When you’re looking for your next read, how do you shop? I don’t know about you, but one of the first things I do is to ask my friends for recommendations. They can’t all know my exacting tastes in the books that I read, but when I hear glowing reviews or repeat recommendations among my friends, I take note. If the book is available as an ebook, I will usually download the sample right away to see if the book is a good fit.
Future Importance of Book Reviews for Indie Authors
A recent article by the Huffington Post predicted that self published ebooks will achieve a 50% share of the book market by 2020, citing reasons such as the decline of brick and mortar stores and the increased publishing savvy of indie authors. However, with the meteoric rise of self publishing, we’ve seen as much poor writing in the marketplace as quality writing, and readers are seeking validation that a book is worth their time. Since there are no signs that this trend will change anytime soon, book reviews for indie authors are and will continue to be a critical and important cornerstone for your indie book marketing strategy.
How do you get the book reviews you need?
Christine Nolfi (@christinenolfi), the author of Reviews Sell Books, recommends that you focus on getting 10 quality reviews for your book. Below, we’ve listed seven sources of reviews you should investigate first.
- Friends & Family: One way to do that is to provide advance review copies (ARCs) to a list of trusted friends and family in your inner circle. If you’re publishing and promoting a second or third book, you likely have a short list in mind of people who have reviewed your other books. That is exactly where you should start. These people are going to be the most motivated and invested in your success. However, you should diversify your outreach to include others beyond your inner circle.
- Bloggers: Regardless of the topic of your book, odds are that there are influential bloggers who have written about and have curated a following interested in the very same topic. One of my favorite sites for indie authors is Indie Review, which offers a frequently-updated list of book bloggers. At last count, this list contained 269 potential reviewers and even helps you to narrow down their areas of interest and book preferences so that you’ll be more likely to be a good match. BookBloggerList.com offers this list of non-fiction book reviewers as well.
- Book Review Guilds: Traditional publishers have long worked with vanity reviewers to get the reviews and quotes needed to promote the books they will launch. Indie versions of this method are also starting to arise.
- Book Grabbr: For $25 per month, authors can get their books in front of interested readers who sign up to receive free books in exchange for their reviews. Click here to learn more about BookGrabbr.
- Amazon Meet Our Authors: Amazon provides a forum where authors can introduce themselves and their book, and can seek out reviews. The “Meet Our Authors” community offers a place for authors and reviewers to connect, but authors are advised to post only in their designated forums, and not to post in the forums specifically created for book reviewers.
- LibraryThing Member Giveaway: Reach out early in your planning process and get your book in line for the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program, which allows you to offer a set number of books up to the LIbraryThing members who are often active reviewers. While those who win your book are not obligated to review it, you’ll find this group of readers to be a rich opportunity. If you offer an ebook, give a generous number of copies, so you can increase the likelihood that you’ll see a return.
- Social Media: Hopefully in advance of your launch, you’ve been curating a strong following on social media that spans beyond friends and family. Give away a few advance copies to your social connections — the ones that you think are most likely to broadcast their take on your tome. Check out Bookarma, which allows authors broader social reach through shared promotion of other authors. This will help you expand your social reach while making friends and allies in the literary community.