How to Get Book Reviews: A Step-by-Step Guide
Book reviews play an important role in how well your book will sell. They can influence the placement of your book with online retailers and they can compel people to purchase your book.
Think about it this way: “How many books have you bought online that did not have a review?” Probably not many, unless you had a great recommendation from a friend.
Book reviews provide social proof for people. They let potential readers know that someone not only read your book, but depending upon their review, recommended it. This is like receiving a word-of-mouth referral, which is one of the most common reasons people buy books.
Below is a step-by-step guide you can follow to help you get book reviews. There are several different short-term strategies you can use to help generate leads, but this guide will help you get started in encouraging people to review your book.
#1. Make a long-term plan
Obtaining book reviews takes time—especially organically. But you can coordinate multiple book reviews for the launch of your book. The best way to do this is to make a long-term plan.
It is best to start 8 to 12 weeks out from your launch date. This will provide you with enough time to contact everyone you identify below, send them a book, and afford them an opportunity to read and review your wok.
#2. Prepare to track your progress
It’s important to set up a system ahead of time to keep track of who you contact, when you send them a copy of your book, and your follow-up communication.
You can use paper, Google Sheets, Evernote, Excel, or whatever tool you prefer.
#3. Create a group email list or segment
Depending upon what you use as your Email Service Provider (ESP), it’s best to set up a group or segment so that you can efficiently contact everyone you identify below. This will keep you from having to send multiple individual emails, which can quickly become time consuming.
#4. Make a list
Make a list of people in your network you can ask to leave an honest review of your book. Look through your contacts, Facebook account, and email account for names.
As a side note, unless you create a book launch team, I don’t necessarily recommend asking your entire email list to review your book. For the release of your book, I think it’s best, in general, to lead your email subscribers to purchase your book. (You can always follow up with them afterward to leave a review if they didn’t once they made a purchase.)
#5. Identify book bloggers
Many bloggers review books. Identify bloggers who review books in your genre and topic. If they provide a submission policy, follow it. If not, then ask for an introduction from someone you know, or connect with them on their blog or social media accounts.
#6. Send them your book
Provide people you are contacting with a physical copy (even if it’s a galley) and digital copy of your book. This way you can appeal to people’s reading preferences.
When delivering your book to potential reviewers, be sure to express gratitude, the reason you’re writing, and what you’re asking them to do. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to leave a review.
It’s important to follow up with your contacts several weeks after you sent them a copy of your book or prior to your book’s release to encourage them to leave review. (Online retailers will not permit reviews until your book releases.)
You can use the segment you developed earlier to send a message to everyone on the list who has not left a review. Express your gratitude again and provide them with a few thoughts to help them think through what they would like to say.
#8. Say, “Thanks!”
Be sure to thank people for leaving a book review. This is a simple, yet powerful gesture of gratitude.
It takes a village to help launch a book well. Be sure to thank the people who helped you make it possible.