Your Second Most Important Marketing Tool

“Wow. That book has 280 reviews with an average of 4.8 stars! Definitely a book to put on our list.”

I am part of a book group. We are a club of ladies that meets weekly. We read and discuss Christian nonfiction books that we, as a group, select. The above comment was in response to a book suggestion. The individual uttering this statement had just checked the book on Amazon on her phone.

Book Reviews

This behavior is typical. One research firm (Thornley Fallis) found that 81% of people perform a search online before buying a product. This is exactly what my book group members were doing. They were searching online to find out more about the book that was suggested.

Searching online is not the only typical behavior. Reviews influence our purchase decisions. In fact, research shows:

  • 97% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase decision (Conductor).
  • 88% of shoppers say they believe reviews as much as personal recommendation from a friend (Search Engine Land).
  • 67% of consumers admit that reviews influence their decision to leave or buy a product (

So, the path my book group followed to determine whether we wanted to read a suggested book was typical.

As an author or publisher, this is important information. Don’t underestimate the power of book reviews. If you want to sell books, you need reviews.

I believe that book reviews are your second most important marketing tool (your book’s cover is your number one marketing tool).

If you are struggling to get more reviews for your book, try these two suggestions.

1. Ask, Ask, Ask

I am sure you have heard the phrase, “You have not because you ask not.” It’s true. James says “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). First, ask God for his guidance and help. Then, ask people to review your book. Ask in your author  or writers’ groups. Ask on your social media sites. Ask when readers contact you. Asking them says that you value their opinion.

2. Host a Giveaway

You can host a book giveaway on one of the online communities for book lovers—Goodreads, LibraryThing, or BookLikes. Interested readers on these sites can enter to win a copy of your book. While these readers are not required to review your book, some will, increasing the number of reviews your book receives.

These two suggestions are just a few of the suggestions for acquiring more book reviews that I present in my seminar “Book Reviews: Tips for Getting More Reviews”. This seminar is free to Members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). Join CSPA now for just $90 for the 2019 calendar year and have free access to this and other great resources.

If you are not a Member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), you can watch this on-demand seminar for a fee at

Related Posts:
Harnessing the Power of Community
Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews
Thoughts on Book Reviews

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Sampling: An Effective Marketing Tool

One of the things I really enjoy about my monthly trip to Costco is all the samples I get to munch on while I peruse the aisles and shop. A few of these samples have even convinced me to buy the products being hawked.


Last month, McDonalds promoted their own sampling program. From September 16th to 19th, they offered free small coffees. McDonalds offered this free coffee to convince consumers that their coffee is worth purchasing on a regular basis. I am sure they won many new coffee customers with this offer.

Sampling is a great marketing tool. Offering consumers a “taste” of what they will get should they purchase a product has been proven time and again to draw customers in. Take David McConnell for example. David started selling books door-to-door when he was just 16-years-old. He struggled to gain customers interest and sell the books. So, David decided to offer an incentive to get prospective customers to look at his books. The incentive was a sample vial of a perfume that he had developed with the help of a local pharmacist. It soon became clear that customers loved and preferred the perfume over the books. David quit selling books to concentrate full-time on selling his perfume. The company he started eventually became Avon Cosmetics.

The Avon Cosmetics story and many others demonstrate the effectiveness of offering samples to convince consumers to buy a product. As an author or publisher, you can also use sampling to sell more books.

Here are a few ways you can offer a sample of your book:

  • Offer a free chapter or three for interested readers to read. Put the chapters on the book’s or author’s website and make it easily accessible for site visitors.
  • Blog excerpts from your book.
  • Write articles using excerpts from your book and make these articles available to other bloggers and ezines through article banks.
  • Tweet excerpts from your book.
  • Enable the “Search Inside” feature for your book on

Allowing customers to sample what you are asking them to spend their money on helps give them the confidence to invest their money.

I offer a sample of what you can expect when you purchase my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. The sample is available on the book’s website. Feel free to stop by and take a read.

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