Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: How to Get Your Book Reviewed

by | Oct 5, 2011 | Book Marketing Basics

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We had a great show featuring Dana Lynn Smith about the importance of book reviews and the various ways authors can seek reviews for their books.

About our guest: Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, has 16 years of publishing experience and a degree in marketing. She helps authors and indie publishers learn how to sell more books through her how-to guides, blog, newsletter, and private coaching.  Dana is the author of several book marketing guides, including How to Get Your Book Reviewed, which is the topic of this interview,

Learn more about Dana and her marketing tips at

There are an estimated 1,500 books published every day – so it’s tough to get noticed. Book reviews can be one way for a book to gain more exposure.

Dana wrote How to Get Your Book Reviewed because reviews are important. Many authors don’t realize how important reviews are, and they also don’t know there are a range of opportunities to have a book reviewed, such as:

Endorsements – this includes experts, other authors, and celebrities in your field. Use these testimonials in your marketing materials.

Book review journals -these include Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist – some review books pre-publication. These journals are designed for librarians and booksellers and help them make buying decisions.

Consumer oriented publications – these are literary journals devoted to reviewing books and authors. Newspaper and magazine review space is unfortunately shrinking so it’s more difficult to get reviews in those media.

Specialty publications – these include trade journals devoted to specific industries and professions and niche magazines devoted to specific hobbies, etc. What is the best way to find these publications? Two ways: go to the public library. The library should have a media directory listing all kinds of magazines. Or search online. Wooden Horse Publishing, for instance, is a great online resource.

Blogs – there are book blogs that review books, primarily fiction (but many do review other genres, check their review policies), and then there are topical blogs representing a niche.

Customer reviews and testimonials from customers who read the book. What’s the difference between consumer reviews and reviews from a professional book reviewer? When reviews come from a consumer, they are generally shorter and more informal. A lot of them are really testimonials or recommendations. But when people share their enthusiasm about a book it does influence shoppers.

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How can authors encourage consumers to review their books, and where should the consumer review the book? Authors should be proactive. Consumers don’t always realize how important reviews are, but they are really happy to do a review once you ask them. The most important place is Amazon, also Barnes and Noble and reader communities like Goodreads.

Any time somebody says something nice about your book, thank them and ask if they can take a few minutes and post a review on Amazon. Most people will follow through. You can create a comment area on your website where people can leave a note and you can follow up with the request for them to post that review on Amazon.

Take advantage of Amazon

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• Set up your author profile through Amazon Author Central

• Include your photo, bio, a list of your books, import your blog feed and tweets and list your events.

• Update your personal profile and make sure you have a memorable signature line.

• Review other books in your genre/topic to increase visibility and network.

•  Add a tagline or signature after your name on your personal profile page that explains more about you, such as Jane Doe, romance author.

Goodreads, Library Thing, Shelfari

Image representing LibraryThing as depicted in...

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Join, set up a profile and start using these popular sites for book lovers. Goodreads has more than five million members; Library Thing has more than one million. Post books you are reading. You can join discussions, too. Goodreads and Library Thing have programs where you can offer copies of your book for review. Decide the number of books you want to offer, the length of the contest and sign up. When the contest is over Goodreads and Library Thing will give you a list of winners. It’s great for exposure; anyone who visits the giveaway page will see your book. Winners are encouraged to write a review of the book.

What to do about a bad review

Some reviewers have nothing nice to say at all. It is upsetting to get a bad review. Don’t take it personally. Consider it a critique you can learn from. Make it motivate you to go out there and get more good reviews.

One of the worst things you can do is react publicly to a bad review. Amazon and Barnes and Noble have review policies; if a review of your book violates their policies, let them know.

You do not have to buy the book from Amazon in order to review it on the site. You must be an Amazon customer, which means you have an account and you bought something from the site.

Other tips:

Reviews are just one part of your marketing plan, but an important part. Start early – get prepublication endorsements, send out galleys. It’s never too late to get a review. Some reviews are published well past the book’s publication date. Get as many reviews as you can.

Download the full show at:


Upcoming Episode:

Please join us Oct. 18 for Promote Your Book: 250+ Proven, Low-Cost Tips and Techniques

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  1. Jose Antonio

    I agree, reviews are an important part of marketing. And it also serves an evaluation of how good your material is. This is a good resource for authors; to know the strengths and weaknesses of their publication.

    • Paula

      Thanks for stopping by Jose, we appreciate your comments!


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