Earlier on we had a 5 star book review of author Mike Saxton's new Apocalyptic Novel "7 Scorpions: Rebellion" and now we have from the desk of author Mike Saxton discussing the Amazon Vine Programme for reviewers.
Get Recognized on the Vine
I first wanted to say thank you to Paula for allowing me to ramble here on her blog. It may seem kind of funny that I am writing a guest post in regards to being a reviewer, but in addition to being an author, that is exactly what I am. A couple months ago, I was surprised and excited to get an invite into the Amazon Vine program. In my excitement, I began telling people who subsequently asked “How do I get in?”
For those who are unfamiliar, this is Amazon’s way of garnering reviews for new and upcoming products, especially books and movies. Publishers/Manufacturers provide a certain number of each item. Amazon will send you an electronic catalog with these items for you to choose from. When you pick, they ship them to you for FREE. You get the item(s) and you get shipping at no charge. The kicker is you have to write a review for them.
So what are the advantages? You garner more recognition as a reviewer and you gain the possible notice of various media, who will be interested in the pre-release reviews. I’ve had my reviews fed to a large number of blogs and e-commerce sites. The more recognition, the better. Oh, and you also get free stuff.
So how do you get in? The exact methodology remains a mystery but there are a few things that we do know. You need to be a highly active reviewer on Amazon already. You need to review a variety of products, especially books and movies/shows (books are the most prevalent item in Vine). In addition, those reviews need to be of high enough quality to garner numerous “helpful” votes. As with many other aspects of Amazon, the exact numbers are unknown. I know that discussion forums have nothing to do with it because I do not participate in those. It appears to be strictly review based, which makes sense.
At the time of my invite, I had 214 reviews with a 93% helpful vote. My new reviewer ranking was about 3700 at the time. Now, this may not mean anything, but I don’t write reviews for anything that I can’t rate at least 4 stars (so if you look at what I’ve reviewed on Amazon, they are all 4 and 5 stars). If I review a book and I am in contact with the author, I will ask them in the case of a 3 star review. This is my own personal preference and it is my own thoughts about Karma, as an author myself. Admittedly, 1 and 2 star reviews tend to get voted as “unhelpful” more often which kills your reviewer ranking. Of course, it’s been rare that I’ve seen a well written negative review on Amazon (but I have seen them).
The moral of the story? If you are interested in being a serious reviewer and being known as one, Amazon presents a great way to do it and to get some great, free stuff too.