Whenever you buy a book on Amazon, you always check the rating and reviews. You also read over the book listing to see the reviews a book has gotten from prominent book reviewers and bloggers. So when you choose to self-publish your book, you know that reviews are extremely important. Here are seven tips on how to get reviews as a self-published author.
1) Know Your Target Audience
Before you start looking for reviews, you need to be sure that you’re targeting the right audience. That involves identifying precisely who that audience is. Who is your ideal reader? How old are they? What genres do they like best? What websites and blogs do they frequent?
The more questions you can answer about your ideal reader, the more likely you are to have a real idea of who your target audience is. If you want to promote your book, it’s essential that you know who exactly you are promoting to. Figuring out where they hang out online will help you to figure out where exactly you’ll want to have reviews, which we’ll discuss more in the next section.
2) Do Your Research
Once you have a strong sense of your audience, it’s time to do some research. Search online for the type of blogs you think would appeal to your target audience. Reedsy has a great list of book review blogs that you can filter by genre and whether the blog accepts indie books. If you’re self-publishing on Amazon, you can also research reviewers who review titles similar to yours and ask if they’d be willing to review your book.
One great way to research how to get reviews is to join some forums. Absolute Write is a great go-to where you’ll find plenty of helpful advice. Nathan Bransford, a writer who used to be a literary agent for Curtis Brown Ltd., has some fantastic forums on his website as well.
3) Write a Great Query Letter
While some reviewers will just ask you to send your book, most of them will want a query letter that introduces the book. If you ever queried an agent, this letter will be very similar to that. And if you haven’t, you can basically use your book’s blurb as your pitch. If you haven’t written your book’s blurb yet, you can kill two birds with one stone. Remember that this letter is meant to grab a reader’s attention and not let go.
It’s important to read each reviewer’s requirements when it comes to the query letter. You should also try to tailor each query letter to a reviewer—maybe you read a review of a similar book to yours, or know how a certain reviewer loves steampunk mysteries. Reviewers appreciate writers who have done their homework.
4) Follow Up
You definitely shouldn’t harass or stalk the reviewer, who is probably doing these reviews in their spare time. The site will likely have a window of time in which the reviewer will get back to you, and you should wait until that amount of time has gone by before getting in touch.
But if that much time does go by, there’s nothing wrong with sending a quick email to check in. It’s possible that your query got lost in the shuffle. It can be very helpful to be persistent when it comes to getting reviews for your book.
5) Thank the Reviewer
After a reviewer reviews your book, make sure to thank them for their work. They didn’t have to review your book, and as previously stated, the reviewer probably reviews books in their spare time. Really show how much you appreciate that the reviewer took the time to bring your book to the attention of more people.
When you thank the reviewer, include references to what you liked most about the review. You never know, a kind email may lead to this reviewer wanting to review more of your books in the future, and a good relationship with the website.
6) Utilize Social Media
Don’t forget to utilize your own social media following as you work to get reviews. Tell your followers on Twitter and Instagram about your book, perhaps sharing early mockups of the cover and asking for their opinions. This will get your followers excited about your book and more likely to review it once it comes out. You can still promote your book once it’s already out—with Amazon KDP Select you can run promotions where your book is discounted or free, which you can share with your followers
You should also sign up for Goodreads if you haven’t already and set up an author account. This site can be a treasure trove of reviews. Make sure to be engaged in the community, writing your own reviews and joining groups. That way you may make some new friends and catch more readers’ interest.
7) Just Ask
It can be easy to forget that you can just ask for reviews from people who have already read your book. It may be uncomfortable, but if someone tells you they liked the book, you should definitely ask them to leave a review on Amazon (or wherever) if they wouldn’t mind.
A follower or friend might have told you their thoughts on the book without realizing how much a review would help you, and would be happy to leave a few kind words. So whenever one of your followers reaches out with a compliment about your book, be quick to direct them toward leaving a review.
I hope these tips will help you to get some reviews for your book. You might be surprised how much having a few extra Amazon reviews or reviews posted on book blogs will improve your book’s visibility and sales.
Author’s Bio: Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from NYU in 2009, Jillian has had a long string of jobs doing things like scouting books to be adapted for film and researching trivia questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.
Follow her blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: https://www.fictionate.me.