How to get book reviews - practical tips
This post is aimed at authors starting out, but there are certainly tips here for all authors. Let's start with why reviews are important:
To convince potential readers to try/buy your book. Reviews still play a major part in consumer decision making.
Lots of book promotion sites and emails, like BookBub require a certain number of reviews to include your book.
Nobody seems certain about this, but it is a reasonable assumption that more reviews will have a positive impact on Amazon algorithm.
You can pull out quotes from reviews to use on your website, social feeds and any marketing artwork.
Reviews can be constructive and offer you valuable reader perspective.
1. Send advanced reading copies (ARCs) to bloggers & reviewers
The most effective way to do this is to use a blog tour organiser who will have established relationships, they cost between £70 and £100, so very cost-effective. As well as posing their reviews on their blogs, the vast majority of bloggers also post on Amazon and Goodreads.
Note: Getting reviews in national newspapers and magazines is very difficult. There are fewer and fewer book review pages and they mostly focus on books published by medium to large publishers. My advice would be to focus your energy elsewhere.
2. Find book bloggers to work with directly here.
3. And use the Reedsy blogger list too.
4. Search on Google for books that appeal to similar readers (or same sub-categories/genres) with the word 'review' to find who reviews books like yours and connect with them on social.
5. Search on Twitter in the same way as 4. You'll find reviewers and bloggers to follow and start engaging with.
Note: On finding bloggers and reviewers who work in your genre, do not immediately message them on social asking if they'll review your book. And do not cut and paste a 'Dear blogger' email to them. They are inundated with books and requests. You'll need to start building relationships with them first.
6. Send ARCs to the VIP/street team from your author newsletter list.
A street team is a group of readers/fans who you build a close relationship with and give them early access to your books, signed copies and any extra perks you are happy to give them. In return they will leave reviews, share your books and in general support your work. Info here and here about street teams.
Once you have built a relationship with your street team (using specific newsletters for them) offer them your ARC and encourage reviews.
7. When you send information about your new book to your general newsletter list, add a line encouraging them to review your book.
8. Every time you receive an email, tweet, direct message, or comment saying something positive about your book, ask them politely if they'd consider leaving a review (perhaps with a link to your book page).
9. If you have events or signings in bookshops, include a postcard in each book with information about signing up to your newsletter and requesting reviews.
Note: Even if you are giving readers your book for free, you can not insist on a review - also be very upfront that they can leave positive or negative reviews.
10. Create an ad to go at the back of your book which encourages readers to leave a review. (What better time than immediately upon finishing your book?)
11. Give your ebook away for free for a limited time and promote this as much as you can to drive downloads.
- Promote your free ebook to your newsletter list, on social channels, on your website,
- Consider paying for AMS and/or Facebook ads to drive more downloads.
- Pay to promote your free ebook on a couple of promotion sites/newsletters, there is a list here.
It is critical that you have an ad in your free ebook which encourages reviews.
Recommendation: use a service like BookFunnel to manage giving away your free ebook. The cost of this is quite minimal. Example here.
12. Add your book to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL) which will encourage lots of new readers. More info here.
Note: Most traditional publishers do not add their books to KOLL, so this is more of an option to indie/self-published authors.
13. You can pay for services that will get reviews for you. In the UK, Net Galley has the best reputation, but the prices make it not very accessible to indie authors. Find out more here. There are other services that include Net Galley as part of the offering. In general, I would only use services that other authors have used and saw positive outcomes.
14. Where to use reviews (or pull quotes from them) in your marketing.
The simple answer is everywhere. Here are a few examples:
- Social media images
- Paid for Facebook and Amazon AMS ads
- On your book pages on Amazon and other retailer sites
- On your website
- On your books
This post concentrates on getting reviews on Amazon, this is because such a high % of books, especially ebooks are bought there. Also, certainly encourage reviews being posted to Goodreads (also owned by Amazon).
Please comment if you have any questions or any additional tips and advice to add.