Have others promote your book – How to get Reviews

Fellow Indies Unlimited Minion Ed McNally had a great post the other day about self-promotion. We all hate it, but it is a necessary evil. I want to shift gears a bit from where Ed led us and examine a method to allow others to promote us—reviews. Reviews are more important than just getting feedback about your book. It’s common knowledge that Amazon figures reviews in their ranking system. So the more reviews you have, the better ranked your book could be.

Please stay with me until the end of the post where I’ll divulge a super million dollar secret for book promotions (I’m not selling anything, just in case this sounded like an infomercial.) Okay, maybe not a million dollars, but it sure helps.

Reviews are one of the best methods to generate buzz about your book, without you being the one shouting from the rooftops. We’ve all spent countless conversations begging our friends and relatives to “post a review, please!” It’s frustrating and many times, a fruitless endeavor. So, how do we go about getting reviews?

First, let me say NEVER PAY FOR A REVIEW. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shout. Countless entities out there can’t wait to take your money. Don’t go there. So, where do you go?

Book Blog Reviewers—your best friend in the world. Book Bloggers love to read books and make recommendations based on those books. Imagine reaching millions of readers. They are not paid to do this, they do it for fun, which leads to a timing drawback which I’ll address later. They can literally change the success of your book and put you in the fast lane.

Here’s how it works, once you’ve identified an appropriate book blogger, you look under “submission requirements” or “review policy” and find out what format they’ll take and what they are willing to review.

However, that doesn’t help us find them, does it? Here’s a little secret *looking side to side, whispering*

Google Custom Search – Book Blog Search Engine                           

Bam, there ya go. Click on that baby and away you go; type in your category, and out pops thousands of book review sites that would be happy to review your genre. Follow these few steps and you’ll be on your way:

1. Research – take the time to find out that their site is interested in your type of novel. They will spell it out for you in the policy section.

2. Don’t mass email them. Pick out something of note in each site that you visit and comment on it in your email. They want to know that you really looked at their site and are interested in their opinion. Use their real name in the email, not the blog name.

3. Be patient – I alluded to this above. Some of the more prestigious ones that you run across may have a waiting list of months. Make sure you are okay with this before you go through the trouble of asking for a review. Most will spell this out in the “policy” section.

4. Be Polite – Don’t email them every week asking for your review. They’ll get to it and most will notify you when it’s posted. Many will post to Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads and B&N, not just on their blog site.

Here’s and example of an email that I wrote to a potential book blogger, feel free to copy it and use it for yourself:

Hi Chrystal,

I am so glad that I found your blog. I love what you are doing for the young adult population. It’s great to find someone that not only does blog reviews, but does so with a real passion for books. It is apparent that you love what you do. I have recently completed a first-in-a-series Young Adult mystery/suspense novel. I’ve included a brief summary and bio, and I would be honored if you would choose it for a review.

 Thank you for your interest,

Jim  (and then the synopsis and bio would follow which included a picture of the cover)

Once they agree to review, get them the book in whatever format they request. Of course, they do not promise a great review, just an honest review. I have had wonderful experiences with book bloggers and consider some of them friends now. Meanwhile, I’ve developed a database of outlets for when my next novel comes out.

If anyone would be interested, I would love to share my spreadsheet with you that is comprised of over 100 different YA blog reviewers. Please contact me through my blog or below in the comment section. One thing though, you will get it in the raw form, with all my notes and stuff.

Okay, now for the super secret thing I found. Here’s the million dollar take-away. Hopefully it’s new to you as well, otherwise, I’ll look like a fool. There’s this site…

http://www.tomoson.com

This is a hidden treasure. Once you sign up, you can fill out a promotion where you specify exactly who you want to review your book, genre, age group, even left handed bloggers if you want. You can fine-tune it to the number of Twitter and Facebook followers the reviewer has and even specify an Alexa ranking. Once your “promotion” is approved, bloggers COME TO YOU to review your book. You can choose who you want to send it to and then you wait for your review, which you can specify when, one, two or three weeks out. It is a gold mine for getting reviews. I’ve just recently found out about this and have my first promotion under review by the staff, waiting of it to go live. Imagine having 50 blog reviewers contacting me to review my book. I know—Crazy!

Good luck with both methods of review generation. As in any type of promotion, it takes time. While you’re waiting for your reviews—KEEP WRITING!

*     *     *     *     *

Jim Devitt is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited. The author of the #1 Kindle Bestselling novel, THE CARD, has recently moved on to the second round in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. For more information, please see the IU bio page or his blog:  http://jimdevitt.blogspot.com/

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Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

29 thoughts on “Have others promote your book – How to get Reviews”

  1. Great stuff Jim, and for the record I think I'm still a Junior Apprentice Minion around here. At least I think that's why Hise makes me wear these training wheels everywhere.

  2. Nice piece, Jim! And I agree. I am lucky to have gotten a lot of reviews for Joe Cafe. Lot’s of generous people out there for sure. And I agree, reviews are an often overlooked gold mine. Joe Cafe has 39 reviews in the US and they are all well thought out, non paid for, legit reviews. And mostly 5 stars (my Dad and My sister and a few others gave me four). 😉

  3. This was a very generous post : ) Thank you so much! Great advice and I agree above all be polite and take a reciprocal interest. I’ve seen my British peers fail at the latter, it’s just good manners in my book.. x

  4. Excellent advice, Jim! Here are two more super-secret book blogger tricks:

    1. In your e-mail to the blogger, include a link to an excerpt of your book. If it’s a great hook, you’ll get a better response.
    2. If you’re anywhere near NYC, try to get to the Book Bloggers Convention (first week in June). It’s now part of BEA (Book Expo America). You can meet a whole lot of bloggers at once.

  5. Very timely. Camera Obscura is coming out in about three weeks (who, me, counting?) and I'm exactly at that stage.

    Although I am going back to some of the bloggers who liked According to Luke enough to write a review, it does not hurt to find a host of new ones.

    Thank you!

  6. Hi

    I love reading books and do review certain kinds of books. However, if I get a book for review, I do insist that I will indicate on my blog that I got it for review. In one rare instance, an author did not want that to be indicated.

    While my book review blog was originally meant for books I had purchased and reviewed just because I loved the book, I then began to blog about the giveaways I got and have only lately begun to accept books for reviews.

    However, I do think transparency is important and the fact that a blog post relates to a book that has been obtained free from the author/publisher for review must be disclosed.

    Happy writing, folks.

  7. Hi all, and thanks for all the great comments. I was out of pocket yesterday and did not get a chance to comment on each of your comments.

    First off, as I mentioned in the article, I've just recently come across tomoson.com. I've seen some actual results through a colleague and was impressed by it's system and "aboveboardness" (just made that word up). I've submitted my first promotion and I have yet to see it appear. I emailed the tomoson people and their response was that it is going through the MANUAL process to see if it meets the standards of their site. They manually approve all submissions, and it might take a little while before it can go live.

    Lubna, I agree with you and I always want a blog reviewer to mention how they received my book. I believe it gives more credibility to the process.

    and Peter, thanks, but I don't think I get any referral links for tomoson, I'm just another guy talking about something I like.

    1. Jim, could you give me a step-by-step on tomoson.com? I registered, confirmed via email, etc., but every time I tried to submit a promotion it took me to something that looked like *another* registration page. I simply can't figure it out!

  8. Hi Jim,

    I agree, getting readers to review a book is very difficult. I get an email from a reader telling me he/she enjoyed my book and when I write a thank you note back, I have a hard time saying "hey – write a review for me" without it sounding pushy.

    I would love to have your spreadsheet of over 100 different YA blog reviewers and will sign up with tomoson. Thanks for the valuable info.

  9. Jim, what a great article! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I will be checking out the tomoson site, and also sharing your article with a lot of other writers. I do wonder, though, if any of these reviewers will cover re-issued books. Mine have been out-of-print for ten years or longer, but will be coming out this year as ebooks. Did you happen to notice if any of them addressed this issue in their guidelines?

  10. Thanks for the comments Mike, Susan and Gail.

    Gail, I'm sure many of the bloggers would cover re-issued books. Traditionally published authors are now bringing their backlists to the Indie publishing world and it is a great opportunity for bloggers to review great works.

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