Getting your book reviewed
Want book reviews? Don't be afraid to ask.
Getting other people to review your book can really boost sales. Potential readers know that you and your publisher have a vested monetary interest in making sales. But the opinion of an impartial person who has read your book has a lot more credibility and carries a lot of weight. These days, readers increasingly rely on reviews to help them decide what books to buy.
If you're reading this article, I assume you have a book that's well written and has something of value to share with the reader. I also expect that your book is either recently published or will be published soon.
If that's the case, then getting reviews is simply a matter of asking people from your intended audience -- the type of reader who would enjoy your book. You'll get the best reviews if you approach the right type of person. Don't approach a marketing specialist to look at your murder mystery; the person probably won't be interested and may not be familiar with the conventions of the mystery genre. Find someone who loves mysteries and you'll have an enthusiastic reader who will appreciate what you've written.
Also, be wary of approaching friends and family unless they enjoy the type of book you've written and have a personal blog or website where they review books. Amazon.com has recently begun cracking down on what they believe are fake or biased reviews, and they will remove any review that they believe was written by a relative or close friend. (I experienced their censorship firsthand when they removed my review of Intelligence, a CIA thriller written by a friend of my daughter.)
How do you find willing reviewers?
Search for blogs that you believe share the philosophy or lessons you put forth in the book. Start by asking friends and family for recommendations, then do Google searches based on your topic. Search for websites that feature reviews of books that are similar to yours; those reviewers should be a good match for your work. You should also look at the websites or blogs of authors who have written books like yours; they may have helpful links to reviewers and bloggers.
Once you've identified some likely blogs, simply write the owner of the blog and offer to send them a book in exchange for a review. Some will welcome the opportunity, while others may say no or simply not respond. Don't be discouraged; keep trying.
You can also go to Amazon.com and find books that are comparable to yours. (If you search on your topic or genre, you'll find a wide range of books to consider.) Look at the people who have written reviews on the book. Try to find reviewers with a rank of 20,000 or lower who have contact information included on their profiles.
People with an Amazon.com rank of 20,000 or lower are avid readers who have a habit of posting regular, frequent and helpful reviews. These individuals know how to craft a review that will translate into sales. If they have contact information listed, send them an email and ask if they would be willing to write a review for your book. Be sure to give them a brief description of what you've written and explain why you think they should devote their time to reading your work.
When I first wrote this article, I had two authors contact me asking if I would read and review their books. In both cases, I agreed. One was an ebook and one was a hardcover. The hardcover book arrived in the mail a few days later, autographed by the author.
The hardcover book was The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class by Keith Cameron Smith. It's a delightful book and well worth reading. Mr. Smith converted me to a fan of his work by sending me that book. Not only did I write a review on Amazon.com, I also spread the word in many different ways. He incurred the cost of giving me a free book, but I'm sure my efforts on his behalf gained him dozens of purchases. Securing an enthusiastic reviewer is a great way for an unknown author to jump start their sales.
Of course, you must be prepared when you ask for a review. Most people who achieve a high status as a reviewer are very sincere and will not post a good review of a bad book. Good reviewers take their opinions very seriously. They are not going to write a glowing review if they do not believe the book is worthy of it.
To summarize, the best way is to find the people you would like to review your book and then simply email or call them and ask. You will find most people are flattered by being asked and are happy to return the favor.