How To Get Book Reviews

How To Get Book ReviewsHow can I get reviews for my book?

This must be one of the most common questions I get asked by new authors who are venturing into self publishing for the first time. There are a number of ways to attract reviews to a book’s Amazon page, but as usual there are ways that cost money, and there are ways that are free.

I must start with my own personal view though. I’m not one who chases reviews as I am of the belief that potential readers are smart enough to see a common and usually glowingly positive thread in reviews that are cultivated, manipulated or paid for by an author. My preference is for reviews to come organically with an ‘Amazon Verified Purchaser’ being the best you can get. Positive or negative, it’s genuine.

However, if you want reviews, the quickest way is to pay. Simple. There are many services offered on the Internet for paid reviews of products including books. Of course, you will need to balance up your outlay for these reviews against the return you think you’ll make in sales. Not my cup of tea, but it’s certainly an option.

On social media there are zillions of book reviewers and book bloggers. While some charge per review, there are some that are free. Making contact with a number of these bloggers would be a good start. It is important to remember though that many book bloggers only post reviews on their blog and not necessarily on your Amazon page. So make sure you know what you’re going to get whether it be paid or free.

Then there’s what I think is the best way. ‘Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. There is no better way to get your book reviewed than by starting to review other writer’s books. As social media is so attached now to ebook marketing, this is the natural way to achieve your aims. Social media is about sharing. For those who think it’s a one way street, your efforts will be doomed.

So the message is clear. If you want your book to attract some  reviews, get started by doing some reviews yourself first. I guarantee you’ll have those reviews accumulating over time.

19 thoughts on “How To Get Book Reviews”

  1. Hey Derek, great advice to back up what you DM’d me the other day. Keeping my eyes out for everyone of your blogs now. Thanks again.

  2. Excellent post. Though I think that people should get into reviewing books without any expectations. Just read because you like to read, then review because it’s a nice thing to do.

  3. Hey Derek,

    Thanks again for the author advice! The only problem I have is the reviewing other books part. I have a ten-month old daughter, which doesn’t leave enough time for sustained reading. Before she came along, I was a prolific reader. Now I’m lucky enough to pop in and out of social media when I can. I guess I’ll have to wait for those organic Amazon reviews. :-)


  4. I’ve sort of fallen into that review for a review part already. Some are verified, but most are not. Haven’t happened yet, but what do you do when you get a book that is awful? Give a good review anyway, or just keep your comment vague.

    1. I would like to know how to handle that, too, Tracy. Someone asked me to read their book and three pages in I knew I didn’t want to finish it. Now I make excuses about being really busy and feel bad about it, but I don’t want to hurt their feelings. But it’s my word on the line, and I’m not going to lie. If people think I promote a poorly written book, they may decide I write poorly written books. :(

      1. It’s always difficult to say you think a book is awful Kristy. I’ve had this situation a few times, and all I can say is that honesty is the best policy. I contact the author directly and let them know my opinion. But of course, I don’t post a public review.

        I just had this situation with a good friend and outlined my reasons for thinking the book was a stinker. Oh, and by the way, we are still good friends.

        1. Thank you, Derek. That sounds like a very good way to handle the situation. I’ll just wait until they remember to ask again. Yes, I am a coward. :)

  5. I was in a rock-n-roll band in the late 70’s early 80’s in NYC and Pay-To-Play was the name of the game. Nothing’s changed. We also played parties – which is the I’ll-scratch-your-back-you’ll-scratch-mine way to go. More fun, but less lucrative, perhaps.
    BTW I went from 7 ebook sales to 1200 in one week – and researched the site that got me the sales. Want to know?

  6. I don’t think singling out an Amazon Verified Purchases as “The Best You Can Get” a fair assessment of a review. I know it indicates that the reviewer obtained a copy from Amazon but I buy my reading materials from a variety of sources stores, ibooks, nook, audible, as well as amazon. You should judge a review by the content and not by where it was bought. Just because you know where the book came from doesn’t mean the reviewer read it or that my review from an another store is less creditable because I chose not to get it from amazon.

    1. You’re right Ann. However, Amazon are one of the few that have this ‘tag’. I would like to see it used more by other online retailers simply as a sign that the review is very likely, independent.

  7. I had the opportunity to swap reviews recently as well. At $0.99 neither of us were making much of a financial investment, just the time to read and produce a review. Well, I kept my end, read the book, wish I hadn’t. But I pulled out what few good things I could say and wrote a fair review–not gushing & glowing, but not being an ass, either.

    After waiting weeks, I finally get the author to respond saying he was unable to read past a particularly challenging section of the story. A necessary part, not overly explicit, but there, nonetheless.

    I suppose my point here is that you can’t be assured of anything when it comes to someone scratching your back just because you’ve held up your part and scratched theirs.

    1. I discovered very early on that just because I read and reviewed another author’s book didn’t necessarily mean they would reciprocate. That’s why I decided to read what I enjoy, without expecting anything in return. This way if I don’t like the book, I don’t have to worry about offending anyone. And if I do like it, I can gladly write a review.

      I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. At least you have the satisfaction of knowing you held up your end of the bargain.

  8. Very relevant post to my situation. I’m a new author just about to self publish on Smashwords and this is helping a lot. In fact, I would go even further and take pressure off ‘potential reviewers’ by telling them that I expect a review IF and only IF the story is compelling enough to read through it. So very low expectations.

    But then again, I would certainly like to know what was the turn off. If someone went through the trouble of reading part of my ‘masterpiece’ and has an opinion about it, I hope he doesn’t worry about hurting my feelings. I need all the feedback I can get.

  9. Then there’s what I think is the best way. ‘Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. There is no better way to get your book reviewed than by starting to review other writer’s books.
    I have two books or ebooks I want to publish so I do book reviews now, I do hope to get others to review mine as well in the future. Great Post!!

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