Monday, March 17, 2014

How to Get Good Reviews for Your Book

I am working from the assumption that you have written a good book. After all, no amount of trickery can force people to like your book if you’ve submitted terrible content. So make sure your book is well-written, well-edited, and ready for the next part of the process—the reviews.


Fact #1 People are more likely to buy a product that has good reviews. No surprise right? How many of you have purchased a product (book or nifty hand vacuum) based on what your friend or Amazon said about it? So reviews ARE important.

Fact #2 You cannot FORCE people to review your book. Unfortunately. And it is unethical to ask them to write a good one. Instead, ask for honest reviews.

Fact #3 Certain actions can be taken to encourage people to post a review of your book, increasing the likelihood that you’ll get a review. And that is the focus of this post. I’ve made a list of actions you can take to help increase the number of reviews you will receive. And what credentials do I have you ask? Well, my book has only been published for 2 weeks and I have 33 reviews on Amazon and 18 on Goodreads, last I checked. So I must not be a total failure! :)


1) Start early. You need to send ARCs (advanced reader copies) out no later than 10-12 weeks BEFORE your book is
published. Most of your readers will already have TBR piles and you’ll be waiting in line. If you want that review on or
before your release date, earlier is better.

2) Target the right people. Don’t just throw your book into the wind and hope someone likes it! Find the people who specifically read and enjoy your genre. You can find them on Goodreads, Amazon, book blogs, etc. You can use social media to find your demographic as well, but whatever you do, target. Don’t just shoot in the dark. You will still make the mistake of giving your book to the wrong person sometimes and that is okay. It might mean they don’t love it as much as a diehard (insert your genre here) fan, but if you target more than shoot blindly, your chances of good reviews are much higher.

3) More is better. Not everyone who agrees to write a review for you actually will. Either they forgot or got too busy to review your book or maybe they didn’t like it and don’t want to hurt your feelings. Who knows. But if you are hoping for 20 reviews in the first week, you’d better request reviews from no less than 100-150 people.

4) Be specific in your requests. Once you’ve made your hit list, you’ll want to contact them with a friendly email/tweet/whatever. In this friendly request, be specific. Tell them where you hope they’ll post their reviews (on Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, and/or their blog). If you want them to post in multiple places (for example some of my reviewers posted both on Amazon and on Goodreads, then say so. Whatever your specifications, give them upfront so they can politely accept or decline your offer.

And DO NOT tell them that you expect a positive review. Just ask for an honest review and where you hope to see it. If you know the publication date, it would be nice if you gave them that as well, so they have a deadline in mind.

5) Be organized. Keep a running list of who you’ve asked and whether they said yay/nay. This will help you later when you…

6) Send out an email on release day or a few days before. Politely remind your reviewers that your book is now available and that you would love it if they shared your review. This would also be a good time to remind them of your specifications.

7) Be grateful. It takes a lot of time to read a book and write a thoughtful review! Be sure you express your gratitude to those who shared their reviews.

8) Think ahead. Keep the list of reviewers who you enjoyed working with. You may want to contact them again (and repeat the process again!) for future books.

Remember these are just the tips I’ve been using so far. If you have tips, please share them in the comments section! I’m always looking to improve my repertoire ;)

And if you want to read about my favorite reviews that I've received for Dying for a Living so far, click here.


  1. Great info ... and something a lot of authors are clueless about. Thanks for writing this post.

    I'd love to syndicate it on The Masquerade Crew. If interested, see the following link.

  2. It also helps... THAT YOU WROTE AN AWESOME FREAKING BOOK... and btw I read and buy books based on one star reviews all the time! Masquerade Crew has sold me on a lot of books based on their one stars, and some I did like and some I did not.

    1. Thanks for those fine compliments, Kriss! :) I hope I made it clear in the opening paragraph that there is no help for a terrible book ;) But that as long as you find your niche you can do things to improve your chances of getting good reviews.

  3. Good post with lots of good advice-- I think most writers definitely are clueless about publicizing their book. This is still a brave new world we're dealing with; all of this marketing stuff used to done by literary agents :)

  4. That's a great point, Denise. The responsibilities that fell on agents/editors have now become the responsibilities of the writers themselves! And I've certainly heard it argued by many traditionally published writers that this is true even if you have an agent/editor--that writers are expected to know how to market their own books. Thanks for commenting. :)