Letting Great Reviews Encourage New Readers to Buy

Before you start to promote your e-book widely — and certainly before you consider paying for advertisement space — you need to gather at least a few online reviews.

When readers looking for a book on Amazon go to investigate it in more detail, they see only three pieces of information about the book: the cover image, the title, and the star ranking. (The number of reviews is listed in parentheses.) You can see for yourself by browsing any category on Amazon or by using the Search box to find books on a particular topic.

If your e-book has no reviews and thus no star rating, many readers may simply ignore it. Even if your book has garnered a review or two, most readers will prefer an e-book with at least a dozen or so reviews.

A curious reader who selects your e-book’s title sees reviews displayed prominently, including a breakdown of the number of reviews and their star ratings. In Figure 15-1, you can see reviews of my novel, Lycopolis. Note how much space Amazon allows for these elements. (The blurb, in contrast, appears farther up the page but is truncated until the reader clicks the Show More link.)

How can you attract those crucial first few online reviews? Sometimes, a casual reader enjoys your e-book enough to take the time to leave a review — but there’s no guarantee that this will happen, especially when you’ve just launched your e-book and its sales figures are low. This section discusses how to strategically ...

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