by Sherrie Wilkolaski
A good book review can go a long way in helping an author to sell more books. It doesn’t matter if your book is just getting ready to launch, if it’s been on the book shelf for years. Having a title that continues to get reviews…will continue to sell.
A steady stream of fresh book reviews, will show the longevity of your title.
How do you get book reviews?
Create your target list. Take the time to pull a list together of everyone you would like to have review your book. Include everyone you are sure you can get reviews from, like family and friends, then put together a hit list of colleagues and industry experts that you would like to put on your wish list.
Just ask. Most authors hesitate to ask friends, family and colleagues for book reviews, but he fact is if you don’t ask, you have less of a chance of getting reviews. So how do you ask and make it easy to gather reviews?
Write your own reviews. Yes, you read that correctly, but let me be clear…you’re doing this exercise to make it easier for others to contribute. Here is how it works:
Write an email or letter to your list of potential book reviewers. Tailor the letter based on who you’re addressing (i.e. family, friends, etc.) For family members make sure that you do not have them include reviews on Amazon, GoodReads and other sites that show a person’s full name, particularly if you have a unique last name. Those reviews will not help you.
Include three pre-written book reviews for an expert to choose from. You write up a list of different book reviews. Example, if you are going to reach out to 10 industry experts, you would write out 30 different book reviews so that you can provide three (3) unique book reviews to each of the 10 individuals. You do this because you want each review to be distinctive. You should let each person know that they are welcome to contribute their own original review, but that you have supplied them with three options to make it easier for them. This is an industry standard practice, so don’t be shy about it.
Send a thank you. Once you have confirmation in writing that your reviewers have provided you a review or signed-off on your hand-crafted endorsements, be sure to send them a personalized thank you. If you decide to use their review on the back cover of your book, be sure to mail them a hard copy of the book. Remind them that you would love to see their review posted up on Amazon or any other site that they frequent, like GoodReads, LibraryThing or their favorite online book haven.
Pre-publication. If your book is not yet published, you should start getting reviews as soon as your galley copy is ready. You want to go after reviewers even before your book goes to print and before it is available for distribution. You want to include credible reviews on the back cover of your book and in your marketing.
Book launch. As your book is launched, it is one of the best times to ask for and go after book reviews. Be sure to let your readers know that you welcome book reviews on your website and wherever your fans are.
Post publication. Even after your book has been out for a while you still want to continue to grow your reviews. It shows the value of your book over time and will encourage new readers to take a chance on a long-lasting title.
This is a must for any serious author. There is a huge value to having your book professionally reviewed, by an industry standard reviewer. This should be done, prior to publication. When you’re an independent publisher, you will have to pay for your review, but that is OK. There are several professional book review services that are reputable and industry recognized. I recommend using all professional review resources before your publication date, keep in mind that you need to do this several months in advance of publication.
Here are my top picks:
US Review of Books
Keep asking for those book reviews and don’t be shy about it!