Reviews tell readers whether they should or should not buy a book, and the more positive reviews a book gets, the stronger the appeal it has for readers. Reviews give credibility to an author’s craft, and funny as it sounds, the majority of buyers rely on book reviews when making their choice of which book to buy. At times, just the number of reviews posted for a book is enough to make a reader buy that book.
While most publishing houses have developed winning strategies and even built their own list of book reviewers, most indie authors are left with little resources, uncertain about how to garner the reviews they need to sell more books. This article provides a roadmap to creating a buzz about your book with good reviews and how to get them.
Be Prepared with Your Kit
Your book review kit is something you have to think about months before your book even gets published. You don’t just wake up one good morning and start hunting for book reviewers. There are some essential things you should prepare before your book launch:
- Copies of your book in DPF format. It will be great if they include a cover.
- Print copies of your book. Some reviewers prefer print copies, so you need to have your mailing supplies ready.
- A press release about the launch of your book. This is an opportunity to share your story with readers and potential reviewers. Especially for nonfiction writer, a press release is also an opportunity to share your story to potential readers.
- Prepare your cover letter. This is what you need to introduce yourself to reviewers, and keep it short.
- Author Bio. Readers want to know who you are and what makes you the right person to write the book, especially if your book is nonfiction.
Social Media Presence
By the time your book is published, you should have connected with the right people. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are ideal for hunting and connecting with book reviewers. I love LinkedIn because it allows you to easily locate book reviewers using the title, so connect with reviewers and start networking with them. Engage them in simple conversations and get to know more about them. You want to build relationships with these people so you can create an Emotional Bank where you can withdraw in the future. It will be easier to get a reviewer you have had a great conversation with to review your book than someone you’re talking to for the first time. The hours you spend investing in such relationships pay off in the end.
Finding the Right Reviewers
The ideal is to get free reviews for your book and there are thousands of reviewers and bloggers who write well and thoughtfully and who will gladly read and review your book — provided it appeals to them. The best way to start is to check out books that are in your genre and find out who has reviewed those books. On Amazon, you’ll be able to click on the reviewer’s profile to check them out. Luckily, many reviewers leave their contact details — name and email — open to the public. Start building your own list according to your interests.
There are some great online publications and review services that have put together a solid base for book reviewers, so you want to consider some of them. Readers Favorite offers free book reviews and has a dedicated page for the author. Mid-West Book Review accepts review requests from self-published authors. The Book Commentary publishes reviews on their sites and encourages its reviewers to publish on their blogs and other platforms.
Doing It Right
You’ve put together your materials and have built your own list of book reviewers, so now is the time to start reaching out and you want to make sure you do it right. Consider the following guidelines when reaching out to book reviewers.
- Email the right reviewers.Make sure you’re aware of the kinds of books the reviewer reads before sending out your pitch. Select those who are appropriate and who are interested in your genre.
- Don’t ignore the requirements. Make sure to check each reviewer’s requirements before contacting them. While some will want you to send out your book right away, others prefer that you pitch them first. Some will only review e-Books while others want hard copies. So, check out what works most for them. It can’t be your way!
- Offer all versions of your book. In your query, make sure to indicate the available formats of your book — print, audio, and PDF.
- Keep it short and to the point. Note that most reviewers only do this on their spare time and like most of us, they’re busy people. So, in your query, it will be great to let them know how you found them and why you think they might be interested in your book. Include a blurb of the book and make sure you share some interesting details about yourself.
- Don’t spam reviewers. It is best to personalize your email as best as you can. Don’t send a mass email to reviewers, especially if you want better results. Give them time to respond and when doing a follow up, be polite and grateful. You’re asking them to spend their time reading and reviewing your book and there is no pay for that. The least you can do is to stay as professional as you can be.
- Don’t forget the thank you note.Make it a point to get back to those who reviewed your book to say “Thank you.” There is no better way of ensuring that they review your next book than staying connected and grateful.
The above tips will help you not only get great reviews but have people talking about your book and attracting more readers to it.
Romuald Dzemo is author of You Can’t Be a Failure, a passionate book lover and book reviewer, and an entrepreneur.