by Christine Nolfi
Reviews from book bloggers are one of the best avenues for self-published authors to garner publicity and make sales. I’m often asked by other writers, “How did you get so many great reviews for your novels?” The answer is simple. All it takes is a well-written and edited book, patience, research skills, and elbow grease.
Many potential buyers expect to see at least ten reviews on a book’s Amazon Product Page before they’ll purchase. In a perfect world, it’s best to approach reviewers before your book launch so they’ll have time to read and post as soon as your debut goes live. With some upfront organization, you can create a list of reviewers that will serve as an ongoing tool to refer to again and again as you write more books. But first you have to find them! Here’s how:
Locating book bloggers, reviewers and blogs
Keep reviewers’ contact info in a list alphabetized by blog name, with room for updates. Just open a Word doc or Excel file and record the blog address, reviewer’s name and email address, and instructions regarding how they want you to submit a query. Add notes about dates and responses.
1. Locate book reviewers on Amazon and GoodReads
Search your genre to find books similar to yours. Along with the review, a professional book reviewer will often list his or her full name and the name of the book blog. Use either one for a Google search. Once you’ve accessed the reviewer’s blog, read their Review Policy carefully. Note: Don’t waste your time or the reviewer’s. If you’re an indie author and/or you only have an ebook, be sure the reviewer will accept these before you submit.
2. Search Google for book blogs
Do a Google search for book blogs and book reviewers. Many directories are available (a few are listed at the end of this post). Yes, it takes time to scroll through the Google search results, visit each site and read each Review Policy. Also note that some blogs don’t name the contact person in an About Me section. You’ll have to read through several posts to find the name of the reviewer who runs the blog. Add potential names to your Excel or Word list. Never query a review blog without addressing the owner by name, and never transmit a mass query to many blogs at once.
3. Find book bloggers on Twitter
All authors should have a presence on Twitter (and you’re crazy if you don’t) because you’ll also bump into book reviewers there. Read Molly’s post about How to Grow a Twitter Following Fast to learn how to set up a Twitter list for reviewers. When you find them, follow them and add their handle to your Twitter Reviewers List. Use their Twitter handle to locate their websites and add their contact information to your Excel or Word document.
I check my Twitter List of reviewers regularly. If someone posts a new review, I re-tweet them. If a site runs a promotion, I’ll often put the word out on FaceBook, Google+ and other media sites. Do the same for the bloggers who kindly review your book.
Prepare an effective query letter for reviewers
I prepare an overall letter template, then personalize each email query with the reviewer and blog’s name. If your book is a finalist or has won an award or contest, mention the accolades early in your pitch. Keep in mind that reviewers are increasingly buried in requests; your pitch must be succinct.
Query letter examples
Example #1. Dear [REVIEWER NAME]: I hope you’ll be interested in reviewing my women’s fiction novel Treasure Me, which was a semi-finalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Publishers Weekly reviewed the manuscript and said, “Birdie Kaminsky, a beautiful blond bombshell of a con artist, has met her match in investigative reporter Hugh Schaeffer, in this zesty novel rife with witty dialogue and well-drawn characters. Their catty romance and zany interactions filled with witty double entendres are gems.”
Example #2. Hi [REVIEWER NAME]: Last year you kindly reviewed my debut novel, Treasure Me, which continues to earn 4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon and GoodReads and has now entered national contests. In mid-March I’ll release a more dramatic contemporary fiction novel, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge.
[NAME], I hope you’ll consider reviewing Tree for [BLOG NAME]. The various eBook versions will be available in several days for transmission. The paperback version will be available in two weeks. You’ll find the short synopsis, below.
Many thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing from you. Wishing you all the best,
Build lasting relationships with the reviewers who fall in love with your books. Many reviewers gave my debut, Treasure Me, high marks and asked that I contact them again with future novels. They are dedicated bibliophiles who will help build your career if you treat them with the professionalism they deserve. I’ve had reviewers hand my book off to another reviewer if they’re under the weather and can’t review, and share private lists of blog sites they admire. One reviewer recently scheduled Tree of Everlasting Knowledge promotions on five blogs in the U.S., Europe and Africa because we’ve struck up a warm friendship.
Note from Molly: Check out my novels on Amazon, join my Reader’s Club for freebies and book news, and follow me on Twitter. This original content is copyright protected. Thank you so much. Mwah!