Tips on Getting Reviews
Reasons to get reviews
- It's the most effective way to promote books.
- Credibility - You want to get as many reviews as possible and have them posted on amazoncom. Many people go to amazon.com just to get reviews.
- To post on your website or to link to the reviewer's website. Some reviewers allow you to use excerpts only and not the full review. Be sure to check.
- To include in media kit.
- To send with publication to other reviewers.
- Add excerpt to your review/testimonial website page.
- Send to wholesalers, dealers, and subsidiary rights buyers.
- Use as endorsements/blurbs for back of publication.
- Give the review as much mileage as you can!
Where to get reviews
Every author strives to get a review from one of these top three reviewers: Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews. They all have strict guidelines – only accepting galleys three to four months before publication date.
Library Journal alone receives over 30,000 books every year from hopeful authors. About 5500 are reviewed. If you are self-published or do POD - Print on Demand - it’s very difficult to get your book reviewed by these companies.
How to get a review
There are 200,000 books published yearly. Reviewers get anywhere from 50 to 200 requests per week. Most services have 1 to 35 reviewers. When submitting your book to us or any other review service, it's important to understand that you are not the only one who needs review services. Please take the time to read the guidelines carefully before submitting your book.
Here are some other tips:
- Check to be sure the service reviews in your genre.
- If there is a request for a submission form to be filled out online, fill it out with as much information as possible. This is what "sells" your book.
- Don't ask for a review if you don't have a copy of the publication to send. If you are waiting for a shipment, wait until it arrives before you ask for a review.
- Give a thorough synopsis. This is your selling point. One liners just don't do it.
- If the submission form doesn't ask for your website, give it to them. Our reviewers sometimes check the author's website and amazon.com for other reviews to determine whether they will accept your book for review.
If you don't get accepted, ask yourself these questions:
- Did I follow the guidelines exactly?
- Does the reviewer work in my genre?
- Was the synopsis thorough?
- Boils down to: preparation, presentation, luck of the draw.
How to spot a scam reviewer
- Scammers do not provide tear sheets.
- Scammers solicit under false pretenses.
- Scammers do not have reviews or book postings on their website.
- Scammers do not read your book in order to give their honest opinions. They use the synopsis to write a review.
This is where homework is very important. There are many scam reviewers, so be wary of them, especially if they request books without a query letter or submission form. However, there are many legitimate review services available from magazines, newsletters, and websites. One example, is Midwest Book Review, a company that has been in operation for almost 30 years. They have about 35 local reviewers who pick up books directly from a central place. We do the same, if it's not an express review we ask the books be sent to our office. See our guidelines. Check, check, check.
You've been accepted. Now what?
- Send your publication immediately! The reviewer has accepted your book and is ready to start. We suggest USPS priority mail because you get a tracking number. If you buy postage online, it's $4.60 and the mail carrier will pick the package up from your home/office. Another option is regular mail. The last option is media mail, which we do not recommend, because it's too slow and there is a greater chance of loss.
- Do not send an e-mail telling the reviewer to contact your publisher to request your book or pick up the publication. This is a definite "no-no." The reviewer is providing you a service, you are not providing a service for them.
- Send a "new" copy of your book, not a used, dog eared copy. Take pride in your creation. Every reviewer on our team that we polled told us the first thing they do when they receive a book is examine the cover and the book itself. Remember, first impressions count!
- Do not deface your publication by writing "Do Not Sell" on it. Instead, honor the reviewer by giving them an autographed copy, making sure you personalize it for them. Most reviewers keep their books, donate them to libraries, or pass them on to friends to read. If you send your book to a credible reviewer, they aren't going to sell it. We have a policy that our reviewers do not sell the publication.
- Send a media package with the book - bio, synopsis, other reviews, news release, book mark etc. It gives the reviewer some insight on you. Be sure to include contact information. You wouldn't believe how many books we receive without any contact information.
- Enclose a self-addressed stamped post card. Ask the reviewer to fill this out and return it, acknowledging receipt of the book and an expected review date.
- Enclose a personal, hand written note to the reviewer. After all, they are volunteering a tremendous service for you.
- Take pride in how you package your book. Use bubble wrap to prevent any damage during mailing. When we polled our reviewers they said the first thing they notice when a publication arrives is the packaging. So, wrap it with care!
- Keep a log of every book you send, including the date it was sent, the recipient, the tracking number, the mailing address and the date you receive your tear sheet.
After you receive your review
- Send a personal thank you note to the reviewer. Remember, they are volunteers and have provided you a tremendous service.
- Post the review on amazon.com.
- Get as much mileage as possible from the review.
Go to the Reader Views submission form.