Reviews are an integral part of any book marketing campaign. Without good reviews, especially of a little known author, readers will be too apprehensive to purchase the book. As an avid reader myself, I always scroll through reviews and reader opinions before I decide to invest my money — and time — on a new book.
When you sell your book via Amazon, the world’s leading bookseller, reviews can increase your visibility and, ultimately, your sales. But readers often read and forget to review books. How can you then make sure you get the reviews required?
1. Build a Launch Review Team
A launch team is a group of people who have agreed to read a copy of your book before publication and then leave a review once the book is officially published. Building a launch team is a great way to guarantee reviews, but they cannot consist of your friends and family, or paid reviewers, as it goes against Amazon’s guidelines (and is also definitely not trustworthy!)
You can easily find people for your launch team through your social media accounts, if you have a substantial following. If not, you can reach out to people in your writing community or on Goodreads groups related to your genre.
This is where Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) come in handy. Send it out to interested readers free of charge before publication, and wait for their reviews to pour in afterwards!
2. Reach Out to Book Bloggers
Book bloggers are enthusiastic readers who not only read, but also talk about the books they love — and they usually have thousands of active followers. Getting your book across to such an audience will increase your reach a hundredfold.
Bookstagram, especially, is a sub-community of readers on Instagram who are dedicated solely for the posting of aesthetic pictures of books and discussions around them. Even if their follower count is limited, the engagement they have with fellow readers is remarkable. They hold quizzes and competitions and writing contests, often giving away selected books as prizes.
You need to find readers of your genre, go through their Instagram feed and read their reviews to see if they would enjoy your book.
3. Use Your Author Newsletter
Building an email list is vital for your success as an author. Even when things appear to be going downhill, an email list can save you from utter failure — you have a list of enthusiastic strangers interested in your work, when you consistently give them quality content.
You can use your newsletter to engage with your subscribers and gather up those who are interested in receiving ARCs of your book. You can even offer them discounts on their next book if they review your book now. These offers are a great incentive to get those early reviews that can either make or break the success of your book.
4. Apply to Book Review Sites
Another way to get book reviews is by applying to book review sites like BookSprout, Kindle Book Review, and Story Origin will help you connect with potential book reviewers. Some of these sites are paid as well as free, but they’re not the same as paid reviews (where you pay readers to review your book, which is dishonest and unethical). These sites are an easy way of finding honest reviews for your book, and they don’t go against Amazon’s guidelines.
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.