Wednesday, October 27, 2021

5 Tips for Scoring More Book Reviews

By Veronica Mixon

Part of The Indie Author Series

JH: Reviews can make or break a book. Veronica Mixon shares tips on how to encourage more reviews.

Veronica’s just a Florida girl living in a Georgia world. More specifically, in Savannah’s Low Country, where if your ancestry doesn’t go back four-generations you’re tagged as a TT (temporary transplant).

She began storytelling at a young age, somewhere around three, when a host of imaginary friends lived in her bedroom closet and encouraged her penchant for spinning tales. A career in marketing, twenty years of world travel, and a large and boisterous family supply her with ample material for the mysteries she loves to write. She lives on the Georgia coast with her husband and her nine-year-old Standard Poodle, Jasper.

Website | Goodreads | Instagram | YouTube 

Take it away Veronica…
Indie Authors and Reviews—Is the fingernail biting dependency real?

I've had moderate success selling my books on Amazon, but a few months back, I had the opportunity to Zoom meet with an ex-Amazon advertising guru. Said guru is now in the marketing consulting business and agreed to analyze my ad program with an eye on “beefing it up”.

Like most tech companies, Amazon is chock-full of gurus, but this one received the moniker because she is credited with developing the Indie Amazon Advertising platform. So naturally, as an indie writer, I was excited and more than a little anxious to get her opinion on my campaign.

The first piece of advice she offered was—Your reviews need to be in the triple digits. Okay, I know that's optimal—but accomplishing the feat is another matter. I've released five books and consider myself on the diligent side of acquiring book reviews. At the time of our Zoom meet-up, my first release hovered around fifty, three others were in the low twenties, and my new release had less than twelve.

Too low, said the guru!

After wading through my complete advertising program, my lackluster review count landed in the number one spot on the guru’s fix-it list! My covers, all professionally designed, met her high standards, as did my chosen advertising audience. And she seemed especially pleased that all five of my books enjoyed four-star plus rankings.

In the end, she spotted two significant problems with my campaign—low review count and less than four books in my small-town suspense series. Okay, I can write the books, but I can't manufacture the reviews!

Or can I?

As you probably know, Amazon prominently displays the number of reviews and star rankings on book ads. Of course, reviews on Goodreads, iBooks, Bookbub, and other book sites are critical to my success, but as an aggressive Amazon advertiser, nothing mattered more than Amazon reader opinions. The problem was, even if I hooked readers who devoured novels like peach sorbet on a hot summer day, they seldom left a review.

I speak at a fair amount of book clubs and am astounded at the number of avid readers who've never, not once in their life, left a book review. This stacks up against mega-successful indie author Mark Dawson's claim that one out of every 1,500 readers will leave a review on Amazon. And, if you read Mark's blogs, you know he's not shy about asking for reviews.

Are you? I was—but after I met with the guru, I've become a review bulldog. 

(Here’s more with 5 Guidelines for Approaching Book Review Bloggers)

This brings me to my 5-tip strategy for acquiring coveted Amazon reviews!

Tip one: Register with sites like BookSprout, Reddit, and Book Sirens. These sites are good for a few reviews by knowledgeable reviewers.

Tip two: Email review bloggers and ask for a review. Google Book Bloggers for a beginning list and scour Goodreads. Book bloggers often have websites. I've had surprising success with this strategy.

Tip three: Use BookFunnel to increase your mailing list. My list has grown from 2,400 to 6,000+ in less than 90 days. At my current growth rate, I estimate being at 10,000 subscribers by the end of summer. This coincides with the release of my fourth book and jumping back on my Amazon Advertising program.

A side benefit to joining BookFunnel: I’ve found the site attracts voracious and savvy e-book readers who enjoy interacting with authors.

Tip four: Ask your mailing list for reviews.


I'm no longer shy about asking subscribers to review my books and it has made a quantifying difference. I've found success by focusing on one title at a time and offering gentle reminders in each newsletter. I explain that Amazon reviews are the primary decision-maker when purchasing books online and readers are more likely to consider a new author if the novel has a good ranking and a solid number of reviews. Short on time? No problem—Amazon, and Goodreads accept a simple star rating.

Tip Five: I begin my review message with—I need your help! and end with—your opinion matters! I also include the link to my Amazon book page. My subscribers have responded by doubling my number of reviews in less than 90 days.

My new mantra is—Support your favorite indie authors by leaving a review.

I believe as indie authors we can facilitate change by prioritizing the need for reviews and adding gentle, well-placed reminders in our newsletters, book talks, and blog posts. Of course, more reviews will mean higher personal book sales, but educating avid readers of the importance of reviews to authors will help our entire indie family.

The need for book reviews is real, and it's paramount to our success as authors. Together, I believe we can and will make a difference.

As a writer, has scoring reviews become the bane of your existence? Please share your tricks or methods that have worked for you because, in this case, it really will take a village to raise awareness.

In the spirit of sharing, I’m offering my novella, The Long Fall from Grace as a giveaway to blog readers today!

Hope you enjoy the read!

About The Long Fall from Grace

When a case goes wrong, Julia Shaw’s obsession to hunt down her perp leads to a fatal mistake. The kind of mistake that lives inside your soul and whispers in your ear when you work your next case. And the next case...and the next case...

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |Indie Bound  | Kobo Bookfunnel Bookbub | 


  1. This is exactly what I need. Getting reviews is the biggest problem I've found.
    One thing I've done is to change the word 'review' into 'comment'. I did this because someone said they thought the word 'review' put people off. They remember writing book reviews at school, with all that entailed and don't want to go through it again.
    Even so, I still struggle. My reviews are in single figures, sadly, and at zero for some of my books.
    Having said that, most are good. The worst two were 3* ones, one that said, ' Good idea, poor execution,' and nothing more, and the other saying the reader enjoyed the book, which she found easy to read, but gave it only 3 stars because of a tragic ending which affected her personally. Sadly she said she wasn't interested in reading any more about the character.
    Your advice is excellent, though. I've tried contacting reviewers, but not had any success, yet. Many are not taking on any new projects. Still, keep on trying.
    Putting a call to action in the back matter of books, both ebooks and 'real' books is important. When I write my back matter, I not only ask for a review, but also say why it's important.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I’m so pleased my suggestions resonated. Your idea of comment instead of review is priceless—I’m switching immediately. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Replies
    1. I’m pleased the information is helpful. Good luck!

  3. Thank u so much for that ma'am, I now know where to go in this forest

    1. I’m happy to clear away some of the brush—good luck!

  4. Really helpful! I'm just signing up with a couple of those suggestions

    1. Good luck! I’d love to know if you see an uptick in your reviews.

  5. Absolutely excellent and filled with practical ideas that bring hope! Thank you. This was sent to me by a member of Lake Forest Writers' Round Table. Our group produced an anthology, "The Truth That Can't Be Told," all done while Zooming during the CoVid epidemic. Having ten people at work promoting one book, each of us with links inside, should make the three digit reviews goal a little more obtainable. The sources you included here are excellent. This is a "book-mark-able" article for sure.

    1. Good luck with your anthology! Love the title. Glad some of my suggestions hit the mark.