A – Ask For Reviews.
As the old saying from the Bible says, “Ask and you shall receive.” Don’t ask and you can’t expect readers to take the initiative and do it for you. So, how do you ask for a review?
BACK OF YOUR BOOK – As you’ve seen from watching the videos, one important extra page to add to your book is your review page. This should be placed just after the reader has completed the book and is at their warmest point in doing so. I don’t know about you, but once I close a book, it’s a one in a million chance I’ll ever think of opening that book again and posting a review for it. You’ve only got a moment to get your foot in the door so make it count. There are many ways to word your review page to get readers to click through and do it. The weakest one would be a simple “Review My Book,” which isn’t very inspiring and won’t get you the results you’re looking for. Here are a couple of suggestions you could try out today…
– “I’d love to know what you thought of the book? Click here to tell me now or Scroll to the back of the book to do so.” – “Did you see what other readers said about this book? Click here to see if you agree with them.” – “I was floored with the review this book got, do you agree with it?” – “Would you tell a friend about this book? Why not tell others too by leaving a review? I’m sure they’d appreciate it. I know I would.”
Test out various statements and questions on your review pages and see which one creates the most reviews for you. Once you find one that out performs the others, stick with it.
There also other challenges in asking for book review that you mightn’t be aware of. One of those is assuming your readers know how to leave a review. Like not asking for your review, don’t assume your readers know how to leave one. It can be easy to think that because you know how to leave a review that your readers do too. Don’t. If you’ve got a website, blog or Facebook page that readers view regularly, create an article outlining all the steps on how to leave
a review, and especially how to leave a good one. Explain to them that a short sentence of “This book is great, buy it,” isn’t what you’re looking for. Ask them how they felt about the book, the characters, the story-line, and offer this up in their review. You can also post a link to a video like this which give details on how to leave a book review. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ3ItHVXYvg
CONTACT BLOG OWNERS/FACEBOOK GROUPS IN YOUR NICHE – No matter what niche, age range your book is geared toward, you’ll find a wealth of places to go to after a simple Google search. Got a book geared toward younger children? Contact popular mother and parenting blogs/Facebook groups and ask if they’d be interested in looking at your book and offering a review.
Simply use the keyword – “Parenting” + blog, “Parenting” + website, “Parenting” + forum, “Parenting” + Google group, “Parenting” + Facebook, for a wealth of places to contact.
Just explain that you’re a new author getting started and you’d be grateful for any help and reviews they can give you. Most people online are only too happy to help and know what it’s like starting out without an audience. Build a relationship with the owners and look for what you can give them, rather than the other way around. Offer them details of your next free book giveaways to give to their readers. Even create a competition for their readers where the winner gets a book named after their child. The possibilities are endless and it all starts with you reaching out for simple book review. 🙂
OFFLINE – Just because your book is online doesn’t mean you should only stick to online methods for getting reviews. Why not go offline too? Most local papers, radio stations, are always on the lookout for a story with a local edge to it. Why not give it to them with a story of your new book and your journey into the world of book publishing? This way you can kill two birds with the one stone. You get a review from a published paper, or radio station, and you’ve just made a whole lot of people aware of you and your books with the free publicity. You could also send information of real world magazines too. Or how about parenting magazines, or baby magazines? You might question your ability to do it and if they’ll get back to you but go for it. You never know what a little request for a review could do for you and your books.
B – Build A Team
No successful author ever made it without a team working for them, and it’s going to be the same for you. From book cover designers, editors, proof readers, there are a lot of people most readers aren’t aware of that work on a
book before it reaches their hands. You might have the large budget of a large publishing company, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start building your own street team.
So, what is a street team? To break it down to its smallest component, all a street team is is a group of dedicated and loyal fans that go out and promote you and your book. Like a group of people that put up fly posters to promote an event, you too can and should, put together a group of dedicated fans to promote and review your books. Building one isn’t complicated and is something that will grow as you grow a bigger fan base, but there are ways of building one from your first day publishing. Here are a few ways to find these people…
Twitter/Facebook – If you get a retweet or like from someone you don’t know, build a relationship with them and ask them if they’d be interested in helping you out with further retweets/likes, or giving a review.
Websites/Blogs/Forums – Once you’re up and working on the tips from the previous section on getting reviews. You’ll find that you’ll build a relationship with some of these people. Ask them if they’d be interested in helping you out with future books, by promoting to their group, helping you get reviews, or simply let others know what you’re doing.
Readers – These are the people you’ll have the strongest relationship with. Some will reach out to you through email, reviews, or on social media. These people are your greatest asset and one you should reach out to when looking for a review for your next book. If they like your work already they’ll only be too happy to help.
When building your street team don’t make the mistake that you need a large number of people to help you and neglect the few you have in the search for new ones. Even a small team of ten people can make a big difference when you’re starting off. So, don’t get caught up in the numbers, it’s not the size that matters but how dedicated they are.
Having said that, you will find over time that some members on your team will lose their usefulness. This is to be expected as people lives and priorities change and you mightn’t be on their minds as much as you used to be. Don’t be afraid of going through your group from time and time and trimming it back.
You could also inspire more action by mixing it up and limiting the number of free books on offer. Giving away a hundred free books to a hundred teams members mightn’t give you the same results as only giving twenty books away. Creating a little scarcity and rotating through your group for reviews,
means that not everyone is on call to give a review on each book, and they’ll be more responsive when it’s their turn to do it.
C – Cash – Paying For Reviews
Now before I begin, don’t even consider going down the path of paying for reviews. It’s a no, no and one that’ll get you into trouble quicker than you can say “Amazon police.” In the early days of online self-publishing you could have got away with this, but that train has long left the station. A lot of well earning self-published authors found this out the hard way. It might seem tempting to go to a site like Fiverr.com and purchase some reviews for your book, but Amazon is aware of this practice and is onto the game. So, in a word, “DON’T!”
But why bring up the topic of paying for reviews if it’s not the done thing to do? Believe it or not there are several sites you can use that promise to deliver reviews in exchange for cash, two of those are https://www.choosybookworm.com/book-reviews/ and http://marketxposure.com/packages/ . Each site offers packages which the sites promises that your book will be reviewed, and when I say reviewed I mean with an honest review. As you know, for a book reviewer to review your book, first they’ve got to read it. And what better way to get someone to sit down and actually open your book is to pay them for doing so.
Personally, I don’t like this method, in that you can’t guarantee the person looking at your book is the kind of person you want reviewing it. And the cost. Going to either of these sites and purchasing a review package can set you back between $104 to $209 for Choosyworm.com and $340 to $790 for Marketxposure.com.
I don’t know about you, but offering this type of money for reviewing a children’s book is a non-starter and one I recommend you avoid. After going through the A and B section alone, you should have more than enough people to call on when you need a review.