Approaching friends, relatives and associates is one of the FASTEST and often easiest way to get a book review just after you hit the publish button.
Why are you so reluctant to ASK your friends for a book review?
I know you are shy and are reluctant to ask your friends for a review … but just DO it. At the worst they will say no, in the middle they’ll just make non-committal noises and then ignore you. Then there’s semi good and really good. You’ll get excited about semi-good because they will say OK and then never get around to doing it. Really good is when you are looking at a “middling nice” to” freaking fantastic” review posted ON Amazon.
If you are writing over the edge Erotica, I understand not asking your Mom. However, your best friend MAY be willing. Bottom line is, you never know unless you ask.
The Friends, Acquaintances, Business Buddies, and Family Members Challenge:
There are lots of reasons you may anticipate the people around you might object to or be hesitant to post a review. Here are some that you may be anticipating a NO, and some ways you can get past their fears:
THEY are shy and nervous to express their opinion.
If they are active on social media at all, chances are, they’re a lot more comfortable sharing their opinion online than you might think. In the age of Facebook, everyone has an opinion. Remind them that you need their help, and posting a review only takes a few minutes.
THEY think they don’t know how to write a book review OR they really are terrible writers.
Thankfully, you happen to know a great writer! (It’s you.) Send your friends a sample review template that they can use to write their review. Encourage them to rephrase things in their own words if they feel comfortable, or just post what you’ve sent them if that makes it easier. It can’t get any easier than copy/paste. BE careful here. If you are sending “pre-written” reviews don’t send the same one to everyone. I once saw a book that had three exact same reviews one after another.
You can also encourage them that the review doesn’t have to be Shakespeare. If they post a review in their own words, that genuine take on the book will be a huge help. Make sure they know that a review can be a sentence or two.
THEY are afraid your book is a pile of garbage and are reluctant to even take a peek.
Oh boy. This is a scary one. More than likely, you’ll be the harshest critic of your work that you’ll ever meet.
That said, if your book is outside the genre they usually read (maybe you write cowboy romances, and your neighbor is a sci-fi devotee), reassure them that they don’t have to fall in love with the genre or your book … just write a short review. It doesn’t have to RAVE about your book.
Tell them that if they truly don’t like or agree with the content of the book, it is OK and is valuable information that YOU can use to make your book better.
Ask them to read 3 chapters, or 50 pages, something you feel they can commit to, and then see how that goes. Send them a follow-up message offering a simple review they can use when they’re ready to review the book.
THEY are hugely busy and don’t have time to read or write.
Maybe your sister just had a baby. Or your dad is swamped at work right now. Ask if there might be a better opportunity? Maybe once baby is sleeping through the night, or after Dad gets past his big deadline. Gathering reviews is an ongoing process– you want new reviews to appear on Amazon once a month or so … make a note in your calendar to come back and ask at a better time.
Just remember to make that note, and be sure to follow up and ask.
THEY don’t want to spend the money buying your book … they think if they are a friend you should give it to them for free.
This can be a really hurtful one, right? Here you are thinking that “if they really ARE my friend they should be happy to buy my book and help me out.” What THEY are thinking is … “if she’s my friend she’d give me her book as a gift.”
Remind them that your book costs less than they spend on coffee in a day … and that they would be doing you a really BIG favor they could cash in on some day. Don’t be afraid to ask!
If you do run into an issue, you can offer to pay them back for the price of the book, so that their review will list as a verified sale. If they don’t understand the significance of that, you can explain that verified reviews count for a lot, and it would be a big help to you.
Also, remember that downloading a FREE book counts as a purchase, so make sure to ask your friends and family members to download your book especially when it’s listed for free. That’s a great opportunity to gather friends/family reviews.
THEY don’t have an Amazon account or reach the $50 Amazon purchase requirement.
This is the ONLY reason where you should just cross them off your list. Amazon will NOT publish a review from the FIRST book someone purchases. They need to be an existing Amazon customer with $50 of purchases on their score card.
How to Follow Up When Your Friend Hasn’t Posted Their “Promised” Book Review
This doesn’t have to be a big deal. You may be feeling nervous, but just remember that you’re asking people who have a connection with you to share in something really important to you. This is an opportunity for them to show you support.
After you ask for a review, give your friend/family member/coworker some time to read your book. Don’t hound them every time you see them. Not everyone reads super quickly.
You might ask one week after you sent the book if they’ve had a chance to start reading. After 15 days, ask if they’re still planning to help you by posting a review.
Don’t be afraid to remind them that they’ll be helping you by doing this. That may be a bigger motivator than actually reading what you wrote, and that’s just fine. The goal is to get those reviews!
As you’ve seen there are two challenges to getting friends/family reviews.
The first challenge is YOU. You are shy, you are hesitant, you are embarrassed or you don’t want to impose. So GET THIS STRAIGHT. Your books success depends on you asking. So just get over the “shy me” thing. Put on your superman costume and ASK! They might say no, but they are your friends right … so they won’t spit in your face.
The second challenge is THEM. For the most part they are hesitant because they think you might have written a freaking awful book. If you have … best spend some time fixing it. If it is a good solid book, maybe something that can be a best seller. ASK and keep on asking. Sheesh what the heck are friends and relatives for anyway?
Eventually I’m going to let you off the hook … AFTER you have written three books and begged your friends for help, you can stop. By that time you SHOULD (hate that word) have set up a launch team, and you hopefully have started building your email list, your website and several social media accounts.