A lot of authors, especially those new to publishing, never get book reviews because they simply don’t know how to go about doing it. They write a book, they self-edit books, they get its book cover designed, and then they put it up on Amazon. That’s it—they don’t do anything else.
Why? Aside from not knowing how to get started, there are several possible reasons: lack of confidence in the book that they wrote, the fear of getting negative feedback, the hesitancy caused by not being taken seriously, and the misconception that getting reviews is hard.
If these reasons resonate with you, but you’re here looking for ways to get more reviews, then you know that getting your book reviewed is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your book gets read by as many people as possible.
To state the obvious: the more positive reviews and editorial reviews you have for your book, the more likely people will buy and read it.
In this post, we’ll show you how to get book reviews. Further, this article will be your ultimate guide to help you figure out what to do and how to do it.
Let’s dive in!
Benefits Of Book Reviews
If you’re a self published author, you know how important it is to get your work out there. But with so many self published books being published every day, it can be hard to make yours stand out from the crowd. One way to do that is by getting reviews—and not just any reviews, but quality ones. Here are seven benefits of book reviews for authors.
1. Helps You Reach More Readers
When people see that your book has been reviewed by someone they trust, they’re more likely to check it out for themselves. A book’s review helps give potential readers the nudge they need to take a chance at your book.
2. Adds Credibility to Your Book
A quality book review can add a lot of credibility to your book. It’s like getting a stamp of approval from someone in the know, which can go a long way in convincing readers to give your book a try.
3. Drives Sales
At the end of the day, reviews like amazon reviews help drive more sales for indie authors and other authors. The more people who know about your book and have positive things to say about it, the more likely they are to buy it (or recommend it to others). And that’s music to any author’s ears!
4. Helps with SEO Efforts
Believe it or not, free book reviews can also help with your SEO efforts. That’s because when people search for your book online, reviews are often one of the first things that come up. So if you’ve got positive reviews and editorial reviews, prospective readers will see that immediately and be more likely to click through to your book’s page (where they may just decide to buy it).
5. Boosts Your Mood (and Authority)
Writing a good book is hard enough—promoting it shouldn’t have to be! But when you start seeing those positive reviews from review sites come in, it’s a great mood booster. It will make you feel good about all your hard work and give you a much-needed confidence boost as you continue promoting your book.
Keep in mind, though, that not every book review will be glowing—and that’s OK!
Not everyone will love your book as much as you do (just ask any bestselling author). Just remember that even negative reviews can have some benefits (like allowing you to engage with readers and build up your authority). So don’t sweat the haters—they’re just helping you build thicker skin!
6. Provides Valuable Feedback
Aside from being great for promotion, free book reviews can also provide valuable feedback about your book. What did readers like? What didn’t they like?
This information can help you fine-tune future self published books reviewed on amazon reviews and new york times or even make changes to the current one (if there’s still time!). So if someone takes the time to write a book review—positive or negative—be sure to take the time to read it and consider what they have to say. You may just learn something valuable!
7. Makes You Part of the Conversation
One of the best things about reviews is that they help you become part of the conversation around your book—and not just any conversation, but one that’s happening on a global scale! When people post reviews online, they’re usually doing so on platforms like Amazon and Goodreads, which means anyone in the world can read them. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it!
Types of Book Reviews
Before going all out in getting those reviews, you need to know which kind of book review will be more beneficial for you. There are two types of book reviews, and depending on the author’s goals, he would need one over the other or both. Check out the discussion below to figure out what type of book review is more suitable for you.
Professional Book Reviews
Professional book reviews come from critics working for trustworthy institutions such as reputable publications, newspapers, magazines, websites/blogs, and other services. Because these reviews come from credible sources, many readers are more trusting with what the reviews say. This can be a double-edged sword for authors.
If a professional book reviewer that publishes reviews on publishers weekly or reviews on amazon liked a book and gave great feedback about it, it would benefit the author. But what if the book review is negative?
If you’re wondering whether or not to pursue getting a professional book review, here is a more detailed discussion of its pros and cons.
|Regarded as honest and unbiased||Is based on one person’s thoughts/opinion only|
|Trusted by librarians and book retailers||Does not have a direct impact on a book’s ranking on Amazon (or another book-selling platform)|
|Can be used in book marketing materials||Difficult to obtain|
As mentioned above, most reviews from professional book critics definitely carry weight since they are seen as honest and unbiased. Because of that, publishing industry experts (librarians, book retailers, and the like.) rely on these reviews when deciding what to add to their shelves. They can also be flaunted, like badges of honor on the book’s cover, author’s website, review program, press release, and other book marketing materials.
Professional book reviewers and book review editors are usually very well-versed in their subject matter, so they are more likely to be honest and objective when reviewing books.
However, they can also be subjective. Aside from the fact that it is hard to get these reviews, if you are fortunate to get one professional review, it is going to be the opinion of just one person. What if your book didn’t match that reviewer’s profile and taste? A negative review from a professional critic who reviews books for an online magazine or book blog can be harmful to your book’s reputation.
Also, although a professional and honest review can be showcased on your book’s “Editorial Review” section on Amazon, it does not affect your ranking on book-selling platforms (i.e., Amazon). On the other hand, crowd-sourced book reviews can do that.
Crowd-Sourced Book Reviews
Crowd-sourced reviews are those people see on book marketplaces such as Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. These reviews are written on a book’s product listing page by readers who bought them on mentioned platforms. Allowing buyers to leave a positive review on a book they bought gives them the opportunity to voice their feelings on whether or not the money they spent was worth it.
|More people can give feedback||Reviews can be contradictory and frustrating|
|Can contribute to a book’s ranking on online marketplaces||Rarely used by book industry professionals|
|Can convince more readers to buy||More prudent buyers do not always trust these reviews|
Crowd-sourced book reviews allow people to give feedback and ratings, which directly impacts a book’s ranking on online bookselling platforms. So, if your self published book has gone through beta reading and revising, it should be able to get positive reviews to convince more readers to buy it.
Yes, you may get a variety of feedback from crowdsourced reviews, but they may be contradictory. Some may be from knowledgeable readers, while some may be from not-so-competent buyers.
Crowdsourced reviews are also not as credible as professional reviews because an impartial party or expert does not write them. Even fake reviews can get through. This is why booksellers, librarians, and skeptic readers do not trust these reviews as much.
Crowdsourced reviews are an excellent place to get a feel for what people think about a new book and can convince more readers to buy, but they are not as trustworthy as reviews from professionals that are relied upon by book industry experts. Based on these, it is up to you to identify which type of review you should try to get.
There’s no guarantee that a book will get good reviews from professional book reviewers, book review editors, or even crowd reviewers, but there are ways to increase the chances of getting good reviews.
Get Beta Reviewers First
The first step to getting book reviews is to make sure that your book is worthy of a review. Indeed, you’ll want to make sure that it’s high quality, well-written, and that you’re a strong writer. How do you do this? Get beta reviewers.
Beta reviewers are one of the best you can have in your writing business arsenal. These are people who read a book before it is published.
They give feedback on what could be improved and how the book could be made better. This is necessary to get a general feel of how people will react to a book once it is available to a larger audience.
Want to get a lot of positive reviews when your book is published? Then you need to make sure that your book is a good one to start with, and beta reviewers can help you do this with their comments.
Any potential negative feedback from readers and book lovers after publication can be avoided by addressing them before the book launch. While nobody can please everybody, the risk of being severely criticized can be mitigated, and the chances of getting more positive reviews can be increased when you work with beta readers.
It’s not a small decision to have beta readers review your new books and other books, as they will be the first ones to read it. This is why it’s important to make sure that you’re choosing the right people.
A positive review is only as good as the reviewer’s. Reviews from people with an axe to grind are generally not very helpful, so you should trust free reviews of hard copies from people who are well-known in their field.
Do I Need to Pay Beta Readers?
It depends. For example, if you are famous, people will likely be clamoring to become one of your beta readers for the opportunity of getting your book reviewed for free. If you aren’t that popular, there are professional beta readers for hire. According to an article on Medium.com, depending on how long your book is, beta readers can charge $25 to $300.
However, self-published authors who are bootstrapping can get reviews for free in exchange for a copy of their book. You can get some ideas on how to do this below. Finding reviewers that can become a potential reader, can read multiple genres like non fiction or fiction, and have enough time to read and deliver should be a priority when choosing who should get your book.
Where Do I Find Beta Readers?
Remember, there are many people out there who could do this job for you. However, you should only choose people who have good writing skills or are knowledgeable about your niche. Your book needs to get reviewed by someone who can give you valuable feedback. You want to make sure that you won’t end up wasting time and money.
Ask yourself these questions: Will these people be able to give me a fair assessment of my book? Do these people have a good understanding of what makes a good book? Can these readers provide me with valuable feedback and suggestions?
Here are some great places to start when looking for beta readers:
Your Email List
There are three reasons why getting beta readers from an author’s email list is a good idea. First of all, you will get feedback from people actively involved in your industry when using a mailing address for events like a book launch or a new series release.
They are people who can give you insights that you will find valuable when you send a personalized email to other authors and readers. It might be time consuming, but encouraging people to read books and informing them of your next book can make them pay close attention to you. Secondly, your followers are already familiar with your writing style and your content. Lastly, they will do it for free in exchange for a free copy of a non fiction or literary fiction book written by someone they admire.
Local Writing Groups
Try searching online if there are writing groups in your area. You can also go to your local library and local university or college and ask the librarian or English professors if they know of any writing clubs or orgs.
You can join these groups and attend their events. Aside from getting new friends, you will also have resources with the same passion as yours. Members from these groups are often willing to review books for free to help a writer from their locality.
There would be two types of communities you can look for: writing groups and niche groups on facebook groups and other free book platforms. Writing projects groups have members who will be happy to review upcoming releases; they usually have experienced writers or reading enthusiasts, which means that they can provide helpful feedback.
Niche groups, on the other hand, will have very knowledgeable members about specific topics.
If you wrote a book about real estate investing, joining online communities of real estate investors will lead you to many people who know the topic you wrote inside out, so they can make very targeted comments. Many platforms have communities—Facebook, Goodreads, and Reddit are great places to go.
How to Get Book Reviews Once It’s Published
Once you’ve gotten reviews from beta readers, edited and revised your manuscript, and published your book for the whole world, you now need to get as many reviews as possible. Here are some strategies you can use.
Prompt Your Readers to Give You a Review
You may be surprised to learn that there’s an easy way to increase your online reviews. Simply place a short call-to-action (CTA) on the last page of your book. It can be as simple as saying, “Thank you for reading my book. If you have enjoyed it and found it beneficial, I would love to hear your thoughts about it on your favorite online book store. Your support and feedback will be a great help for this indie author.” Not everyone will act, but this will help you get more reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and other stores compared to not having a CTA at all.
Reach Out to Relevant Book Bloggers
There are book bloggers that are willing to review a book for free. Some of them earn through affiliate marketing, where they link out to the book’s listing (i.e., on Amazon) on their review. This way, if their readers got interested in the book they reviewed in their book review blog post, the new readers can easily click on the affiliate links, and the reviewers get paid a commission from the purchases.
You can find many free book blogger directories online. However, keep in mind to contact only those involved in your genre and have audiences interested in your niche. Aside from their websites, they often leave positive and bad reviews on Goodreads and Amazon as well.
Reach Out to Amazon’s Top Reviewers in Your Genre
Amazon publishes a list of its top reviewers, which are chosen based on a number of criteria. You can comb through the list to find those reviewers who include a website to add reviews or personal email address in their profile.
These people are usually happy to accept review requests from authors, so it might be worth sending them a request. If your book is about a subject or genre they like, they may be willing to review it.
Get Discovered in Reedsy Discovery
Reedsy Discovery is a platform that allows authors to submit their books and have them shared with Reedsy’s readers. It also has Discovery writers who choose more books to review. A book that received a good review from a Discovery writer will be featured in Reedsy’s newsletter, which is sent to thousands of subscribers weekly.
Find Reviewers on Social Media
There are several ways you can utilize social media to get people to review your book. You can post enticing content for your followers and lead them to your book listing.
It’s a good idea to run free promotions of your book for some time while you are doing social media campaigns to get better results. Remember not to just post about your book. Build relationships with your followers by engaging with them.
You can also do targeted searches to find most reviewers on social networking sites and free book review sites. For example, you can follow the hashtag #bookstagram, and you’ll see posts on your feed from people using the hashtag, who are most likely bookworms. On Twitter, you can search the hashtags #bookreviewer and #bookreview to find people posting about their positive and bad reviews.
Take note, too that it is best to pick just one or two social media platforms to be very active in to prevent overwhelm and to master the use of these platforms truly.
Run a Member Giveaway on LibraryThing
LibraryThing is a website that’s devoted to books but also functions as a social networking site where authors can connect to readers and other book lovers. People there use it to catalog, discuss, and review books, so you’ll likely find people who will be interested in your book.
You can take advantage of its “Member Giveaway” feature, where you can raffle several copies of your book to the members. It’s up to you to decide how many you want to give away and whether to give printed books or ebooks.
Winners are not required to give reviews, but you can connect with them, and if you build a friendly relationship with them, they’ll be more than willing to post a review of your book. They can do it on LibraryThing, Goodreads, Amazon, their blog, or their social media accounts.
Extra Tip: You can also run a Goodreads Giveaway.
Maximize Your Use of Your Book Reviews
A book review is a wonderful way to build your personal brand, establish yourself as an expert, and increase your influence and authority. It’s also a great way to generate more book sales. To help you get the most out of your book reviews and use them to your advantage, here are several ways you can use to maximize the impact and influence of your book reviews.
Use reviews for your own benefit.
The more positive reviews you receive, the more inspired you will become at writing because it will help you gain the following:
- A sense of accomplishment
- A boost in confidence
- A better understanding of yourself
- New opportunities to be published
- A network of people who believe in you
Use excerpts from positive professional reviews on your marketing materials.
Online reviews are very important to your business. They can be a great way to drive additional interest in your book. They will also show that your book is a valuable resource for professionals in your field. Using excerpts from reviews can help you make a better impression on potential customers and give you more credibility.
Use them on your website and social media posts.
As a newly published writer, you are a brand new product that has just been introduced to the market. You need to get the attention of the people who might buy your product.
You would never put your new product in the stores without customers’ positive reviews and testimonials. And, you want the people who are reading your review to know that they will be happy with your product.
Positive reviews for your book can have a huge influence on people. Thus, it’s a good idea to post the positive reviews you get on your website, social media accounts, or even mainstream media. Indeed, these reviews will both intrigue and impress your followers.
How to Handle Negative Reviews
Have someone else read the negative reviews about your book first.
If you are not in a position to pay for a professional pre-screening, just ask for help from your mom, friend, or literary agent if you have one. It will help you understand what people are saying about your book without emotional involvement. After someone screens the reviews, you’ll know if each negative review is valid or unreasonable.
Take note of criticisms that are valid.
No matter how hard you work on it, you’ll never write a perfect book. In fact, no one can write a perfect book. When a critique is given in a helpful and constructive way, take it as a chance to improve. Be thankful for them because they will lead to a better version of your book.
Ignore unreasonably mean and hateful reviews.
Unreasonable negative reviews can be like the Dementors in Azkaban. They will suck out the light and happiness within you, so try your best to filter them out. There is no point in getting stressed out because of nasty people.
You’ve got a great book. It’s been through the editing process, it’s done its beta testing, and it’s ready to go out into the world. You’ve done all the hard work, so why don’t you see more book reviews? The answer is simple: you haven’t done the right thing to get those reviews.
Although every author’s book is different, thankfully, the process of getting more reviews is practically universal. To sum it up, it boils down to two things: making sure you have a well-written book that deserves great reviews and being confident enough to put it in front of as many people as possible is pretty straightforward (i.e., Discovery writers, book bloggers, Amazon top reviewers).
Watch our podcast episode about book reviews!