I recently finished reading a sales book on my Kindle that I had picked up at a business mentor’s suggestion. I read a lot, so even if it’s a book I already intend to read, it can still take me a while to get around to it.
In fact, if you are an author and you’re getting nervous about the lack of reviews on your book, give it time. Not everybody who buys your book is going to post a review the very next day. Some of us take a while.
But I digress.
It was a modest-length book you could read during two or three toilet visits if you had a mild case of diarrhea, which may or may not have been the context I read it in, but again, I digress. I highlighted some great points and appreciated examples of the author NOT pushing for the sale in some scenarios, but doing what’s in the prospect’s best interest and other common sense stuff.
So speaking of reviews, at the end of the book there was a hard CTA (call to action) asking the reader to leave a review Amazon. I see those all the time — no harm, no foul. But this time, the request was worded like the following:
“A five-star rating and a short comment would be much appreciated. Longer positive comments are great as well. If you feel this book should be rated at 3 stars or fewer, please hold off on posting your thoughts on Amazon. Instead please send your feedback directly to me so that I can use it to improve the next edition.”
Nevermind the fact this was a book that clearly had not been edited professionally, and I can overlook the formatting issues when I’m reading good content. But the book wasn’t going to get a 5-star rating or review from me anyway.
In fact, after I saw this, I was repelled and decided I’m not leaving anything on Amazon for this person. Judging by the responses I’ve gotten in 2 of my writing groups when I posted a screenshot from my Kindle, it seems most others are turned off by such a request as well.
Shortly afterward, I noticed the cover in my Kindle device for this book had updated itself, and now contains a gold stripe at the top of the cover that says “#1 International Best Seller.”
Don’t get me started on how useless of a vanity metric being a “Best seller” on Amazon really is, but I decided to look up the listing and see for myself again today before posting this (or at least putting it my queue a few weeks in advance for publication).
Whenever I see an author boast of themselves as a “best seller” on Amazon and not the NY Times or something, I think “well then they BETTER be in the top twenty right now when I go look.”
Nope. Not even close.
The book is number 1 million and change on Amazon overall. Meaning, they have hardly sold any copies lately. Of course it also has only glowing reviews — surprise, surprise
It’s weird how one moment I can be totally edified and educated by the expertise of an author and learning new strategy for closing sales, having conversations with prospective clients, etc… and then the author contradicts himself in a couple of paragraphs and destroys all that good will and credibility.
A book all about making sure NOT to manipulate prospects then resorts to manipulation in their call to action at the end of the book.
Future or current author: make sure you’re living what you’re talking about. People pay attention to these kinds of incongruities.
After making it to the end of this book, there’s now no way I’d ever buy anything this author is selling, and an even lower chance I’d ever read another book of his.
If I had only made it to 98% of the book and didn’t see that particular CTA, that’d be a different story!
There’s nothing wrong with gently asking for reviews without doing it in a heavy-handed or manipulative way. I call it “leaving out a tip jar” for readers; some way that lets them know how reviewing your book can help it rank on Amazon and be found by others who could benefit from the topic (I’m talking about non-fiction books, not fiction novels, but this principle applies).
That’s all. Keep it simple.
No asking them to only do it if it’s a five-star review or to come to me if they don’t like the book and want to leave less than 3 stars. Nowadays, readers can even just rate a book without leaving an entire review.
There’s no need to try gaming the system or pushing anybody away from leaving honest feedback or critique in the reviews.
Especially if you just spent the last 120 pages talking about not pushing the prospect to do anything.