Book reviews help you sell your book — and it’s easy to see why. There are more than 1,000,000 titles — both traditionally published and self-published — released every year. It’s a vast understatement to say that readers simply don’t have time to read them all. An intriguing synopsis can help draw readers in, and praise from an objective source assures them that they will enjoy the book and encourages them to take the leap.
A good review may make for a tasteful centerpiece on your mantel or look great hanging on your refrigerator, but there are better places to feature your piece of positive publicity. Below, we offer suggestions on how to use your review to its fullest potential.
Feature your review on book sales sites:
Everyone should list their book review under the Editorial Reviews tabs on Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Here are complete directions on how to do this:
Amazon allows authors to post their BlueInk Review in the Editorial Reviews section of their author page. This spot is distinguished from customer reviews, as only reviews from credible, objective sources are allowed. Here’s how to post your BlueInk review:
- Log in to Author Central.
- Click the Books tab at the top of the page and select the book for which you would like to add an editorial review.
- Click Add and follow the instructions at the top of the “Add review” window to enter the text of the review and the review source.
- If you need to edit a pre-existing review, click Edit and make the desired changes to the text.
- Click Preview to review your entry
- When you’re satisfied, click Save changes. Amazon will make the updates for you.
In regard to customer reviews: Anyone can post their thoughts about a book in this section. But some reviewers have more credibility than others. Amazon ranks its reviewers based on how much credibility they have established in the Amazon community. While names like Harriet Klausner or Donald Mitchell may not ring a bell, both are highly regarded in the Amazon community to the point of actually being recognized as Hall of Fame Reviewers.
Top Amazon reviewers get inundated with review requests on a regular basis, but you can leverage the credibility that comes with a positive BlueInk review to distinguish your book from others.
Some Amazon reviewers list their email address or link to a website where it can be found. Starting with the top reviewers, work your way down the list and send out review requests.
Barnes & Noble
- Send the ISBN of the book and a fair-use excerpt of the review you want entered to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure the source of the review is cited in the email.
- That’s it. The site administrators will take care of the rest. Turnaround time may vary, but be sure to check back to see if your page has been updated to reflect your changes.
Other online sites that will help you get the buzz going
Also consider using your review on the following websites. There’s a thriving community for self-published authors online, and these sites are great places for getting the buzz going.
- Apple Books: Do not miss out on listing and promoting your book in the Apple bookstore, formerly ibooks. You must, however, work on Mac to upload your book.
- Kobo: Don’t forget about this ebook site which was originally associated with Borders Book Store. When the store went out of business, the company went to work establishing one of the most dynamic ebook stores around. The biggest advantage: Canada. 25% of Canadian ebook sales come through Kobo.
- Goodreads: This hugely popular site for readers has over 75,000,000 members. You cannot afford to overlook this.
- Wattpad: Marketing your book on Wattpad is a great way to grow your fan base, connect with new and existing readers and generate buzz for your latest launch.
- Smashwords: This fast-growing site allows you to publish your book in multiple ebook formats, sell your work to their worldwide visitors and take an 85% cut of all sales.
- BookRix: Another great social community that connects writers and readers. Bookrix hosts regular writing contests and allows readers to download free ebooks.
- Google: A must for listing your book. Google Books is becoming the premier source for buying ebooks through independent bookstores. It also has a fabulous “Preview” option which we offer with all of our reviews, so that readers can look right inside the book.
- Scribd: This site calls itself the “largest book club on the planet.” Readers can sample work, connect with authors, recommend titles and bring their work to light here.
- Authorsden: Another reader and writer community. With lots of featured authors, category breakouts and great author profiles, this is nice spot to post your book.
- Reddit: This social news site gets about 13 million visits each day. While Reddit is a vast community, there are several subreddits designed for you to post promotional material for your book, including your review. Here are a few subreddits where promoting your book is encouraged:r/SelfPublish;r/ShamelessPlug;r/WroteABook
Use your BlueInk review to get more reviews
One great review is terrific. Three are better. You’re much more likely to get positive attention from successful authors you want to approach for quotes, for example, or other review sources, if you already have a positive review to send with the package. By promoting your book’s BlueInk review, you establish credibility for your book, which can help open doors to other reviews and publicity.
What do I need to get started?
The easiest way to tackle the job of seeking other reviews and publicity is by having a template email you send to each party that can be tweaked for each circumstance. Author Michael J. Sullivan has posted a step-by-step guide for contacting bloggers, which includes a sample “mini” ad that he sends to bloggers to request reviews. You can use that as your template, but regardless of formatting, it is important that you include the following:
- Your book’s cover
- A brief headline that grabs readers
- Excerpts from notable reviews for your book (e.g. BlueInk)
- A back cover-style synopsis of your book
Any relevant links, especially if you have an author’s website or a sample chapter you can send.
Remember to give the recipient just enough information to intrigue without overwhelming them. If you’re unsure about your email, send it to a friend or colleague to gauge their initial reaction. You only have one chance to make a first impression with each potential reviewer, so tinker with your formula until it’s perfect.
How do I find bloggers who might review or write about my book?
There are several book review blog roundups published on the internet such as this one from Reedsy. You can find others by using a Google to search for blogs that frequently post book reviews in your genre. Search “book review” (in quotes) and your book’s genre or search for similar books or any other information you have that may lead you to blogs that review or mention books. Browse each blog to see if they fit your target demographic. Also, take a moment to find any affiliate blogs listed on the site, as these may lead you to other opportunities. Once you have your list of targets, create a spreadsheet to organize and track where you are in the request process and begin sending out your emails.
Send out as many emails as you can. If you get a response, be courteous and professional, and understand that each blogger will have his or her own opinions and own way of doing things. Sullivan’s aforementioned guide to approaching bloggers has plenty of useful tips on etiquette when dealing with review requests and is absolutely worth a read.