Book reviews are one of the most powerful marketing activities. There is no such thing as having too many reviews. The beauty of a good review is that it tells potential buyers that someone else read and liked the book. A good book review is a powerful marketing tool. You can use it by positioning it on your blog. You can also share it using social media links. Another tactic is to add it to your book page at Amazon Center.
There are several strategies you can use to acquire more reviews.
good reads Groups are a fertile area for application reviews. Use these groups as your first resource. Some of these groups are listed later in this chapter.
Another approach is to contact a review site. These come in two flavors. One will review your book, usually for a fee. Self-Publishing Reviews is such a site. Be bookshop. Some sites will review your book for free. reader’s favorite it is one of those free sites, although it will ask you to upgrade to a paid review.
The second type of review site will not actually review your book, but will make it available to multiple potential reviewers. I list some of these later in the chapter. There are many more besides the ones I mention, but I only included the ones I know of. A simple search will give you a list of more sites that offer book reviews for a price.
Let me be clear: if you use one of these services, you are not buying a review. You are paying for a review service that will get your book in front of many potential reviewers who may or may not choose to review your book. The review service does not pay reviewers who choose to read your book. What you are paying for when you sign up for a review service is access to all of the potential reviewers on your list.
Some of the review services will not deliver the products. They tell a good story about how many reviewers they have on their email list, but you won’t get the number of reviews you signed up for. These sites simply don’t have enough readers on their list to deliver the reviews. Others, a small number, are just scammers looking to rip off authors.
Another strategy is to give away copies of your book, hopefully in exchange for a promise to review it. You can use your social network contacts here. Ask if anyone wants a free review copy of the ebook. I have found this tactic to be marginally effective. The main reason is that some people request a review copy just because it’s free and they have no intention of writing a review. Also, some readers won’t like the book and won’t write a negative review. My experience is that around 25% of these readers will write a review. However, it costs you nothing to send eBooks to potential reviewers, so you incur no cost.
I notice that a lot of people don’t write reviews of books they enjoy because they’re not sure how to go about it. To alleviate this problem, I wrote a series of questions to help readers write a short and simple book review. There are two versions of this: one for fiction and one for non-fiction. When you ask someone to review your book or submit a copy of an eBook for review, paste the questions into the email or you can create a document and attach it to the email.
Fiction Book Review Quiz:
1) On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) how would you rate this book?
2) Did you like or dislike the book?
3) Explain why you answered 2) as you did.
If you liked the book, answer the following questions:
4) Why did you like the book?
4) What did you not like about the book?
6) Did you find the main characters real and believable?
7) Did you want the book to continue beyond the end?
Use your answers to these questions to write a few sentences about the book. Hint: don’t write a short synopsis.
As an example, here is a review I received of one of my novels:
I enjoyed reading “Falstaff’s Big Gamble: A Fantasy Adventure to Make Shakespeare Turn in His Grave (Gundarland Stories Book 2)”. The author has written a hilarious satire and it is a very entertaining read. I felt that the author was very creative and knowledgeable about the writings of the famous Bard of Avon in writing this light, imaginative and charming tale.
Nonfiction Book Review Quiz:
1) How many stars, from 1 to 5, would you give this book? (Five is the highest rating)
2) What did you like about the book (if you liked anything)?
3) What did you not like about the book (if you liked anything)?
4) Did you get the information promised by the author in the book review and other promotional material?
5) Did the book contain information that you did not expect or that you did not know?
6) Would you recommend this book to other people?
Use your answers to these questions to write a few sentences about the book.
Here is an example review for one of my non-fiction books:
FFilled with diagrams and written almost like a step-by-step guide for authors, ‘Creating Stories’ is a must-read if you’re a new author or have been struggling to write your next novel. This is a guide for novel writers and short story writers. Covers character development, plot development, and more. In fact, it even gets to the heart of things. I like that it even touches on the foundation of things like comedy writing and satire.