Book Marketing 101: Proven Strategies for Upping Your Book Reviews Game

by | Nov 22, 2017 | Book Marketing Basics, Getting More Book Reviews

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Every once in a while, I’ll talk to an author who says, “I have enough book reviews,” so they don’t want my help in that area of their book marketing.

But I can tell you that 99% of the time, they’re wrong.

If you don’t need any more reviews for a title, then consider that title done. Move on, put your focus elsewhere. If you can’t appreciate more reviews, then realistically other book marketing strategies won’t matter either.

Assuming you’re like me and you don’t fall into this category, let’s go over some ways I know will help get you more book reviews.

Make it easy pre-publication

If your book isn’t out yet, there are things you can do to make the book review process easier for potential readers.

Have ARCs ready. Set a timeline as well as expectations.

If you’re asking someone to read an ARC, give them a reasonable amount of time to read the book based on genre and length. Check in with them as your publication date gets closer.

If you’re soliciting busy professionals who don’t make their living reviewing books, you can create some template reviews to give them inspiration. This is common and acceptable in the realm of professional book marketing.

Template reviews should include wording and phrases that are particularly appropriate for your genre and topic. They should also allude to standout aspects of your story, character development, or tips, since not all who agree to write a review will be able to finish the book cover to cover before the deadline.

Start close to home

Family, friends, colleagues, fellow authors, street team members and superfans should be your go-tos for book reviews.

Send them personalized requests, let them know why their review is important to you, and ask if they’d like a free copy of the book.

And keep in mind that people are busy. You may not hear from someone immediately, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested.

Respectfully follow-up with people as often as needed.

Use your professional networks

If you belong to any professional organizations or writing groups, be sure to make your needs known to them as well.

Professional groups will likely appreciate the opportunity to use your book review templates so keep those current!

A lot social media groups are increasingly using “self promotion” days and posts as well. So while it’s not in good taste to blast your needs on a daily basis, be sure to take advantage of the self-promotion opportunities they give you.

Consider professional reviews

There are varying opinions on using paid reviews like Kirkus and Foreward in your book marketing, but I can tell you that they’re generally honest.

You may end up paying for something you don’t want out there!

Keep that in mind when deciding if you want to go that route.

Perhaps keep it in your back pocket for once your reader reviews start coming in and you feel confident people other than you and your mother like your book.

Create a call-to-action in your book

All your books should have a review reminder in the final pages. If a reader is using the Kindle App, Amazon helps you with this, which is really nice.

If you can sweeten the deal in any way, do it. Maybe it’s a free novella, or a free workbook. Tell them to forward their review confirmation to your email to receive their free or bonus gift.

You should always have some sort of collateral in your book marketing arsenal!

Cozy up to book bloggers

Bloggers have a lot of clout, so don’t waste their influence. Be sure to do your research and find all the book bloggers who read and review your type of book.

Keep it professional yet friendly, and be sure to adhere to any special rules or requests they have regarding submissions.

Don’t be a pest but plan to approach them more than once. Sometimes the timing just isn’t right.

For example, going after Christmas reviews in November – is a long shot.

Stroke egos

If you’ve written non-fiction there’s a good chance you’ve mentioned other people in your industry or complimentary industries.

Be sure to let them know they’ve received a shout out in your book and use that as a lead in to offer them a free copy and request a blurb or review.

Schedule discount promotions

Discount e-Book promotions are good for getting books in hand, so this is also a solid book marketing strategy for organically building reviews.

I recommend a discount promotion once a month if you have a library of titles, and at least once a quarter if you just have one book out so far.

Here’s more info on how to run successful discount e-Book promotions.

Be grateful

If the reviewer is from your professional or personal network, be sure to send a hand-written thank you card, or at minimum a personalized email.

Take this up a notch by using the comment option on Amazon to thank every person who has posted a book review.

Yes, that seems like a lot of work once reviews start pouring in, but that’s a high quality problem to have.

If they’ve posted criticisms, be tactful, and if their comments are valid, thank them for their insight.

Bow out gracefully if you feel their comments are unfair. If you can’t say anything nice or constructive, don’t say anything at all.

Or if you’ve written other books consider offering them a free copy in exchange for giving you another shot.

These personalized touches go a very long way to support your continued book marketing and sales goals. Customer service is important, even as an author.

The takeaway

Book reviews are a crucial part of your book marketing plan, but they’re not always easy to get.

Ask for help if you’re stuck and need help executing these things.  As a book marketing company and indie author myself, I know how overwhelming it can all get.  Maybe you just need a launching point.  Whatever it is you need in book marketing, I can help. Contact me and we’ll assess how we can help you sell more books.

Just be sure to leave no stone unturned. I’m willing to bet most of you reading this has a few more opportunities up your sleeve that you haven’t tapped into yet.

And if you’re a rare author that’s tried all these things, and you’re still frustrated, go for another round.

Don’t be too proud to beg. I can’t stress this enough. People are busy, but for the most part have good intentions. You’ll be surprised how many thank you for pushing them.




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