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Before my historical novel The Soldier Who Killed a King was released, I had a conversation with the marketing manager of Kregel Publications. One thing she stressed was the importance of book reviews, particularly Amazon book reviews.

Since that conversation I have been diligently urging readers to post book reviews. Here then are three things I learned in the process.

  1. There’s something magical about 50.
    Fifty is the first major breakthrough point which takes you to a new level with the Amazon algorithms.  The day after I hit 50 reviews on Amazon.com the number of reviews suddenly jumped because the site drew in additional reviews from Canada and the U.K. Similarly, my review numbers on Amazon.ca jumped from 36 to 46, because ten American reviews were added to the Canadian site.
    Take away: International websites cross populate when you hit 50 reviews.
  2. Not all Amazon reviews carry an equal weight.
    Simply put some reviews are deemed more credibly, or are more highly valued. For example, a verified Amazon purchase carries more weight than a non-verified review. Also a review from a top tier reviewer is pure gold. Top tier reviewers review a lot of books, so they are highly trusted and their opinion is valued and weighted accordingly.
    Take away: When possible encourage reviews by verified purchasers and top tier reviewers.
  3. Reviews don’t need to be long to be effective.
    My one 5 star review from the United Kingdom reads as follows:
    Title: Nailed It
    Excellent crucifixion description.
    That’s all it says. But in a total of five words, this review captures a key element of the story. Of course longer reviews are also much appreciated.
    Take away: If you read a good book, show your appreciation by writing a review. The author will appreciate it, and so will prospective readers.