How to Get Real Book Reviews and Sell More Books
Your book is amazing. You know that. We know that. Does anyone else know that?
Without any reader reviews, it’s tough to prove that your book is worth someone’s money, time and attention.
It’s safe to say that if you had more book reviews, you’d also have more sales. But the question is: How can you get real book reviews from real readers — without being a nuisance?
Use Social Media
Writing for social media and writing your book are two completely different beasts to tackle. They require different skills, different words, different writing styles.
Though intimidating for many writers, social media can be a powerful asset in your hunt for book reviews.
Don’t approach social media as a means of solely self-promotion; it’s not a billboard for your book. Instead, it’s an extension of you and the relationships you build with readers. Engage with others on social media to build an audience, and then sprinkle in bits of self-promotion.
Follow the 80/20 rule:
80% connecting with and promoting others + 20% self-promotion
Identify those who have read your book, connect with them, and start a conversation. Once that foundation has been built, you can ask them to leave a review directly.
If you have already established an engaged audience on your social channels, you can simply post a reminder for your followers to leave a review.
Ask In Person
Are you having a book signing to promote it? Or maybe you’re selling it at a book fair. Whatever the case, whenever you’re at an in-person event, ask readers or future readers of your book to leave a review.
If any of your friends or family read the book and offered their opinion, tell them you’d appreciate if they could document that opinion for other potential readers to see. Express how powerful their opinion is and what it could mean for your success.
One thing to remember here is to be able to take criticism. Someone you know might claim they loved the book, and then they only give you three stars. Be prepared to swallow that pill, or don’t encourage those close to you to leave a review.
Remind Your Readers
Even in the case that someone loves your book and can’t put it down until they’ve finished, they might not always remember to leave a review. Give these people a gentle reminder.
Maybe two months after they purchased your book online, send them an email to ask what they thought of the book and request they leave a review. Provide the link to make it easy for them.
If you have printed marketing materials, such as bookmarks or pens, put a call-to-action reminding readers to leave a review and list the URL where they can do so.
You can also consider reminding readers to leave a review in the book, on one of the final pages or the back flap or back cover.
Giveaways are an easy way to get your name out there and your book in more hands.
There are two ways to go about this: Host a book giveaway to build awareness and a digital audience, or offer a free gift in exchange for a book review.
The first is an indirect way to build your bank of book reviews, while the latter can increase book reviews more immediately.
The Goodreads Author Program is a good way to host this and generate awareness on the social platform for book lovers.
A great way to get your book in front of a new audience is through book bloggers.
Much like social media, it’s important to first cultivate relationships.
Think about how you’d approach these people in person. Upon first meeting them, you wouldn’t ask them to review your book. Instead, you’d get to know each other over time, and then get to a point where you’d feel comfortable asking for a favor.
It’s important to pitch thoughtfully and personably — not just some copy-and-paste template you send to 50 bloggers.
Book bloggers have a lot of influence to a relevant audience. This can help you establish relationships with more influencers, as well as more engaged readers — which can lead to more reviews.
Engage Amazon’s Top Reviewers
Amazon is perhaps most notable for its customer reviews. And if you’re using Amazon as a platform to sell your book, it’s ideal for gathering reader reviews.
Amazon has a list of their top reviewers, so you can target individuals with proven track records. Again, build a connection with these reviewers before sending a thoughtful pitch.