Fellow Indies Unlimited Minion Ed McNally had a great post the other day about self-promotion. We all hate it, but it is a necessary evil. I want to shift gears a bit from where Ed led us and examine a method to allow others to promote us—reviews. Reviews are more important than just getting feedback about your book. It’s common knowledge that Amazon figures reviews in their ranking system. So the more reviews you have, the better ranked your book could be.
Please stay with me until the end of the post where I’ll divulge a super million dollar secret for book promotions (I’m not selling anything, just in case this sounded like an infomercial.) Okay, maybe not a million dollars, but it sure helps.
Reviews are one of the best methods to generate buzz about your book, without you being the one shouting from the rooftops. We’ve all spent countless conversations begging our friends and relatives to “post a review, please!” It’s frustrating and many times, a fruitless endeavor. So, how do we go about getting reviews?
First, let me say NEVER PAY FOR A REVIEW. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shout. Countless entities out there can’t wait to take your money. Don’t go there. So, where do you go?
Book Blog Reviewers—your best friend in the world. Book Bloggers love to read books and make recommendations based on those books. Imagine reaching millions of readers. They are not paid to do this, they do it for fun, which leads to a timing drawback which I’ll address later. They can literally change the success of your book and put you in the fast lane.
Here’s how it works, once you’ve identified an appropriate book blogger, you look under “submission requirements” or “review policy” and find out what format they’ll take and what they are willing to review.
However, that doesn’t help us find them, does it? Here’s a little secret *looking side to side, whispering*
Bam, there ya go. Click on that baby and away you go; type in your category, and out pops thousands of book review sites that would be happy to review your genre. Follow these few steps and you’ll be on your way:
1. Research – take the time to find out that their site is interested in your type of novel. They will spell it out for you in the policy section.
2. Don’t mass email them. Pick out something of note in each site that you visit and comment on it in your email. They want to know that you really looked at their site and are interested in their opinion. Use their real name in the email, not the blog name.
3. Be patient – I alluded to this above. Some of the more prestigious ones that you run across may have a waiting list of months. Make sure you are okay with this before you go through the trouble of asking for a review. Most will spell this out in the “policy” section.
4. Be Polite – Don’t email them every week asking for your review. They’ll get to it and most will notify you when it’s posted. Many will post to Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads and B&N, not just on their blog site.
Here’s and example of an email that I wrote to a potential book blogger, feel free to copy it and use it for yourself:
I am so glad that I found your blog. I love what you are doing for the young adult population. It’s great to find someone that not only does blog reviews, but does so with a real passion for books. It is apparent that you love what you do. I have recently completed a first-in-a-series Young Adult mystery/suspense novel. I’ve included a brief summary and bio, and I would be honored if you would choose it for a review.
Thank you for your interest,
Jim (and then the synopsis and bio would follow which included a picture of the cover)
Once they agree to review, get them the book in whatever format they request. Of course, they do not promise a great review, just an honest review. I have had wonderful experiences with book bloggers and consider some of them friends now. Meanwhile, I’ve developed a database of outlets for when my next novel comes out.
If anyone would be interested, I would love to share my spreadsheet with you that is comprised of over 100 different YA blog reviewers. Please contact me through my blog or below in the comment section. One thing though, you will get it in the raw form, with all my notes and stuff.
Okay, now for the super secret thing I found. Here’s the million dollar take-away. Hopefully it’s new to you as well, otherwise, I’ll look like a fool. There’s this site…
This is a hidden treasure. Once you sign up, you can fill out a promotion where you specify exactly who you want to review your book, genre, age group, even left handed bloggers if you want. You can fine-tune it to the number of Twitter and Facebook followers the reviewer has and even specify an Alexa ranking. Once your “promotion” is approved, bloggers COME TO YOU to review your book. You can choose who you want to send it to and then you wait for your review, which you can specify when, one, two or three weeks out. It is a gold mine for getting reviews. I’ve just recently found out about this and have my first promotion under review by the staff, waiting of it to go live. Imagine having 50 blog reviewers contacting me to review my book. I know—Crazy!
Good luck with both methods of review generation. As in any type of promotion, it takes time. While you’re waiting for your reviews—KEEP WRITING!
* * * * *
Jim Devitt is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited. The author of the #1 Kindle Bestselling novel, THE CARD, has recently moved on to the second round in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. For more information, please see the IU bio page or his blog: http://jimdevitt.blogspot.com/