Launch Your Book with Great Reviews: 4 Tips to Get You Started

Searching for rocket fuel to launch your book? Great reviews can shoot your masterpiece right up the Amazon lists. 

Potential buyers demand an unbiased critique of a book’s merits to simplify the task of finding the next great read. Most expect to find at least ten glowing reviews on a book’s product page before they’ll purchase. Naturally, it’s best to approach reviewers before your launch date so they’ll have time to read and post as soon as your debut goes live. But if you’re late to the game, no worries: many sites will review months after the publication date.

As you begin the search for book bloggers and Advance Readers, keep reviewers’ contact information in a spreadsheet alphabetized by blog name (if appropriate), social sites where they post, and preferred genre(s) of books they review. Be sure to list the blogger’s website address, reviewer’s name and email, and any submission instructions. As you hear back from each reviewer, add notes about dates and responses.

As you rev up your book’s engine, consider these 4 strategies to getting reviews:

Locate book bloggers on Bookseller sites and GoodReads. Start by searching your genre to find books similar to yours with great reviews. Along with the review, a professional book reviewer will often list his or her full name and the name of the book blog. There are also directories of book bloggers that make it easy for you to connect to the right reviewer (Some listed below). Once you’ve located the reviewer’s site, read the Review Policy carefully. If you’ve only published in electronic format, check that the site will accept eBooks. Note of caution: don’t transmit a query to Dear Reviewer and never transmit a mass query. The dedicated bibliophiles who run book blogs deserve your respect and a thoughtful, individualized pitch letter.  

Prepare an effective query letter for reviewers. I prepare an overall letter template then personalize each email query. Reviewers are increasingly buried in requests so make your pitch succinct.

Example #1. Dear [REVIEWER NAME]: I hope you’ll be interested in reviewing my novel The Comfort of Secrets, which was a Gold Medal Winner, 2018 Readers’ Favorite Awards and Finalist, 2018 International Book Awards. Bestselling author Kay Bratt says, “Reading Nolfi’s The Comfort of Secrets feels like coming home.”  Many thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing from you. Wishing you all the best, [NAME AND WEBSITE]

Example #2. Hi [REVIEWER NAME]: Last year I released my contemporary fiction debut, Treasure Me, which USA Today calls, “Light and refreshing: your old-fashioned feel-good novel.” Midwest Book Review says of my second release, “Poignant and powerful, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge is as much a saga of learning how to survive, heal and forgive as it is a chilling crime story, unforgettable to the very end.” Both Treasure and Tree continue to earn 4- and 5-star reviews on GoodReads and Amazon. Many thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing from you. Wishing you all the best, [NAME AND WEBSITE]

Example #3:  Dear [REVIEWER NAME], I hope you’ll consider reviewing my latest release Second Chance Grill for [NAME OF BLOG.] The eBook is ready for transmission in MOBI, ePub, and PDF formats and through NetGalley. If you prefer paperback, I can mail a copy.

About Second Chance Grill [SHORT SYNOPSIS]. Many thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing from you. Wishing you all the best, [NAME AND WEBSITE]

Giveaway Gold. Running a giveaway on GoodReads, Facebook, Instagram, or a blog? Ask each winner to post a review—most readers will happily comply. If they are posting on social media, encourage them to take a picture of the book; some reviewers get really creative! Here is a sample letter I enclose with paperbacks or transmit with an eBook to each winner:

Dear [NAME]: Many thanks for entering the giveaway. After you read, please consider posting a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, and GoodReads. Indie novels would rarely reach the light of day without the dedication of readers willing to post a review. If time permits, please let me know what you think of the novel. I love hearing from readers.

Build the Relationship. As you continue to publish, nurture your relationship with the reviewers who fall in love with your books. They’ll 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 scheduled Tree of Everlasting Knowledge promotions on five blogs in the U.S., Europe, and Africa because we’d struck up a warm friendship.


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