it comes to books. For example, if someone recommends a book to me, my habit is to go find it on Amazon and read through some of the reviews. Many times, those comments affect my opinion as to whether or not I want to purchase the book.

As an author, you cannot afford to ignore this persuasive power that Amazon wields. That's why I recommend that you regularly monitor your book’s reviews on Amazon and stay on top of the public's feedback. If you disregard what people say, you could needlessly lose out on some book sales.

If necessary, there’s nothing wrong or unethical with encouraging your community of fans to support you by posting positive reviews on Amazon (as well as other sites, such as B&N.com, GoodReads, LibraryThing, FaceBook, Twitter, etc.) If you find that your book is struggling to get adequate reviews, consider these steps to address the issue:

  • Send out a newsletter or an email blast to your fans asking them to submit a review. It's okay to ask for help. Some of my clients who are New York Times bestsellers do this on a regular basis.
  • When someone sends you a letter or an email thanking you for your book, respond quickly and ask that person to return the favor by posting a favorable review online. Make it easy by giving them a direct link to your book’s Amazon page.
  • Ask people who have already given you a formal endorsement to post their glowing comments on Amazon as well

Use Amazon to your benefit by trying to garner as many reviews as possible. If you receive some negative reviews, don’t view it as a setback. You can’t please everyone, and all books get various levels of mixed feedback. In the online war of words, use the suggestions above to help tip the scales in your favor. Gather and supply evidence that can help your book win the battle in the court of public opinion.

About the Author

Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and his new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, will be published by Writer’s Digest in June, 2012. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at: www.startawildfire.com

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