You’ve likely heard (correctly, I might add) that obtaining book reviews is one of the most stressful parts of the book publishing process. It’s a catch-22 when your book is first released: You need reviews to sell the book, but you need people to read the book in order to get reviews.
Reviews are different from beta feedback, in which you’re guiding a reader through the book in order to get feedback. With a review, anything goes.
You need reviews to sell the book, but you need people to read the book in order to get reviews. - @jodibrandon
Here are five tips to make the review-gathering process a bit easier:
- Thank readers who offer reviews.
- Make use of Goodreads.
- Submit to book bloggers.
- Talk to other author-entrepreneurs.
Thank Readers who Offer Reviews
You may not have contact information to privately thank them, but that’s OK. Thanking them publicly, on social media or on the platform where they left a review.
Why? This shows good will. It lets other readers know you are appreciative of reviews. Does this mean they’ll leave one? Not definitively, of course. But perhaps they will be more inclined to do so. Remember that many reviews will be from people you don’t know. (This is a GOOD thing.) Your friends will leave a review even if you don’t publicly thank them, but strangers might not.
Make use of Goodreads
Unlike Amazon, Goodreads DOES allow reviews before launch day. In addition to book ambassadors, you should send a copy of your book (a PDF is fine) to a few people who you’ve asked to read and provide a review. You can ask them to post a review to Goodreads (make it as easy as you can for them by sending them the link to your book page on Goodreads!) in addition to sending the text to you.
You can hope, of course, that they will also post that review to Amazon after your book officially launches, but I urge you not to rely on that. (Even with good intentions, life happens when there is a delay.) If you get reviews posted to Goodreads, though, it helps in a couple ways. One, it gives you more reviews, which is how SOME readers decide which books to buy. Two, it gives you material to use in promo material for your book. Think book sales page, social media posts, and more.
Submit to Book Bloggers
There are wonderful people out there called book bloggers, in every category and genre imaginable. Do some legwork to find those that review books like yours, and approach them accordingly. (Be sure you follow their guidelines.)
Check out Book Blogger Directory and The Indie View as starting points.
Talk to Other Author-Entrepreneurs
Ask who they had review their book. Maybe there is some overlap in your audiences and there will be people you can reach out to.
You knew this was coming, right? As long as you don’t do this in a sleazy, sales-y way, there is nothing wrong with asking someone to leave a review of your book when it comes up that they’ve read it. What do I mean by non-sleazy, non-sales-y?
NO: Please, please, please write a review for me. I don’t have enough!
YES: I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. If you have a chance, I’d really appreciate it if you could leave a review on Amazon.
Do you have any other tips or ideas to share? Let me know and I’ll include them in the next set of tips. We can never have too many!