HOW TO GET BOOK REVIEWS!
What Are Book Reviews?
A review is a critical evaluation of a text. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary. It allows you to enter into dialogue and discussion with the work’s creator and with other audiences. You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization. You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and that statement will probably resemble the format like other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Typically, reviews are brief. In newspapers, magazines, and academic journals, they rarely exceed 1000 words, although you may encounter lengthier assignments and extended commentaries. Book reviews help the reader pick up books be it for kids, non-fiction, fiction, or any other genre. In either case, reviews need to be succinct.
While they vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features:
- First, a review gives the reader a concise summary of the content.
- Second, and more importantly, a review offers a critical assessment of the content.
- Finally, in addition to analyzing the work, a review often suggests whether or not the audience would appreciate it.
There are two general approaches to reviewing a book:
- Descriptive review: presents the content and structure of a book as objectively as possible, describing essential information about a book’s purpose and authority. Additionally, there may be some indication of the reading level and anticipated audience.
- Critical review: describes and evaluates the book concerning accepted literary and historical standards and supports this evaluation with evidence from the text and, in most cases, in contrast to and in comparison with the research of others.
Why Book Reviews Are Important?
Book reviews are important because:
- Saves time, decreases risk to readers: Book reviews help potential readers become familiar with what a book is about, give them an idea of how they might react to it, and determine whether this particular book will be the right book for them right now. Book reviews save readers time, prepare them for what they will find, and offer them a greater chance of connecting with a particular book, even before they read the first page!
- Greater visibility, the greater chance of getting found: Book reviews give books greater visibility and a greater chance of getting found by more readers. For an author, book reviews can open doors to new and bigger audiences.
- More sales: The presence of book reviews can help validate the worthiness of a book and establish who the book’s audience is. Then once validated, other similar people are much more likely to want to join their peers and buy that same book.
- Book reviews help you to understand what your readers want: Reading through the reviews written about your books can help you better understand what it is your readers are looking for. Reviews enable the author to have direct communication with their readers and help ensure that they are writing the best books for themselves and their audience.
- Book reviews help you to craft and improve your writing: Getting feedback on your writing is incredibly beneficial and an integral part of the writing process.
- Book reviews are essential to building your brand as an author: Building your brand as an author helps target the specific audience reading your genre. Your brand as an author is what helps sell your book. As you build your brand your credibility grows.
Who Writes Book Reviews?
- Professional reviewers: These people review books for a living. Most of these people have a good amount of integrity because their livelihood depends on their reputation. Their reviews appear in the ‘Editorial Review’ section for a book, and may or may not include a rating. Such ratings are not included in the book’s overall product rating.
- Quasi-pro reviewers:This refers to people who do not get paid to write reviews but publicize them in some fashion beyond just posting it on a sales platform like Amazon. In most cases, the quasi-pro writes book reviews relatively often and posts them on a blog and/or to one or more social media accounts.
- Avid readers: These are people who read a lot and write reviews without otherwise publicizing them. Most aren’t much different from the quasi-pro, aside from a lack of publicizing.
- Fans, friends, and family: Every author, no matter how many books they’ve had published for how long, has at least a handful of folks who will gladly give a positive review.
- Paid reviewers: Such a person takes money directly from an author/publisher and produces a positive 4 or 5-star review. If they read the book at all, they probably picked some key chapters and ignored the rest, to have enough detail to make the review believable. This practice is against the policies of all major book retailers (internet or otherwise), for what should be obvious reasons. It still happens.
How To Write Book Reviews?
- Begin with a summary of the book: This is probably the best way to introduce any review because it gives context. But make sure to not go into too much detail. Share a high-level synopsis of the plot so your audience gets the gist of what the story is about. Also, share any general information about the book that is important for readers to know at the beginning.
- Pick out the important aspects of the book: It can be broken down with character, world-building, themes, and plot. But this might vary between books, genres, and your tastes. Dedicate a paragraph to each of these important aspects, discussing how well the author dealt with it, along with what you enjoyed and what you didn’t enjoy. Let your audience know why you think it’s a great read, or why you found it disappointing. Sharing these details will help your audience form their own opinion of whether they would enjoy reading the book.
- Include brief quotes as examples: Including quotes is always a great idea, because it gives examples for everything that you’re saying. But be careful, lengthy quotes can take up big chunks of space and overpower your review. Short quotes will usually get your points across while letting your work shine through.
- Write a conclusion that summarizes everything: Like your introduction, keep your conclusion short and sweet. It should bring up the main points of your review, along with your overall opinion of the book. After sharing your praise and critique, let your audience know your conclusions.
- Find similar books: A great way to wrap up a review is to find similar books to the one you’re reviewing.
- Give it a star rating: Most review sites provide a star rating system. Let your audience know your rationale for choosing a particular rating.
Where To Get Book Reviews?
Reviews are important for the success of a book. It is the reviews that make a reader think about a book and finally go ahead. Here are some ways to get reviews for your book:
- Amazon’s Top Reviewers: Amazon ranks its reviewers according to a variety of criteria and publishes the list. You can go through the list to look for those reviewers who review books in your genre. It will take some time.
- LibraryThing & Goodreads: On LibraryThing, people catalog, review, and discuss books. Goodreads is similar to LibraryThing but bigger. Only publishers can give away books for free there, but you can still find potential reviewers through their groups, some of which are dedicated to connecting authors with reviewers.
- Social networking sites: Search for people who review your genre of the book on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites, and start making connections.
- Google: Turn to Google to find bloggers who review books similar to yours.
- Services that connect authors and reviewers: There are quite a lot of specialized websites which will make your book available to reviewers.
- Ask other authors: Ask other authors you’re acquainted with – either on or offline – who reviewed their book, and who they think you should get in touch with. Most authors are very willing to share their experiences and recommendations. When writing to a reviewer, be sure to mention that your fellow author recommended that you contact them:
- Look close to home & offline: There are plenty of local, offline sources for reviews, too:
- local daily or weekly newspapers
- school newspapers
- organization and company newsletters
- contact local indie bookstores to see if they know of any local reviewers
- The Indie View: The Indie View has a great list of reviewers in many genres. They also spotlight reviews and authors.
How To Get Book Reviews on Amazon?
Do you know what the third biggest search engine is? Amazon. Google is first, YouTube is second, and Amazon in third. When people use Amazon, what they see first is determined by Amazon’s search algorithm and reviews are a very important part of that algorithm. The steps to get reviews on Amazon include:
Step 1: Set-up for success: Ask for reviews in your book
Usually, it’s best to include a short, direct review request towards the back of the book, since good reviewers tend to read to the end.
Step 2: Ask your network for reviews
One of the most effective ways to get reviews is to set up a launch team.
To do this, put together a list of people who would immediately do a favor for you. One month before the book release, send this team a copy of your book so they can read it in advance. Just before the book launches, use KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) to discount the e-reader version to 99 cents for the week of the book launch. Then, follow up with your team, asking them to leave a review. As you can see, this email alludes to Amazon’s “family and friends” rule. Most book reviews and sales come from word of mouth, and you will of course be asking your network for support.
Step 3: Set up your assets to remind your network
Social media is a great way to remind your network that your book is ready to be reviewed. Use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or whatever social media assets you have to keep your book present in people’s minds.
Step 4: Reach out to authority reviewers & top reviewers
Amazon has a list of top reviewers who are enthusiastic and authoritative about certain areas. If you notice that someone consistently reviews books in your field, they might be a good person to reach out to.
Step 5: Don’t ignore negative reviews
It’s highly likely that, at some point, you will get a negative review. One thing to keep in mind before you get upset is that bad reviews aren’t always a bad thing. Books that only have 5-star reviews often don’t seem credible. Bad reviews can convince people that your other reviews are real.
What Are The Advantages of Book Reviews?
There are various benefits of securing book reviews, but for the sake of brevity, find below the top five:
- Visibility Measure: The more reviews you secure, the more you attract attention to your book.
- Media Buzz: Reviews also create a certain kind of buzz about your book that attracts BIG media.
- Reader Interaction and Engagement: Readers need to see other readers enjoying the book. Once the reviews take hold – it is natural for them to inspire more reviews!
- Purchase Decisions: Book buyers read reviews as part of making an informed purchase decision.
- Amazon Marketing Support: Amazon needs to see a high-level of interaction and reader engagement before deciding to add its support. When people start responding to other reviews, Amazon gets onboard – knowing the activity will influence purchases.
Book reviews are one of the important aspects of making your book successful. Hopefully, this blog gave you some insight into book reviews.