Sometimes, unless you’re a well-established, self-published writer with a following, getting people to buy your book can be the hardest part. This is one of the most important driving factor in self-publishing, too—not the sales, but rather, getting your words out there and your book into the hands of readers everywhere. There are ways to do it, of course. Marketing is incredibly important for sales, which should be obvious. The less obvious option, however, is getting book reviews (good ones, that is!). Book reviews can say more than the summary, sometimes. A good book review can mean the difference in someone buying your book or someone moving onto something else.
How can a self-published author get book reviews?
Obviously getting reviews can be easier for well-established, popular authors—whether self-published or traditionally published. It helps when people know who you are and know your work. If there’s a lot of buzz around a book, the reviews will flow in naturally, without being queried. This doesn’t mean that getting reviews is impossible for newcomers – quite the opposite, however! You may just have to work a little harder to get book reviews, but in the end, it will pay off.
Have your friends/workshop group/peers “review” it.
This may be the easiest way to start getting reviews on your book (and free!). Once your book is published, ask your colleagues, peers, or friends to simple rate and write up a review on whatever site you choose to sell through. These simple buyer reviews on Amazon and Google can do wonders for readers who stumble across your book. People like to know that what they’re about to buy is worth the money. More likely than not, your friends and colleagues will buy your book because they believe in your worth as a writer, so writing a buyer review won’t be too much to ask of them.
Send your book to reviewers.
This second option is harder, but, again, not impossible. Getting book reviews depends on how hard you work to get them—how strongly you believe your book deserves them. You’ll want to start by writing query letters, essentially. A lot of online reviewers don’t charge for their services. Check the reviewer’s specific requirements before sending your cover letter to them. Be sure to explain what your book is about, what makes it different, and what makes it special. Include information about yourself as well, that way they get to know you a little bit.
Once the letter is sent, be patient. Reviewers get a lot of requests, and pestering them will only lessen your chances of getting reviewed. Allow them to take their time. If they choose to review your book, send them both a PDF copy and a physical copy. Then, be sure to share the review on all your social platforms. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished!
Why are book reviews necessary?
Besides the publicity, book reviews speak volumes about the quality of the book. Readers do rely heavily on reviews to inform them of what books are worth their time. Besides, once one reviewer writes about your book, more will be sure to follow. As you rack up reviews, so too will you gain readers.
In the end, sometimes sales aren’t the end-all goal of self-publishing. Just knowing you’ve accomplished something so great and rewarding can be enough. If, however, selling your book is important to you, getting a review or two is a good place to start. Like every step in the self-publishing process, you will need to be actively involved to ensure your book’s success.
For a list of popular sites that review self-published books, go here.