Book reviews are instrumental in a book’s success. They are like liquid gold to authors, but readers don’t always realize their importance! Many will find a new book series, binge-read it, and move on without thinking about the long-lasting impact of writing a review. (It’s nothing personal, of course! We all live busy lives.)
Some authors don’t even understand the impact reviews have on a book’s overall success. Reviews on any retailer website and book-focused social media, like Goodreads, can have as much value as a New York Times review. It’s better to have a book with more reviews and a lower rating than a book with fewer reviews and a higher rating. Reviews often lead to more reviews, and they are also used for SEO (search engine optimization) when people are searching keywords or genres for new books.
While it can be a bit daunting to be self-promotional, here are five strategies authors can use to help increase the number of reviews for their books.
1. Ask Subscribers for Reviews
Although it takes time to build an engaged and dedicated following, your audience is the most powerful resource you have to get more reviews. Within a week or so after your book has come out, it’s normal for an author to ask their followers who have bought the book to write a review on their preferred retailer’s website.
After you’ve built a welcoming and kind digital community where people feel valued and appreciated, you can genuinely ask them to do something for you in return. Many readers will consider leaving a review if you’ve asked and if you’ve made the process as simple as possible (such as providing them the direct links to write reviews). Readers are much more likely to support you if they feel like they know you.
2. Host a Book Giveaway
Although you have worked hard to market and publish your book, sometimes the best way to get your book in front of new readers is by giving it away for free. People are more likely to give a new-to-them author a chance if they receive the book at no cost and as a prize. Host a giveaway with low entry requirements to attract new readers. After some time, you can reach back out to the giveaway winners and ask if they would consider leaving a review with their honest thoughts about the book. In the best-case scenario, you could even gain a new lifelong fan of your work!
3. Assemble an Advance Reader Team
Create an advanced reader team (also known as a street team) that will act as beta readers for your forthcoming book projects. In addition, these people could also publish their reviews of your books on retailer websites, blogs, or social media for other potential readers to find. It’s common to see street teams posting early reviews on sites like Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Amazon.
To assemble a street team, many authors ask people who they’ve already connected with on social media or in person to review their book. As you build your author brand, you’ll undoubtedly meet and connect with similar authors and readers who would be honored to read your book in advance of its publication.
4. Ask for Reviews in the Back Matter
Back Matter is content at the end of the book, such as the acknowledgements, author bio, index, and/or references. Indie authors can benefit from making simple changes to their back matter to encourage reviews before readers fly away to those next in their TBR pile. If you have access to edit your book through KDP, IngramSpark, or another publishing service, edit your back matter with a call-to-action for readers to write honest reviews. You can also include QR codes leading directly to your Amazon or Goodreads listings.
5. Hire a Publicist
A good publicist should be your No. 1 cheerleader! With a strategic publicity plan in place, you’ll be able to get more book reviews and overall book awareness through those press hits. The more publicity your book gets, the more people and potential readers you’ll reach. Publicists are experts in researching coverage opportunities for you and your book. They pitch journalists, producers, and book reviewers (just to name a few) that could be interested in reading and reviewing your book. Through these media contacts and outlets, you will reach new people who may be interested in your book topic or genre.
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