5 Essential Guidelines for Getting Book Reviews

Social media, getting book reviews, promoting yourself, and of course actually writing! There is not enough time in the day!

Can you relate to that feeling? If not, please tell me your secret! Lack of time and focus is the biggest issue that I hear from my clients trying to marketing their books.

I have good news - you don’t have to make hours and hours of new time appear out of no where. The actual secret is to spend a small amount of time consistently every single day taking steps in the right direction. It is amazing how far you can get following this method. Best of all, you won’t burn out doing it. Book promotion might even, dare I say it, become fun!

The marketing piece I want to talk about for this specific post is getting book reviews. Reviews matter in so many different ways. Here are just a couple:

       Getting better Amazon rankings
       Encouraging new readers to try your work
       Promoting yourself to the media
       Creating blurbs for your print material
       Helping you know what to write next
       Generating social proof

So how do you get these reviews? There are so many things that authors do wrong that completely shut down their efforts before they even start. But if you master these five essentials you will be on the right track.

1) Find Great Reviewers

This seems obvious, but many authors are so desperate for reviews that they don’t vet the reviewers at all. While there are many great reviewers who have an audience they can share your book with, there are also people who just want free books. Or worse, are charging authors money for reviews for nothing in return.

So how do you weed out the good from the bad? Start by asking these questions:

       Do they have an engaged and active social media following?
       Do they review so many books each month that they can’t be giving each one the time it deserves?
       Has it been more than a month since the last review?
       Does their site look like a quality and professional site or like something built in the 90s?
       Do any of their posts have comments on them?

There is no single clear cut rule, just use good judgement and know exactly what is being offered. And be very, very careful if you are ever asked to pay for a review.

2) Do Your Research

Make sure you take the time to read a few reviews on the website before submitting your book. Do they actually like the genre you are writing? If not you will probably get a bad review no matter how good your book is.

It is also critical to follow any guidelines given to you by the reviewer. These might include things like how to submit the book and what additional information they need.

And don’t be afraid to ask questions such as when they expect the review to be published. A good line of communication between you and the reviewer is an essential piece.

3) Follow Up

It is a good idea to follow up if you don’t get the review back within a couple weeks. Ask if they have an expected date for the review to be live.

The other piece of follow up is to promote the review once you receive it. And always send a thank you note to the reviewer. Good feelings go a long way in getting your book more exposure.

4) Be Polite

Another thing that should be obvious, but based on past experience it isn’t. If you get a bad review or the reviewer doesn’t follow through, chalk it up to experience and move on. No need to waste your energy on something unproductive.

Being rude or angry never got anyone anywhere.

And on the flip side, again, use common sense manners. Ask for a review, don’t demand one. Respond in a timely fashion to requests. And give credit where credit is due.

5) Leverage Your Review

The final, and perhaps most important point is to leverage your review. Otherwise all that time and effort getting reviews will end with crickets.

       If a reviewer just posts the review on their own site, ask if they will post it on Amazon too
       Announce the new review on social media (and tag the reviewer if possible)
       Add a quote from the review to your website
       Use appropriate reviews on your book blurb and print materials
       Include a great book review quote on the back of your business cards

Book reviews are a critical piece of the book marketing puzzle. Make it your mission to spend at least 15 minutes each day working on getting new reviews for your books and you will start seeing the difference!

Rivka Kawano is an author, speaker, and book marketing coach. She has worked with all types of books and authors and loves everything about the literary world. When she is not busy reading or promoting books she loves spending time with her three sons running 5k races, baking cookies, or drinking tea. Follow her @AuthorSensei on Twitter, or visit AuthorSensei.com for more information. 


I love to hear from you. So feel free to comment, but keep in mind the basics of blog etiquette — no spam, no profanity, no slander, etc.

Thanks for being an active part of the Writers and Authors community.