4 star book review

How to Get Book Reviews

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 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 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. 

Sounds interesting? 

Let’s dive in!

Types of Book Reviews

Before going all out in getting those reviews, you need to know which kind of 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 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, and websites/blogs. Because these reviews come from credible sources, readers are more trusting with what the reviews say. This can be a double-edged sword for authors. If a professional book reviewer liked a book and gave great feedback about it, it will give lots of benefits to the author. But what if the 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.

ProsCons
Regarded as honest and unbiasedIs based on one person’s thoughts/opinion only
Trusted by librarians and book retailersDoes not have a direct impact on a book’s ranking on Amazon (or another book selling platform)
Can be used in marketing materialsDifficult to obtain

Pros

As mentioned above, 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, press releases, and other marketing materials.

Cons

Professional book reviewers 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 taste? A negative review from a professional critic can be harmful to your book’s reputation.

Also, although a professional 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

crowdsourcing infographic

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 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.

ProsCons
More people can give feedbackReviews can be contradictory and frustrating
Can contribute to a book’s ranking on online marketplacesRarely used by book industry professionals
Can convince more readers to buyMore prudent buyers do not always trust these reviews

Pros

Crowd-sourced book reviews allow more people to give feedback and ratings, which has a direct impact on a book’s ranking on online bookselling platforms. So, if your book had gone through beta reading and revising, it should be able to get positive reviews to convince more readers to buy it.

Cons

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 they are not written by an impartial party or expert. Even fake reviews can get through. This is why booksellers, librarians, and skeptic readers do not trust these reviews as much.

Crowdsourced reviews are a good place to get a feel for what people think about a 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 a professional reviewer 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 on 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 after publication can be avoided by addressing them prior to 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 book, 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 review is only as good as the reviewer. Reviews from people with an axe to grind are generally not very helpful, so you should trust reviews from people who are well-known in their field.

Do I Need to Pay Beta Readers?

It depends. For example, if you are famous, it is very likely that people will be clamoring to become one of your beta readers for the opportunity of getting your book 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.

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 with when looking for beta readers:

Your Email List

There are three reasons why it’s a good idea to get beta readers from an author’s email list. First of all, you are going to get feedback from people who are actively involved in your industry. They are people who can give you insights that you will find valuable. 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 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 that have the same passion as yours. Members from these groups are often willing to review books for free to help a writer from their locality.

Online Communities

There would be two types of communities you can look for: writing groups and niche groups. Writing 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 members that are very knowledgeable about specific topics. If you wrote a book about real estate investing, joining online communities of real estate investors will lead you to a lot of people who know the topic you wrote inside-out, so they can make very targeted comments. There are many platforms that 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 to see, you now need to get as many reviews as you can. 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 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 books 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 on their blog post, the readers can easily click on the affiliate links, and the reviewers get paid a commission from the purchases.

You can find many book blogger directories online. However, keep in mind to contact only those who are involved in your genre and have audiences who are interested in your niche. Aside from their websites, they often leave 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 or 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 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 more 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 a period of time while you are doing social media campaigns to get better results. Remember to not just post about your book. Build relationships with your followers by engaging with them. 

You can also do targeted searches to find reviewers on social networking 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 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 truly master the use of these platforms.

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. 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 great 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 author, 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 positive reviews and positive testimonials from customers. 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 and social media accounts. 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.

Final Thoughts

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 aren’t you seeing 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 (i.e. Discovery writers, book bloggers, Amazon top reviewers).

Watch our podcast episode about book reviews!

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