For the past year or so, I’ve been reading and following Tim Grahl, a consultant who helps authors build their platforms and launch books. He’s also the author of Your First 1000 Copies, a tremendously helpful book on marketing your own books.
And he gives away tons of great information and advice. Like the simple, straightforward way to launch your book with at least 25+ Amazon reviews. Here’s the nutshell, (largely lifted from his post, with his permission) and the link to Tim’s full blog post is at the end, containing copy for your emails, and a downloadable launch package:
1. Start early.
Start this process at least 8 weeks before your book comes out.
2. Make a list of people to ask.
Make a list of all the people in your life whom you’d like to have review the book. This is the time to call in favors from friends, colleagues and family. The great thing about Amazon reviews is, they all count the same! Bonus Tip: Put each name and email address onto a spreadsheet so you can keep track of the entire process.
3. Offer each of them a free copy of your book.
Email each of these people individually, and offer them a free Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) to review. As a condition, if they want a book, they have to agree to leave a review on Amazon on the launch date. Because if you just send out books and hope people will leave reviews . . . they won’t. Let them know up front that you are asking them for a review in return for the book.
4. Immediately send them a copy of the book.
Don’t delay. Immediately get the book sent to them via email or shipping, depending on which format they request. Bonus Tip: Create a .ZIP file that includes the .MOBI, .EPUB and .PDF of your book, with a separate PDF with instructions on how to load the book onto their device.
5. Put all of the reviewers on an email list.
Create an email list in MailChimp, or your email marketing platform of choice, and name it “ARC Reviewers.” From here on, you’ll want to be able to email them en masse.
6. Email your reviewers one week before launch date.
One week before your book launches, send an email to everyone on your ARC Reviewer list, reminding them of both your publication date and their commitment to leave a review. This is a polite way to remind your reviewers that they agreed to leave a review on launch day.
7. Email them early on your launch day.
The night before your book launch, schedule an email to go out to your ARC Reviewer MailChimp list at 6:00 am Eastern Time the following morning. The purpose of this email is to give everyone one last reminder to leave a review. Keep the email short and be sure to include a link directly to where they can leave their review on Amazon. The people who agreed to review your book are well-meaning, but are apt to forget about your launch.
8. Send a personalized follow-up email.
After the first week of your launch, send every single person on your list who posted a review (even if they didn’t post it on launch day) a personalized Thank You email.
That’s it — that’s the entire process!