When we want to buy a product these days we always look for reviews to see how others found it, and a book is no different, a great review can work wonders in helping the unsure reader make the decision to purchase your publication and not another.
Reviews themselves can and should be used in several locations too, when most people think of reviews for a book they think of its Amazon’s sales page, the gold stars and the comments left by people who have already bought the book. But there are other places to use your reviews and (most importantly) several different ways of getting reviews.
Let’s look at how you can get some reviews first.
One – Promote your eBook
Giving your eBook away for free as part of a promotion can be a great way to increase your downloads, the more people who get to read it will eventually lead to an increased chance of reviews. This can work incredibly well if you have a series of books, making the first in the series permanently free will not only help with obtaining reviews, it will also help in selling the other books in the series.
Two – Ask the reader
You will have noticed that in the back of most books you’ll see a call to action for the reader themselves, this is a polite request asking the reader to leave a review online of your book, this works incredibly well in eBooks, here the request gives a link to the book’s sales page, making it incredibly easy for the reader. But even with a printed book, you can still have a page which politely asks the reader to leave a review, it’s best to have this just after the final page of the book, once they’ve read ‘The End’ the next page asks for their review (include a picture of the book and make it stand out).
Three – Use your website & mailing list
Any serious author these days will have a website (if you don’t have one yet, it really is worth considering), your website is your platform to the world and gives you the opportunity to self-promote, inform and engage with your readers. Again, you may need to offer something for free (maybe a chapter of your latest book or even a complete book) in exchange for their email address. Once you build a mailing list you can send out news, promotions and even sneak previews of new books, just make sure you ask for a review in return.
Four – Beta Test your book
Opting for a ‘soft-launch’ where you only promote the book to a select few is more common than you may realize, the purpose of this is to fine tune the book and get feed-back, some of this feed-back may then be usable for a quote, but it’s really important that you get honest feed-back that you can then act on, the most successful films do this with test audiences and you should do the same with test readers.
These test readers could be part of online authors groups (such as Goodreads), they could be readers who you engage with through your author social media channels or they could be people who are part of your mailing list. This process can take several months to complete, so you should be patient, but it really is worth taking the time to complete, it can really help with the editing, proofing and promotion of your book and really doesn’t cost much to do.
Five – Give your book to people of influence
This could be as simple as sending out free copies to book bloggers in return for a review/quote, you may send a copy to someone you admire and has relevance to your subject and genre. The key is in doing some research, if you are going to send your book to a prominent Blog writer or Vlogger, make sure that they actually review books that are in your own chosen genre.
Six – Use Social Media
Engaging with your audience via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other channels is a great way to self-promote and also get to know those who read your work, the main thing to always keep in mind is that it should not just be about promotion, you do need to have a conversation/interaction with your followers, it should be fun and engaging.
When done correctly, social media is a great platform to ask for reviews and promote free (or discounted) books, but again, just don’t go overboard with non-stop adverts.
Seven – Using paid services?
Yes, you can buy reviews and there are plenty of people on freelance and independent sites who are more than happy to write one for you. But, you do have to consider the ethics and feedback of what you may be about to buy, some services will simply put your book in front of readers who are happy to leave reviews, this is a little better, but if you have a review which when quoted shows where it came from, then your reader may not trust its validity. Given the choice, it may be better to look for more organic reviews first.
Once you have some reviews, where do you place them?
One – Your book cover
A great review is always worth placing upon the cover design of your book, for most books the quote/s are place upon the back page, normally above the main blurb, this is so that the reader is hit with it prior to reading anything else. Depending upon the design and available spacing, you may also want to consider placing a small quote upon the front page too, this works really well if it’s relatively small and of course punchy/positive (remember, it is a sales tool for your book).
Two – Your Book’s Sales Page
When you upload your book to Amazon, it will allow you to add a detailed description about the book itself, in a lot of cases this is where an author will simply copy and paste their book’s blurb. It is of course worth taking your time with this page as this does become a sales tool for your book and should be approached with some serious thought, but along with the description you can of course add a quote, adding this just above the description of the book will add some gravitas to your page and help in the book’s promotion.
Three – Your social media
A quote will also look great when placed upon the social media banners for your author’s profile pages, you’ll normally have a banner which has artwork and your book on, you should consider adding a quote to it too, just don’t over-crowd the banner.
Four – Your Website
You should definitely have your quotes placed throughout your website, make sure that they stand out as quotes and have them upon all of the relevant pages, in most cases the quote will be in a different style font or placed within a quotation box, the website should also give you more room to publish multiple quotes.
Five – In Print
If you are making any promotional materials such as posters, business cards, bookmarks, flyers, t-shirts and other give-a-ways, make sure you include a good quote within the designs, again, this is another great opportunity to sell your book, so use it.
Book cover designers.