Post 4 of 26 of The Self-Publishing Series
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Ignore the haters
Let’s start with who not to respond to.
“No one who leaves you a one star review does it to make you a better writer.” – Jon Acuff
Don’t respond to people who leave you one star reviews. They’re not rational. They can’t be converted. (Tweet That) If one of your readers wants to respond to them then that’s good television (fun to watch) but you should not interact with them. 99% of your reviews won’t be one star reviews. Respond to the two-five star reviews but ignore the one star reviews.
Every review is an opportunity to have a conversation
Amazon makes it very easy for you to see who left a review of your book and at the time of this post they don’t restrict you from responding in any way. So why do most authors avoid responding to reader reviews? I have no idea. It’s a public page and they’re talking about your work so why not say thanks, ask follow up questions or even be stupid generous in a few cases?
Every review that someone leaves you is a third party endorsement or criticism of your work. Why not show your appreciation for that person? If they praise your work then respond. If they have legitimate criticism about your book then respond accordingly.
How to respond to positive feedback
- Respond with specific thanks. “I’m glad you liked the book” is bad. “I’m glad you found that part of the book so empowering” is good.
- Don’t cut and paste the same response and change one word. Either express sincere thanks for don’t respond.
- If they allude to “I haven’t finished the book but…” then ask them to update the review once they’ve finished the book. Start a conversation.
- If they don’t respond that’s up to them. Don’t post two times in a row if they don’t reply. Many reviewers didn’t check the box that sends them email updates if someone responds to their review.
- If they have legitimate questions then offer an email address or another way of contacting you. Don’t use your main email address. Create a specific email address for feedback and even a specific URL for feedback.
How to respond to negative feedback
- REMINDER: Ignore the one star reviews. Seriously, walk away.
- Offer a refund. They can get a refund through Amazon.com with little if any hassle but offering a refund to an unhappy reader is just plain cool. The responses are awesome. Honestly express your disappointment that they didn’t like the book and ask them if you can send them a refund or even buy them a different book. Even if they’re a hater it’s unlikely they’ll respond with more anger. Generosity diffuses situations. I have traded emails with someone who left me a two star review and they’re ready to buy the next edition of my book because I reached out with humility. Your book isn’t for everyone and if they didn’t like it you can at least help them see you in a positive light. Use that specific email address for feedback and ask them to reach out to you so you can take care of them.
- Thank them for their feedback. Respond directly to their criticism if you feel it’s helpful. There’s a great three star review of my book that offers some harsh criticism of my book but also includes some very practical advice that will help me improve future editions of my Early To Rise Series. Thank the reviewer for their constructive criticism and consider changing your book if their feedback is that good. You can reupload a new version of your book anytime to Amazon. Make the change then respond to the reviewer’s comments and let them know you made the change and reuploaded a new version.
- Track them down (in a non-stalker sort of way). Reviewers all have profiles and with a little Googling you can sometimes find a way to contact the person via Twitter, Facebook or through their website. I’ve surprised some of my critics by reaching out to them to thank them for their feedback when it was constructive.
- If it’s personal, ignore it. If someone attacks you personally then just ignore them. Let your other readers come to your defense or just let it slide. People are much more bold (and mean) on-line than they would ever be off-line. Haters gonna hate, so let them.(Tweet That)
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How reviews and commenting on reviews can help your Amazon rankings
While we don’t know the Amazon algorithm for ranking and suggesting books it’s a widely accepted fact that Amazon likes activity on a book’s page. They like reviews and they like sales. They probably like sample downloads as well. By Amazong “liking” something I mean they will promote your book in their search algorithm and marketing. They will suggest your book to readers on devices who just finished a book. They will suggest your book when readers are surfing their catalog on the web site. They will even include your book in marketing emails.
I have no scientific proof of how the review conversation tactic will lead to Amazon marketing your book but it makes sense to me that you having a conversation with reviewers on your book’s page would help your book’s prominence inside the Amazon ecosystem. Attention usually equals sales so it makes sense to encourage attention through conversations with your reviewers.
Identify yourself as the author
You may need to identify yourself as the author of the book when you respond to the reviewer. Find a way to communicate that in a way that doesn’t make you sound really prideful. Ask a friend to look over the way you’re identifying yourself to ensure you don’t come off sounding like a jerk.
Do you plan on interacting with your reviewers now that I’ve explained why I think it’s a good idea?
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