Home / Features / How to get your book reviewed – by avoiding book reviewers.

How to get your book reviewed – by avoiding book reviewers.

To have a chance at selling your book on amazon or online, you need reviews. Lots of them. And if you’re like me, you hate pushing all your friends and family to review your work (is it really fair to ask them?) and leave comments. So most authors do this:

1) Search online for book reviews, indie book reviewers, self-published book reviews, how to get book reviews, etc.

2) Email or contact those reviewers asking them to take a look at their books and comment.

Here’s why that doesn’t work. First of all – those few sites that offer reviews are probably swamped with hundreds, or thousands of book review requests. They may not get to yours. If they do – most of those sites are PR1 or maybe PR2 (I’ve checked) and I’m willing to bet that the majority of people who found those sites were looking for someone to review their book, rather than searching for recommendations of books to buy and read. Does the review do you any good? (Yes…if you convince them to post on amazon. More on that later).

Here’s a better way to get reviews – while avoiding “book review websites”.

1) Find bloggers (or websites, but blogs are easier) who are in some way related to your book, or who may like your book, or who have reviewed other books in a similar genre, with a Page Rank of three or more. You can use “google blogs” to search for them. Be creative! If your book is set in LA, write to bloggers in LA or LA tourism sites. If your main character is a lawyer, contact lawyer blogs. If your character is a witch, write to wicca blogs, etc. Find some basis of connection.

Why PR3? Once a blog hits PR4 they receive a lot of advertising requests, free books, etc. PR3 is low enough that they won’t be totally swamped, and might actually respond favorably. But if they do post, their link to your site will be more valuable (and their review will rank higher).

2) How to ask for the review: Tell them who you are, that you’re looking for creative ways to promote your book, and ask politely if they’d be interested in receiving a free copy. If they like it – no strings attached – you’d appreciate a review or comment on Amazon.

Getting your book reviewed is an important step in getting the word out that you’ve recently published a book. Most writers focus most of their attention on the content and leave the other stuff to their support staff. But now it is easier than ever to do the little things, and completely streamline the process and your abilities. Being able to make book covers and get reviews from many different places and people make this the best time ever for publishing your own work by yourself.

What NOT to do: A few months ago I sent out about 1000 emails – the emails were long, had lengthy descriptions of my book reviews, and several links. I got very few responses – because it seemed a lot like spam. So don’t do that! Make your emails short and punchy. Make them personal. By the way, I like the term “Indie author” more than “self-published.” You can even use it to your advantage. Here’s a sample:

Dear _____, I found your site searching for blogs about _____. I’ve recently written a book about (very short description – your one sentence book plug) and (reason your book is related somehow to this blog). I’m an indie author and am looking for creative ways to promote my book. I noticed you (like, do, support, etc…show them that you’ve looked over their blog and actually know something about them).  I think you might enjoy reading it, so I’d like to send you a copy. You can check out the details on this page: (link to your page….with lots of details, description). If you give me your mailing address I can ship one to you. There’s also a PDF review copy here (another link).

There’s no obligation of course, but if you like it I’d appreciate a short review or post on your blog, or an amazon comment.

Sincerely,

(author name)

Don’t make it too formal. Make it casual and personal, like you’re writing to a friend, not a stranger. If you only have kindle and no print file, you can send them to a link that has several ebook options available, including PDF … however, you should have a print copy. I print and ship mine directly from createspace… it’s pretty cheap and very easy. Most people prefer a book and if you actually send them one, they are much more likely to comment or do a writeup. (If you find a site you really want to be on – dig around and try to find their mailing address. Send them a copy first and say “I’ve already sent you a copy, hope you like it!”) In general, you don’t want to ask them to do you any favors. You want to do THEM a favor first, without expecting anything back. Send them a book because they might enjoy it, not so that they can promote you (why should they?)

Getting reviews is a numbers game. Big publishers send out a minimum of about 500 review copies. While most self-pubbed authors can’t afford that, what we can do is send out 10 or 20 book to perfectly chosen niche-blogs, while at the same time directing hundreds of other blogs (by email) towards our online digital copy (yes, you should have copies of your book available for free in different formats on your website, and you should let people know they can read them for free and that you’d appreciate a review).

In the beginning of the game, it isn’t about profit – so don’t worry about it. In the beginning, it’s about getting buzz. You need comments. You need support. After you have that – THEN you can worry about selling. But without it, why should anyone buy from you?

PS) If your book is not professionally edited, if your spelling and grammar stinks, if you have a homemade cover that looks like crap, then your campaign to get reviews won’t work. You are asking people to put their own integrity and reputation on the line – it doesn’t matter if your writing is amazing; they will feel embarrassed if they recommend a poor quality product, and you shouldn’t ask them to.

Derek Murphy is the author of Jesus Potter Harry Christ.

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/members/pocbooks/ James Lynch

    I recently was interviewed myself for a blog and enjoyed it. Your template covers all the bases. Thank you

  • shannonyarbrough

    Hi Derek-

    I must admit I’m a bit confused and a tad bit insulted by your article. You state:

    So most authors do this:

    1) Search online for book reviews, indie book reviewers, self-published book reviews, how to get book reviews, etc.

    2) Email or contact those reviewers asking them to take a look at their books and comment.

    Here’s why that doesn’t work…

    While your advice is to just search for popular blogs related closer to the subject matter or genre of an author’s book, you do state that you yourself sent out 1000 emails requesting reviews. But you do not state who you sent those emails to.

    In January of this year, The LL Book Review (an indie and self-published book review site) received one of those emails from you requesting a review. And we accepted your book and requested a review copy which you did provide. So, do you not follow your own advice? Are you posting this as a result of the lack of attention your email blast got? Or does your advice really hold no merit?

    While indie review blogs (such as The LL Book Review) may not get a lot of traffic outside of the indie community, the same can be said for personal author blogs or even message forums, and face it, there’s a lot of them out there!

    And though getting lots of reviews at places like Amazon.com can certainly get you attention, most readers still judge a book for themselves and don’t even read the reviews.

    Outside of personal friends and family members who might read your self-published book, sometimes authors look to the indie community for support and to help get the word out. In my personal opinion, word of mouth is the best marketing tool there is. Reviews, particularly positive ones, are what may give a book merit and create buzz in the virtual world, but it shouldn’t really matter who those reviews come from.

    And for what it’s worth, LLBR does cross post its reviews to Amazon.com.

    -Shannon Yarbrough
    Founder, The LL Book Review
    http://www.llbookreview.com

  • michael goines

    If you’re an indie author looking for a book review, visit http://www.myquietword.blogspot.com Their reviews are posted to amazon,barnes&nobel,weread and books a million.

  • http://www.jesuspotterharrychrist.com Derek Murphy

    Thanks Shannon, I’m ashamed and properly mollified. I wasn’t clear enough in my post and I didn’t mean to attack indie reviewers. I had two main points – one is that my email system wasn’t very nice (they should have been more personal and less spammy, but I appreciate you overlooking that). The second is that small indie book reviewers may be overworked and don’t have a high enough page rank; this has nothing to do with their quality – but a review on a low page rank simply won’t be found as easily as the blogs I mentioned. (The LL Book Review has a PR3 which is great – you’re giving a much-needed opportunity to indie authors). About my email blast, I’m glad I sent one to you. But I mostly sent them to standard book review sites, many of whom replied snarkily that they don’t review self-published or indie books. I do appreciate the few that took the time to respond. Since LL Book Review probably started out small I should change my advice to, “as well as sending out books to indie book reviewers, which may not work all the time for the following reasons, you may also want to try finding blogs that aren’t about book reviews that have a readership that might be interested in your book, and contacting them directly.”

    Thanks again for your comments.

    • shannonyarbrough

      Thanks Derek for your clarification. As an aside, you do have a positive review to look forward to on our site in a few weeks. And it will be cross posted to both Amazon and GoodReads.

      -Shannon

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/members/ronfritsch/ Ron Fritsch

    Derek, I’m glad you’ve shared your experiences with us. You seem to have a clear-eyed view of the current scene. Shannon, I like this: “And though getting lots of reviews at places like Amazon.com can certainly get you attention, most readers still judge a book for themselves and don’t even read the reviews.” That sounds okay to me. You get the reviews and some buzz, but the readers are still going to pay more attention to the genre, cover, trailer, and description (on the back cover or wherever else they might find it) than what the reviewers say. That’s a deal I can live with.

    • shannonyarbrough

      Ron-

      I say that strictly as a reader myself. I try very hard not to let reviews sway me from reading a book. In fact, most books I read have less than 10 reviews at Amazon, if any.

      As an author, I’d like to think that positive reviews help your book gain attention and in the end, gain sales. But I’m not 100% convinced.

      And as a reviewer in the indie community, I once thought my service was to the reader and to tell them why they should (or shouldn’t) read a particular book. But as Derek pointed out, the indie community is very self-reliant and most people who frequent indie review sites are indie author themselves, not the blind readers looking for good books.

      So, my role as an indie reviewer is to offer praise and/or constructive criticism for the author. My review becomes simply a marketing tool for them to use however they see fit. I try to review with both the reader and the author in mind. And in the end, yes, I cross post the review to Amazon for the author. We all know why we like to see reviews of our books there!

      Thanks,
      Shannon

  • http://givethemsomethingbetter.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I am sorry if I sound stupid but what is PR1 or PR2 and how do I find out who has that ranking. I looked at google blogs and didn’t see any thing like it. I would love to know how popular some blogs are. Can you give more information?

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/members/ronfritsch/ Ron Fritsch

    Henry, thanks for the information. How do we get SPR back up to 5? Visit it every day no matter what?

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/members/teosocrates/ Derek Murphy

    For most browsers, you can add a plugin or addon that shows the PR when you visit a site. The PR is usually only for the main page; PR is about the “authority” of your site and is based on how many quality sites are linking to you. Usually it grows with time and by writing good content. I’ve just donated $10 on fiverr.com to get Self Publishing Review more backlinks. I’m also working on my own blogs’ PR so when it gets up there I’ll link to SPR also. That should help; but it only changes about 3 times a year, when Google goes through and reassesses things.

    • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/members/henry-baum/ Henry Baum

      Wow, cool, thanks for the Fiverr.

      Ron, I’m not sure why it dipped, given that links are increasing. But Google’s a mystery, and it’s possible that it’s ranking 4.9, rather than 4.1.

  • http://libraryofcleanreads.blogspot.com Laura Fabiani

    As a book blogger I would like to add that if you are requesting a review please read the review policy on the reviewer’s site. Most good book review blogs should have one. I cannot stress this enough. It will save you time and money. I not only review indie authors but I’m also self-published therefore I understand what it’s like to be an indie author. Be professional and follow the reviewer’s guidelines. I have received so many requests with no links to the book info and asking me to read genres I specifically state that I do not review. Do your research. Read the reviewer’s blog. Your reputation as an author comes through the email you send. Oh and one more thing. Do address the reviewer by his\her name. After all, you want this person to read your work, the book you slaved to write, publish and now market. Respecting those who will help you create a buzz about your book is respecting yourself as an author.

  • http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    I agree that there are lots of ways to get reviews other than than the tried-and-true methods and I love your idea. I mention another idea in The Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) that I call going through the back door. Many large review sites provide a way to get reviews from their stable of reviewers, but as you noted, it is crowded and simply applying often doesn’t work. But if an author reads the site, familiarizes herself with the indivvidule reviewers (their preferences) and then does a little Googling, she may be able to contact those reviewers individually. That allows her to make a point that she read the reviewer’s piece on XX title, maybe even mention her style, and then ask for a review. A little individulalization can go a long way! I did that to land a review in the Library Journal for my novel and it was nearly a year after that journal’s deadline.
    Best,
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

  • http://www.zlspublishing.com/blog ZLS Publishing

    I think one thing that reviewers need to remember to do on their websites are to put their review policies up. I have been to quite a few reviewers blogs and it’s either not up there or it is hard to find. One should not have to scroll down to the bottom of the website page (which I saw on one reviewers site) to find the review policy. It should be under reviews and the first button under that page. Knowing who the reviewer is, is nice but knowing the policy is even better.

  • http://www.aunty-m-brain-tumours.co.uk Claire

    Thank you so much for your info on this page.

order cipro uk buying viagra philippines cipro 500 mg espanol augmentin 625 mg tab tarif levitra 10mg is propranolol generic nexium 20 mg bid augmentin 400 mg posologia online canada cialis indikasi metformin 500 mg viagra generico bonifico metformin pcos 1000mg prednisone 5mg benefits nombre generico xenical nexium generic image buy lexapro generic erythromycin 1000 mg db buy cialis in online buy viagra propecia online belgium zovirax generic uk ordering clomid 40 mggeneric cialis kamagra tablets 100mg prednisone 5 mg dog kegunaan nexium 40 mg doxycycline 100mg gerd buy online valtrex green cialis 20mg debrecen buy viagra buying cialis dubai lisinopril smg prednisone 10mg pill 15mgs of cialis synthroid cheapest jaguar 100 mg viagra propecia generic 7355 viagra online madrid zovirax dispersable 400 mg cytotec online kaufen cialis online eu prednisone 20 mg arrow order bayer levitra 8 mg of prednisone propranolol 80 mg lp cialis online bestellen generic drug cialis nexium 20 mg contraindicaciones online doxycycline tablets cialis phone orders prospect valtrex 500mg buy viagra sainsbury clomid generic prescription xenical buy overnight discount generic propecia generic valtrex philippines zovirax 50 mg bula cipro 500 mg kullanim propranolol 30 mg anxiety priligy order online zovirax cream cialis 20mg doctissimo buy branded viagra buy 200mg clomid lisinopril al 20mg generic valtrex images cheapest generic wellbutrin obat diflucan 200 mg online viagra emails generico lexapro 10mg generic viagra onlineusa about levitra 5 mg clomid tem generico buspar 10mg bactrim 40 mg diflucan 200 mg 7 days cialis 5 vs 10 mg lexapro 60 mg dose levitra dosage 30 mg lexapro generic antidepressants cialis order australia erythromycin creme buy clomid 100 mg capsules cialis 20 mg information buy generic lisinopril zithromax cheap online online cialis discount prednisone anxiety disorders strattera generic adderall cialis 5 mg ho prednisone 2o mg mims online celebrex wellbutrin generic 300 mg generic metformin problems buying diflucan online 5mg lexapro 10mg levitra 10 mg tabletten cialis 36 hr 20 mg viagra online singapore effetti cialis 5 mg cialis order viagra prednisone dosage 60 mg lexapro 20 mg sale buy cheapest propecia lexapro 20mg night 50mg zoloft reviews levitra orodispersible 10 mg online kamagra maestro cipro tablete 500mg lisinopril dehydration 2.5mg cialis 10 or 20 mg walgreen cialis 5 mg medicamento propranolol 10 mg levitra 60 pills online wellbutrin xl 225 mg clomid online generic generic viagra 26 cialis buy augmentin 875 mg 200 mg cytotec lasix 20 mg reviews zoloft 5omg farmaci generici viagra celebrex 800 mg wellbutrin 75 mg pfizer zithromax online synthroid buy cheap 10 mg of prednisone buy cialis perth amoxil 500mg tailand generic lisinopril cost buy levitra sverige lexapro 5 mg forum celebrex 200mg uses generico cialis farmacia viagra 100 mg canada propecia 1mg 5mg chinese cialis 800mg 100 mg lexapro levitra 20 mg fiyatlari glucophage tabletas 850 mg viagra generico mastercard cheap professional cialis propranolol 20 mg bid order propecia bosley clomid 50mg pct injection clomid online taking 100mg zoloft prednisone 50 mg apo doxycycline stemgent viagra gels cheap amoxil 500 mg uti clomid rx online cheap cialis 200 mg levitra 20 mg facts wellbutrin 150 mg online levitra 20 mg prospecto lisinopril hctz 25 mg generic cialis experiences 50 mg doxycycline acne zoloft 100 mg classifications generic kamagra online 1000 mg of tetracycline cialis 2.5mg india cialis 2.5 mg buy generic zoloft effectiveness xenical cheap buy levitra 10 mg prezzo lexapro 20 to 30 mg cheap daily cialis metformin 1500 mg daily generic diflucan walgreens 50mg clomid pct cialis 20mg slovenia prednisone 20 mg winthrop is clomid generic generic otc viagra cialis 20mg x 8 xenical buy paypal generic propecia cipla lexapro 20 mg efficacy glucophage 500 mg online zoloft 50 mg prospect wellbutrin generic effectiveness diflucan 150 mg kapseli cialis 20 mg 20 free buy cialis nolvadex 20mg buy propranolol china buy cialis order 5 mg canada generic viagra prices cialis 5mg kamagra 100mg ervaring generic levitra article levitra price online cipro 100 mg im 40 mg lexapro ocd buy nolvadex india cialis generic fast phenergan 5mg 5ml viagra online wo xenical 120 mg bijsluiter strattera generic launch buy kamagra 25mg xenical price 120mg celebrex 200mg caps 30 cialis 2.5 mg sale lexapro generic now buy levitra calgary cialis 10mg price nexium hp7 generic generic 10mg cialis nexium 20 mg dose levitra dosage generic levitra 20mg.professional glucophage metformin 850 mg 8 doxycycline 100mg buy synthroid t4 cialis 5mg young lexapro headache 20 mg cost valtrex 1000mg levitra 40 mg online ordercialis and viagra doxycycline 400 buy cialis generico amex metformin aurus 1000mg levitra generique 10mg when generic propecia nolvadex buy sydney levitra reichen 5 mg generic viagra instructions capsule diflucan 150 mg doxycycline 150 mg dosage everyday cialis online viagra generic canada nolvadex 20 mg filmtabletten zovirax cream 30 mg genericselect viagra drugs lisinopril 20 mg qd levitra online tricare cialis price 5mg nolvadex buy pct price lisinopril 20 mg Levitra 120 pills order generic amoxil permanent cipro de 500mg generic clomid work metformin 500mg bloating lisinopril stada 5mg female kamagra 100mg cialis 5mg england viagra online real 600 mg of zoloft order lexapro tablets nexium 20 mg omeprazole 1000 mg augmentin xr nexium 28 mg kamagra 100mg bijsluiter cialis 0.5mg efecto safest generic viagra valtrex generic reviews viagra 20mg prijs prednisone 5 mg vaccines buying clomid online remedio levitra 10mg buy 80mg strattera zithromax 4x 250mg wellbutrin hcl 100mg safe generic levitra propranolol sa 80 mg cytotec buy cialis 2 5mg online generic levitra 517 viagra doses 150 mg generic priligy online cialis 5 mg od levitra 10 mg indicazioni viagra online discrete generic valtrex buy cialis online florida lisinopril 2.5 mg female cialis online viagra generic fgr 100 metformin 850 mg prices viagra canada orders viagra buy nottingham cheap kamagra ireland generic viagra malaysia glucophage metformin 1000 mg valtrex generic alternative clomid 50 mg 10 tablets 35 mg prednisone online consultation propecia viagra generico dosis buying viagra atlanta buy clomid canada buy levitra line cialis 5 mg erfahrungen cialis online france buy priligy china 50 mg viagra enough 40 mg generic levitra cytotec tab 0 2 mg viagra online gb Online Levitra 20 mg pfizer viagra generic lisinopril 10 mg used generic cipla viagra cialis 10mg street 100 mg viagra online viagra 10 mg cost nexium cap40mg viagra online buying lexapro generic doses cialis 10 mg confezioni cheapest levitra sale 300 mg lexapro overdose orlistat xenical 120 mg zoloft 700 mg buying viagra ireland prednisone biogaran 5 mg viagra online sverige lisinopril de 40mg zovirax 10 mg augmentin antibiotico 1 mg doxycycline 100mg paludisme vegetal viagra 600mg lexapro de 10mg xenical buy australia lilly cialis 20 mg propecia mailorder 5 m mg cialis splitting viagra 100 mg 5mg cialis, canadianpharmacy lisinopril 20 mg erowid buying viagra amsterdam cheap zovirax prescription strattera generic patent buy tetracycline hydrochloride viagra pfizer 50 mg augmentin 1000 mg kullanimi viagra 25mg reviews celebrex 100mg research prednisone 20 mg sciatica taking generic viagra buy prednisone philippines augmentin 500 mg dosis zithromax sold online clomid 50 mg instructions 12 online generic viagra cialis 50mg buy cheap cialis fast zovirax 500 mg metformin 500 mg forum lexapro five mg lisinopril 5 mg cost levitra online sales lisinopril 40 mg new cialis 100 mg cipro xr 750mg strattera 25 mg generic harga cialis 20mg cialis 2.5 mg appearance efectos viagra generico unprescribed clomid online lexapro 15 mg bula Cialis 20mg 30 Tabs levitra generic cina levitra online cvs glucophage 500 mg vidal buy prednisone pet viagra otc generic viagra buy sildenafil cheapest viagra australia clomid 100mg cheap doxycycline 100mg horses propranolol hct 80 25 mg wellbutrin generic canada 100mg viagra fails cialis 20mg beschreibung cialis pret 10mg cialis 2 5 mg costo cialis order levitra cipro 500mg antibiotic buy zithromax iv zithromax 500mg n1 buy cialis 18045 cialis 20mg cpr4 viagra 12mg online levitra reviews generic bactrim suspension generic research viagra cialis 50mg prescriptions lisinopril 20 mg wockhardt online cialis real gnc generic viagra pret viagra 100mg propranolol 40 mg buy nakup viagra 25 mg 150 mg wellbutrin jitters buying cialis china erfahrung levitra 10mg real generic cialis synthroid .075 mg cialis pills cheap lisinopril generic form buy chewable viagra cialis cheapsarasotafl viagra buy shanghai chewable viagra online discount cheap viagra viagra tablets cheap 2.5mg cialis harga doxycycline 100mg magnus viagra 100mg buy levitra london cialis 20 mg etkisi xatral 10 mg viagra clomid 50mg metformin buy lasix overnight cheap viagra 50 mg cialis onlinenline stockholm fda generic cialis prednisone 50 mg tablet levitra pills 10mg cialis goes generic cialis 20 mg malaysia buy prednisone us cialis dosage online zithromax generic for harga viagra 100mg clomid 100mg cost propranolol inderal 10mg amoxil generic lexapro 5 mg daily 150 mg phenergan prednisone 2 mg day viagra 50 mgs nexium 20 oy 40mg zithromax tab 500mg cvs generic levitra wellbutrin buy canada order viagra trial viagra generico teuto strattera online prescription viagra cheap 150 valtrex 500 mg gsk generic viagra chennai levitra 5 mg prezzo cialis generic .68 metformin 1000 mg teva clomid 25mg nederlands viagra online authentic bactrim 40 mg 200 mg order zithromax 250 mg diflucan 50mg capsule augmentin 500 mg posologie buy cheap valtrex lexapro tab 10mg tablet augmentin 625mg 05 mg cialis metformin 1500 mg pregnancy 1000 mg metformin online propecia forum buy cialis melbourne cheapest brand viagra cialis 10mmg kamagra tablet 50 mg buspar 120 mg cialis generico 5mg propranolol 20 mg pliva wieviel mg viagra wellbutrin 300 mg adhd buy weekenders viagra buy viagra otc cipro 500 mg nedir buying cialis calgary generic wellbutrin lawsuit 40 mg of lexapro generic bactrim 200 mg dapoxetine generic cheap celebrex 200 mg canada cialis cheapist buy celebrex us lexapro 10 mg directions 1500 mg metformin conceive cialis 5 mg efektet clomid buying nz priligy generico acquisto celebrex cheapest price celebrex 200mg tendonitis diflucan 150 mg dosis glucophage metformina 850 mg dividere cialis 10 mg zoloft 25 mg nausea metformin 25 mg viagra online istanbul xenical tablets online buy zovirax 200 mg buy doxycycline hyc ordering generic levitra