Guest Post: Why Customer Reviews Are Vital for Self-Publishers

June 8, 2022

Getting quality reviews is essential for any self-publisher looking to boost their SEO strategy to get themselves noticed. As a self-publisher, you will need to wear many hats in addition to being a writer if you want to sell your book. You’ll need to handle the publishing, the marketing and SEO, and customer relations. And getting quality, honest reviews from good customers is especially crucial.

This article will look at why customer reviews are so important for self-publishers, the role reviews play in your SEO strategy, the best platforms to use for reviews, and tips on how to get customer reviews without spamming or begging.

Photo by George Milton

Why Are Book Reviews Essential for Self-Publishers?

To cut right to the point, book reviews equal sales. Even if your goal is not to be rich and famous, you will still need to solicit reviews as a self-publisher if you want people to buy your book. Furthermore, reviews won’t just help you make money, but they will also help spread the word and bring you more clout.

It’s also beneficial to solicit honest reviews, as reaching out to reviewers only to ask for good reviews will earn you a poor reputation amongst the book community. Honest reviews will earn you more trust and respect, which in turn will encourage more people to buy and read your book.

Additionally, book reviews play a role in your marketing and SEO strategy. A quality digital marketing strategy that utilizes SEO isn’t just about selling books but is also about making a name for yourself as a writer. With SEO, you can boost traffic to your website, gain more awareness, outperform competing writers, and boost sales for your book.

SEO is essentially based on keywords, and those keywords are what direct people to your website or wherever your book is being sold. And customer reviews can act like keywords. So the more reviews you have, the more it will positively impact your Google search ranking. Amazon reviews, for example, can attract more people to your Amazon author or book page, where they can then buy your book.

What Platforms to Use for Book Reviews

There are numerous platforms out there where you can solicit reviews for your self-published book. Each platform is different, and some are more popular than others. So you’ll want to do some research to decide which platforms are best for you and how you want to position yourself and your book.

Goodreads is one of the most popular platforms that readers use, for example, to discover and review books. This platform also encourages new and established authors to use it to promote their books. There is also Amazon, of course, which is popular on a global scale. You can use Amazon to publish your book, create an author page, and solicit reviews.

You can also use Google Reviews, blog platforms, social media, and your own website for reviews. There are a lot of social influencers today who review books on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. And as social media is used by the majority of internet users today, it is a great place to solicit reviews and get yourself noticed. You can also ask bloggers to write about your book on their blogs or have people leave reviews for your book on your website.

Tips for Getting High-Quality Customer Reviews for Your Self-Published Book

When starting the task of soliciting reviews, remember that all reviews are good reviews, even the bad ones. You should never beg, scam, or bribe people into giving you 5-star reviews. The best way to encourage customer reviews is to do so honestly and ethically. The more genuine and honest you are, the more likely people will be happy to read your book and give you a review.

It’s also important to do a bit of thinking and research before soliciting reviews. You should be asking for reviews in places that make the most sense for the type of book you have written and who your target audience is. For example, professional reviews from renowned media outlets are great, but this will likely only work for literary fiction and academic books. In contrast, social media reviews are ideal if your book is targeted toward young adults.

The tips below can help you get honest, quality reviews for your self-published book:

  • Reach out to your contacts (i.e., family and friends)
  • Ask fellow writers and colleagues for reviews
  • Solicit book bloggers
  • Reach out to social media book reviewers
  • Target top reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads
  • Do book giveaways (the more you give, the more people will review)
  • Put a review request at the end of your book
  • Engage with reviewers and thank them for their reviews (this will make them more likely to leave you subsequent reviews for future books)
  • Use various online book review resources
  • Netgalley
  • Book List Online
  • Book Reporter
  • City Book Review
  • Manhattan Book review
  • And more
  • Talk to people about your book in person—sell people on the idea of your book
  • Be persistent but honest and polite
  • Be honest about expectations—don’t let reviewers think you expect only good reviews
  • Do not pay for good reviews

Don’t Let Bad Reviews Get You Down

Though bad reviews can feel personal, try not to take them that way. If you’re going to be a writer and continue publishing books, you’ll need to learn to be resilient. All reviews are essentially good reviews because they boost awareness of you and your book. As much as you might want to jump in and defend yourself, it’s always best to avoid engaging with negativity as it can make you look bad.

When it comes to reviews and being resilient, try to focus on the positive reviews only, and thank those people for their support. If reading reviews brings you stress, just avoid them altogether. Still solicit reviews, of course, but don’t overwhelm yourself by constantly reading through all of your reviews. Just be happy that people are taking notice and buying your book in the first place.

Final Thoughts

Where and how exactly to seek reviews is up to you. As a self-publisher, you know what is best and which audience is your target. The more places you get reviews, the better. But it can also be wise to seek out reviews in certain places over others that will attract more of your intended audience. And remember, always be genuine, polite, and honest when soliciting reviews. Paid reviews or reviews that come from bribes are considered illegitimate and will tarnish your reputation as an author.

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Guest Post: Why Customer Reviews Are Vital for Self-Publishers
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Guest Post: Why Customer Reviews Are Vital for Self-Publishers
As a self-publisher, you will need to wear many hats in addition to being a writer if you want to sell your book. You’ll need to handle the publishing, the marketing and SEO, and customer relations.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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