Good, honest, critical reviews are an essential marketing tool. They allow your readers to know what to expect, they give information about your book, they generate interest and discussion, they often link back to your website and/or purchase site, and they heavily influence whether someone will buy your book. Being reviewed, even if the review is not a good one, lends credibility to your book.
Easy ways to get your book reviewed:
- If your book is on Amazon, this is the most important place to start (the more reader reviews your books has, the more Amazon’s algorithm sees it as a good prospect for promotion). Encourage your own network, and existing readers, to review your book on its Amazon page and then link to their review on their Facebook page and Twitter accounts with a positive line or two.
- Check out reviews of books on a similar theme to yours on Amazon, research the reviewers to ensure they are legitimate, and if they are, request a review.
- If you are signed up to Goodreads, you can ‘suggest’ that your ‘friends’ on Goodreads read your book, which means they may add it to their ‘to read’ list and eventually review it.
- Submit to a book blogging or reviewing site, there are many from which to choose. Some of the most prevalent are www.lovereading.co.uk, www.reviewthebook.com, www.Midwestbookreview.com – but it is also advisable to search for bloggers and online reviewers who specialise in your genre or subject matter.
- Submit to a social network review group, such as can be found on Facebook or reddit.
How to approach a reviewer:
Research your reviewer and contact them before sending a book. Do not give out a free book to anyone who asks, or on spec, but ensure they are legitimate and that the likelihood of them actually writing/posting a review is high.
Make sure you contact relevant reviewers, i.e. do not send the next Fifty Shades… to a Christian Romance company. Review sites will state what genres they do and do not accept and guidelines for submitting.
Make sure your website, blog and all your social media sites are updated and ready for viewing, then use your professional business or author email, which has links to all these, to contact them. You can also follow them on Twitter, send them a Direct Message or simply retweet one of their tweets; and like or friend them on Facebook and message them there.
Open your email stating your request for a review of your book, then give a basic summary of your book, genre, page count and ISBN in your email, and a link to your website. It can help to say something positive about their review site/website/blog and why you would like to be reviewed by them.
To save on costs, ask if they would like a PDF or .mobi (Kindle format) copy of your book. Only send a hard copy of your book if you are certain the review will result in sales or good exposure as the reviewer is high impact and will deliver the review.
If you don’t see a review appear, follow up a week or two later to check it was received, but only once. Do not harass the reviewer for a response.
When you receive the review, thank the reviewer, even if you do not like what they said in the review. Do not question their opinion; that is what a reviewer gives and all reviews are useful. Being pleasant will stand you in good stead for them agreeing to review subsequent books. If you post links to their review on your website, blog or social media, let them know, as this will also drive traffic to their site.
If the reviewer is also an author offer to do a reciprocal review of (one of) their book(s) on Amazon and/or your blog.
Two Golden Rules:
- Never pay for a book review.
- Never fake a book review or get your friends/family to fake a book review (review under a false name).
There is current scandal about fake book reviews and Amazon in particular is clamping down heavily on any suspect reviews. Avoid damaging your reputation, losing your valuable social network profile and wasting your hard work; only seek legitimate reviews. Avoid someone with the same surname as you posting a review on Amazon.