How and Where to Obtain Book Reviews, by James Rose

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 9.36.55 AM

Book Reviews – The Eternal Struggle

Obtaining reviews for your book is unfortunately a must. One would hope that the shopper would solely browse based on a combination of factors such as story synopsis, quality book cover design, author reputation, price, etc. However, is has been shown that consumers, whether consciously or subconsciously put heavy weight on book reviews. This is especially true in online marketplaces like Amazon which they have admitted, does affect the ranking algorithm. Getting good reviews for your book is not as difficult as it may seem but will take some legwork.

The first and most obvious place to start is seeking reviews from friends and family. No one has to know these reviews are coming from a biased source but you can always make it clear that you want honest reviews. Be sure to field out any friends or family that may have jealousy issues. Writing a great novel with the potential to become a sensation is already more than the average person accomplishes. Sounds paranoid and mean to say that but I’ve experienced that form of sabotage multiple times in my life.

Utilize beta readers. You’ve likely already found some at this point and have worked closely with them on structural issues. Go ahead and ask them for a review regarding the overall quality of the story. They’ve already read the book obviously so why not get a review.

Ask your blog readers for reviews. They’re probably already fans so the odds of a good review increase. You can offer incentives like a free copy of your next book in exchange for a review of the current book.

Seek out reviews from book bloggers. Many of them are already swamped but if you engage them on their blog and on social media for a while prior, they may be willing to move you to the front of the pack. Bloggers that are not as popular will likely have more time though, and because part of your goal is not just quality but quantity, try to get as many as you can.

Ask for reviews on the last page of your book. Just like video games back in the day had a “Thank You for Playing” message, give your book a “Thank You for Reading” message and follow with a request for an honest review.

Run giveaway promotions for one day or even a few hours on social media. Include a stipulation that you expect a review in exchange for the free copy. Not all will leave one but most will. You could also give away free copies on popular reader communities such as Goodreads.com and Librarything.com.

Pay for reviews on professional review sites. The more scrupulous among these websites will only give your book an honest review so paying for reviews in this manner should not be considered shady at all. You may hear other authors complain about the cost to value ratio being unequal but this is not necessarily true. You can get a professional review from highly respected names at prices ranging from $150 to $400. Get four or five of these and put them on the actual book, in prominent positions on your blog, as well as anywhere else you can put them. This kind of vouching can have a positive effect on sales.

The tried and true method most often used is to seek out reviewers directly on Amazon. Find reviewers that have reviewed books similar to yours and send them a request. If they accept, send them a free copy of your book. This will take some repetition as probably only a third of the people you contact will agree or even respond. You may hear some talk that you need to get Amazon reviews from the top reviewers. While those would be great if you can get them, it is not a necessity. Those top Amazon reviewers are highly backlogged. Most shoppers could care less about reviews for a reviewer. They look at how many reviews your book has and what percentage of those reviews are favorable. Having a review from a top reviewer may have a minor effect on the ranking algorithm so definitely go for it, but don’t sweat it if you can’t get any.

As you can see, getting reviews for your book will be a lot of work. That should not come as a surprise though as pretty much everything is in this world. Some key factors to remember are:

1. Go after as many reviews as you can because not all contacts will respond or read your book.

2. Make sure you’re seeking reviews from the appropriate demographic. Don’t give your thriller to romance fans.

3. Keep everything organized in a spreadsheet. You’re going to have a lot of names, emails and locations of which to keep track.

4. Listen to the feedback. If you are getting consistent bad reviews, maybe your book is not ready for launch.

5. Most importantly, don’t give up. Writing is enjoyable, but marketing for most people is drudgery at its finest.

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 9.33.47 AM

James Rose is a writer for InstantPublisher.com, a full-service self-publishing company with 100% of all work performed in-house. We have been helping authors realize their dreams for the past 14 years. Whether you’re printing a novel, how-to book, manual, brochure or any type of book you can imagine, our step-by-step instructions make publishing your own book simple and easy.

Michelle’s Comment: I’ve never paid for a review. Have you? Were you pleased with your purchase? Here’s another helpful post on reviews.

 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address:



Comments

  1. Getting reviews can be a real challenge. My first book, Ozette’s Destiny, has 110 reviews and a 5-star rating. Ozette’s HeartStone, which came out last fall, only has 16. Although it has a 5-star Amazon rating, reviews have been hard to come by. I have never paid for reviews and not sure how I feel about that. I have offered a free e-version copy of my books for reviews and some folks have taken me up on it. Being a children’s book makes it a little tougher to get reviews since children are not apt to write reviews and there is a minimum age requirement on Amazon. Always open to new ideas. Good article!.

    • Hi Judy – I’m right there with you when it comes to my children’s books. They’re a whole different beast. I cannot figure out how to market them. My first one has 32 reviews and the second only has 8. However, I haven’t tried to push them. I’m hoping the third one will boost the others as I have a different marketing plan. (Not sure when that one will release.) I’ve paid for people to schedule blog tours where readers read and review the books. That’s been a great thing. But putting my geocaching novel in cache sites all over the US and Canada has really helped. But sheesh, it’s tough to stand out in the crowd, isn’t it? It’s great to see you here though!

      • Marketing totally baffles me. Really dislike that part of the process. Yes, I have to agree that it is very difficult to stand out from the thousands of books published in the same genre each year. My best boost came when Ozette’s Destiny was chosen as the Kindle Kids’ pick of the day in March and offered for .99. Sold 798 e-books! But sales are puny again.

        I am always glad to read your books. My policy on reviews is this: knowing how much of an author goes into their book, I do not write a review unless I can give it a good review (not below a 3-star). But I loved Cache and am sure your other books are equally enjoyable.

  2. It’s against Amazons terms of service to buy reviews. It can get you banned for life.
    Somehow your need to ask for a review. Nobody going to think of it on their own.

    For young children have the protagonist tell her parents how much the like the book. and ask the mother to write a review. Maybe in the child’s voice.

    Good Luck
    Ron

    • Hi Ron – You’re so right about Amazon’s terms about buying book reviews, yet the big publishers do it. Here’s Kirkus’s link to reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/author-services/indie/
      I’ve never done this but I know others who have.

      I love the idea of children asking parents to write reviews for them. I’ve done this and had luck with it. I’ve also received fan mail from children–letters they wrote to me–reviewing the books. Unfortunately I can’t load the reviews but their mothers did. Sometimes it works, but most of the times moms and dads don’t have time. It’s tough, but understandable.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      What are you writing right now?

  3. Thanks for an informative blog!

Please share your random thoughts.

*

Thank you for stopping by!