Why are book reviews important to authors?
Because people make purchases based on peer validation. Think about what behaviour you go through when sourcing a new book to read. You type in your key words, find your book, then check the star rating and reviews. You want to make sure its something you will be happy reading before you buy, because god forbid, you buy the book and waste a few hours of your time trying to get into a story that is just not your cup of tea. People these days have less and less time to spare, and we form opinions quickly. There’s no use paying all this money for advertising if buyers are discouraged from clicking that ‘buy’ button when they see no one rates your book.
How to get reviews for your book
- Family and friends. This is probably your first port of call and the least expensive. Hand out your book to your acquaintances and ask them to provide an honest review. Stipulate that it can be anonymous if they are worried of offending you. But it’s good to think of this as getting ‘feedback’ for your writing. A negative of this way is that sometimes it’s a little obvious when your first reviews on your page are all five-star, lol, but at least you have something there.
- Other bloggers. This can also be cost-effective if you offer your book for free. You can do a blog tour, which you pay a company to facilitate, or google blogs in your genre and contact the bloggers individually.
- Bargain book sites. Sites like Freebooksy, and Bookbub are sites that offer customers bargain deals for books. Downloads can end up in the thousands and you are guaranteed a few reviews as a result. The only thing with Bookbub is that you have to apply to have your book accepted, and it’s expensive, but worth it.
- Book review sites. Netgally and StoryCartel are sites that ask you to upload your ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) and they will connect you with bloggers who actively read books and review them for a living. I’ve found that the only downside to this option is that you are also inviting critical review opportunities along with positive ones.
- Your email list and social network. Give the opportunity to your followers, beta readers, social friends to receive a free e-book in exchange for an honest review. You can keep track of the people you have given the book to and if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain, just don’t offer the opportunity to them again.