Get reader reviews before advertising on Amazon

Don't waste your money advertising on Amazon until you have reader reviews on your book's sales page. Readers need that evidence that it's a good book.
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When you’re shopping online at a retail site that lets users review products, do you check those reviews before making a purchase decision?

If you’re like most, you do.

According to the Spiegel Research Center, nearly 95 percent of online shoppers read user reviews before making a purchase.

After making a purchasing mistake that would have been prevented if I had paid attention to the user comments, I’m now doing this religiously.

If only I had read the reviews . . . .

When I couldn’t find the type of coat I wanted at local stores last winter, I had to shop online. The site with the super-warm coat I was looking for offered user reviews, but I ignored them. After all, I knew what I wanted. Reviews wouldn’t influence that.

Bad move.

Had I read the user reviews, I would have discovered that the garment runs small. Customers recommended buying a larger size.

Because I didn’t see that feedback (because I didn’t look for it), I bought my usual size…it was too small…and I had to return and exchange it. I could have been facing the bitter wind and snow in a perfect-fitting coat much sooner if only I had read the reviews.


Lesson learned – for clothing. I was already checking reader reviews for books before buying.

I scan for phrases that tell me the book has attributes that I won’t like, but I’m also looking for information that reassures me that it’s my kind of read.

When advertising on Amazon doesn’t make sense

What does this mean for you?

People rely on reviews when making online purchasing decisions, so don’t run Amazon ads until you have several good reviews.

When readers who discover your book through an ad click through and see that there are no reader reviews, they hit the “back” arrow.

Nobody – nobody – wants to be the first to buy your book.

People need that “social proof” that the book has been reader-tested. And maybe it has been. But, if there’s no proof of that on your sales page when your ad runs, the proof doesn’t exist as far as your reader is concerned.

In addition, early reviews might offer reader feedback to improve your book’s description. Anything you can do to fine-tune and “optimize” your sales page will help you get the most from your advertising budget.

Start with at least 10 reviews

There’s no magic number of reviews you must have before advertising. There are no extra, secret Amazon perks linked to a specific number of reviews on an advertised product.

advertising on Amazon 2Some authors recommend a minimum of three reviews. I agree with that as a minimum, but as a reader who looks at reviews, I’d encourage you to get more than that before advertising on Amazon. Derek Doepker, creator of my favorite Amazon ads training program, recommends having at least 10.

[novashare_tweet tweet=”Why get reviews before advertising on Amazon? People need that “social proof” that the book has been reader-tested.” hide_hashtags=”true”]

2 must-dos for reader reviews

How do you get those valuable reader reviews?

You do two things:

  1. Give books to people in your target audience and ask them to write honest reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or anywhere else. (Download your free copy of “9 places to look for
    readers who write reviews” here.)
  2. Make it easy for readers to write those reviews.

You can find your target readers in your email list or your blog’s followers, in Facebook groups dedicated to your genre, and on the social networks you use regularly.

You can also pay services that match advance review copies with readers who know they are expected to review the book they receive at no charge.

Help your readers write those honest reviews quickly and easily with the Build Book Buzz Reader Book Review Form. It’s the only tool that makes it easy for readers to write honest reviews in just minutes.

Readers answer a series of questions about the book in a fill-in-the-blanks form, then combine their answers into a review that they copy and paste into the Amazon review template. Get the details and hear from readers who have used it at http://www.readerbookreviewform.com

Reviews first, advertising on Amazon second

Please don’t throw your money away on ads until your book has been reader-tested and has the honest, favorable reviews to prove it.

[novashare_tweet tweet=”Don’t throw your money away on ads until your book has been reader-tested and has the honest, favorable reviews to prove it.” hide_hashtags=”true”]

You’ll be happier with the outcome, and so will your checking account.

What’s your best tip for getting reader reviews? What works for you?

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

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  1. Not a big fan of ‘waiting’ for anything in general, but this does make sense. I haven’t bought many book with no reviews. The blurb has to be air tight or it must solve an incredibly burning problem.

    And an interesting tool idea! Original too, don’t think I’ve seen anything like that. Hope it will do well for ya!

    1. I’m not good at waiting, either, Adrijus, but this one really is a must if you don’t want to waste your ad dollars. And you’re so right about the book description. In addition to your points, it has to be error-free.

      The reader review tool is really popular and I’m pretty excited about that. Anything I can do to help authors get reviews is a good thing! (And honestly, I use it myself!)

      Thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy reading your comments.


  2. An excellent post. I have a book with no reviews. It doesn’t seem to be selling well, as you suggest. But here’s a Catch 22. No reviews, so no sales, so no one to write reviews etc.
    I have tried giveaways, but not many takers for that, either.
    And I’ve had the person who promises a review, takes the review copy and disappears.
    I find it most frustrating. Those books that have been revu have, in the main, got good reviews, so I don’t think it’s that readers don’t like my books.

    1. V.M., we all share that frustration. It’s definitely a numbers game, with only a small percentage of those accepting a review copy actually writing a review. Have you tried looking for reviewers in one of the Facebook groups set up for that purpose, or using a paid service like BookFunnel?


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