Thoughts on Getting Reviews

OK, so you’ve finished your novel. You’ve polished it until it gleams. You’ve had it professionally edited. You sprung for professional artwork. You’ve just posted it to Amazon. And now…

Now your book is up there with hundreds of thousands of others, and no one knows about it.

There are a bunch of things you can do to market your book, but one of the most effective is getting a review on a book blogger’s site. That puts you smack dab in front of your target audience and encourages them to buy your book. So here are some tips to land that review.

1 – Locate your target blogs. I used the Book Blogger Directory to find as many urban fantasy blogs as I could. Once you’ve found a bunch of sites, move on to step 2.

2 – Run recon. Make sure that the site accepts self-published books. Look for a link on the site called Review Policy (sometimes it’s in the About section as well). The Review Policy tells you what sort of books the blogger likes, if there are any genres they’re not accepting, and if they take self-pubbed books. If they say they don’t accept self-pubbed novels, then move on. Do not be “That Guy” who thinks he’s special and the rules don’t apply to him. Trust me, they do. If the reviewer doesn’t specify whether or not they take self-pubbed books it’s probably safe to pitch them.

2a – Assuming the site takes self-published books, have a look at some of the reviews that have already been posted. You’re looking for two things here. First, does the blogger like authors who write with your particular style? For example, my novel IMPERIUM is a lot closer to Jim Butcher than it is to Stephenie Meyer. Make sure that the reviewer goes for your type of book. Second, do you like the reviewer’s style? Some reviewers give lots of spoilers, others speak in generalities. Make sure you’re comfortable with how they work.

3 – Send a polite note to the reviewer. Address them by name, provide them with your book’s blurb and ask if they’d be interested in reviewing your book. Also provide your email and website (or blog address). Erika over at Badass Book Reviews has an entire post dedicated to just this point.

4 – Wait patiently. Some bloggers say that if you haven’t heard back from them in a week, they aren’t interested. Respect that. If you get no response, let it go and move on.

Alright, so let’s say you hear back and the reviewer is interested in your book. Yay! But now there’s one last step. You have to be prepared for whatever rating the reviewer gives you. The reviewer may not like your book. They may think your precious novel is a steaming pile of dog feces. Or worse, they may brand your novel with the dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish). In that case, what do you do?

5 – Accept it. You don’t argue with the reviewer. You asked for their opinion, remember? It’s OK to be disappointed, upset or even mad. But you do that offline. Fire up an FPS and imagine fragging the reviewer. Take out your frustrations on a punching bag. Gripe to your significant other or your best friend, but do NOT do it in any kind of an online forum. Chalk it up to experience and move on.

However, assuming you have written a good book and you’ve done your homework so it’s in front of the right reviewer, you should receive a good review. And let me tell you, seeing 5 stars next to your book’s name is one heck of a feeling.