It’s no secret that recommendations for books are a great way to sell more of them. If you think about it, this makes total sense because study after study shows you’re more likely to buy something from a fellow customer (or friend) than on your own. One thing to keep in mind before you start hunting for more reviews, is that you may want to come up with a review policy for yourself.
What’s Your Book Review Policy?
Your review policy may address how you review another author’s books, how you submit review copies and how you treat bad reviews.
My review policy is specific, but actionable. I try to review books based on the audience it was written for. Sometimes, I don’t like a book because I don’t prefer the story — but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend the book to someone I know who’s into that sort of thing. Out of all the reviews I’ve written, I only wrote one “fluff” review and I was called on it. It was for a game that I hadn’t played and I was basing my opinions off of the setting rather than the mechanics. Oh, those pesky deadlines. Anyway, I got caught and I learned something. Readers are smart. They know when someone has written a review just for the sake of writing one. So another element of my review policy, is that I do not write fake reviews of any flavor.
In a sense, this layered approach eliminates “bad” reviews because it’s not based on what I like and what I don’t. If a book is that “terrible” to me, I may still write a review — but even my “bad” reviews are diplomatic. I will never, ever bash an author or insert snark into my reviews because I am an author myself. More than a few well-known authors have stopped reviewing books altogether and have begun hosting author introductions on their websites. That way, they don’t run the risk of offending an author but they’re still supporting the community-at-large.
When I receive a review, I try to link to it on my website or thank the reviewer whenever possible. To me, it doesn’t matter whether or not my readers liked the book; what matters is that they took the time to review it.
5 Ways to Get More Reviews
Sometimes, getting book reviews can be a chore so today’s article gives you five ideas on how you can get more of them.
1. Buddy Up – Do you have friends that are authors? Know someone who writes like you do? Many authors are in the same exact boat you are — they’re looking for reviews. By exchanging reviews with another author, you’ll both benefit.
2. Offer a Contest – You can get more reviews by offering a contest for your new and existing readers. Reviews-based contests will incur both positive and negative reviews, but readers are more likely to assess a story based on multiple reviews as opposed to just one or two. Just make sure your contest is easy enough to enter and the prize is worth the reviewer’s time.
3. Hit Your Local Papers – A good way to get local publicity, is to hit up your local papers and submit a press release about your book and a complementary copy to the reviewer. There’s no guarantee that they’ll cover your book, but local newspapers are an often overlooked market.
4. Engage the Blogosphere – Make a list of blogger review sites, both popular and niche, that are relevant to your book’s theme. Then, devise a strategy as to how you want to approach each one. You’ll want to see if these sites have a review policy of their own. Most bloggers are approachable provided you give them enough information up front in your e-mail. Just saying: “Would you review my book?” doesn’t always work.
5. Ask – The simplest way to get more reviews is to ask people to do it. Many authors are afraid that they’ll come across as too pushy or too aggressive, but chances are? You’re not going to piss anyone off by asking readers to review a book they’ve just read.
Do you have any tips to share? Advice? Post ‘em in the comments below.
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I do book reviews on my blog (and elsewhere), and I have never been offended by an author asking me to review a book. I’m actually honored that they would ask my opinion. I suppose some reviewers would be bothered (although I can’t see why), but many of us just enjoy reading and want to share good books with others.
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Ruth Cherry, PhD
I need book reviews. I will send a copy of my book, Living in the Flow: Practicing Vibrational Alignment to anyone who will review it.