I put much of the success of my own book down to actively pursuing impartial book reviews right from the start. Book reviews are, in my opinion, one of the most important tools for book promotion. Books with a lot of reviews tend to get more attention, carry more weight, and therefore sell better. Once your book is selling well, the reviews should come, but as a new author, it’s up to you to go out and find reviewers (and I don’t mean friends and family as this is frowned upon in the Amazon community as well as being unethical). Finding reviewers, like all promotion, involves a bit of hard work, and also costs some money (the cost of the book and the shipping), but the effort is well worth it. Before you start, of course, you need to have created the best book you can.
My advice is to stay away from paid book reviews unless you wish to pay for a review from a reputable website such as ForeWord, Kirkus or Publishers Weekly who offer paid reviews for indie authors. Otherwise, there are literally thousands of book bloggers, as well as Amazon and Goodreads reviewers who will offer an unbiased and honest review in exchange for your book.
Choose your reviewers carefully and make a list. Then create a review request email and send it to each reviewer individually by name. Your email should include where you found their details, and some basic information about your book with a link to your Amazon book page. You can end by letting them know that if they decide to review your book, you would be happy to send it to them in whichever format they would prefer (paperback or ebook) and request the relevant address. Don’t forget to thank them for their consideration. Reviewers receive hundreds of requests and one book takes about 20 hours of their time to read and review. Keep a list of the names that you have contacted so that you don’t send a second request. Read this helpful blog post on how to pitch your book to bloggers.
Here’s some helpful tips and resources for getting your book reviewed.
I first went through Amazon’s Top 100 Reviewers list and searched for those who love to read memoir (my genre) and list an email address. I then searched some of the top selling affliction memoirs and went through the reviews looking for top Amazon reviewers. I sent out thirteen targeted requests and received five responses, four requesting the book, one was too busy. After much research and reading many profiles of Amazon reviewers, I finally came up with another way to find reviewers who were interested in my genre. I searched Listmania for ‘memoir’. Reviewers often put their favorite reads on Listmania and this made it much easier to find reviewers by genre. I also found that the reviewers who were not listed in the top few hundred, were more likely to accept, as they are not as swamped with requests. When contacting an Amazon book reviewer, be courteous and make sure that they have a particular interest in your genre. If you’ve read the Amazon forums, you’ll know that you don’t want to upset anyone!
There are many groups on Goodreads where readers and other authors are offering to review books by genre. All you need to do is visit your favorite groups and search the folders. Here are some good places to start.
Connecting Readers and Writers
Book blogs are one of the best places to find reviewers. ALWAYS read the blog author’s review policies and submission guidelines to see if they are currently accepting books for review, and that they actually enjoy reading your genre. If you have self-published, be sure to check if they are willing to review indie books. Check that the blog is current. It’s also a good idea to see if they post reviews on Amazon and other book sites as well as on their blog. After a blogger accepts and agrees to review your book, you could offer a giveaway for the blog. Some blogs also agree to do author interviews. There are literally thousands of book blogs. Optimally, it is best to look for blogs with a large readership, but again, these bloggers are often flooded with requests. Here is a list of a few book bloggers and their preferred genres. Most accept self-published books.
My Reading Room – romance, suspense, literary fiction, young adult, biography, self-help (author interviews)
Books for Me – all types of fiction, biographies, poetry, and self help books
As I Turn the Pages – literary fiction, chick lit, memoirs, mysteries, historical fiction and contemporary YA
BookNAround – fiction, YA, narrative non-fiction (travel, cooking, etc.) and memoirs
Bemuda Onion’s Weblog
Everyday I Write the Book – literary fiction, some historical fiction, and memoirs
Carols Notebook – eclectic
Chick with Books – enjoy all genres
The Paperback Pursuer – recipe books, fiction, nonfiction, romance, biographies, children’s books, Christian lit
Can’t Put It Down – Mystery, Crime Thrillers, YA, Paranormal, Horror, Psychological Thrillers
Book Geek Central – YA: paranormal, fantasy, romance, chick lit, contemporary fiction, mysteries/thrillers, historical fiction
Lovez 2 Read – Christian and clean fiction, and children’s books
A Casual Reader’s Blog – almost any genre with a soft spot for fantasy
Lov Liv Life Reviews – Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, SteamPunk Romance and Sci-Fi Romance
FSB Media has a good Book Blogger Directory Search where you can search for more book bloggers by genre.
All the best with getting reviews for your book!