Let me tell you something before you dig too far into this article. Getting reviews is hard. No, that doesn’t quite sum up the process. Here it is in a nutshell: I don’t care if you use review services, find reviewers on the Amazon website, or try to convince your readers to leave them for you, getting reviews is going to be a struggle.
And here’s why it matters.
To promote your book with a good promotion service, you need at least ten reviews. Sure some sites will accept books without reviews, but they’ll only bring in a few sales, and that’s not enough to move the rankings needle.
Also, consumers rely on reviews in their decision-making process, and if a book doesn’t have any, or has just a few, you’ll probably miss out on some sales.
But what about all those books that are released with hundreds of reviews? Many of those authors are a part of the webinar circle, and they all use their massive mailing lists to help each other get reviews. Or the books are traditionally published, and the publishing house sends out thousands of advanced copies to secure reviews.
I’m talking about you and me—average authors who are just trying to get honest reviews for our books.
So what do we do? We keep working at it, using every single method I’m going to outline below. But trust me, even if you do them all, as I do, you’ll still struggle to get the reviews you need.
And here’s the thing. If you try and skirt the rules and get your friends and family to leave book reviews, or engage in review swapping with other authors, your KDP account could be closed.
And then what would you do?
It’s tempting, I know. Especially with the challenges, you’ll face trying to get reviews. But you’ll get them, I promise. It’s just going to take some time.
So, I’ve listed all the possible Amazon-approved ways you can use to ask for reviews for your book. Again, don’t just do one of them, because it won’t get you enough. Instead, approach this with a shotgun approach and do many of them all at once for the best results.
If you wait until your book is published before you begin asking people for reviews, you won’t be able to launch your book properly and get the coveted spot in Hot New Releases. And if you don’t blast your book out at the starting gate, your chances of getting there later go down.
As soon as your book is completed and mostly edited, begin using the steps I outline below, but be sure to make it clear that it’s a draft and not the final version. Otherwise, you’ll get a bunch of reviews about the book not being edited properly.
Ready? Here are 13 ways to get reviews for your new book.
Table of Contents
- 1. Ask Your List
- 2. Use a Review Service
- 3. Get a Free Instafreebie.com Account
- 4. Join Goodreads Review Groups
- 5. Contact Reviewers in Your Genre
- 6. Connect with Book Bloggers
- 7. Search Twitter
- 8. Approach Members of Forums
- 9. Contact Amazon’s Top Reviewers
- 10. Approach the Big Boys
- 11. Submit Your Book To Free Review Sites
1. Ask Your List
One of the easiest ways to get reviews is to ask for your email list. These are people who are already interested in your books, and if you offer them your next one for free in exchange for an honest review, chances are they’ll take it.
But if you do—or if you have a good social media following—you should email them or post a request on social media to try and drum up some reviews. (We’ll talk about how to build your list in the next article.)
2. Use a Review Service
Some services give readers free books in exchange for reviews, and you can pay them a fee to get your book listed in their database. The theory is that readers will choose your book, read it, and then leave a review for it on Amazon.
I haven’t used these services because I feel the cost is too much, and I signed up as a reader to get a feel for the service, and now I get constant emails from these services reminding their readers that there are hundreds of books in line waiting to be reviewed. That can’t be good.
But if you want to try these services to garner reviews for your books, here are some to consider:
- Reading Deals. This site offers to provide you with 10-15 Amazon reviews for prices ranging from $79 to $129.
- Word Slinger Publicity. This site offers to get your book in front of book bloggers and other industry professionals for about $150.
- Author’s Trumpet. You’ll pay $178 to get 10 reviews from this site.
- The Hungry Monster Book Review. For $50, you’re guaranteed 1 review
- within 45 days.
- Entrada Book Reviews. For a whopping $289, you’re guaranteed one review in 5-8 weeks.
- Net Galley. This is a legitimate site, and many traditional publishers use it, but to have your book listed on it, you will have to fork over $549.
- Story Cartel. For $27.50 per month, you can launch 1 book on this site and give it away for 21 days. Readers will download it and commit to leaving a review for it.
- KindleBookReview.net. For $45, you can have 5 people review your book.
Folks, I want to make something clear here. There is no reason to pay hundreds of dollars for reviews. I consider sites like this to be a part of the group that takes advantage of newbie authors.
3. Get a Free Instafreebie.com Account
To get reviews for your books, you need to be able to give a free copy of it to reviewers. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t provide authors a good way to do this. You can give reviewers a gift card, but there’s nothing that says they’ll use it to download your book, plus you’ll have to purchase a book for each reviewer which can get expensive. You can also download a Mobi file of your book when you publish it, but not all of your reviewers read on a Kindle.
The solution is Instafreebie. This site helps you in a few ways. First, you can upload your book, and set the total number of free downloads you’ll allow, plus the date the link expires. Now you have a link you can give to potential reviewers where they’ll be able to download the file type of their choice.
Also, if you upgrade to a paid account ($20 per month), the system automatically opts them into your MailChimp email list when they claim the book. You’ll also be privy to reports and analytics that you don’t get with the free account.
4. Join Goodreads Review Groups
There are quite a few review groups on Goodreads where authors are encouraged to post review requests.
For example, the Goodreads Reviewers Group and Authors and Reviewers Group are good places to start, but you should also look for groups that specifically review groups in your genre.
5. Contact Reviewers in Your Genre
In my opinion, this is the most effective way to get reviews for your books, although it does take a little work.
There are reviewers on Amazon that like to read books in your genre, whether you write nonfiction, romance, thrillers, or cookbooks. And there is a way to locate those reviewers and ask them to review your book. Here’s how to do it:
- Find books on Amazon that are like yours.
- Go to the review section, and click on “see all customer reviews.” Then narrow down your search further “and change “all stars” to “all positive.” (You probably don’t want to contact reviewers who tend to leave negative reviews because they can seriously impact your rankings.)
- Now you’ll need to click on each reviewer’s name, which will take you to their profile page. Click on the “see more,” and if the reviewer has made an email address public, you’ll see it.
- Copy the email address, along with the reviewer’s name and the book they reviewed, and add it to a spreadsheet. Keep doing this until you have at least 100 names. (You can expect to get about 10 reviews from 100 names.)
- Contact each of the reviewers and offer to send them a link to your book where they can download it in any format they choose in exchange for an honest review.
- Send links to the people who respond and thank them for their time.
- Follow up a couple of weeks later if they haven’t left a review.
6. Connect with Book Bloggers
Another way to get reviews, plus extra exposure for your book, is to connect with book bloggers and ask them to review your book. This can be a great boon to your business, but it takes time to seek out the right bloggers and then cultivate those relationships. Here’s a brief outline of how to get it done.
- Find Bloggers in Your Genre. There are tons of book bloggers, but unless you contact those who specialize in your genre, you’re just wasting your time. Luckily, some fantastic people have put together lists of book bloggers you can use for your research. For instance, over at MandyBoles.com, you’ll find a huge directory of book bloggers on Pinterest. And Bookbloggerslist.com offers a list of book bloggers who are willing to work with indie authors. The reviewers are arranged by genre. Finally, The Indieview.com offers an enormous list of active book bloggers. Spend some time on these lists and create a spreadsheet that includes each of the bloggers who specialize in your genre.
- Check out their requirements. Each book blogger has specific submission and review policies that you’ll need to understand before you contact them. Go to each of the blogger’s sites and make notes about their requirements on your spreadsheet.
- Make your pitch. Now it’s time to contact the blogger. Do this by writing a short personalized note introducing yourself and giving them a few details about your book and a link to your website.
- Share the Review. If a blogger agrees to review your book, show them your thanks by tweeting or sharing the link to the review on all your social media channels. This will not only help your brand, but the bloggers will appreciate it as it brings traffic to their site.
7. Search Twitter
You can also use Twitter to help connect with book bloggers. Simply search the social media platform using the hashtags #bookreviews, #bookblogger, and #bookreviewer. Click the “people” box, and then “view all.”
You’ll then see a list of profiles associated with the hashtags, and you can then make contact with those accounts.
8. Approach Members of Forums
There are forums and Facebook groups for every subject imaginable, and a great way to get reviews is to seek out those groups that would be interested in your book and then offer the members a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
For instance, if you wrote a book about weight loss, search Facebook for the groups by typing the keyword into the Facebook search box. And to find forums, you should type forum + “weight loss” into the Google search bar. Connect with the members and then make your offer.
9. Contact Amazon’s Top Reviewers
If a top reviewer on Amazon leaves a review for your book, it will instantly up your book’s credibility in the eyes of customers. But getting the attention of those reviewers is no easy feat. Luckily, Amazon makes it easy to find them by publishing a list of the top 10,000 reviewers on the site.
But before you begin sending out queries to the reviewers, you’ll need to take a minute and visit their profile pages. Look for those reviewers who seem to have an interest in your genre, and then craft a personalized email to them asking if they’re interested in reviewing your book. Offer them a free copy of your book and thank them for their consideration. Remember, you’ll need to contact quite a few reviewers to get a few positive responses.
10. Approach the Big Boys
There are some high-profile book review sites that you can approach and ask for a review. These sites get so many requests that it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get one, and if you do, it can take months. But having a good review from one of these places instantly ups your credibility in the eyes of discerning readers.
11. Submit Your Book To Free Review Sites
Finally, some online sites offer to review Kindle books for free. Simply submit your book, following each site’s requirements, and you’ll earn some free reviews from professional reviewers.
What do you think? It’s a lot of work, isn’t it? And when you’re racing to meet a book deadline, taking the time to look for reviewers can easily be pushed to the back burner. But it’s a part of the process, and if you want to establish a career as an Amazon author, you’re going to have to do it.