Mission: acquire more reviews.
Book bloggers are awesome. Ordinary people who, for nothing more than the love of reading, commit to spending time with your book and writing their thoughts on it to help you get exposure and to help other readers find new books they might love. So how do you go about getting your book into the hands of these fabulous people? Start by looking through directories of book bloggers, such as the Book Blogger Directory or The Indie View. Go to each blog, see if it's still active (i.e. if there are recent posts) and then read their review policy. Once you've sorted through the inactive blogs, the blogs that don't read your genre, the blogs that are currently not accepting requests, and the blogs that don't accept requests from indies, you're ready to make your list of suitable book bloggers from whatever's left.
To keep track of the requests you send, make a spreadsheet (I love spreadsheets!) that includes columns for Blog Name, Blog URL, Contact Email, Contact Person's Name, Date Request Was Sent, Response Received. You could write a generic request, paste all the email addresses into the BCC section, and click send. But you're more likely to get a response if you personalise your requests. Even something as simple as addressing the reviewer by name and mentioning their blog's name (Dear Cherie, I'm a recent follower of your blog, Cotton Socks Reviews, and I ... blah, blah, blah) before pasting in your generic request. And make sure to include all the info that was requested in the book blogger's review policy.
And then you wait to hear back from them!
The catch? Time. Time to compile a list of reviewers. Time to send an individual email to each one. And if you hear back from half of them you're lucky!
Amazon Top Reviewers
top customer reviewers. These reviewers have not only reviewed many items, but their reviews are also considered helpful and well-rounded. You want these people to review your book! But these are people who can review anything on Amazon. They don't all review books, and of those who do review books, they won't all review books in your genre. You need to click on each person, take a look at what they review, and if they appear to be suitable, see if their contact information is available on their reviewer profile. If it is, send them a polite request. If not, try again with another reviewer.
The catch? Time. There are a lot of reviewers on that list. If you're hoping to contact a decent number of them with requests to review your book, you're going to be spending a lot of time on that list.
We <3 YA Books group, have Read to Review programs. You sign up, and when your turn comes, you provide a specific number of ebooks (or an unlimited amount) for review. Readers sign up, you send them the ebook, and they have a certain time period in which to read the book and leave a review. The review will be on Goodreads at a minimum, but some also post to sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The catch? Time. The schedules fill up FAST, so it can be months before your book comes up for review. For example, if you sign up right now for the Read to Review program in We <3 YA Books, your book will go onto the review schedule for July.
Review The Book
Xpresso Book Tours
The catch? You have to part with money. In some cases, A LOT of money!
At the end of your ebook you could include a short request for readers to leave a review of your book online. It could be a short note like, Thank you for reading this book. If you have a moment, please consider leaving a review online. Or it could be a slightly longer and more personal "letter". A paragraph or two addressed to Dear Reader telling him/her how important reviews are to authors and other readers and how grateful you would be to hear his/her thoughts, whether he/she loved the book, hated it, or something in between.
The catch? Well, I guess if someone gets to the end of your book and didn't like it, you're then prompting them to leave their (less than positive) thoughts online. But I honestly think you have more to gain than to lose by politely asking for a review. If someone loved your book and knew how important each review was to you, I think they'd be happy to take a few minutes to write one.
If you're an author, do you have any review-gathering
tactics to share with us?
What's worked for you and what hasn't?