I believe the number of book reviews is the 3rd most important variable for book sales, after book title and cover quality. And it’s hard to get legit book reviews. I’ve blogged before about the important of building up your email opt in list and street team for reviews, but there are other ways too.
For my newest book I tried out Martin Meadows’ BookRazor.com service. Basically, this is a service where they’ll research the names and email addresses of people who left Amazon book reviews on books that are similar to yours. Then it’s up to you to reach out via email to see if these active reviewers would be interested in reviewing your book.
I was very pleased with the results of this service. In my case:
- I reached out to 100 people
- I got 25 (25%) responses back saying YES they want a review copy (and only 3 dead email addresses)
- I haven’t yet seen how many actually DO leave a review, but I’ll come back and update this post once I have the data. Others have seen about half of those who take a review copy actually leave a review (which is the same rate I’ve seen from my street team, friends, and um, even family members)
Here is a copy of the actual email I sent to the book reviewers, followed by an explanation of why I worded things the way I did.
- Put their name in the subject line. The goal of any email communication is first to get them to open the email, second to get them to read it (they can’t read it if they don’t open it!). By putting their name in the subject line it tells them that it isn’t spam, or at least they must have given their name to the sender at some point.
- Call it a “complimentary” book instead of free book. The word “free” especially in subject lines triggers a lot of spam filters so I generally use the word complimentary instead. Plus I think it makes it sound more special. J
- Use “my” instead of “a”. This tells them—all right away in the subject line—that this email is from the author herself—not some PR flack or promotion service. Lots of people like to make a direct connection with an author, and it seems like more of a genuine request.
- Use “…” to stimulate curiousity. I get incredible email open rates when I use an ellipsis, I believe because it triggers the curiosity impulse, probably unconsciously. I might as well open this email just so I know what the end of this sentence is.
- Use a friendly opening with their name again. Show them it’s a personal email.
- Use an “authority-statement” up front. I don’t actually believe what it is matters too much, just that you lead with authority. You might be an “Amazon bestselling author”, “entrepreneur”, “award winning _____”, “an author of 5 books”, “a leading authority on ___”.
- Specifically reference the book that they left a review on. It shows again that the email is personal, and makes the link…hey, if you were interested in that book, here’s a new one on the same topic.
- After your book title, give it a plug. Don’t assume they’ll find the title compelling enough to give a “yes”. What is an interesting finding or approach or something unique about your book?
- IMPORTANT: Let them know you will send it in any format. This is way more important than I had thought. I usually just publish on Kindle, and these are all Kindle book reviewers. BUT, I got about equal requests for mobi, ePub and PDF.
I offered a paperback but only one person took me up on it. I wouldn’t even offer this option the next time.
If you have any questions just email them to info @ kevinkruse.com