Getting book reviews can be one of the harder parts of book marketing. You have to actually ask people to read your book and then judge it. That can be scary and resistance can set in pretty hard. So before you set out to work on this particular task check your mindset. Remember, not everyone will like your book. But all reviews (aside from those from trolls) are valuable. The more people you find who don’t like your book the more targeted your efforts can become and readers will self filter when they see a review mentioning something they would or wouldn’t like.
If you can’t read negative reviews about your work without going into a tailspin, that’s fine. Just don’t read them. If curiosity will get you
Now, saddle up and get ready for this crazy ride we call book marketing.
- Ask People: This might seem simple but I mean it. Ask 100 people to leave a review. Now if they have your last name or live in your house, Amazon won’t let them leave a review and technically friends and family are not allowed to review according to Amazon’s TOS. That being said, as long as you
dontlive in the same house as them it will probably be fine. For those of you who read that and cringe (I’m right there with you) Amazon is not the only place to leave reviews. Goodreads, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes&Noble, all great places to get book reviews.
- Thank readers in the front and back of the book: When I first heard this at the Bookbaby Indie Authors Conference in Novemeber (2018) my mind was blown. Why hadn’t I thought of this? NAME talked about it in a class about how self-publishing was not a backup plan. She said specifically to say something like “A huge thank you to all my readers who leave reviews. They mean so much and help more than you know”. Rather than flat out asking or hinting, reward the people who are doing it and others will follow. I changed the front and back matter and reviews are flowing in much faster than they were before so definitely worth a thought.
- Book reviewers/
bookstagram: Book reviewers and Bookstagramers love books. They are constantly looking for books to feature on their blogs and pages. Why shouldn’t it be yours? And offer to host a giveaway for their fans while you’re at it. You might get a lot more than a review.
- Make your book free/discounted and run a promo: Most of my initial reviews came in from doing a FreeBooksy promotion through Written Word Media. During the promo, I gave away 1200 books on Amazon and received about 20 reviews. That’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things (about .01%) but you have to remember that the first reviews are key to the long term success of your book and you’re trying to get 10,000 people to read your book (haven’t heard the 10,000 book rule? check it out on Tim Grahl’s blog here.) so there are worse ways to get those initial reviews. **DISCLAIMER** While my experience with a free (and others I’ve been involved in) I’ve spoken to a few authors who have had negative experiences including harsher reviews and their book’s overall rating going down. Discounted might be the way to go.
- Do not ask other authors: This might sound strange since I talk about reviewing other authors work and tagging them in it to introduce yourself. But if you ask another author to review your book and they want a review in return, you’ll find yourself in a sticky situation. It might be that you are both amazing authors who just jive with each other. But if you aren’t and you feel like their book deserves only two stars but you don’t
topiss them off before they review your book, you might bump that to a four-star review and before you know it, you’re in a moral conundrum. I don’t know about you but reviews mean a lot to me. If I leave a review on a book that’s how I feel about it. But a lot of people are vindictive and might give you a worse review than you gave them out of spite. So, avoid the whole mess and just don’t ask authors for reviews. Or have another way you could help them ready before you ask.
As you build your platform
Don’t forget to look for the people who consistently review your books and contact you. Those are the people you’ll want on your launch team for the next book.
What is your number one tip to get book reviews? Share it here or email me about writing a guest post.
About the author
Marissa Frosch is a Certified Book Launch Coach and author of fiction under the name Cameron J Quinn.
She formed Raven’s Quill Publishing in March 2019 after leaving Amphibian Press where she worked for five years to make a go of it on her own.
Marissa is also working on her Story Grid Editor’s Certification to round out her author helping skill set.
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