10 Ways to Make the Most of a Professional Book Review

By BlueInk Review Staff

You’ve finished your book and now it’s time for the often-dreaded task of marketing.

Where to begin?

Step one, any publishing guru will tell you, is to obtain book reviews— and not just the kind your friends and family post on Amazon. While such crowdsourced reviews can be helpful, savvy readers—and more importantly, booksellers, librarians and other industry professionals—know they can’t always be trusted.

Aim for a professional review (or two, or three) written by an unbiased third party, such as a critic from a mainstream newspaper or magazine, an influential blogger, or a fee-based service such as BlueInk Review (which uses writers obtained largely from mainstream publications and prominent publishing houses). These are sources that command credibility and can be used in ways consumer reviews cannot.

The next step is to maximize the review’s impact by using it with all your marketing efforts. This will give your book an advantage other titles don’t have.

Here are 10 ways to make the review work for you! Use a professional review:

  1. On your book jacket. While many authors include excerpts from friends on the back of their books, this can easily backfire: Readers are likely to surmise that you couldn’t find anyone else to vouch for the book. Professional reviews are far more effective here. Post excerpts from these reviews on the front or back of your book jacket.
  2. On your author website: Your author website should have a tab at the top of the site labeled “Book Reviews” that takes readers to excerpts or links to full reviews. The more professional reviews you post there, the more seriously readers will take your book.
  3. On social media: Professional reviews are great fodder for social media. Posting your review on your Facebook page, for example, gives you another way to remind your FB friends that you have a new book out there. Write a teaser, such as: “Just got a great book review from XXX. They praised my ‘vivid scene building and relatable characters’!”; then include a link to the full review. Do the same on Twitter and other platforms.
  4. On press releases: When contacting bloggers, mainstream press, bookstores and librarians about your book, it’s useful to send a press release about your title, which informs them about you and your book at a glance. A compelling excerpt from a professional review at the top of the press release will draw them in. And if you have many glowing reviews, attach a separate page to the press release with a full list of impressive excerpts.
  5. On marketing materials: Use an excerpt from a positive review on postcards to announce booksignings, bookmarks, informational sheets and other marketing materials.
  6. To get more reviews. One great review is awesome. Three or four are better. Use your first review to entice other reviewers, as in: “My book just received a rave review from XXX, which called me ‘the Ernest Hemingway for the millennial generation.’ Can I send you a copy for review?” You are much more likely to pique a reviewer’s interest if you already have a glowing review. It assures them that your book will be worth their time and attention.
  7. To approach booksellers and librarians: Booksellers and librarians are busy people. They can’t possibly read every book that comes across their desks. Instead, they rely on reviews to help them find great books for their patrons. If you are asking booksellers and librarians to stock your book, positive professional reviews will impress them far more than you personally describing your book at length and telling them all your friends and family loved it. (And here’s a bonus tip: Avoid the latter at all costs; this will immediately peg you as an amateur.)
  8. In the Editorial section of Amazon and Barnes and Noble: Both Amazon and B&N sites have designated spots for professional reviews near the top, separate from reviews written by consumers. Readers know immediately that they come from unbiased sources and carry more weight than consumer reviews. If you don’t know how to do go about posting in these spots, scroll halfway down in this link for directions: https://www.blueinkreview.com/how-to-use-your-review/
  9. To boost your confidence: Authors often tell us a positive review helped them gain confidence they had previously lacked. Writing is, by nature, a solitary endeavor. It’s easy to let self-doubt creep into your thoughts. A positive review from a professional source provides wonderful validation of your hard work and can give you the confidence to submit your book to contests and promote it elsewhere with vigor.
  10. To improve your work: If your review wasn’t as positive as you’d hoped, don’t despair. It’s never a waste of time to receive objective feedback from professionals. Set the review aside while you process your disappointment. Then read it again as dispassionately as possible and consider the reviewer’s points. They can be of great value, giving you important guidance as you revise your work or start new writing projects.