In the world of ebooks, there is a magic number


I have spent the last few years studying the art of marketing books, and whilst it seems that in most of the accounts I’ve read, tips, hinds, and everything in between, it seems it works for the writer, but very few if any, others.

And this advice doesn’t come cheap.

But one unequivocal fact seems to be, once an author has five reviews a whole new world opens up.


Out of all this reading, and failing, and watching the slow, if any, sales of my books, one relevant fact remains undeniable.

Reviews sell books.  And five seems to be the number that starts the ball rolling.

And, I have no reviews.

Of course, there is a plethora of writer’s advisors out there that will tell you, for a price, where to look for people who will do reviews, free, if you’re willing to wait a few years (as I still am) or quickly if you are prepared to pay, sometimes upwards of $50 or more.

And it costs more to have these uploaded to Amazon as ‘authentic’ reviews.

So, the issue is, on Amazon you have to be a registered customer, buy a book, and then you can leave a review.  Once upon a time, you could have a review without this requirement, and people were using Fiverr to add reviews at $5 a pop.

I’m not sure how relevant these reviews were, but $5 seemed to equal 5 stars.

Amazon not only stopped that by aforementioned rules, but also took down all the reviews it seemed were written by Fiverr people, and it seems relatives or ghosts of the author (using the same IP address to post reviews of their own books under a different name) as well.

Glad I didn’t spend my money on that.

But there could be the answer to those authors out there with sluggish sales, imminent closure of their author page on Amazon, a means by which they can get authentic reviews and just a small boost to their sales.

REviews, as we all know, means sales.

None of us authors who have books on Amazon with sluggish sales are by any stretch of the imagination rich enough to buy reviews (some of which can be better depending on how much they’re willing to part with).


I’m willing to pay the price of your book, read it, and post an honest review.

An author who critiques a fellow author’s book carries a lot of weight, and like pushing a manual car with a dead battery, it only takes a small push to get things started.

To get those 5 or more reviews, it might only cost between $30 to $50, the price of one from a ‘professional’ reviewer.


There is a catch.  If I buy your book, you have to buy mine, and leave an honest review.

This has probably been suggested a hundred times before, but I haven’t seen it recently.  It doesn’t mean it hasn’t been around for a while, and by no means is it meant to cut across any other means you may have of getting reviews.

For me, though, this seems a simple and elegant solution to an age-old problem in the indie authors world of marketing.

Nor am I saying that I’m a really good writer, that’s for my contemporaries to decide.

You can, of course, make your book free for a period on Amazon and try to get reviews that way.  I’m not saying that doesn’t work, but it seems to me you’ve put in a lot of effort to write the book, don’t you deserve something out of it?

From what I’ve read by a lot of authors who have gone down this route, it hasn’t exactly provided an adequate response.

I don’t price my books expensively, just $2.99.  I’m one of those ‘you sell more if it’s $3 than you would if it was $24.


This won’t work without others jumping in, even if only to add some comments on how this perhaps unoriginal idea might work for all of us.

By the way…

I write thrillers and mysteries, and have a large library of books in the genre, and will be willing to read your book.  My to be read list is rather lean at the moment, and new books cost more than I can afford at the moment.

Your book, if reasonably priced like mine, would be ideal for both of us.

Does it sound like we are ‘buying’ book reviews?  No.  I believe it is a valuable part of the publishing industry that authors review their fellow author’s books.  After all, so many of those reviews on Goodreads, are from people who have bought books.

And the best part…

We get to meet new authors who have a similar interest in a genre.  This could build into something else, but, of course, that sometimes means a lot of work.  Perhaps that might come later.

As you can see I’m excited about the prospect.

If you’re interested, send me an email at



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