With so many new books on the market today, (latest figures show one new book is released on Amazon every five minutes!) the task of gaining exposure for your title can seem daunting at best. Now, more than ever, your title really needs to get people's attention by standing out above the rest. It doesn't matter how good your book is, if people don't believe it's worth their time and money, they'll never buy. But how do you go about spreading the word that your book is different, somehow better than all those other titles out there? Reviews! Reviews are one marketing tool every author should employ.
We'll touch first on the established literary reviewer, mostly because that's where you should start. If you don't already know why these reviews are important, we'll give you a quick tutorial on what you can do with a review from an expert reviewer. You can print reviews on the cover of, or inside your book, (if you've planned ahead you will send ARCs to reviewers, so your final release version will still need to be printed). You can print reviews (or excerpts - with the most glowing phrases) on sell sheets, bookmarks, and other promo pieces. Also, any online sites where you sell your books will typically provide authors with a space where they may include a synopsis, reviews, author bio, etc. You'll want to take advantage of these opportunities to increase your online exposure. Book trailers are a great place to share your best reviews; and of course banners for use at book fairs and book signings should include pull quotes from your most stellar reviews.
Long before your book is ever published, you'll need to plan ahead to submit copies to review sites. There are reviewers world-wide who are willing to read your book and share their honest opinion with their following. Some of these reviewers, the ones representing larger newspapers and publications, will not review your book if it is self published. They also may not review your book after it's already been released and is available for purchase. Many tend to review only specific genres. So if you want to get reviews by these established reviewers (and you do!) you'll need to do a little research to learn who reviews your type of book (ie: genre and method of publishing, etc.).
When a reviewer takes the time to review your book, it's common courtesy to respect their submission guidelines (which can often be found on their website). If they have an online review form, take the time to complete it. If they state they will not accept unsolicited books for review, take the time to send a query letter first, and make sure to personalize it with their name. Remember, they're doing you a really big favor if they take the time to read and review your book, so show them the respect and appreciation they deserve.
Of course, getting your readers to write reviews of your book is not easily done. Readers are not necessarily writers. Expecting someone to take the time to share their thoughts online is just not realistic. But there are a few things you can do to help make it easier to get those reviews. If you're still in the early stages of your book you may wish to include a short blurb in your book (near the author' bio is a good place for this). It can read something like this:
If you've enjoyed this book, please tell a friend.
Also, please consider taking the time to share your thoughts on the following sites:
This one little trick may make the difference between piles of reviews, and no reviews at all.
And don't worry that someone will write a critical review of your book. The saying goes, there's no such thing as a bad review. Not everyone is going to like your book; it's virtually impossible. So when you get a bad review, roll with the punches and realize that those comments, good or bad, will still help draw attention to your book. And don't forget, pull quotes are a fabulous way to accentuate the positive while eliminating the negative. If a reviewer finds ten points to criticize, but offers one glowing statement, then focus on that one good point. There's no reason why you should print any of the negative stuff. One good review can do wonders for your book. Hundreds of reviews (good or bad) can do even more to gain the attention of potential readers. So get out there and start working on obtaining those reviews.
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