Let’s talk about the one nobody should name nor speak about…
The one many publishers claim not to do…
The one many newbies consider dirty, scam, immoral… and WITHOUT SHAME, without Bullshit that one is called…
You might be wondering what is this? How is this done? Why do I need to do it? Don’t worry! You are in the right place! Let’s rock and roll!
What Is Review Swapping in Kindle publishing?
Okay, so you want to start publishing books but sooner or later you realize, “How the hell am I going to get reviews?” I mean, who in their right mind would purchase a book without reviews? Hmm… no one!
But the question is, “How are you supposed to get them?” Perhaps, you even publish a book and expect your readers to leave them organically. But something hits you, “Shit! Nobody is leaving reviews” and then one day you take a course like, “Self Publish Blueprint“. Or watch one of my videos talking about review swapping.
See review swapping is one of the easiest ways to get reviews for your books. You hire a virtual assistant from a website called, “Upwork”. You pay them a few dollars per reviews. And what you know two weeks later your books has 40 or more reviews! Easy peasy!
But is this legit? Is this morally right? Well, not exactly!
Basically, your virtual assistant exchanges reviews with another virtual assistant needing reviews on his book. I am not sure about the exact process. But commonly virtual assistants have what they call, swap buddies. Someone who they often exchange book reviews.
These reviews are artificial and that’s the reason why many people don’t like this idea.
Why do publishers use this shady strategy?
1 – People rarely leave organic reviews. I can count with my fingers the number of organic reviews my books got over the years. The few times people left reviews were either to give a one star rating or three star.
2 – Your books won’t sell well without reviews. Would you purchase a book without reviews? Considering you could purchase another with twenty reviews and 4.5 star rating? I guess not!
Bottom line… your book needs reviews. Otherwise, they won’t sell. But if you can’t get them organically then what? Hmm…. reviews swaps!
Do I consider this process right? No! But how else would someone be able to sell their books. If you are not a famous author, who has thousand of followers, a website, YouTube channel then nobody will leave organic reviews. It simply won’t happen!
It doesn’t matter if you have the best content in the world – If you don’t have reviews people won’t purchase it. Without nobody purchasing your book it won’t rank well inside of Amazon. One of the most important rankings factors is the number of book sales. The more a book sales the better it ranks in Amazon.
Appearing in the front page of results for several search terms. The more searches terms a book ranks the more people will find and purchase it.
This only happens if a book gets reviews. So there’s no right, or perfect way of getting organic reviews. If you want to make money and scale up your business quickly then review swapping is the way to go!
It’s not like you have much choice! I always try to compensate this by providing books with high-quality content. In fact, that’s the reason why my books continuously sell well for months.
But… But… Can’t I Build An Email Listing?
Often people talk about building an email listing as being an ideal way of obtaning organic reviews. Just get a few subscribers and ask them to leave reviews on your newest books. It sounds easy and just brilliant! But… it isn’t as easy as it sounds, why?
1 – You need subscribers
How are you going to get subscribers? All sources of paid traffic are way too expensive, such as Facebook ads, solo Ads, Bing or Google ads… considering you will only promote $2.99 books.
What about free traffic? Extremely slow and a shit tonne of work! Building a website, YouTube channel whatever is extremely slow and takes a lot of effort.
The other way is by promoting your opt-in page URL inside of your books. Just add a link inside of your books. Eventually, your readers click on the link and are taken to the opt-in page where they subscribe. Here’s the issue, first you need people reading your books! Ohh… shit Sherlock Homes!
But now imagine…
You just published your first book, swore the Gods to never do review swaps, so your book has zero reviews and guess what? Nobody will purchase it! But if nobody purchases it then nobody will find the opt-in links inside of your book so… how will you get subscribers? Well, you won’t!
2 – Learning new skills
So you barely know what the heck you are doing with your Kindle publishing business and now you are worrying about building an email listing. This involves learning a tremendous amount of new skills, such as:
- How to build an opt-in page?
- How to write in enticing emails?
- How to make a sequence of messages?
- How to make an effective lead magnet?
Just to name a few things!
3 – Subscribers won’t leave reviews
Let’s say, you successfully build an email listing then what… do you think everyone and their mom and granny will leave a review? Haha… no way! Perhaps, only 10% or less of your subscribers will purchase your book. From those, only small fraction will waste their time leaving reviews.
4 – Soliciting Reviews
Besides all the trouble you are still going against Amazon policies. You are soliciting reviews from your subscribers.
How does the review swapping process work?
First things first, you can hire a virtual assistant in Upwork. Afterward, you discuss the pricing (often ranging between $1.5 to $2 per review) and the details of your work. The review swapping process has two phases:
Week 1 – Paid reviews
During your first 4 to 5 days, your book should be priced at $0.99. Your virtual assistant should get between 20 to 25 paid reviews.
Week 2 – Free reviews
You should enroll your book in the KDP select program. This way you get a 5 day free promotion. Once you schedule this promotion, your virtual assistant should get the rest of the reviews. This should be about 20 or more reviews.
Will Your Account Get Banned?
Often this is one of the main concerns for new publishers. Will my account get banned for doing review swapping? I can’t provide any guarantee. All I can say is…
I don’t know any publisher who ever got his/her account banned.
As long as you have a virtual assistant then the chances seem very low. You should avoid doing any stupid thing, such as:
- Use your own account to make review swaps
- Pay the gift cards for your virtual assistant from your Amazon account
Everything should be done outside of Amazon. I pay my virtual assistant in the end. He’s the one purchasing the gift cards.
Will Your Reviews Get Deleted?
Yes, they will! Your reviews will disappear over the months. Furthermore, about twice a year Amazon goes around deleting everyone’s reviews. Often they delete legit reviews too. If you check their forums during this time, you’ll find many authors complaining. So don’t think it’s only review swaps. Everyone gets their ass kicked once in a while by Amazon.
Should you hire multiple virtual assistants?
Depends on the number of books you publish per month. If you only publish about 2 to 3 then one virtual assistant should be enough. Now if you publish 5 or more then I suggest hiring another virtual assistant and splitting the work. Sometimes virtual assistants screw up the review swapping process. If you have two virtual assistants at least you won’t have all your eggs in one basket. You’ll probably break one or two eggs but not immediately all five of them.
Although, some virtual assistant can handle 5 or more books at once. It really depends on their skill. I’d say one of the most important things is for you get a reliable virtual assistant. Believe me this may be harder than it sounds! Many virtual assistant claim to be the best ones in the world.
But when the time comes they do a shitty job. So be prepared to fire multiple virtual assistant until you find a good one.
How much should you pay per reviews?
Nowadays I pay $1.6 per review. Perhaps a bit more expensive than other virtual assistants. But my virtual assistant does an excellent job and he’s well worth the price.
However, be prepared to pay between $1 to $2. Although, $2 is a bit expensive. In the end, it depends on their work. I rather pay a bit more and get the job done.
Got any questions about reviews swapping?
Just leave it right below. Thanks for reading! Also make sure to subscribe below so you may get your free Kindle guide…