It’s time for us to lift the curtain on some major changes here at Pressbooks! We’ve spent a lot of time over the last month doing some much-needed maintenance across the platform, including theme improvements and changes to the user experience for institutions using single-sign on technology. These past weeks also included important work on
By Miral Sattar, CEO Bibliocrunch
Getting reviews is an important part of book marketing. It’s essential to have a marketing plan for your book that includes reviews. Books don’t just sell themselves. Review outreach is probably where you’ll spend a good chunk of your time. Does your plan include giving away your book for free? Do you have your book available in all formats so that the reviewer can easily read and review your book?
Reviews can make or break your book. Readers usually check a book’s review before purchasing a book. They want to see what others are saying about a particular book. So if you have 600 reviews on Amazon that are mostly four or five stars, it’s likely that will compel readers to purchase your book.
If you have a few hundred reviews that are one star, that won’t bode well for your book and will most like dissuade users from buying your book.
A book review is a powerful marketing tool because it means that someone loved or hated your book enough to write a short note about it. A positive review is basically an endorsement of your book. Someone has vouched for your work and said, YES, this is a book worth reading.
Here are some places to get reviews:
Colleagues and People You Know
Just be careful with this as Amazon is cracking down on reviews from family and friends. But if you work with other authors or work in a professional environment and your book is relevant, colleagues might be great people to review your book. To adhere to Amazon’s review policies, make sure you have them include in the review, “This review is for an Advanced Review Copy of Book Title.”
There are lots of great sites that exist where you can reach out and find bloggers. You typically want to get reviews from bloggers who review books in your genre.
Professional Review Sites
Sites like Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, IndieReader, Blue Ink Reviews that charge a fee for writing a professional review. If you receive a positive review from one of these sites it’s a great stamp of approval for your book and you can post this on your website, your Amazon page or in your book.
Amazon Top Reviewers
These are the super readers of Amazon who highly influential. A review from them looks really good on your Amazon page.
Companies That Organize Reviews
You can also hire companies that help you gather reviews by reaching out to bloggers and reviewers to get reviews for you.
Here’s a template you can use to request a review from a blogger:
Dear Jane Doe:
I got your name from [where you found them] and thoroughly enjoyed your review of [name of book]. I recently wrote a book that appeals to a similar audience, “[Name of my book].”
If you think you might be interested in reading it and perhaps reviewing it, I’ll gladly send you a complimentary copy.
Thank you so much for your time,
[Your social media links]
To start getting reviews, you can reach out to some of the companies mentioned, but you will also want to reach out to beta readers and bloggers 8-12 weeks in advance of when you need your review.
Additionally, there are a few easy things you can do to get reviews. Below are a couple of ways you can engage your readers immediately.
- Include a short Author’s Note at the end of your book asking readers for a review.
- Set up a link to your author mailing list at the end of your book asking readers to sign up.
Put a sample note similar to this one at the end of your book:
Thank you for joining me in telling the story of [x and y]. I hope they touched your soul the way they touched mine.
If you loved the book and have a minute to spare, I would really appreciate a short review on the page or site where you bought the book. Your help in spreading the word is greatly appreciated. Reviews from readers like you make a huge difference to helping new readers find stories like [x].
Links to sites (your Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Goodreads pages)
Right now Amazon is cracking down on book reviews from fake sources and family and friends, so it’s even more important that your review outreach strategy is solid and that you have enough reviews—10-20—before you start marketing and promoting your book.
Want more help maximizing your book sales? Sign up for my Nov. 1 webinar on how to boost sales by leveraging Amazon’s hidden keywords and categories. Registration is free but seating is limited.
Miral Sattar is the CEO of LearnSelfPublishingFast and Bibliocrunch, an award-winning marketplace that connects authors with vetted book publishing professionals like editors, designers and marketers. She has worked in the media industry for 11 years, most recently at TIME where she launched several digital initiatives including an iPad and mobile site, mobile apps, a video and podcast channel, blogs, and SEO. Her writing has been featured in TIME, CNN and NY Daily News, among other media publications. She has an M.S. in Publishing (Digital + Print Media) from NYU and a B.S. from Columbia University. Follow Miral on Twitter at @miralsattar.