This article was featured in the Independent Book Publishers of America magazine entitled The Independent, June 2014 edition.
Book reviews are a form of social proof…
When a reader is deciding whether or not to buy a book, one of the things they look at is the reviews.
A lack of reviews can cause potential readers to move onto another book. It’s obvious how important reviews are, but it can be tough to get reviews, especially for new books.
Chicken or the Egg?
Getting reviews is a lot like the classic “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” puzzle. It’s harder to get people to buy your book if you don’t have reviews, but it’s hard to get reviews if people don’t buy and read your book.
It can be tough, but it IS possible to get reviews. It does take some hustle and work to find people to review your book, but it can be done! Plus, by reaching out in unusual places to get more reviews, you can expose your book to an even wider audience and hopefully get more sales!
So how do you get more reviews?
Here are some great ways to get more reviews for your books:
1) Ask your readers in the back of the book.
The space at the back of your book is valuable. If someone makes it to the back of your book, chances are they liked the book. If people don’t like the book, they often quit part-way through the book. So, you might as well take advantage of this opportunity to reach out to people who probably liked your book. We have a whole list of calls to action to put in the back of your book, but one of the things you should include is an appeal to your readers for a review.
Let those who finished your book know that reviews are hard to get. Let them know that you would greatly appreciate it if they took just a little bit more of their time to leave you a review. Some readers just do not know how important a review is, or they really aren’t thinking about reviews at that time. By bringing it up to them at the back of your book, you can increase the chances of getting a review from those who make it to the end.
2) Ask your readers via your mailing list and social media profiles.
If you have any readers at all on your mailing list or connected to you via social media, then use these avenues to make an appeal to your readers. Let them know that you’re struggling to get reviews, and if anyone has read your books, then to please take a moment to review your book. If they follow you on Twitter, if they like you on Facebook, and if they have given their email to you, chances are they like you and like what they have read, so you can get positive reviews.
Ask at least once every couple of weeks via social media. People might not see every post you make, so a simple message asking for a review every so often isn’t intrusive, but it can really help you to get more reviews for your book.
Be sure to celebrate any great reviews on social media and on your mailing list. This will entice other people to want to leave a review in hopes of being recognized by you in such a celebratory manner.
3) See who has reviewed books similar to yours and approach them.
While the first tip is a very passive way to ask for reviews, and the second tip required minimal work on your part, the rest will take a bit of legwork on your part. Don’t worry, you will be able to get good results, but it does take some effort!
If you’re struggling to get more reviews, the first thing you should do is go to Amazon and find books that are similar to your book. Open each book in a new tab. Then, scroll to the reviews for those books. Start opening each reviewers’ profile in a new tab in your browser. Then, one-by-one, look at each profile to see if they have an email or website listed. If they do, add them to a spreadsheet with their name, and whichever contact method they provided. Some may not have any details listed, so just skip them. Go through each reviewer and all of the reviews from as many similar books as you can.
Then comes the fun part. One by one, start reaching out to them. Say that you saw they reviewed books in the _______ genre, and that you would love to send a copy of your book. Say that you would like to receive a review on Amazon and anywhere else they publish reviews. Be sure to address them directly (remember, you listed their name in the spreadsheet.)
Yes, this takes some hard work, but your success rate will definitely be higher since you are identifying people who want to be contacted (they listed their contact info), and who have read and liked books similar to yours.
4) Search for book reviewers on Twitter.
Twitter is a great place to find people with similar interests, in fact, any interests…
(Have you connected with us on Twitter?)
There are so many book reviewers out there! A great way to find them is to use the Twitter search function. Do a search for “book reviewer” “review books” “reviews books”… After you do a search, the Twitter results will show some tweets with those phrases, but if you scroll down a little bit, you will see a “People” section. Click “View All”… then just browse through the list of users, looking for reviewers that review books in your genre. Some have their website listed so you can browse to their website and possibly submit your book there for review. At the very least, you can find contact information so you can reach out to them.
Be creative with the search phrase you use. Try including a high-level genre (nothing too specific) and other words to differentiate your search phrases so that you can find reviewers that others may not be searching for.
Twitter can be a valuable resource to find people, so use it to find people who can review your book!
5) Find book review blogs via the search engine.
There are MANY MANY blogs out there that are dedicated to reviewing books. The benefit of such sites, is that you not only get the review, but you are also able to expose your book to the blog’s audience as well!
To get started, use a search engine such as Google or Bing, and phrase such as “book review blog”, “book reviewer”, “romance book reviews”, and other similar phrases.
There are a few things to watch out for. If it seems like they only review mainstream books, skip it! If they haven’t posted in a month, skip it! If they don’t review books in your genre, skip it! If they make it difficult to contact them, or they charge money, skip it! (You can find plenty that will do it for free).
Also, try to find blogs that will cross-post their reviews to Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites to maximize your exposure!
6) Find blogs based on the topics in your book.
Lastly, and probably the best way, to get reviews for your book is to reach out to blogs based on the topics and themes in your books. If your book is nonfiction, then this is definitely much easier to do, but fiction books can do it as well.
(Fiction Authors: Think about the topics and themes discussed in your book. Is your book about an adopted kid? Does your main character love her cat? Think of stuff like this to identify the topics and themes in your story.)
Then, using the search engines, do some searches for blogs and forums on those topics and themes. You should be able to find quite a few that you can reach out to. You can offer your book for free so they can read it.
This is a win for everyone involved! The blogger gets a free book with a theme they are obviously interested in since they blog about the topic. They also get something to write about on their blog, something that his/her readers will love. The readers learn about a book that covers the same topic/theme that they read blogs about. You get a review and probably more sales from it as well.
Yes, this method takes the most effort, but it also pays off the best as well! If you’re looking to not only get more reviews but to boost the exposure and sales of your book, then I would definitely take the time to do this!
★★★ BONUS!! A new tool to help you get more book reviews!
Since this article was so popular, we knew reviews were a real pain point for authors like you. That’s why we created a tool to help you to get more book reviews. Keep reading to learn more!
Introducing Reading Deals Book Reviews
Brought to you by the team at Book Marketing Tools, we have tapped into our ever growing readership at our book promotion website, Reading Deals, and we have found readers that want to read free books in exchange for leaving an honest review! These reviewers are not paid money to review.
To start the process of reaching more readers and getting more reviews for you book, you just have to sign up at Reading Deals Book Reviews here.
We will then make your book available to our Review Club members. When a Club member chooses your book, it is instantly sent to their Kindle. Then, they have 2 weeks to read your book and leave a review. Once 10 or more of our Club members have requested, read, and reviewed your book, the order will be complete, and we will send you a final report of the Amazon reviews that came from our service!
So, which ones do you need to do?
It’s nice to read a great blog post and think “That’s a good idea,” but if you don’t actually do the good idea, then you’ve just wasted your time.
Identify which of the above ideas you need to do implement, and make a plan to get them done!
Also, leave a comment below letting us know which ways listed above that you plan to use to get more reviews for your book!