I learned about the competitive world of Amazon Customer Reviewers a number of weeks ago. Amazon has a complex algorithm to rate the top Customer Reviewers (more info here). Amazon really loves these reviewers and gives them various badges to give Amazon shoppers confidence in the reviews, and these people can really drive sales.
When I found out about these top reviewers I thought that one of them would be an excellent choice as an interview for Book Chats. One of the biggest mysteries for authors is how to get Amazon reviews. So I began looking through book reviews and top lists to find contact information for several of these reviewers. I hoped in vain for an interview.
Let me tell you that this was a grueling process and there is no easy way to do it. I looked at about a thousand profiles searching for contact information and someone who did book reviews. I found 16, so I sent them all emails. Eight responded with a “no.” One told me they were afraid an interview might violate the Amazon Community Guidelines.
So I contacted the eight who responded and asked if I could just ask them some questions for a blog article with no attribution to them. Three agreed to that.
- I found out that Amazon is trying to protect the sanctity of the customer review and that they have been closing a lot of reviewer accounts and deleting the reviews for guideline violations, mainly for accepting products and gift cards.
- The book reviewers love books and love to read. That is why they started doing the book reviews. They enjoy feeling a connection to the authors whose books they review. Two seem to really like reviewing first time authors with great books. One told me, “I intentionally look for first time authors on the new and upcoming lists.”
- They like to receive a complimentary copy and be asked to do a book review. I got the feeling that it was a bit of an ego stroke. One will only do a review if they receive a hard copy. Sending a book to a reviewer does not violate the Community Guidelines.
- Two mentioned that they did not like to be approached by marketing firms that spam their email with review requests.
- People learn over time to trust the opinion of some reviewers, and readers follow these trusted reviewers. One woman said she had over 16k followers.
- Reviews do result in sales. One said he liked to see the books that he enjoyed climb the sales rankings.
My Opinion: How to Use Amazon Top Customer Reviewers
Keep in mind that I am not an expert. I have two weeks’ research and a handful of emails from three top reviewers. My experience is limited.
- Start looking for reviewers while writing your book. This will give you something useful to do when you are sick of writing. However, it is boring enough that it will send you back to writing.
- Find comparable books to your book that you want to get reviewed. This will be good for your query too!
- Then go through all of the reviews for that book while giving attention to the individual reviewers. Look for reviewers who do a lot of book reviews. Then follow them and collect contact information where available.
- When it comes time to ask for a review, I would personalize the contact. Tell them that you have followed them. Tell them that you like their reviews of some of the books. Tell them that your book is a bit like those others that they have reviewed. Sign a copy and send it to them, and don’t bother them again until your next book.
I hope that you find this post helpful. Let me know in the comments.