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BK Magazine Change Toolkit
Posted by Zoe Mackey, Director, Digital Marketing, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
Zoe works with our ebook distributors to maximize visibility for our ebooks. She is leading our efforts to expand our direct to customer marketing through online methods.
Customer reviews are the single most effective tool for selling books on Amazon. As soon as your book is shipping from Amazon (about two weeks after it ships from our printer), customers can start posting reviews. At that time, you should reach out to a list of key contacts that are the target market for your book and comfortable posting a customer review right away. Be careful not to overload on canned or inauthentic sounding reviews - customers can tell when reviews are fake or inauthentic and it can turn some against the book.
One way you can encourage reviews, aside from simply asking your friends and close contacts to post them, is by holding a contest - send a note to your email list or social media followers instructing them to send you back a link to their customer review on Amazon (and/or any other retailer site where they shop ) and reward a winner (the first to send you a link to their review) with a prize. Be sure to tell people that they can also post the same review on Barnes and Noble, Powells, iBookstore, Google Play, and other sites as well. Amazon is the most important site for reviews, but more reviews your book has in general, the better.
Always continue to try building the number of customer reviews on Amazon and other sites. Whenever people tell you that they liked your book, send them the link to your Amazon page and ask them to post a customer review on Amazon and any other site they shop on.
If you get a negative customer review, don’t panic. Part of the reason to ask friendly contacts to post reviews is that these will balance out negative reviews. But if you get a truly vicious review, you can try to manipulate its placement on the Amazon product page by asking friends to mark it as “unhelpful” and other more supportive reviews as “helpful.” You can’t have the review taken down unless it is truly offensive and violates Amazon’s customer review guidelines.
Note: Amazon partnered with Shelfari and Goodreads to combine reviews and other functions on these sites with the Amazon customer experience - so if your book has an audience on these sites, it is a good idea to be aware of what content is available to flow through to Amazon.