While I did give away perhaps 20 copies to reviewers just before I released each Beautiful series book, not all of them actually put their reviews up - approximately 10-15 of my reviews come from ARCs the rest all come from sales.
At last check, I had sold over 16000 copies collectively of the two Beautiful books. So my reviews have come from them - when you look at it, it's actually a very small percentage of readers that actually take the time to rate books.
Between the two books I have 637 ratings and 134 reviews on Goodreads.com as well as 88 reviews across the Amazon platform. So that is my secret - with sales come reviews, and not very many when you actually look at the numbers.
Now, I'm not very experienced in the self publishing industry, I've only been at it for the last six months. But from what I've learned so far - I really don't think that more reviews equals more book sales. I think they are a consequence of book sales.
That's not to say that you don't need reviews, ARC reviews are a great way to get those first few key reviews, and guage the impact your book may have after release.
I also suggest taking your book on a blog tour, there are a lot of bloggers who are willing to do an honest review for a free copy of your book and they will cross post that review to Amazon, Goodreads and sometimes, Barnes & Noble.
I believe that reviews are helpful in aiding a customer to buy and they are helpful in sparking discussions about your work - but in the end it's your sales volume that brings the majority of reviews in - and oh how we love them, they validate the message we were trying to get across with our writing and sometimes slap us in the face when the reader isn't happy. They're the thing that keep us grounded and focused so we can write more.
I'm sure now you're wondering what I did to actually gain the sales I did and the truth is, I'm not really that sure - but I will do another post soon that talks about what I do to promote my work.
It could have all been just dumb luck, but I'll tell you all anyway - perhaps I did something you haven't thought of yet.