Friday, May 3, 2013

Review: How To Get Good Reviews on Amazon by Theo Rogers

Title: How To Get Good Reviews on Amazon
Author: Theo Rogers

I was approached recently to review a book, a booklet really, about the practice of getting good reviews on Amazon. I'm disclosing this up front, as one of the practices mentioned in the book is that reviewers on Amazon are obligated to disclose if they'd been given the book for reviewing purposes.  (And even off Amazon, any good reviewer worth their salt should be mentioning this!)

The book is only about 40 pages long, but then I've always felt that when you're discussing a specific topic such as this you really don't need 200+ pages when a smaller amount will suffice. The chapters in the book are as follows:

  1. Inside the Head of the Amazon Reviewer (This chapter talks about what the reviewer wants, what they're looking for, and things to avoid when interacting with them. It's fairly general in tone.)
  2. Selecting Reviewers (This chapter talks about what authors/publicists should do when deciding which reviewer to select for your work.)
  3. Contacting Reviewers (As it suggests, this chapter gives recommendations on how to approach reviewers and how to phrase your query letters.)
  4. After the Review (This chapter talks about what you should- and shouldn't- do after receiving a review and how to talk to people if/when you get a negative review.)

My big take on the piece? Much of this is material that seasoned and experienced authors should already know about seeking reviews on Amazon and approaching reviewers. I say should, because I've seen several authors make some serious mistakes, such as leaving snide comments on a negative review or canvassing people off Amazon to leave reviews to make up for a negative one. (The implication here is that the author says something and people leave reviews for a product they haven't read, which only lowers people's estimation of both the product and the author.)

That's probably why booklets like these are fairly necessary, especially if you're a fledgling author that just uploaded your brand spanking new book into the CreateSpace system. If you're someone that has been around the block a few times, there are some interesting things in the book that you might not otherwise be aware of. The uber veterans? These are usually the ones who already know the lessons in this booklet and will already be (or should be) following these practices.

In short, this is a decent booklet and something I'd recommend for newbies or those who aren't fully familiar with how to approach reviewers. I especially recommend the "Contacting Reviewers" chapter because as someone who reviews and has several friends who review, many of them are easily turned off by poorly phrased query letters.

I'd give this a star rating on my blog, but this will be something that will be pretty subjective for the reader. For newbies it'll probably be a 5 since the basics are fairly clearly phrased and to the point. For those who are more experienced, that rating might go down depending on what expectations they had going into this.

(Copy provided by author)


  1. good review. I've almost completed my first book and have no idea what to do next. I thought I'd just send an email to the top 100 or so book reviewers on amazon when it was finished and ask them to put on their kid gloves since I'm a first timer. Maybe I'm naive and there are guidelines...if so, I need to know them. Is it bad karma to ask for gentle treatment? Surely they can't have the same criteria for a self-published first timer as they would for, say, the guy who wrote The Corrections. But I need direction. Thanks for tracking this down and letting me in on it.

  2. Asking to be treated with kid gloves may not be the best way to approach this. Individuals vary in how much slack they’re prepared to cut a self published first timer, but most Amazon reviewers I know feel that once you start selling your work FOR MONEY, you do have to accept that you’re playing by grown-up rules.

    I also note that you say you have contacted the top 100 or so book reviewers on Amazon. Contacting people solely on the basis of reviewer rank can be considered bad form among reviewers, and if you do it en mass, may even earn you a reputation as a spammer. It’s generally far better to contact people who have already reviewed books similar to your own, or who have otherwise said or done things that make them seem especially likely to be interested in your book.

    These are the kind of issues I deal with in depth in my own booklet.

    BTW, it’s not for sale quite yet: I currently plan on releasing it on Amazon early July.

  3. I have to agree with Theo. Specifically asking for people to treat you nicely can often backfire, especially depending on who you ask and how you ask. I have noticed that people tend to be slightly more forgiving sometimes when it comes to self-published authors, but not enough so to where I'd say that it would be a guarantee.

    Since you're newer to this, I'd definitely recommend Theo's book. I know that I'd put this in the review, but the letter on contacting reviewers will really help. I also recommend looking into Goodreads, as they do giveaways as well.

  4. I know it's been forever, but I thought I'd stop by and let everyone know that my book is finally out!

    Thanks again, ChibiNeko: You were the first! ;-D