How To Find Book Reviewers
Now that you’re up and running, even if it’s your first book, you’re going to want reviews. There’s nothing we consumers like more than a little social proof before making a decision.
We judge everything on other people’s opinions, not that that’s the best way to live your life, but that’s for another blog post on another day. Whether it’s movies, TV shows, holidays, all comes down to what other people thought of them.
And for you and your book, your publishing business is unfortunately going to live or die on the reviews you get. You can write the best book since The Hunger Games, but if you’ve only got a couple of one star reviews on show, your book is going to be seen as a mess that no one wants to touch.
How To Find Book Reviewers – 5 Things To Keep In Mind About Book Reviews
But before we get to the topic of getting reviews, let’s take a closer look at book reviews themselves. What makes them so special?
1 – Decision Making – Firstly, book reviews help customers make a better decision when buying their next book. If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter books and a reviewer mentions that the story line was almost as good as that series was, chances are good that that customers will purchase that book based on that statement. The author may make a similar claim in the book blurb, but seeing it repeated by a third party can make it more enticing to buy.
2 – Builds Community – Book reviews, like a Facebook post or YouTube video,
can sometimes take on a life of their own as a community builds around it. You’ll find that a reviewer comment gets piggybacked on by another reviewer and before you know it you’ve a community all arguing for and against the content or writing of the book.
3 – Describes Books Better To An Audience – Sometimes a well written review can speak to an audience much better than the blurb the author has on their book. Reading a well written review can take an aspect of the book that the author either didn’t mention, or do justice to, and bring customers attention to it. They can also point out a glowing fault in your book that you hadn’t noticed. 🙂
Personally, I had a reviewer mention something I had in my book that didn’t belong there. I’d stupidly mentioned a device that hadn’t been invented at the time the book took place. I thanked the reviewer and quickly fixed the problem straight away.
4 – It Gives Everyone A Voice – We’re all opinionated people, we know what we like and we know what we don’t. And book reviews give us a chance to vent our anger, express our feelings, and convince others that what we say matters. There’s also a part in all of us that likes to puff out our chest and say that we were the first to see a movie, or have an experience that others didn’t have. Book reviews appeal to that part of us and allows us to put our flag in the ground before everyone else gets there.
5 – Book Ranking – You may have already been aware that book reviews affect your ranking in the Amazon store. The algorithm may be unknown to us, but it does help with book ranking. A book that ranks higher than 4 stars (anything lower than that is seen as not recommended) will find itself achieving a better ranking.
It also comes into play when it comes to promoting your book on some book promotion sites. Have a low ranking, or small amount of reviews, and they may turn you down for any paid promotions.
What Do Book Reviewers Look For?
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what a book review is, you should also be aware of the type of reviewer you can attract to your book. In most cases, they fall between these two categories, subjective and objective.
Objective Reviewers – These reviewers are more interested in the building blocks of your work. Things like, how you worked with dialogue, built characters, the mechanics of the story, and the quality of your illustrations all come into play with them. These people know what they like and also what they don’t like.
You’ll probably find these types of reviewers are sticklers for grammar and can spot a missing comma a mile off. They can come across as more intimidating then the second type of reviewer but that’s just the way they’re wired.
Subjective Reviewers – These reviewers are more interested in how your work made them feel. They’re more inclined to tell you how they were moved by what happened to the character, how the happy ending left them with a glow, and that they’ll be back for more if you can make them feel that way again. You’ll also find these reviewers will go through your book and give a blow by blow synopsis of what the character was going through and how it made them feel.
Now that you know what to expect, you may be wondering if it’s a good idea taking your new born creation to them for examination. I mean what if they hate it?
Don’t worry. There are ways of protecting your little creation while it finding its feet, and I’m going to show you a few. But before I do, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself this question… “Would I be happy to pay good money for what I’ve produced?”
If you can’t answer that with an emphatic “Yes,” you’re wasting your time. If you don’t believe in what you’ve created, you can’t expect a stranger to take the time to give your book a good review. It’s never going to happen.
Now if you are more positive that you’ve got something they’ll like, just follow the simple ABC’s of getting book reviews.
The ABC’s Of Getting Book Reviews
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 – If you’re not asking for a review at the end of your book, you honestly need your head examined. Once your reader has completed the book you’ve got them 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 now 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.”
I shouldn’t have to say, but each of the above review requests should be
hyperlinked directly to your books review page. Rather than the book page itself. The less effort your reader has to put in the better.
For example, this is a link to the Mail Order Bride book ‘The Irish Runaway.’ https://www.amazon.com/Mail-Order-BrideRunaway-Western-ebook/dp/B014LRVBSC
This on the other hand, is a link directly to the book’s review page
Test out various statements and questions on your review pages and see which one creates the most reviews for you. For more ideas on what to use to intrigue readers, think along the lines of those clickbait articles you see at the bottom of a lot of media sites.
You’ve probably seen some of their headiness like….” You won’t believe what she did next?” …. “I was shock when she said this!” … “Would you have the courage to say what she did?”
Pay attention to the wording and how they make you want to click each link. Then use it to get your own readers to click through.
IMPORTANT – Test which ones work best. To track the clicks on your review links, you can use a service like bit.ly. Once you create an account there, you’ll be able to see in the dashboard which of your shortened links are getting the most click throughs.
Once you see one performing better than the others, simply get rid of the
weaker, less inspiring review links, and put in your best performing one. – If you don’t track and test, you’ll never know.
How To Write Book Reviews
Don’t Assume All Readers Know How To Leave A Review
There’s also other challenges in asking for a 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 then 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.
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 character in your next book named after them. 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 if you’re a kids author? 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 mightn’t 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 team 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/bookreviews/
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 book is a nonstarter 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. But if you don’t, here’s another great way to find book reviewers. If you’d like to know how I built a list of reviewers I could call on at any time, go here now.