When you first pick up a book from the bookstore shelf what is one of the first three things you look for? I don’t know about you, but I look for three things as soon as a book is in my hands: the title, the book description, and the reviews. So what are reviews and testimonials and how do you take advantage of them for your book?
Reviews and Testimonials
What exactly are we talking about today? We are talking about reviews and testimonials, the critical (the analysis of the merits and faults of a piece of literature) evaluations of your book or you, your company, or your service. Understand there are two categories here, the review and the testimonial. The two are different but both can be used in your book.
The main goal of both reviews and testimonials are to turn potential readers into dedicated followers who will read your book, interact with you in person and online, embrace your cause, and implement your strategies. Reviews and testimonials are also essential marketing materials you can use on your website, on Amazon, on marketing materials, or anywhere else they are appropriate.
Looking at reviews, these are typically what you see on the back cover of books or sometimes within the flaps of a hardcover book. A book review is when a book is described in terms of content, style, merit, and sometimes personal taste. A book review can be any length from a short paragraph to a long-form essay, but most of what you see on a book cover are a few words to a sentence in length.
As an author, this is what you need to know about reviews. First, book reviews are found on the cover of your book; therefore, you must have a pre-release version of your book ready for readers. Be sure you add in the appropriate lead time to receive reviews before you send your book to the printer.
When you are self-publishing your book there are a number of ways for you to secure reviews for your book. It is important you know you should never exchange money for reviews. Where do you find reviewers? You can create a list of friends, colleagues, industry professionals, or others to send an advanced copy. Also, if you would like additional reviewers there are a number of review services where you can submit your book for review. One example of this type of service is Publisher’s Weekly.
While similar in nature to reviews, testimonials are different. You probably understand what a testimonial is in terms of business and you can use testimonials as part of your book marketing. A testimonial is basically a review of the work you, your company, or your agency has completed for a client. Depending on the type of book you are publishing, testimonials can provided additional social proof to potential readers. You can find examples of testimonials on our page.
The Social Proof of Reviews and Testimonials
As you can see, both reviews and testimonials are good ways to show potential readers what others have experienced when they read your book or worked with you. These are great ways to show social proof.
Social proof is a psychological concept and, without going too deep in the weeds, we’ll take a quick glance at what social proof means. Social proof describes how people, often in an unfamiliar situation, follow the actions of others to conform to the typical social norms. This term was originally used by psychologist and author Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
In terms of marketing, social proof guides potential readers to your book because of uncertainty and the need to be similar. Basically, if a reader is uncertain about the book and other people recommend you or the book, they are more likely to buy. Also, they feel the need to conform to what others are doing. If a potential buyer feels others around them have already bought the book they feel more inclined to purchase and fit in.
Reviews and testimonials are not the only way to show potential readers the benefits of reading your book, but they are two important factors which can sway someone to buy your book.
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