An Author’s Guide to Securing Reviews for Your Book
Whether you want to boost traction on your Amazon page or gain a blurb from a respected industry publication, there are plenty of reasons for seeking out book reviews. In the short-term, reviews lend your book credibility and can help you get your foot in the door when it comes to booking events and landing media interest. In the long-term, these endorsements can help you build your brand, increase name-recognition, and develop hype for future releases.
The benefits of a positive review can’t be overstated!
So what types of reviews are out there exactly, and what’s the best strategy for approaching reviewers? Keep reading for our team’s time-tested tips and tricks!
Once you have an ARC prepared (not sure what an ARC is? More info here), you can begin sending out copies to fellow authors or relevant professionals, asking for their endorsement.
It’s important to start this process early, so you can add the blurbs you receive to the interior praise page or front/back cover of your book before it heads to print.
Most of the time, it’s an author’s responsibility to ask for endorsements. You should reach out to your personal connections – think fellow writers from your workshop, experts in niche fields who helped you with research, and authors who share the same publisher as you. You’ll have a much better chance at receiving a “yes” from someone who already knows you and your book!
That said, if you do receive a “no,” don’t be discouraged! Many authors have a large stack of books they’ve committed to reading and blurbing, and sometimes, it just isn’t possible to add another.
Stay positive and persistent in your outreach and you’re sure to end up with a great set of endorsements!
Industry Reviews: Paid and Unpaid
Next up, you should consider industry reviews.
Reviews with trade publications such as Kirkus, Foreword, Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal are a great way to get your book in front of industry professionals–especially librarians and booksellers. A positive blurb from one of these respected outlets can go a long way!
If you are interested in a free submission, be sure to read the fine print regarding deadlines and eligibility, as each publication has its own requirements.
Most of these publications also offer paid submissions which give you a bit more flexibility, especially if you’re working on a tight timeline and need to guarantee a review.
For more information about industry reviews, check out my previous article here.
Influencers–whether they’re bloggers, Bookstagrammers or BookTokers–are an essential part of every author’s review strategy. Don’t overlook them! These reviewers often have significant sway over others, and tend to be fiercely loyal readers, meaning if they enjoy one of your books, they’ll be willing to check out your future releases too.
If you aren’t sure where to begin in your outreach to influencers, start by creating a list of comparable titles that are similar to your book in theme, tone, and genre. The best comp titles are books that are popular, have been published fairly recently (within the last 5 years) and have been generally well received.
Next, search for reviews of your comp titles and select reviewers who reacted positively to those books. Before sending them a message asking for a review, be sure to check their site for submission guidelines. This is crucial because if you neglect to follow their guidelines, they’ll likely reject your submission or skip right over your email.
If an influencer agrees to take a look at your book, be sure to thank them! And when the review is posted, share it on your social media pages and show your support. Keep in mind that bloggers are almost always working for free, and aren’t compensated for their time. A kind gesture will mean a lot!
Reader reviews, like the ones that are posted on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon, don’t necessarily come from book industry professionals or influencers. Usually, these reviews represent the layperson’s opinion, and they can give you a good idea of the general public’s early reception to your book.
Here are a few tips for securing more reader reviews:
List your book on NetGalley.
NetGalley boasts a community of over 400,000 readers, and it’s a great place to share piracy-protected ebooks with readers in exchange for their honest opinions. There are also plenty of advertising opportunities on NetGalley that can help you boost exposure, ultimately gaining more downloads and reviews!
Want to see a case study on how NetGalley reviews transferred over to Goodreads? Check that out here.
Conduct a Goodreads giveaway
Offering free copies of your book as part of a giveaway will boost your visibility on Goodreads, and often leads to more reviews for your page. It’s worth noting that Amazon, which owns Goodreads, charges a fee for setting up the giveaway. But it’s a good opportunity, if it fits in your budget!
Recruit the support of your network
Lastly, be sure to connect with your personal network via email or social media, asking friends and family to share their reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.
Now that you’ve acquired various praise quotes, let’s make the most of them!
You can add endorsements/review blurbs to:
- Your book’s front and/or back cover, and an interior praise page
- NetGalley or Edelweiss listings
- The Editorial Reviews section of your book’s Amazon page and your book’s metadata with Ingram to help reach other retail sites like Barnes & Noble
- Your press kit
- Advertising (print and online)
- Marketing materials (bookmarks, swag items)
- Your author website
- Your email signature
And with that, your hard work will continue to benefit your author career for years to come.
Jackie Karneth is a publicist with Books Forward is an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.