Book Reviews: How to get Honest Reviews for your Book
Ask any published author – What now? The typical answer would be – reviews for my book!!!
Publishing a book is only half a battle won for any author; the second half starts once the book is published. The second half is promoting the book, which is more challenging, especially for a new author. That said, there has never been a better time for an author, and there have never been more book reviewers available, thanks to the digital world.
The Significance of Getting Book Reviews
Book reviews are very important for any author, especially for new ones. Why? Readers have never read your work, and they have no trust built up in your writing. Before buying your book, readers want to know that your book is worth their money or not, and the most common way to know is through reviews.
The most viewed platforms where potential readers would check book reviews are Amazon, Instagram, and Goodreads.
Factors to Consider while Asking for Reviews
Few things that you should keep in mind while approaching readers for reviews are:
- Know your audience. Keep a few questions in mind, such as “Who will read my book?”, “What audience will enjoy my genre?” Answers to basic questions like these would help you lay down a proper and concrete marketing strategy. For instance: if you have written a YA romance novel, your target audience would be readers between 15-25 years.
- Consider giving out an Advance Review Copy of your book so that you would have few reviews in place by the time the book is published. Consider giving out ARCs 5-6 months before the publishing date so that the readers would have enough time to read the book and write the reviews!
- Consider putting up your book on book review blogs and websites, such as NetGalley and Reedsy, where reviewers can discover your book and review it!
- Before you send out the book to any blogger, reviewer, or platform to get the reviews, make sure that the book is formatted well and professionally. It looks appeal, and the presentation of the book should match the quality inside.
- Consider sending out digital copies to the reviewers. Sending out digital copies is very easy and costs peanuts. Check out different apps like Bookfunnel and Instafreebie, which can easily generate ARC download links that can be sent out to reviewers.
Ways of Getting Reviews for a Newly Published Book
- Call to Action at the back of your book – Every author should do this as this is the simplest way to start getting reviews. Put a line at the end of the book – ‘Thanks for reading my book. If you enjoyed reading the book, please consider leaving an honest review on Amazon and Goodreads.’ When a reader sees this at the end of the book, their chances of leaving a review increase.
- Make your eBook available for free – One thing you need to accept as an author is that not everyone who will read your book will write a review. To get more reviews, you will have to get more readers. The best way to get more readers is by giving the book for free. If you’ve published your eBook with KDP Select, you can make your eBook free five days every three months.
- Make use of your mailing list – An author must have a mailing list. If you don’t have it as of now, start building one. Your mailing list gives you direct access to readers. Once you have a few readers on the list, you can approach them for an honest review.
- Get in touch with book bloggers – Many bloggers offer book reviews – it can be either paid or a free service. The important thing is that you should target bloggers specific to your genre than any book blogger. Be concise, straightforward, and clear about what you want to get out of these bloggers and their services. Few book bloggers also run book giveaways and contests for which you can collaborate with them. It will ensure you get more readers and hence more reviews.
- Find Amazon reviewers – Approach Amazon book reviewers. It is the best way to market your book on Amazon. An Amazon book reviewer has a public profile. Most of them include their email addresses and website information in their profile. You can contact them and offer them a free review copy.
- Use social media – Use social media platforms to reach a wider audience and ask for reviews. The best way is to regularly schedule a post that asks what your followers are doing on the weekend or a Throwback Thursday post with a nostalgic picture to get the conversation started. Once you get started, you know what to do.
- Paid services, the ethical ones – There are many agencies and individuals on Instagram who are ready to read your book and post a review on their Insta handle. It will ensure you are a wider reach. If you are looking for a few reviews, you can approach individuals. Still, if you are looking for bulk reviews, it is better to contact an agency.
How to Follow Up For Reviews
Once the book has been sent for review, the waiting period starts! Always clarify with the blogger as to how long it will take to review the book. A blogger would generally need 10-15 days to read and review the book. You can try and follow up after approximately ten days.
If you don’t get a response from the reviewer after three follow-ups, it can be assumed that they won’t be leaving a review. Ask them why they would not be leaving a review and if they didn’t like anything about your book. Always remember to be friendly and polite at all times! You don’t want a reader to form a negative impression of yourself!
How To Deal With Negative Reviews
If everything goes well, you would be having a couple of reviews by the time your book is published and after! However, not everyone will leave a positive review. There might be things that would not sit well with few reviewers. So what should be your next step in case you don’t get favorable reviews?
- Take negative reviews in a positive stride. If the reviews are received (from the ARCs readers) before the book is published, address those valid criticisms. See if that part of the book can be edited. For instance, if there are any grammatical errors that a reviewer pointed out, they can be edited before the book is published. Don’t forget to acknowledge your reader for constructive criticism.
- In case you get unreasonably hateful reviews, try to ignore them and block such people. But before you decide your next course of Action, do see where they come from and why they are so nasty.
While every book is different, the process of getting reviews isn’t different. There are numerous ways of getting reviews and constructive feedback. Still, eventually, it all comes down to your marketing plan and how well it is executed!