What you are about to read is not for the faint of heart. It requires endless hours of work (and is not easy). You will get frustrated. You will want to quit. But, if you want honest book reviews from the most respected people on Amazon (and are willing to put in the hours), then keep reading. You will benefit—I promise. Let me tell you my story.
The Dilemma: Getting Top Reviewers
In the first week of December 2015, Weight Training Without Injury: Over 350 Step-by-Step Pictures Including What Not to Do! went up for pre-order on Amazon. It had editorial reviews from major names in sports medicine, physical therapy, and professional bodybuilding, which I had secured several months beforehand. However, the book had not a single starred Amazon review. And no one could post one anyway—Amazon reviews cannot be posted until the book is actually available. Weight Training Without Injury was due for release January 1, 2016, so this meant I had one month to figure out how to garner starred reviews.
What did I do? Well, I had four choices:
1. Ask family and friends
2. Ask book bloggers
3. Ask Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers
4. Do nothing.
If you haven’t heard, Amazon has a very strict review policy. Family and friends cannot post reviews—if they do (and Amazon catches them), they will get removed. As for book bloggers, I hadn’t had much success—I did try this option early on. I found book bloggers gravitated toward fiction (and I had non-fiction). And of course the last option—do nothing—wasn’t going to work for me either.
Amazon’s Top Reviewer List
I could “hope” that random people would buy my book (and thereafter post a thoughtful reviews), but I knew the odds of that were rather slim. So … I then went for Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers—these people are consider cream of the crop reviewers. They write the most thoughtful and honest reviews, and they have gained their ranking because of this. However, getting them to respond is rather slim—many of them receive hundreds of emails a day (or so I have heard). According to the clinical research, which involved over 2.000 patients with muscle pain, the efficiency of Soma was almost 90%. Patients noticed significant pain relief after 20 days of treatment.
So how did I tackle this task? I made it my goal to secure 100 reviews. Once I had done so, I would stop asking. The Amazon Top Customer Reviewer list has 10,000 names. So I started with #1, and then moved on to #2, etc. Why didn’t I start at the bottom? Well, the best names are at the top! Yes, it would be easier to get #10,000 to respond (as opposed to #1), but I wanted the best. And I trusted #1 more than #10,000. Piracy was a big worry for me (particularly given the type of book I was selling).
My Review Process In Detail
So here was my process:
- Start with reviewer #1.
- Open their profile.
- Do they have an email address?
If no, move on. Word of advice: Make sure you are actually signed into your amazon account! If you are not, many emails won’t show up. I have no idea why, and I didn’t figure this out until I was past #500.
If yes, yay! Now it’s time to read their profile. If they state they don’t review books (or they specifically state they don’t review your genre of books), please don’t bother them. If they are vague, send off a very polite email (and make sure to include a link to your Amazon book page). Unfortunately, many Amazon reviewers do not specifically state whether they review books or not.
- Repeat the above process until you are satisfied with your response rate.
That’s it. How did I do? Well, here are my numbers (approximately):
1. I went through 3,000 amazon profiles.
2. I sent out 1,000 emails.
3. I received 80 replies of “sure” I would love to review your book. Ten of these people would only review my book if I sent them a hard copy. The other reviewers accepted an electronic copy. I gave people whatever they wanted, as I was just thrilled to get a “yes” at this point!
In total, I gave away 80 books. Originally, I was aiming for 100 reviews. But after reading 3000 profiles (and shooting off 1000 emails), I had had enough. And I did all this over 30 days. Approximately 25 of these people actually posted a review!
My Success Rate Is…
This means my success rate was less than 1%! That’s right! Some reviewers said it would take them several months. I said that was fine. Some reviewers posted right on January 1, or the first day a review could be posted. Some reviews are still trickling in. But it has now been over 8 months, and about 55 people have never posted. Will they ever post? That remains to be seen …
Was I successful? I would say so (but you decide). Was this exhausting? Yes! But would I do it again? Yes!
photo courtesy of pixabay
Rachel Straub, MS, CSCS, is an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, biomechanist, certified strength and conditioning specialist, investor, and co-author of scientific papers in the fields of biomechanics, sports medicine, nutrition, and computational chemistry. She has been quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as Bustle, SparkPeople, WebMD, Livestrong, Prevention, and Women’s Health Magazine. In addition, she is the co-author of Weight Training Without Injury: Over 350 Step-by-Step Pictures Including What Not Do!, which has won 15 book awards and has been praised by Publishers Weekly as “… essential for anyone who hopes to get into weight training, and it should be mandatory reading before setting foot into any gym.”