Why Did My Amazon Reviews Get Deleted From My Book?
Getting a few great book reviews is thrilling for all new self-published authors. But they are shocked if or when they see some Amazon reviews deleted.
“Why were my Amazon book reviews deleted?”
The reason why Amazon deletes reviews is not easy to understand from its guidelines, which you can read here in full.
However, two main areas cause the most problems for both positive and negative reviews. They are reviews from close friends and paid book reviews.
Paying for book reviews can cause your reviews to be deleted
Paid reviews are clearly not acceptable to Amazon. It states:
We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind.
However, it is well known that paid reviews are available and are being posted.
Finding a paid book review service on social media or by doing a Google search only takes a few minutes.
However, you could waste a lot of money if you pay for book reviews.
Amazon is well aware of the practice and takes action quite quickly.
Should you discover that some of your Amazon book reviews disappeared, it could be the cause.
If you have the temptation to buy book reviews, you could be taking an expensive risk.
Yes, it might work in the short term.
But there is no guarantee that it will be a long-term solution.
Too many reviews for too few sales
Amazon also looks for a sudden influx of positive reviews that are more than what would be expected for the number of Amazon-verified purchases for the books.
If you have only sold five copies of your book over a month and suddenly receive twenty-five new five-star reviews in the space of a week, Amazon will treat this as suspicious.
It will probably consider them as possible paid or fake reviews, and it may start deleting some new reviews.
Very few readers leave reviews on Amazon, which is why genuine reviews are hard to get.
On average, you could expect one review for every two to three hundred books sold or for free books.
You can use gift cards to attract reviews, but this method has some drawbacks.
When reviews start coming in well above an expected average rate, Amazon will take a look and then examine the legitimacy of your book reviews.
Amazon reviews deleted from close friends
This is where many new authors get into trouble and is very often why Amazon deletes your book reviews.
Firstly, Amazon states that it does not accept reviews from an Amazon customer who is classed as an immediate family member of the author or publisher:
We do not permit reviews of the same ASIN from customers in the same household.
However, the following clause about Amazon products is what causes the most problems for authors:
… family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling on Amazon may not write Customer Reviews …
Amazon can define close friends as someone you are in contact with on social media.
It is not a pleasant situation. But Amazon can check your online connections very easily.
There is very little privacy on the Internet. Your data on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms is available for Amazon to access and scan.
Therefore, it is easy for Amazon to cross-check your friend list, followers, and any other social connection that might connect to a book review.
Perhaps you asked someone on Facebook or Twitter, who is also an Amazon customer, to give your book a nice book review. In this case, Amazon might delete the review quite quickly.
Amazon’s data reach is enormous and perhaps even bordering on draconian. It might not seem fair and reasonable. But it’s a fact of life on the Internet today.
I know from first-hand experience that some of my readers can’t add a review to my books because they are in contact with me on social media.
Another connection to lost reviews can be comments on your blog.
I can’t prove this. But again, it is data that is in the public domain, so it is very easy for Amazon to access and cross-check.
I have heard from a few authors who believe this might be the reason why they lost some reviews.
Amazon checks all reviews
You need to know and understand that Amazon can and does check your online connections in relation to your book reviews and can classify these as close friends.
Asking other authors is also a way to possibly have Amazon reviews deleted because any other author publishing on Amazon is a person selling on Amazon.
Because of this, Amazon can preclude them from adding reviews to any associated products.
Honest and genuine organic book reviews are painfully slow to gain, especially if you don’t sell a lot of copies.
But unfortunately, this is the reality of the book market today.
Trying to kick this process along by asking friends, especially online friends, to post reviews, or paying for reviews, will probably end up in deleted book reviews and tears shed.
When it happens, you will probably contact Amazon customer service.
But you will most likely get a copy-and-paste reply telling you to read the terms and conditions.
Don’t expect to get a reason or explanation as to why Amazon deleted your reviews.
It is frustrating, but with over one million new Kindle ebooks every year now, Amazon will not spend much time answering every complaint about deleted book reviews.
Learn how you CAN add reviews to your book
Perhaps you have a professional review or reviews you have received from other sources.
You can add these to your book, and Amazon will not delete them.
It’s easy to do this by using your Amazon Author Page.
You can add your editorial reviews to both your Kindle version and paperback.
Then you will be able to publish your reviews on your book’s sales page.
Related Reading: You should also be aware that Amazon now also has a $50 minimum spending limit for posting reviews.
28 thoughts on “Why Did My Amazon Reviews Get Deleted From My Book?”
I’ve just had the same experience and am beyond furious. I now emphasize fully with the Minutemen of yore and am ready and willing to march to Concord with my musket. These bastards are just plain vile.
Me too. My first novel came out, and all 5’s but one 4 star. Great beginning. Then, one five star they removed. My goodness, in 4 months, all purchased but one ARC reader (who did eventually purchase anyway), and not one single ‘rule’ disobeyed. I had 14 (fourteen– not like 25 in a month! Fourteen, amazon, can they not count?) from an author, and poof.
I see this happen to a lot of authors. Is there a recourse? No, because Amazon is King Tyrant.
I can only empathize with you completely, Claire. Unfortunately, (FAGA) Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple are such monopolies now that it is impossible to communicate with them rationally. There is no chance to argue with the decisions that their algorithms make. If you’re lucky, all you get is a copy and pasted auto-reply. The only option is to spread the word wider about your books. But yes, even that is becoming more difficult as our online activities are being more and more controlled by these 1984 like big brother companies. All you can do is try.
Not an author but just found this while searching for reasons my reviews sometimes get deleted. As a long time amazon reviewer i can confirm that my reviews sometimes get deleted for no apparent reason (as far as i can tell, several went missing sometime during 2018). I write a lot of reviews on books and products but have never been one of those people who reviews free/discounted stuff so this irritates me.
When you submit a review and it’s determined that you’ve “violated” their guidelines they send an automated email telling you that you’ve done so and that they won’t be able to “publish” it. But if the review passes that initial test and it’s posted and then days/weeks/months later they–for no apparent reason–delete it, they will not inform the reviewer of the fact that it’s been deleted or why (probably because it didn’t actually “violate” any guidelines). It just sort of disappears – most people probably don’t even notice it.
They also no longer allow comments, or at least none of mine are ever allowed to stay longer than a day. They got rid of their discussion boards so I can only assume that they don’t want anyone discussing books or anything in any form on their site anymore (regardless of whether it’s positive or negative or even just a genuine question!).
If they deleted reviews for books just because the reviewer didn’t buy the book all my reviews would disappear. I mostly borrow and even when I buy i usually buy through a different account because for some reason I have credit under a different account (plus my audible account isn’t the same as my amazon account). I’ve never used one of those disclaimers informing people of where and how I got a book.
As for you authors worrying about negative reviews: you really shouldn’t. Negative reviews are really important. The first thing i look at are negative reviews and if there aren’t any I’m WAY more likely to pass your book up. They play a big part in helping me decide whether I want to read it. A lot of times, they work in FAVOR of a book, because what someone dislikes is something someone else likes (I don’t even bother reading gushing 5 star reviews). Also FFS give your readers a little credit! You really thing we swallow everything a reviewer says without thinking about it? We know a negative review isn’t worth much when a person admits they only read the 1st chapter.
Anyways I agree with that person up there who says amazon is “cutting off their nose to spite their face.” I don’t really trust their reviews for products anymore. They claim to be fighting fake reviews but they’re making their reviews worthless by being so restrictive. Plus, i’ve noticed now that whenever I write a negative review Amazon allows the seller to email me INCESSANTLY begging me (sometimes even CALLING ME) to accept $$$ or credit in exchange for changing or deleting my review. This explains the complete lack of negative reviews for some products. Sometimes amazon just deletes the review anyways so what’s the point?
While Amazon may have some algorithm checking social media, it clearly doesn’t care as much as folks think – depending on the circumstances. A review was posted on the first day “Beneath A Scarlet Sky” was available (Kindle First and Unlimited) by a person identified as a lifelong close friend of the author – who should know better – and despite numerous “reports” and contextual complaints in comments, it’s still online.
It isn’t exactly difficult to suss out the connection between the two men either.
WELL GUYS, I JUST LOST MY 1ST CHOICE NARRATOR DUE TO AMAZON ONLY POST 20% OF THE REVIEWS THAT I KNOW WERE SENT IN. Here’s the email, names redacted.
Thanks for reaching out. Glad you like my work!
Your book looks like a very compelling story. I’m assuming when you say partnership, you’re looking for a Royalty Share deal. This particular book isn’t a great prospect for an RS deal, but if you’re open to paying for production (you keep all royalties), my rate is $400 Per Finished Hour. For a book this length (108k words = 12 hours of audio\), the budget would be around $4800. This includes myself, my audio engineer, and my audio proofer. We can get more into the details if you’re interested, just let me know.
best of luck,
Thanks for a quick response. Although you are my first choice, I am not that well funded and so I’ll need to give you a pass. I would like to know why you said: “a book of that type is not well suited for a split”. I can take away a lot of guesses but would like to hear the explanation from you, as a professional. I have several actors, one from Hollywood who isn’t hesitating to do a 20/20 split. You seem to have the most experience of anyone I’ve looked at, although none in this genre, so I would appreciate a candid opinion very much. I appreciate your time and consideration.
Sure, I can try to explain. Just to be super clear it’s not “a book of that type” it’s “this particular book”. The short answer is that the book just isn’t selling well enough.
My goal with royalty share is to simply make back my usual rate, but over a longer period of time. It’s just too much risk to take on a book that isn’t currently selling well. And if a book isn’t selling well, it may not be an ideal time to even create an audiobook version at all. Audiobooks are a fractional percentage of the market, and only very rarely outperform the ebook version (usually it’s a single-digit percentage of ebook sales). So the demand just might not be there yet.
However, if you feel strongly about the future of the book or have some strong marketing plans in place, then go for it. And keep all the royalties yourself by paying a narrator their rate (even if not me!).
Hope that makes sense. Let me know if you have any other questions. And by the way, none of this stuff reflects on the quality of the book, it’s purely business.
Best of luck!
THANK YOU for answering. Now it is very clear. AMAZON REVIEW RULES ARE HURTING AUTHORS IN MORE WAY THAN ONE.
I was wondering if Amazon’s new REVIEW RULES would have come into play. I actually sold over 100 books in the first month. Out of the 26 reviews that I KNOW where submitted, Amazon has “ultimately” allowed 6. Two days ago, the reviewer hadn’t purchased $50 in the past month so she got a notice “you do not qualify to leave this review” return message. SHE BOUGHT THE BOOK BACK IN DECEMBER IN CANADA. No ‘friend, family member, no one who got the book as a gift, no one who hasn’t spent $50, it goes on and on. It’s almost impossible to get a review now. Of course, you promote to your friends and relatives. I have 5000 friends on Facebook, 90% I have never met. NONE OF THEM will be allowed to post a review! Everyone is talking about it, news articles galore. It’s killing off authors. AMAZON merged publishing with kindle, one must ask if they plan to dispose of the publishing arm of Amazon down the road.
They are likely doing this with Audible too. There are blogs from very well known indie authors (who have sold 6-12 books on Amazon) about the new “ratings” game and how Amazon is not good for authors anymore. I published on December 31, 2018, six weeks ago. I thought to sell 100 books the first month was good, and it ranked me in the top 100, but after trying to figure out WHAT IS GOING ON AT AMAZON REVIEW DEPARTMENT and getting zero response, only cut and paste, from their very arbitrary rules, I DID STOP PROMOTION. Between all their different bots and algorithms and nazi-reporting, any book now published will not be getting their reviews, it’s not just me. In fact, they are even REMOVING OLD REVIEWS FROM PREVIOUS BOOKS OF WELL-SELLING AUTHORS if they EVER find a connection between the author and the reader online. So, they want you to promote, have all sorts of direct contact, blogs, and Facebook etc. to promote, BUT IF YOU DO AND THOSE READERS JOIN OR BECOME A FRIEND, THEY GO BACK AND TAKE OUT ALL THEIR REVIEWS FROM YOUR PREVIOUS TITLES.
Just thought you should be aware. It probably will soon apply to Audible Books too. I provided links below so you don’t think I’m a nut job or something! hahahahhaha.
Sounds like tough waters for independent authors to navigate these days! I have heard of reviews being removed, so I know what you’re talking about and I’m sorry that happened to you. I hope things improve on that front.
I actually thought you had a good number of reviews for the short time the book has been published, especially considering it is your first book. I’m sure you want more, but what you have is a good start! I am looking at Sales Rank primarily when I make royalty share decisions. This indicates to me in general terms how much a book is selling day-to-day. I consider books for Royalty Share where their Kindle editions rank in the top 10k of the entire store over a sustained period of time (my better selling audiobooks have ebooks that regularly rank in the 1000-3000 range). As I mentioned, audiobooks are a small fraction of overall consumption, so the ebook had better be selling very well in order to have a profitable audiobook.
If you do end up with an audio version, my authors tell me that it is difficult to have success in promoting only the audio version. Audiobooks are just another format that certain people prefer to consume their books in. Promotion should be for the book in general. The consumer will decide how to consume it (e.g., Kindle, paperback, audio)…
The authors he has narrated for all have thousands of reviews, starting from the years before 2013 until now, WHEN AUTHORS REVIEWS WERE ALL ALLOWED. OF COURSE, THERE BOOKS SOLD. AND BTW, THEY WERE MOSTLY HORROR OR THRILLERS, AND NOT ALL WERE WELL WRITTEN. BACK THEN, AUTHORS COULD OFFER A FREE KINDLE FOR A REVIEW IF THE READER STATED IT. BACK THEN, NO REVIEWS WERE UNDERGOING THIS STRANGLE-AS-MANY-REVIEWS-AS-POSSIBLE ALGORITHMS.
AUTHOR RESPONSE TO “LOST” NARRATOR
The Amazon Review Process 2019 is flawed. For me, this is a DOUBLE WHAMMY LOSS. I stopped promoting the book (I was in the top 100 for the first month) because of the Amazon policy to reject MOST of the reviews) So, I stopped throwing 16 hours a day and hundreds of dollars at the “SELLING THE BOOK MARKETING PLAN” since it was obvious no matter how many books I sold I would never get more than a miniscule portion of the actual honest reviews that could come from that expense of time and money. BECAUSE I STOPPED THAT PROMOTION, my book sales dropped off and now I’m in like 30,000 or lower ranking, so NOW THIS GREAT NARRATOR DOESN’T BELIEVE MY BOOK IS GOOD ENOUGH TO SELL ENOUGH TO DO THE COMMON 20/20 SPLIT OF PROCEEDS which is one option with Audible narrators. BTW, AMAZON keeps 60% of the “air” they sell as Audible Books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the author is still doing ALL the promotion, as far as I can see.
I LOST MY BEST NARRATOR – DOUBLE WHAMMY! I CANNOT RECOMMEND ANY AUTHOR TO GO THROUGH THE HELL I HAVE BEEN THROUGH FOR THREE PLUS SOLID MONTHS USING THEIR VERY LAME TEMPLATES, DOING ALL MY OWN PROMOTION, CREATING AN AUTHOR IMAGE ONLINE, ONLY TO HAVE AMAZON REJECTING THE MAJORITY OF MY LEGIT REVIEWS.
I loved that narrator because of his ability to do a wide range of vocal varients and abundant talent for having a voice for each character. He is amazing! I AM VERY SAD. The worst thing is it doesn’t make sense. Amazon makes more money than the author on the book , not to mention the Audible that they also get for free than, so they are cutting their own sales. Why would they not care about their sales enough to repair this damaging severe rating policy? One must ask if they have a long-term plan to terminate their publishing arm?
I am just beside myself, have stopped all expense to promote my book, looking for other avenues. I have read all the defensive articles and reviews about how poor Amazon is fighting with bots and fake reviews, etc., but they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. I might just need to go back into the traditional marketing methods. Query letters and rejections? I’d almost rather die! AMAZON HAS CUT MY THROAT.
The whole cross checking social media thing is ridiculous. I share on Facebook that I have a new book coming out. On their own, people decide to buy it. They love it, so ON THEIR OWN they decide to review it.
I’ve done nothing more than let people know who might be interested.
I share your frustration, Peggy.
But our personal social data is now so readily accessible, and it is being used by Amazon and others to enforce (ever-changing) terms, conditions and rules.
Unfortunately, I don’t see any change ahead until social media platforms decide to protect our data from external access.
Beginning in 1999 I began to post book reviews on Amazon. I was one of the pioneers. I have always submitted my reviews under my own name. As of 2016 I had 284 of them. I wasn’t one of those crazy reviewers on Amazon that craved status, I simply wrote thoughtful reviews of those books that I read. (Some I didn’t like.) I was good. There was a time when I was a “spotlight” reviewer for about twenty books, including Lolita, Crime and Punishment, Life of Pi, and many, many other great books. It was the pride of my life. I got requests from authors almost daily to review their books. Sometimes, I accepted their books. Only rarely did I review them. (Most of them were bad; it seemed heartless to write a review of those. But if they were good, well, sure!) In 2016 Amazon deleted all of my reviews. I asked for an explanation on three occasions. Each time, all they did was to send me a copy of the Amazon guidelines, and told that I must follow them. I honestly can’t think of anything I did which did not conform to the Amazon guidelines. I am no longer allowed to post reviews, make a comment, or even give a positive thumbs-up. Amazon is not going to help me. I am simply crying for help.
Oh, my goodness. I did accept free books. Could this be the reason I was suppressed?
Hi. I am an author who found out the hard way that people who receive a book for free by the author will not be allowed to review it. I sent free books to several dozen people, some friends, some family, and some not. I received good, bad, and mediocre reviews. Suddenly, they all disappeared. After contacting Amazon, I was told that all solicited books will not be afforded a review. As a side note, I received a scathing, nasty review on a political book that I wrote. The “reviewer” went on to say that he didn’t actually buy or read the book, but based his review on the Table of Contents. …But Amazon allows this?!
This is all ridiculous. Bottom line is, if you dole out cash to buy a book, then you should be able to leave a review. If Amazon doesn’t want my friend, my daughter, my fourth cousin, or my mailman to leave a review, then don’t sell them a book.
Although illuminating, this article did not answer my question completely. Hence, I rated it 4 out of 5. Here is the bizarre situation I am facing with a couple of now-deleted customer reviews of a book I had written which was published by a medium-sized academic publisher back in 2001. Both customer reviewers (I recall at least two book reviews by customers ut there could have been a third as well) were from customers I either did not know or were from someone I have not been in contact with for years but who went to graduate school with me back in the mid-to-late 1980s. They were both positive customer reviews of my book. One was a guy whose name actually appeared (I guess he is or was a frequent Amazon book reviewer) and the guy lived in a different part of the U.S.A. which is not anywhere near me. He is a total stranger. Don’t know the guy AT ALL. Never paid the guy. The other reviewer or reviewers were not named and were from people I don’t even know. They certainly were not paid by anyone. Amazon had POSTED both book customer reviews in the publicly-visible listing of my book in 2001 and 2002, and these customer reviews were visible on Amazon’s site from their date of posting in 2001-02 until the middle of 2018. Suddenly, sometime in mid-2018, Amazon removed ALL customer reviews associated with my 2001 book! I emailed them twice and they replied twice with no explanation and instead, asked more questions like what was the exact date of the customer book reviews (I only remember the year(s) they were posted – hey, it’s been almost two decades and, as I said, I didn’t even know who these customers were in the first place) and the names of the customers. I remember one guy’s name (I think). But the other customer reviewers’ names? Who knows! It just said “A Customer” next to their 2001 review(s)! I gave Amazon the book title etc. so they could easily look up my 2001 book. They didn’t even offer a stock explanation such as reciting their customer review guidelines. Even if they had, these customer reviews DID NOT violate Amazon’s guidelines as demonstrated by the fact that Amazon HAD POSTED AND DISPLAYED these customer reviews of my 2001 book for almost TWO DECADES! What do folks think is actually going on? These were positive reviews. I appreciated receiving them all those years ago. Now my book has zero reviews and looks really bad with the “Be the first to review this book” message from Amazon across the top of the Amazon listing for this title. Sad. Any suggestions on who I should contact at Amazon or where I go from here to get a substantive response from Amazon as to why they deleted customer reviews posted since 2001-2002 all of a sudden in 2018? Any best guesses from folks as to what is really going on? You can safely assume the reviews I saw posted did not violate Amazon’s guidelines. They were obviously from customers (at least to my eyes as the author). Thanks everyone!
I have had this happen to me recently, on several of my books. The first time, I lost reviews off of the first books in both my series. Now it was one from the second book of one of the series. The only thing I can think of is someone I’m “in contact with” on social media. No one I know personally. I’ve never swapped reviews. I’ve never bought reviews. Heck, I can’t even GET most of my friends to take the time to read my books, let alone review them. But this thing about people you’re “in contact with” on social media somehow equating to “friends”? WTH, Amazon?
One of the whole points about being active on social media as an author is to interact with readers. Answer questions. Engage in conversations. Whatever. It’s a way to get your name out there without a lot of expensive marketing tactics that most indie authors I know can’t afford. If suddenly that becomes a qualification for getting your reviews yanked, where does that leave us? I have NO IDEA how to get reviews…so when 1 of the 16 paltry reviews I have on one of my books gets yanked for no apparent reason, it really ticks me off. Ugh. AND it was likely from about 4 years ago, because I haven’t gotten any new reviews on that particular book in about that long. Suddenly it’s a problem?
Amazon has started deleting 5 and 4 star reviews from my two best selling books. These have been out for years. Both got a Newbery Honor and one the National Book Award. I don’t do any marketing, I never ask friends for a review because I think that’s tacky, and I don’t do giveaways. Suspicious? You betcha.
The review system is, unfortunately, a joke. Mr. and Ms. Average Reader glance at the number of reviews against a book and use that scale as a determination of whether the book is worth reading or buying. The average book reviewer seems barely able to string two words together (read some of the reviews). That sounds really sarcastic but “sigh”, I’ve honestly read a lot of reviews. And Goodreads system, where some readers blithely assume that rating a yet-to-be-released and un-read book at 2-stars (because it suits their own system, being 2-stars means they want to read it next and 5-stars means they want to read it when they have nothing else to read) has no impact on the author is nothing short of scary. Changes need to be made but I’m not sure where to begin :/
People leaving 1-star ratings on Goodreads to mark books they want to read REALLY ticks me off. When you don’t have many ratings to begin with, one 1-star will really screw up the book’s rating. I think readers are oblivious to this fact…and I don’t know how to change it.
I finally got a coveted Bookbub deal! My book was sent out at 99 cents on Sept 24, 2017. I sold almost 1000 copies! I was thrilled. I was certain I’d get a nice bump of reviews out of those.
I lost one review. I had 45 – it went down to 44, and that’s where it’s been for two months.
That doesn’t seem suspicious AT ALL.
Okay, people, Amazon does not hand check each review. What they do is an automated check to see where the link the person reviewing used. If you search for your book, then copy that raw link and someone on social media picks it up and then goes to Amazon and leaves a review, that review will be flagged since they are using the same link (which has embedded search perimeters in it) that can be traced back to you.
To keep Amazon from knowing where the reviewer came from, be sure to use a “clean” link.
Example of “dirty” link that can be tracked back to you…
All that gobbly gook after the ASIN number is tracking material.
Also Amazon does not allow anyone of financially benefits from the book to leave a review. If you mother is living with you, She theoretically benefits. If she lives in another state and you give her no money, she doesn’t. They are tracking her through your link, not social media.
Obviously paid reviewers are tracked and flagged, But if you use a clean link and the review is left from a different ISP location, you are usually fine.
You have to PROMOTE your book. If you don’t, don’t expect to see sales. That’s the crux of it.
What’s the subject of your book? If it’s a mystery, try to find out if there are any mystery bookstores, conventions, writing groups etc that deal with mysteries.
Any writers convention usually has an area where you can sell your book there. Chances are, you won’t know that many people there.
If you write about crafts, try to get your book into Michael’s or a locally owned craft store near you. If you write about nature or plants, try a locally-owned garden center. Is it a local-themed novel or non-fiction? Try your local indie bookstore, indie store selling whatever your non-fiction addresses, or Costco (there are helpful posts online about getting into your local Costco).
I’ve done pretty well for myself, I’ll admit. But I planned a YEAR in advance how to market my novel. First, spend some money on a GOOD EDITOR and a GOOD COVER. And I mean a GOOD cover. Because if you don’t, none of the information below will help you at all.
I made my book available through Ingram distribution and Smashwords, rather than JUST Amazon. The more avenues and the more formats through which you make your book available, the more chance you have of making sales, in whatever format.
For my book, because it was silent Hollywood themed novel, I found Facebook groups that related to silent film and created some advanced buzz about it on there. There’s a large film subculture, so I knew that was where i needed to concentrate my marketing. I tweeted about it to my followers. I created a mailing list of those who were interested (they are your champions, and can help publicize it to others PLUS there’s a chance they’ll review it).
I attended a silent film festival, sold copies there at their author tables, handed out postcards and business cards for it, advertised in a Classic Hollywood memorabilia monthly magazine, found some blogathons for historical novels, and contacted folks running 2 historical podcasts to appear on their shows.
Our local indie bookstore here posts their weekly Top 10 books sold in our local newspaper. So I told all my friends to go THERE to buy it for the first few weeks at least so it would keep making that list (for visibility). When I was in Los Angeles, I talked it up to buyers at several bookstores. I attended several writers conferences and talked it up to folks, making an author signing appearance at one (PLUS, I sat next to a chatty couple on the plane, and sold them 1 that I had in my purse. They later came to the signing event!). I had a reading and signing at our local indie where friends and coworkers bought it. I traveled to a nearby city for readings and signings (2) and sold several more there.
Because my subject was from the area around Pittsburgh, I found a huge library/archive with a newsletter that reviewed books. I asked them if they’d be interested. They were.
I emailed every indie bookstore in the US that I could find to see if they might be interested in carrying my book. I attached a copy of the (REALLY GOOD) cover and my cover blurb. At least 20 of them said they would or would put it in their system. You might surprise yourself.
Once you have multiple books in your catalog, you’re more likely to get more reviews too. Keep writing!
BRAINSTORM about publicity. You can never tell where your next sale might come from. The more books you sell, the more chances you have of people reviewing you. If you have no sales, you will not have reviews. It’s that simple. If you spend NO money to promote, chances are your book will die on the vine. But there are cheap things you can do to try to help yourself.
This is awesome advice and information. As a new author with a killer book (humor) and lack of sales because I am terrible at self-promotion, I ate up your post and now am stoked about making a publicity/marketing plan. I too got on the Ingram list, and in one local store so far. I sensed that an Amazon-only approach would be counter productive – as would any form of all eggs in one basket. Thanks again.
What’s annoying is that you have to sell hundreds of books to get a review. I’ve sold ten books in the last three years, some of those readers got in touch to tell me they loved the book, but I still have nothing on Amazon. Even with that I tend to agree with Amazon. I don’t want another situation where an author is buying hundreds of reviews and pretending they’re genuine.
Authors reviewing authors is a time-honored and thoroughly sensible tradition. I understand why Amazon feels the need to reign in paid reviews and the like, but if Amazon is really going after reviews by authors, I hope they’ll reconsider.
Unfortunately, I doubt it Karen. Anyone selling products on Amazon, which authors do by way of books and ebooks, are ineligible to post reviews under Amazon’s review policy.
We handed out copies of our 400-page book to 40 strangers and asked them to please submit reviews on Amazon and other sites. So far, after 6 weeks, we have 14 reviews and they’re all good.
My ebook is $0.99 for the first two weeks. I bought 70 and asked on a facebook group (within the book’s niche) if people wanted to write an honest review. People sent me their email addresses and I sent them the book. When they redeem it, it’s a verified purchase. And I don’t know them personally. It helped me get 20 reviews in the first week for my first book, “What Does A Princess Really Look Like?”
I did realize that people still will give you a better review than if you weren’t the one sending them the book. At least I imagine. Because everyone gave me 5 stars… and that doesn’t seem realistic.
Is there a solution to this catch-22 problem? I can’t get my book selling because I don’t have reviews. I can’t get reviews from people I know. I can’t buy reviews. So how do I get reviews to get my book selling to get more reviews?
I used to work on cargo ships as a marine engineer and before I began working I faced a similar problem. I had no work experience and every company I went to wanted work experience. How do you get something people will give you only if you already have that same thing?
In my sailing career I guess I got a lucky break. Gotta wait for that in self publishing as well?
Try joining an author or writing group (an in-person or online group). I’ve found these free groups to be a great place to talk about the writing and editing process, what works, lessons you learn, etc. And so supportive! Often other authors will write reviews for you, if you write reviews for them.
Review Swap is also against the rules. Just so you know. So you’re basically screwed no matter what you do.
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