How to Get Reviews for Your Ebooks and Paperbacks?

how to get book reviewsReviews are (in my opinion) far more important than covers. Most people read books that were referred to them. When first starting out, it can be quite a task to accumulate reviews of your book. In fact, one of my recent titles has been out for a few months with decent sales, and it currently hasn’t received even one posted review. Yikes! Great thing that it’s selling, but I sure would love to see some reviews for it.

Part of the reason is that I haven’t been overly active seeking reviews. This may be a lazy and stupid effort on my part; we’ll see in time. However, you may want to make a real effort to generate reviews, and this is often easier said than done. Here are suggestions for getting the reviews ball rolling:

1. Ask friends and family to read and write one (friends are better choice than family, and beware of family with the same last name). It’s likely some of these people have already read your book and would be happy to continue helping. Caution them not to write overly sweet and gushing reviews that might be met with skepticism from other readers. Nothing annoys an unhappy customer more than finding out a pack of misleading reviews were left by zealous friends and family. Ask them to be candid and encourage them to list items they didn’t particular enjoy to keep it realistic, not like one big pat on the back.

2. Ask members of forums to write a review. Offer a free book in exchange or offer to give a review for another author as a fair trade. Amazon Kindle discussion groups do this frequently as well as forums like http://indiespot.myfreeforum.org/. It’s easy to meet people at Goodreads and make offers like this to avid readers of any genre.

3. Dan Poynter of ParaPublishing has a newsletter with a monthly reviews wanted section. It’s how I got many reviews that ended up on my website for How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free. Just sign up for the free newsletter and follow the submission advice at http://parapublishing.com/sites/para/.

4. There are plenty of people who can be found with a Google and forum search. Some charge money, some don’t. Many have a long waiting list while others might be available right away. Because this field is constantly in flux, you’ll need to do some searching. A member of Red Adept’s staff at http://redadeptreviews.com/ did a review of The Little Universe, but I had to apply for it and the posting came out 6 months later. (That site no longer exists, an example of how quickly this industry changes.)

5. Make a mention to readers at the end of your book that it would be greatly appreciated if they would be so kind as to leave an honest review. Let people know it’s okay to include elements they didn’t like as well as those they did. In fact, I encourage readers to do the same for my books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or anywhere else for either the ebook or paperback versions. And if you didn’t like it, that’s okay too. I am sorry if that’s the case, but not everyone will like the same book.

6. This post was referred to me on this subject and has a list of new places that are continually looking for books to review – https://sites.google.com/site/articlemarketplace/blog/ebooks/5-book-review-sites-for-self-published-ebooks (that site no longer exists either, but plenty of new ones do).

Now comes the scary part. What if a lot of readers have complaints or simply don’t like it? Maybe they mention poor formatting, errors with grammar and typos, or that the story just didn’t work for them. Unfortunately, it’s happened to me plenty of times. I can report with good conscience that not everyone likes my books and that’s okay. This will possibly be the case for you too.

However, there is a beautiful thing about ebooks that’s not true with paperbacks (depending on the printer). Ebooks can be regularly edited and updated. If a dozen typos are discovered by readers (or you), then those can be fixed and updated immediately. Amazon usually takes about 2 days to publish a newer version, Smashwords sometimes a week or more, and these updates can happen as many times as you want.

Content of the story and other narrative issues can be harder to work out. For authors who sense that the book simply needs to be better, it will probably be wise to join some writing critique groups and work on improvements. I mentioned earlier a few forums for writers which is a good place to start, and there are plenty more with a Google search for “writing critique groups.”

http://indiespot.myfreeforum.org/ – a place for readers and authors to connect.
http://www.goodreads.com/ – all about books.
http://redroom.com/ – where the writers are.
http://www.authonomy.com/ – where writers become authors and more.

What are your thoughts?


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9 Responses to “How to Get Reviews for Your Ebooks and Paperbacks?”

  1. Karen B Says:

    One of the sites I’ve found extremely helpful for finding independent book reviewers is:
    http://www.stepbystepselfpublishing.net/

    It’s a great directory of reviewers that gets updated often. I’ve also found a lot of book reviewers by searching twitter.

  2. flick merauld Says:

    Phew, at last some useful links and advice. I’m in the middle of promoting a KDP book and am at the computer 24/7 it feels like, but it’s hard to find really useful advice. It’s a shock, after being with a publisher who did a lot of the exposure and marketing for me (though I still had to do plenty myself) to realise that it’s now ALL down to me. Thank you again, you’re offering a greta service to fellow authors.
    Flick/Elen

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      It’s a sad reality that it is ALL down to us, Elen. Fortunately for Indie authors, we’re like one big support group so plenty of helpful people and advice everywhere we go. Thanks for visiting. All the best. -Jason

  3. Justin Tyme Says:

    Hi, Jason. Thanks for the advice. BTW, the link for #6 is broken now. At least it was for me. No need to make this post public.

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      You’re the best, Justin. I don’t mind making this public as it demonstrates how quickly things change within this industry. I wonder how many more sites my blog points to that aren’t there anymore?

  4. Two Sources for Book Reviews « Dawn Ross – Aspiring Book Author Says:

    […] I found two sources so far in my research. One source is an article written by Jason Matthews who is a leading expert in self-publishing books. Check out this article HERE. […]

  5. Cynthia Marsh Says:

    Thanks for all the great information on getting reviews Jason. I have started putting together a spreadsheet with details of reviewers and book bloggers that I have found on the net and now I just need to take courage and start sending out enquiries. I have also found quite a few reviewers from searching Twitter.

    One site I have found that seems to have a lot of information on it is The Indie Book Blog Database http://hampton-networks.com/about/


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