In my last article I outlined things that writers shouldn’t do when seeking out reviews. The article got a lot of attention and it led people to ask what they should do when seeking reviews.
So by popular request I’ve outlined some pointers below concerning what you should and can do when seeking out reviews.
Do#1: Check out other author’s reviews to find reviewers
I’ve done this myself plenty of times. Look up books of your author pals or authors in your genre on Amazon and Goodreads for example. Read through their reviews from professional reviewers. Once you’ve found a reviewer you’re interested in, click on their profile. On Goodreads especially, it’s easy to contact reviewers. You can inbox them on the site. If they have a link to their website or blog, visit it. Make sure you pay attention to guidelines before contacting a reviewer. Do not spam them with advertisements or blurbs of your book. Just ask if they would like to review it.
Do#2: Create a list of book review sites and blogs that cater to your genre
You can find book reviewers by doing searches on Google, social networking sites and asking around. Once you’ve found the reviewers you want, gather them up in a list. Some authors prefer to only deal with reviewers who accept ebooks. Some need reviewers for self-published books. Whatever you need, write it down. Keep this list for your future books. You want to gain a bond with reviewers so they will be more willing to review your work down the line.
Do#3: Send out review copies to mainstream reviewers
Mainstream reviewers are reviewers like Publishers Weekly, New York Times, Romantic Times, etc. Mainstream reviewers tend to have strict guidelines. Most accept only print copies. There is no guarantee they will review your book. Most of these places are closed to self-published and ebook authors. Some require publishers to send copies, etc. Mainstream reviewers are more likely to review a book from Simon and Schuster than a book from a small niche press. These reviewers are usually bombarded with submissions so the chances of some authors being reviewed no matter who published their book are slim.
Do#4: Join Goodreads
Goodreads is the most popular book site on the net. The cool thing with GR is that your books are linked to your profile when you become a Goodreads Author. It’s a wonderful way to network and interact with readers and other industry professionals. Librarians and book reviewers use GR to keep up with new releases. Book reviewers use it to scout for books to review. There are entire groups on GR that are dedicated to giving book reviews. There are also bloggers who offer promotional opportunities like blog tours, interviews, guest blogs and more for authors. The possibilities are endless. Just don’t resort to spamming. Become a part of the community, not just a drive-by author.
Do#5: Only send self-published books to reviewers that review self-published books
It can be hard to get a self-published book reviewed but not impossible. There are many sites dedicated to reviewing self-published books, Kindle books especially. If you’re coming to a dead end then get with other self-published authors and ask who have reviewed their books. A Google search will help too of course. If you are not sure if a particular reviewer reviews SP books (most will say they do or don’t on their sites) then contact them and ask. The downside is that SP authors tremendously outnumber SP reviewers. The competition to get a review is fierce since most SP reviewers are overloaded with requests.
Do#6: Give a list of book reviewers to your publisher
After publishers send ARC’s (advance review copies) they might ask you if you have any reviewers you’d wish to contact. Send a book reviewer list to your publisher. It’s a good idea to send your publisher a list whether they ask or not. Sometimes publishers aren’t aware of potential reviewers that might be interested in your book. It’s your job to make sure everything is squared away where reviews are concerned.
Do#7: Create press kits and press releases
With the age of ebooks some people believe press kits and press releases are no longer needed. It’s always great to have a press kit handy for promotional purposes. Some publishers will create a media kit for you. Some will not. You need to learn how to create an effective press kit and press release. There are many sites where you can post your release for free. Book reviewers will often contact an author if they come across a press release of an upcoming book that seems interesting.
Do#8: Send books to magazines
Most magazines allow authors to send unsolicited books to their review editors or review departments. Look for magazines that cater to your audience and genre. Getting a magazine to review your book is a competitive sport but if you are lucky enough to be granted a review, it can bring you fantastic exposure. Be aware that most print magazine reviewers don’t accept ebooks or self-published books but some online magazines do.
Do#9: Follow book reviewers on Twitter.
Book reviewers are notorious for tweeting their latest book reviews as well as soliciting books to review. This is a great way for you to get to know reviewers and there are tons on Twitter. You can send them a direct message asking if they would like to review your work. Do not spam them with advertisements for your published works. Only contact them about a book you’d be interested in them reviewing and leave it at that.
Do#10: Take caution when picking out reviewers
I suggest reading a reviewer’s reviews before contacting them. You wanna make sure the reviewer is reputable and respectable. You don’t want a review from just anyone. Also you wanna look at the reviewer’s personality and tone when they review a book. Some reviewers are harsh. If you can’t handle the possibility of a tough review then don’t contact tough reviewers. Some reviewers will tell you like it is without sugarcoating so these are not for those authors without a thick skin.
Do#11: Thank the reviewer if they agree to review your book
If you are contacting reviewers on your own, you should thank a reviewer for agreeing to review your book. You aren’t obligated but politeness goes a long way in this industry.
Do#12: Follow up with a reviewer if they haven’t gotten back with you on an accepted request
If a reviewer is late with a promised review then contact the reviewer. Some reviewers get thousands of review requests a day so keep that in mind. Smaller sites like book blogs aren’t usually backed up but large review sites often are. Sometimes reviewers have to pull out of doing a review altogether. Don’t take it personally. It’s best to contact reviewers about three months before your book is released.
Do#13: Keep a positive attitude
If you think you can’t get any reviews then you won’t get any reviews. The art of positive thinking is a necessity during review searching. Keep an open mind and be organized. It starts with a solid plan.
John Kremer’s Book Market
(A fabulous writer’s resource for reviews and promotional opportunities)
(Great resource for SP authors to find reviewers)
Stacy-Deanne: Crime/Mystery & Suspense Novelist
NOTE: Be sure to view What Not To Do When Seeking Reviews
If you found this post useful, please use the Share links to spread the word to other authors.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Hello All, Dee here. I’ll be conducting a FREE eBook formatting workshop for people who are signed up for my monthly newsletter.
Topic: eBook Formatting Basics for Fiction Titles Cost: Free Date: March, 24, 2012 Time: 3-4 p.m. Central Location: Become A Successful Author Website (link and password will be given the day before the event)
Don’t have a copy of Become A Successful Author? What are you waiting for? Become A Successful Author will be used in the “How To Write That Novel” course at Chicago State because it covers everything from branding to writing to editing to formatting and uploading electronic and print books to marketing and so much more. Your time is money. Look at all the time, thus money, you’ll save by ending your search for answers: Purchase Become A Successful Author (eBook) for only $4.99 from: Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Barnes & Noble or print copies for only $7.99 by using the Contact page of this website and tell Dee know how many copies you’d like and shipping address. She’ll email the ordering information. Or you can purchase the print version from any book store for $9.99.