Book Reviews: The Ultimate Word Of Mouth Promotion

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When planning your book promotion and marketing, remember this equation: more book reviews equals more sales.

Excerpted from BookBaby’s latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part V of our series addresses why book reviews should be the cornerstone of your book marketing plan.

Book reviews should be the cornerstone of your book marketing plan. Most authors agree that reviews – good or bad – are critical to promoting your book, and here’s why:

  • Readers use them. In a recent Kindle Board survey, over 85% of all Amazon Kindle readers report they rely heavily on book reviews before making an online order.
  • It’s the ultimate WOM (word of mouth) marketing. Friends don’t let friends read bad books. Everyone wants to know about the next great book and no one wants to waste their time on a terrible one.
  • Reviews count heavily in the booksellers’ algorithms. More reviews and sales page views can equal higher ranking, better inventory position, and exposure to more book buyers. Reviews also affect the “If you liked this, then you may like that” book recommendation features on many sites. This is particularly helpful for a debut novel or authors with a smaller following.
  • Bottom line: More reviews equal more sales for authors and more invested readers. In addition, authors gain exposure to other book review sites, blogging communities, and book clubs.

How to get reviews

The good news: There have never been more book reviewers available to the self-published author. But before you go hunting for reviewers, make sure you’ve got the essentials you’ll need to attract and engage with reviews. At the minimum you should have:

  • Your book (obviously!). Some reviewers prefer digital copies so you should have both eBook file types (.ePub, .mobi), print copies, and even a PDF version. All must have images of your book cover. (Note: Even if you have Print On Demand distribution, you should fulfill the requests from your own supply of books for the personal touch.)
  • Mailing supplies for printed copies. Don’t skimp here – it needs to look and feel professional.
  • A press release about the launch of your book.
  • A cover letter. This should be a short and sweet introduction to you and your book.
  • Author biography. This is a good place to show your qualifications, particularly if you’re a nonfiction author.

How to find and work with reviewers

There are literally thousands of book reviewers and bloggers online, and most of them review books even though they aren’t paid. A quick search online can provide you with plenty of links, directories, and lists. We recommend sites like Midwest Book Review, Indie Reader, and Self-Publishing Review as a starting point.

Just as important as the “who” is the “how” of working with reviewers. Here are some ideas of how to engage and work with these very important people in your literary career:

  • Choose carefully. If you pick the wrong reviewer – one who doesn’t review your genre, for example – it’s a tremendous waste of time. It’s critical to find out what kind of books the reviewer likes to review and only select appropriate reviewers.
  • Meet the requirements. Some want you to just send the printed book. Some review eBooks, many do not. Conforming to their requirements saves both of you time.
  • Send the book on a timely basis. You’ve got their attention – don’t waste even a moment to get your book out to them. Don’t let them lose interest in your book.
  • Follow-up… gently. Stalking or harassing won’t help your cause. The reviewer is very likely doing this in his or her spare time. If you haven’t heard anything after a few weeks, it’s very appropriate to follow up to see if they still intend to write the review.
  • Thank the reviewer. It’s common courtesy, but it also shows you appreciate the time and effort someone else took to help bring your book to the attention of more people. It’s also something they’ll remember when it’s time to review your next book!

This post was excerpted and adapted from 5 Steps To Self Publishing: All the essential information you need to go from manuscript to marketplace. Download your free copy today.

 

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Confronting bad book reviews

 

Steven Spatz

About Steven Spatz

Steven Spatz has written 118 posts in this blog.

Steven Spatz is a writer, marketer, and the President of BookBaby, the nation’s leading self publishing services company. Spatz’s professional writing career began at age 13, paid by the word to bang out little league baseball game stories on an ancient manual typewriter for southern Oregon weekly newspapers. His journalism career continued after graduation from the University of Oregon at several daily newspapers in Oregon. When his family took over a direct marketing food business, Spatz redirected his writing and design skills into producing catalogs. The Pinnacle Orchards catalog was named "Best Food Catalog," received dozens of other national awards, and the business grew into one of the nation’s largest gourmet fruit gift businesses. After the company was sold, Spatz continued his direct marketing career with Fortune 500 companies including Mattel and Hasbro. He joined AVL Digital in 2004 to lead the direct-to-consumer marketing teams for music industry-leading brands Disc Makers, Oasis, and CD Baby. After serving as Chief Marketing Officer, Spatz was tapped to lead the company’s new publishing division in late 2014. In 2019, the AVL Digital Management team purchased the New Jersey brands, including BookBaby. The company is headquartered in Pennsauken, NJ (just outside Philadelphia, PA) and meets the printed book and eBook needs of thousands of self-publishing authors around the globe. Spatz lives in Glenside, PA with his two children, a demented cat, and some well-used bicycles. Steven loves to hear from authors, editors, and publishers in the BookBaby community with tales of publishing trials and triumphs. To tell him your story, write to steven@bookbaby.com.

Steven Spatz
Steven Spatz is a writer, marketer, and the President of BookBaby, the nation’s leading self publishing services company. Spatz’s professional writing career began at age 13, paid by the word to bang out little league baseball game stories on an ancient manual typewriter for southern Oregon weekly newspapers. His journalism career continued after graduation from the University of Oregon at several daily newspapers in Oregon. When his family took over a direct marketing food business, Spatz redirected his writing and design skills into producing catalogs. The Pinnacle Orchards catalog was named "Best Food Catalog," received dozens of other national awards, and the business grew into one of the nation’s largest gourmet fruit gift businesses. After the company was sold, Spatz continued his direct marketing career with Fortune 500 companies including Mattel and Hasbro. He joined AVL Digital in 2004 to lead the direct-to-consumer marketing teams for music industry-leading brands Disc Makers, Oasis, and CD Baby. After serving as Chief Marketing Officer, Spatz was tapped to lead the company’s new publishing division in late 2014. In 2019, the AVL Digital Management team purchased the New Jersey brands, including BookBaby. The company is headquartered in Pennsauken, NJ (just outside Philadelphia, PA) and meets the printed book and eBook needs of thousands of self-publishing authors around the globe. Spatz lives in Glenside, PA with his two children, a demented cat, and some well-used bicycles. Steven loves to hear from authors, editors, and publishers in the BookBaby community with tales of publishing trials and triumphs. To tell him your story, write to steven@bookbaby.com.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Great article. My only comment: An editor friend helped me put together what I considered a “great” press release on my self-published print and e-books, but our newspaper refused to use it because I was self-published and had no real “publisher.”

  2. Um, Well where the H,E, Double Hockey Sticks is the proof in the pudding? If this is as such a great deal don’t you take an unknown author then take it one step at a time showing the world how it goes from nothing to something.. Seriously, stop saying how you do this and actually do it! It is funny how I have never heard of any of these people. Please put my mind at easy, or don’t. Don’t is actually the way that you will go..
    Frank

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