I’ve received some questions about getting book reviews, so let’s look at that today.
Start by writing book reviews
I’ve always said that the best way to get book reviews is to give them to others. Definitely NOT in any kind of quid pro quo arrangement, but if you’re writing books/ ebooks (let’s just call them books :-)), you should be reading them.
After you read a book you enjoyed, post a review. You can send a quick social media message to the author about the review. Leave it at that. You wrote your review because you enjoyed the book. If you didn’t finish the book, or hated it, don’t bother with the review. Your purpose in writing reviews is to form relationships with other authors, rather than developing a hobby as a reviewer.
Aside from becoming known as a generous author who provides reviews, here’s the biggest benefit: you’ll learn a lot. You learn how to write by reading. Thinking about books you enjoyed reading, and writing about them, will help your own writing.
Approach book bloggers: offer Advance Reading Copies (ARCs)
I’ve written about book reviews on the Just Write a Book Blog. You can check out the how to get book reviews without slitting your wrists article here. I said:
Book bloggers with popular blogs have huge numbers of books to read. As with the Goodreads’ people, look for bloggers who share your taste in books.
Before you approach any book blogger, become a constant reader. Comment on reviews they’ve written. All bloggers appreciate comments. They’ll love the fact that you stop by, and you’ll be known to them before you ask for a review.
Follow the same routine as above. Be friendly and open, and make it clear that you’re interested in what they think of your book because you respect them. And tell them that you’re happy to wait.
Get reviews via your own blog
You knew I was going to talk about blogging, didn’t you? Yes, you need a blog, and you need to talk about your books on your blog. Once you have a readership, even if you only get 40 readers a day, you can let your readers know that you have ARCs, and would appreciate a review, if they have their own blog.
Of course, once you have readers, you can ask for beta readers too, before you do the final edits on a book.
The key: relationships
When you write reviews, comment on book blogs, and use social media, you’re forming relationships. Those relationships will bring you reviews.
Important: you’re not providing ARCs for reviews. You HOPE that someone will give you a review, but you can’t compel them. Consider that anyone who gives you a review is giving you their time, and energy. Be grateful that someone took the time to ask for an ARC, and try to make all your interactions pleasant. You’re building relationships today, which will stand you in good stead for years.
Don’t sweat reviews
Many authors, especially new authors, believe that their book will be an instant bestseller, if only they can get a few more reviews. That may well be so. I know that if you want to run a BookBub ad, you need to have a lot of reviews — 20 or so? I could be wrong, so you’ll need to check that.
However, there’s something that is MUCH more important than beating the bushes to scare up some reviews. It’s this: writing. If someone loves your book, you’d love it if they wrote a review, but you’d love it even more if they bought your other five books. So, unless you have a respectable Amazon catalogue, with lots of books for readers to buy, don’t sweat reviews.
You WILL get reviews organically, when you keep writing and publishing. They’ll be genuine reviews, from people who love your work — and some who don’t of course, but that comes with the territory.
Getting book reviews can be scary, however, it’s not THAT scary. You wrote a book, the first of many. You hope readers will love it as much as you do. However, when all’s said and done, getting book reviews is just marketing.
You need to market, but marketing works best when you accept that it takes time. The tenth time a reader sees your name, he may buy your book. One in thousand readers will write a review.
Focus on writing great books. You’ll get better with each book, and you’ll get book reviews too.
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