Reviews play a bigger role than many authors might think. Yes, a review on a blog can build awareness and sales of your book, but don’t underplay the importance of the reviews on the book retailer sites or Goodreads or Storygraph. A 2018 survey by Gigi Griffis at The Ramble, revealed that 52% of readers read reviews whereas only 13% read the blurb.
This survey also showed that the most common reason readers bought a book was that they knew the author or a friend recommended it. Prominent placement or free/sale opportunities equated to less than 7% of why a person bought. This data tells us that it’s important to expand your reader fan-base and encourage them to recommend your books. One way to do that is to build up your reviews.
Here are 5 ways to get reviews for your upcoming release (or even your backlist):
1. Have a call to action at the end of your book, asking for a review.
Make the review request the first thing they see when they finish the book. In an ebook, include a link to the review page of the retailer. (Note, some ebook retailers will not accept your book if there are Amazon links. Create versions for each ebook retailer you’re selling on. For example, have a link to iBooks review page in the version on iBooks, and a link to Kobo for the books listed on Kobo).
2. Build up a list of book bloggers in your subgenre of romance.
Begin building this list early. Many bloggers need your book 6 to 12 weeks prior to release.
Start by finding comparable books to yours from best-selling authors (traditional and indie published). Search for reviews on the books you find, such as title+review or title+book review. Read the review policy of the blog, and if you’re a good fit, pitch your book. Reedsy has a more in-depth article on how to build your blogger review list.
Bonus: Read the reviews in the Editorial Reviews section on Amazon pages with books similar to yours. In this section, authors/publishers can list reviews from other sources, such as blogs.
3. Connect with active reviewers on Amazon.
Find books similar to yours and scroll down to the reviews. Click on a reviewer to learn more about them, such as other books they’ve reviewed and their reviewer rank. Sometimes they’ll include website or contact information. Pitch them as you would other reviewers.
This is time-consuming, but since Amazon reviews are powerful, it could be worth the effort. There are tools and services that can help you find Amazon reviewers, such as the Review Grabber tool at Author Marketing Club.
4. Sign up for Booksprout or Booksirens.
These services make finding reviewers and managing an ARC team easy. You can set limits on how many ARCs will be available and conditions for getting the book, such as leaving a review at Amazon is required. You can ask for reviews at other sites such as Goodreads or Bookbub as well. The services can send reminders to reviewers, and it can block anyone who got a book but didn’t leave a review from getting an ARC from you in the future. Just be sure to give your reviewers enough time to read the book. I like to get the book to my ARC team at least 3 weeks in advance.
5. Build your email list.
Too many authors wait too long to capture the email addresses of their readers, but you’re wasting time and book sales by not doing this as soon as you can. I have an extensive article on why email is better than social media for selling books, and tips on how to set up and email your readers. Build Your Email List of Raving Fans
Once you have your list, email them about the book and remind them to leave a review. In fact, you can invite them to join your ARC team through Booksprout or create a segmented list for ARC readers.
BONUS: Remind your social media followers to leave a review.
You don’t want to inundate your followers with “Buy my book” posts or with “Leave a review” post, but having them occasionally is recommended. Many readers get busy and forget to leave a review. An occasional social media post can remind them.