When self-publishing a book, I know you’re having to invest money into advertising. But before spending big bucks on your marketing plan, consider this top priority. After working with tens of thousands of indies, I’m telling you: you can’t scale tactics like PPC advertising before landing solid book reviews.
Why? Because people like to see other people’s opinions in their purchasing decisions. Reviews from other readers give your book and author brand online credibility. It’s the backbone of your marketing strategy.
What is a book review?
In technical terms, a book review is a form of literary criticism that describes or analyzes the book’s content, style, and merit. It can be a primary source, opinion piece, summary review, or scholarly review. In today’s highly profitable landscape of global digital publishing, book reviews drive sales.
The importance of book reviews
As the foundation of your author promotions, here’s a quick list of why book reviews:
- They help booksellers and librarians know how many copies of your book they should stock.
- They help your book gain more visibility in the market.
- They act as organic marketing for your book, by word of mouth.
- They help cement your overall reputation as an author.
Over the years, my team at PublishDrive has measured the effectiveness of various digital items. When looking at Amazon advertising, there are real performance issues with books that have very few reviews. Here are the rest of the reasons behind low click-through-rates:
- Little to no book reviews
- Book cover doe not stand out from the crowd
- No author page on Amazon
- No hook in the first two sentences of the book description
- Book is priced too high
- Low ratings
How to get reviews on Amazon and other stores
Most of you may love to see your book launched in places like the Washington Post. But these editorial reviews take longer to break into. On the other hand, online retailers like Amazon are widely accessible and massive for indie authors. There are several marketing services out there to help.
There’s also PublishDrive’s tool where you can send review copies to friends or influencers on Apple Books and Google Play Books. All you need are the email addresses of your recipients. The review copy is DRM protected, meaning it can not be copied and expires in 28 days if not touched by the recipient.
Bestselling author Gary Collins said this about the marketing tool: “I’m an author who does a great deal of interviews. One of the main requirements is sending the host of the show a copy of my latest book. With this seamless feature, I can pick the format they desire and have the assurance it is protected and cannot be distributed without my permission.”
(Try out PublishDrive and publish in hundreds of stores worldwide, plus use promotion tools for sending review copies and more. ↓)
Other DIY options
You can totally do things yourself to collect those reviews. Try putting together an ARC (advance review copy) team. Dig into the market and compile a list of book bloggers in your genre. Ask other authors you know to swap reviews. Post in online forums. The options are endless.
To find book bloggers, check out these author resources:
- Top 100 Book Review Blogs, Websites, & Influencers
- The Indie Book Reviewers List
- Book Bloggers on Instagram Master List
A word of caution
Some authors offer free books, thinking when more people read your book, more people will leave reviews. This may make sense statistically. But if those not in your target group download mainly because of the price, the book itself may differ from what they’re looking for. Just be careful you don’t get bad reviews.
How to track your book reviews
On PublishDrive, you can keep track of reviews (and rankings) from Amazon or Goodreads:
It’s important to check up on your book performance. Understanding your data and book sales is what will help you make the best decisions in your gig.
I have dozens of reviews. What now?
First, collect your best reviews in a folder named “moments to write for”. :-) Save screenshots or add links in an Excel sheet. Use your reviews as book marketing collateral:
- Post on social media about your favorite reviews
- Add them on the back matter of print books
- Add them to your book description
- Use them on your website
- Pick one as a part of your email signature
If you use any third-party book promotion services, make sure you share those reviews too.
Whenever you’re ready to spend money on advertising, make sure you have your marketing blueprint ready and best practices. For Amazon ads, be sure to read about the 10 critical things to get right.
Here’s a video on paid and non-paid promotion tactics to use with PublishDrive:
There are over 100K books published with PublishDrive. Publish and promote in thousands of stores worldwide. ↓