Book Promotion: How to Get Book Reviews After Publication

How to get Amazon Book Reviews

So, you’ve self-published your book, you’re getting some traction but you need book reviews to help you build sales.

Alternatively, your publisher didn’t do what you thought they were going to do and not only are you not on the New York Times Bestseller list, but your book hasn’t even come close to a library or a book shelf in Barnes and Noble, and you need some decent book reviews, fast!

How do you get books reviewed after publication?

In the past, book reviews were only available to the exclusive world of traditional publishers, and, in order to secure them you had to follow the A-typical trajectory of book production, creating galleys or ARC’s seven months prior to the publishing date,  in order to mail these out to prospective reviewers,  then wine and dine them and generally do whatever necessary to secure your WSJ, NYT or LA Times book review. Well, not anymore.

Another of the many digital delights bought about by the advent of the internet, is the shift in reviews from offline (print) to digital, and there are a number of incredible communities where the major subject of interest and discussion is new books. The best part of the tech-transition is that the window of opportunity to get books reviewed is no longer a tiny crack of 6 months, it has become endless. I’ll give you a quick example . . .

About a month ago, I found a highly relevant blog site that covered a subject related to my last book, Your Legacy of Love: Realize the Gift in Goodbye, which was published in 2009. The bloggers loved the book and wrote a nice review. Within two hours the book had shot up the Amazon charts from #309,604 to #15,200 in its category. OK so it wasn’t the Top Ten slot it secured when the book first came out, but the orders came flooding in, despite the fact it was published over three years ago.

This is the beauty of post publication reviews.

It doesn’t matter when your book came out, if it is still relevant, of the right quality and of appeal to a specific niche audience, you are always going to be able to get reviews, blog, magazine and online community coverage.

So, how do you actually go about getting post-publication reviews?

The process is pretty much the same as pre-publication reviews. You identify your targets, get their submission information and send out the corresponding materials, typically including a media kit.

Submitting to Newspapers & Magazines (Print and Online)

It’s best to contact the editor first and find out what their submissions process is, research the title online first and check that they do review books, note that some will only review pre-publication but there are plenty of titles who will review a book after the pub date has passed. These need to be tightly targeted to the subject that the magazine content covers, you can research the lists of all US magazines (including fringe and alternative titles) and newspapers (national, local and regional) at the following websites:

www.magazines.com

www.newslink.org

www.ipl.org/div/news/

www.newpages.com/altmags

www.newpages.com/literary-magazines

www.everywritersresource.com/Biglist.html

http://www.bookmarket.com/newspapers.htm

Submitting to Amazon Reviewers

One thing you notice while trawling through Amazon is how many books DON’T have customer reviews. What the publishers and authors are thinking is beyond me. This space is the equivalent of prime ad space. Reviews serve as product endorsements, they work to remove barriers to purchase that exist in the mind of your potential customer, and they give third-party approval and act as social persuasion. In other words, you need them!

Amazon reviews come in various forms, Top Reviewers/Classic Reviewers/Official Amazon Reviews and Customer Reviews. Let’s start with the former.

Amazon Top Reviewers have a special badge accompanying their pen names, such as Top 1000 Reviewer, Top 500 Reviewer, Top 50 Reviewer, Top 10 Reviewer or #1 Reviewer. Having one of these badges displayed among your book’s reviews isn’t the same thing as an official endorsement by Amazon—it’s better. It’s a vote by a recognized community leader -— someone who takes reviewing seriously, and has earned a reputation for helpfulness.

Here’s how to find them:

http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers

Obviously you need to identify reviewers who read and write about your genre/subject-category which you will learn by clicking on their name which usually links through to a small bio where they explain what they are interested in and where most provide their website, email or contact info. Before you send them materials (which you’ll have a hard time doing without their address), shoot them an introductory email or visit their website and double check their submission guidelines. Don’t go sending your cow-munching-zombie thriller to someone who is only interested in memoir and YA. That’s just time wasting and plain silly!

If you want to know more about Amazon reviewers, read this great article by the Huff.

A quick word on negative reviews. When you send your work out for review you better ramp up the rejection shield because somewhere along the line someone is going to say something hurtful and nasty about your work. It’s part of the author journey so you need to learn to deal with it. Here is one way to cope with negative Amazon reviews.

Amazon has also been known to delete negative reviews posted by competing authors, reviews that contain inaccurate information about the author or publisher, and off-topic reviews. You can also request deletion of an inappropriate review on Amazon by sending an e-mail t:  community-help@amazon.com. Specify the book title and ISBN, the pen name of the reviewer, the first sentence of the review, and the date it was posted. State why you believe the review is inappropriate, and you should receive a reply within a few days.

Another key feature for Amazon reviews is the Spotlight. Popular books on Amazon can draw dozens or even hundreds of reviews. But no matter how many reviews a book gets, those designated for spotlight Reviews have a special impact because they’re usually the first bit of independent information buyers see about your book. Spotlights are crucial. Many potential customers browsing Amazon read only those two reviews before deciding whether to buy.

Spotlights don’t appear until your book has several reviews already posted. When a book is new, the first reviews appear about midway down its detail page. Additional reviews bump earlier ones down a notch and when the sixth review appears, Amazon selects one review as a Spotlight and places it on top. After your book receives a few more reviews, it selects another as the second Spotlight.

The selection process for Spotlight Reviews is automated. The review with the most “helpful” votes from customers usually gets the top spot, although reviews written by Top Reviewers count for more than others.

 

Submitting to Online Book/Reading Communities

There are a number of growing reading communities online where participants are ready and willing to review books. Good Reads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Library Thing, Google Books, and Shelfari are the most influential.

Within these sites you can get reviews from the community as well as your friends and family (the latter being the easiest place to start). Both Good Reads and Library Thing offer a Reader Giveaway program, where, in exchange for handing over a quantity or ARC’s or finished books to their willing members, in return you get reviews posted on the site. I recommend that if you participate in one of these, that when you send your books out to the recipients you ask them to post the review in three or four places, so, say Good Reads, Amazon and Google Books.

Do not underestimate the value of getting those you know to review your books. Ask them to then post the link to the review in any social media accounts they have, then take them out for a beer!

When it comes to getting other people (who aren’t in your network) to write reviews. You will need to follow the same guidelines for submitting to magazine editors or Top Amazon Reviewers. Do your homework, write to other authors and suggest you do a book/review swap, have them read yours and agree to write a review and vice versa. Build your “friends” within these community sites and then ask people if they would be willing to help. Some of these sites have groups of reviewers within them.

Check out the review examples below, these have been secured from a combination of the activities described in this article:

Of course there are many other ways to get coverage for your titles after the publication date has passed, and we’ll be covering that in other posts. But, if you want to know more about getting Bloggers to review your books check out this post. And, if you are set-up to secure pre-publication reviews and are wondering how to do that, try this post for detailed advice.

Now get to work!

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Categories: Book Marketing, Book Promotion, Book Reviews, Publishing, Self-Publishing

Author:Gemini Adams

Multiple-award winning, bestselling author, artist and founder of the Finish Your Book educational program.

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10 Comments on “Book Promotion: How to Get Book Reviews After Publication”

  1. May 11, 2012 at 4:21 am #

    What a great article jam-packed full of helpful information! Thank you so much for assembling all the links, tips and of course, for sharing it. I’m just starting out with my first SciFi book so this is really helpful to me.

    I’d solicited reviewers on Goodreads (and got about 25 in exchange for a free copy of the book) but had never considered soliciting magazines, newspaper and such. And I definitely didn’t know about the existence of Amazon’s “Top Reviewer” status. Wow. What a treasure trove of potential reviews!

    You do have to write a great book–or at least believe you have–but then it’s a matter of knowing how the business works. My knowledge is dated back to the 1980s when I wrote my books. Learning more about how the current marketplace is arranged is daily process but your article sure helped me take a few giant leaps forward. Thank you!

    -Friday
    @phoenicianbooks
    Author of Conditioned Response – A SciFi Thriller to Remember–If You Can!

  2. May 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Thank you for writing such an informative post. I found the information on Amazon especially helpful.

  3. May 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    This article is gold.

  4. May 14, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Thanks – very helpful

  5. Thank you for the helpful information. I just published my novel on Amazon, and I feel overwhelmed and lost about how to promote it and get reviews. Your well-written article gave me some ideas about how to approach the task. I never even thought of a pre-publication preview. I’ll remember that for book two. Thanks again.

  6. February 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Writer Wednesday « creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator) - May 16, 2012

    […] here’s a post on how to get reviews – even from Mighty Amazon. Will have to work on that, but I’m kind of tired to beg for […]

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