Entrepreneurs Goals Planner Transformation

How I Got 30+ Amazon Reviews Within A Week of Publishing My Book

My step-by-step case study with email templates to get honest Amazon reviews — and what I would do differently now

“A crucial element of a successful Amazon launch is enlisting the support of others to expand your reach on your launch day.” — Karen Williams, Book Marketing Made Simple

Writing a book is not enough.

You need to get reviews, too. Otherwise, your potential readers won’t know the value you bring, and if your book fits their needs or desires.

Without reviews, your stories and insights are lost.

That’s where my Amazon review strategy comes in.

With this strategy, my book “The Write Habit Planner”, a productivity planner for writers, received over 30 honest reviews in the first week. I didn’t pay for these reviews, and I didn’t enlist all my friends and family.

All I did was to send five engaging emails.

Below is my exact step-by-step process, including:

  • where to find the right people to review your book
  • how to get them excited and ready to post their review on publication day
  • my secret tip which doubled my review count within three days

My Amazon review goal

My goal for reviews was:

  • Get 15 reviews within a week of publication date
  • Establish a good relationship with my early reviewers

The results were:

  • 31 reviews within a week
  • My ARC readers are now promoting the planner in their networks and keep emailing me their writing goals and successes

Step 1: Find Reviewers With a Simple Survey (3 weeks before publication date)

Screenshot by Dr Nicole Janz. The full form is here.

Did you know there are masses of readers wanting to review your book?

You just have to find the right ones.

My ideal reviewer was:

  • someone who is excited to see the planner before anyone else does
  • someone who won’t expect compensation
  • someone who feels privileged to be on the team

My first step was to create a survey via a google form with an engaging text and the right questions to identify potential early reviewers for my Advanced Reader Copy team (ARC team).

A copy of my exact form is here.

Professional Banner

Make it look professional.

At the top of the survey form, I uploaded a banner about my book, created in Canva. I wanted to establish credibility and give potential reviewers the feeling that the book already exists, ready for them to dive in.


The description has to weed out the wrong reviewers.

I stated clearly who exactly I wanted to fill in this form to become a potential reviewer, and frame it as an exclusive opportunity:

This form is to express your interest in being part of an “ACR” (advanced reader copy) team for my planner.

Sending out an advanced reader copy (ARC) is a common practice in the publishing world to spark interest in new books by allowing readers early access & opportunities to *review*.

I am looking for a handful of writers who are keen to learn about productivity and habits and who would like to get early copies of my planner to write an *honest review* on Amazon. Reviews are the best way to bring this tool to a wide readership, and I’m so grateful that you’re considering to join the Early Review team to support my mission.


Amazon forbids compensation for reviews.

So I had to make sure that people signing up do it for a better incentive: a sneak peek at the planner before anyone else sees it. In fact, I created a bit of FOMO by setting a deadline and stressing that only some of the applicants will be “selected”.

– Review copies will be limited

– Review copies are for your eyes only and the content is not to be shared publicly in any way.

– There is no financial compensation for reviews

– You will find out by October 20th if you’ve been selected to receive a copy

– If you’re selected, you’ll receive your planner electronically

(Thank you for Bethany Atazadeh and her Youtube Tutorial which I followed to create this form).

Questions to ask in the survey

I kept it short and sweet and asked for their info and commitment:

1. First name, last name, email address

2. Are you happy to review this planner on Amazon? [yes/no]

3. If you enjoy the planner, would you support its launch by spreading the word on social media and in your networks and communities (optional)? [social media/networks]

The last question had nothing to do with the review itself, but I wanted to see if anyone would later promote the planner (in phase 2, and it worked extremely well!)


Finally, I added a disclaimer to stress again that there won’t be a compensation and they can’t share the file:

I understand and accept the following:

If selected to join Nicole’s ARC team, I will receive a review copy a week or more before the official release date.

I will not share the file with anyone or post it so that others may access it.

I will not receive any financial compensation for reading an advanced review copy and writing a review.

Nicole will use my provided email address to contact me regarding the ARCs, to send a copy of the book to me, and also to send 2–3 follow-up reminders to review and say thanks.

[Agree / Disagree]

A copy of my exact form is here.

Step 2: Distribute the Survey in the Right Places (2 weeks before publication date)

People can’t sign up to be part of your team if they don’t know about it.

So you have to target the right groups.

About two weeks before publication date, I posted my review request and a link to the survey in two main places:

The London Writer’s Salon online platform, where a community of thousands of writers lives and supports each other. These people were likely to want to support my writer’s planner:

Screenshot of London Writer’s Salon post by Nicole Janz

I sent also it to about 1,600 writers who receive my weekly newsletter. The stats show that 40% of people were interested enough to open the email, 62 clicked the link to the survey.

Screenshot of newsletter post by Nicole Janz

The message

Make sure to keep it short.

I stated clearly that I’m looking for honest reviews (I recommend using this phrase) and made sure they know that my planner is a professional, valuable resources to stir some interest. If you can’t read the screenshot above, I said:

  • They can get early copies of my “The Write Planner” to write an honest review
  • The Planner was an ebook before I turned it into a hardcopy and was downloaded by 3000 people
  • I gave them the survey URL as call to action

To things I would improve next time:

  • I should have also given a clear deadline to fill in the form.
  • I also should posted the request sooner. Especially if your book is not a planner that can be easily reviewed, but a novel or non-fiction book, I recommend 4–6 weeks to start this whole process.

Result of my ARC request: 99 people signed up within a week

Screenshot of survey responses by Nicole Janz

99 people signed up to be an early reader and part of my ARC team within a week. I then closed the survey.

For comparison, in “Book Marketing Made Simple” by Karen Williams (2nd edition, pg. 184), the author says that for her book she had 110 launch helpers on her team.

With 99 people on my ARC team within a week or so, Iwasn’t too far off!

Interestingly, in my survey, 70–80% were happy to not only review the planner, but also promote the planner on social media and in their networks (good for promo later).

Step 3: Protect Your Book’s Early Review PDF

I wanted to make it easy for people to see the planner, but not distribute it.

My planner already lived on Canva, so it was easy to add a watermark on all pages that this is an advanced reader copy.

I marked up each single page.

This helped me:

  • let go of my own fear that the digital copy might be passed on beyond my ARC team (you can’t prevent that anyways)
  • create some guilt among those who would pass it on

There is some software where you can upload review copies that can’t be re-used, but I was on a short deadline. I also wanted to make it easy to read the pdf on Google drive, rather than having my team log into another service.

Screenshot of Canva file by Nicole Janz
Screenshot of Canva file by Nicole Janz

Step 4: First Email – Welcome to My ARC Team (7 days before publication date)

I wasn’t sure how many emails would be too many.

Because there’s a delicate balance between motivating people to do you a favour, and annoying them with too many emails. So I decided for five.

All my emails came from my personal email account (bcc), not my newsletter, to establish a relationship with my ARC team. I wanted to get them excited, feel close to me and give a hint of exclusivity.

Here’s my first email:

Subject: “You’re on the Early Review team for THE WRITE HABIT”

Dear friend,

Welcome — you’re now on the Early Review team for THE WRITE HABIT planner!

Thank you so much for agreeing to view an early copy and writing an honest review on Amazon.

Next steps:

Next week I’ll send you a pdf of the planner.

On publication date (most likely Oct 31) you’ll receive message from me with a direct URL to submit your honest review on Amazon.

You will receive marketing materials and a URL to send to your social media and/or your networks (whichever you prefer).

I’m so glad to have you on board — marketing a book is nerve racking and I’m glad that I’m not alone in this!

Have a wonderful weekend,


I didn’t send my early review copy to keep this email short and welcoming (and tease that the book is coming soon).

Step 5: Second Email — Download the Book (2 days before publication date)

Next, I gave them what they were waiting for: the early review copy of my planner.

Subject: A link to the review copy of Write Habit Planner

Dear friend,

Thank you for being on the Early Review team for THE WRITE HABIT planner!

It means the world to me that you agreed to view an early copy and write an honest review on Amazon.

Here’s a link to the review copy (please do not pass this on):


Next steps:

On publication date (most likely Oct 31 or shortly after) you’ll receive message from me with a direct URL to submit your honest review on Amazon.

You will receive marketing materials and a URL to send to your social media and/or your networks (whichever you prefer).

I’m so glad to have you on board — I’ve been busy with creating the companion website and training videos.

Have a wonderful weekend,


In hindsight, I would give my ARC team at least 1–2 weeks to review the book, not just a few days. But I was on a short deadline, and I trusted that a planner is easier to look through than reading a whole book — often the visuals count more.

If you self-published a novel, I would give them 2–3 weeks to read the whole thing (or at least a long weekend).

Step 6: Third Email — Unpacking Video

Between them reading the copy and Amazon KDP officially publishing the book, there was a gap.

I filled it with engagement.

While I waited for Amazon KDP to check the submission and push it though their system, I emailed my ARC team a video of me unpacking a proof copy — to keep them excited and share my joy.

Youtube Screenshot by Nicole Janz

…If you want to see me speechless while unpacking a proof copy of the planner — I caught that moment on camera.

Yes, I’m wearing a professional blouse and jogging pants … 😉

Thank you for being on this journey with me!



Here’s a link to the review copy (please do not pass this on):


To this email, I received lots of cheers and encouragement. I could see my team was on board and excited for the book to see the world.

If the time between sending out your advanced review copy and publication on Amazon is more than a week, I recommend sending small and personal updates each week to your team to help them feel connected to you.

Step 7: Publication Day Email — Request the Review ASAP

Publication day was here!

I had kept refreshing Amazon KDP for a few days, and finally the book was set to “publish” (I didnt’ have power over that process).

Luckily, I had a pre-written email text and only needed to find the direct Amazon URLs to the book for them to submit their review.

I have clients and audiences in the UK, U.S. and Germany, and that’s where my ARC team is largely from as well — so I directed them to their country’s Amazon page of my planner.

Dear friend,

Amazon has now published The Write Habit Planner!

USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/173840840X

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/173840840X

Germany: https://www.amazon.de/dp/173840840X/

You can go to your own country’s Amazon page, search for “The Write Habit & Nicole Janz”, and scroll down to click the “leave a review” button.

Bonus tip:

If you were going to buy a physical copy anyways, it would help me a lot of you order it first, and then leave a review as “verified purchase”.

Of course, you can refer to you advanced copy pdf here: XXXX.com (keep this private).

Now it’s my turn to wait … I’m not sure I can sleep tonight, waiting for your honest reviews and feedback.

With gratitude,


Step 8: Monitoring the Statistics and Review Counts

My very first review came from AJ on November 1 via Amazon.co.uk.

The Write Habit Planner received 5 stars! The feeling was amazing, and with every refresh, more came in.

Screenshot of Amazon.co.uk: Nicole Janz

Statistics at for the first few weeks

I surpassed my goal of 20 reviews within a week!

Week 1 (Nov 1–7, 2023): 31 reviews (22 in the UK + 7 in USA + 2 in Germany)

Week 2 (Nov 8–14, 2023): 2 reviews in the UK + 2 in USA

Week 3 (Nov 15–21, 2023): 3 reviews in the UK + 1 in USA

After that, I got about a review a week without pushing my group any further.

That means the first few days and weeks are most important to keep your ARC team engaged.

By the way, Amazon KDP provides statistics on sales, but not on reviews. So I had to keep count of when they came in, on which country’s Amazon page, and what the rating was.

At some point, Amazon shows all reviews from all countries in one place (you can still see the country, and review date). But when a book is freshly published, they are kept separate, which is why I checked and saved screenshots of those country’s pages.

First verified purchase reviews

On Amazon, anyone can review a product — even if they only had an advanced review copy or bought it elsewhere.

The gold standard is, of course, a review after “verified” purchase, by someone who ordered the book.

I was so happy to receive such a verified purchase review in the UK only three days after the book went live. Someone must have found and bought it; plus, some of my ARC team members told me they loved the digital copy and ended up buying the planner as a book as well.

Screenshot of Amazon.co.uk: Nicole Janz

Secret Tip: Fifth Email — Creating a “Review Weekend”

I knew my ARC team list was much higher than the reviews I had received.

So I created another buzz.

I picked the next weekend right after after publication date and declared it “Review Weekend”.

This idea came to me in the shower, and I had no idea if this would work. But it paid off.

Review weekend was announced on a Friday, and it produced 15 reviews (11 in UK + 3 in USA + 1 in Germany). These numbers are included in the above stats.

Dear friend,


The next 3 days are your chance to post your honest review about The Write Habit on Amazon.

Here’s a direct link to leave your review:

Click here

If you’ve ordered the planner, you can log into your account and do the review as “verified user”.

When I had burnout two years ago I really didn’t think I would be able to feel happy again — or that my work matters.

Having you in my team shows that you can DO ANYTHING in life 🙂


I even attached a picture (made in Canva) with screenshots of the first reviews on Amazon in the email to show my team that others had already posted their review — and motivate them to do the same:

Screenshot: Nicole Janz

Summary of My Amazon Review Strategy

With my email sequence and connection to my team, I played to my strengths as a writer and coach. (I’m not a professional marketer.)

About a third of people who signed up for my ARC team actually posted a review, which is great given how busy life can be.

In a nutshell, what worked well was:

  • collecting supporter emails in the right places (the audience that would love the planner)
  • having template emails prewritten, keeping them short, building on my strength as a writer
  • sending no more than 5 emails, and some of them with entertaining, connecting info to spread the joy
  • creating an event around the review activity by calling it “Review Weekend” which doubled my reviews — I made that up on the spot and in hindsight it was a genius move

What I would improve next time:

  • give the whole process more time
  • have a long-term strategy for an ongoing growth of reviews on Amazon (working on it)

What’s next?

More reviews

To get more reviews, I am collecting emails from those who bought The Write Habit Planner directly.

There’s a QR code in the book that lets you sign up for a free online course to learn better writing habits.

Those buyers who signed up for the free course are now on my official newsletter list, and I might send out a review request to them soon. I’ll report back on how that goes.

More Promo with my ARC team

My goal is to turn the real enthusiasts from the ARC list into a promo team (a.k.a. street team).

In my original ARC request form, I had asked who would be willing to promote my planner on their socials and networks. I have since asked my supporters to promote the planner given them a gift in return (a month of free membership in my writer’s community Never Alone).

As a side note, Amazon forbids gifts or compensation for reviews. But you can compensate supporters for promo instead.

Boosting sales

So far, I have sold 187 books in the first month.

I then sold about 50 on top of that within another two weeks. I did lower the price for Black Friday, Christmas, and might do it again for the new year. My planner is undated, but most people buy a diary or planner in Dec/Jan. I’ll be posting more articles on this strategy here soon (stay tuned!).

I am also now steadily promoting my planner via podcasts (here are my guest podcasts where you can see a link to the planner in recent episodes). As a coach, I love deep conversations — so with podcasts I’m playing to another strength of mine so it doesn’t feel like marketing. I’m realising that book promo is for life, not just launch day.

Blurbs and testimonials

Finally, I’m planning to write an article to reveal how I got bestselling authors like Greg McKeown and 

Benjamin Hardy, PhD

 to blurb my book (give a testimonial) which went on the back cover, inside the planner and on the planner’s website. Post coming soon.

If you have questions, tips or feedback on my strategy, let me know in the comments.

Download your Free Book Starter Kit Here.

Photos: Nicole Janz

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