Updated: Sep 28, 2022
Book reviews are vital to the success of your novel. When browsing places like Amazon for their next read, people rely on the reviews of others to determine whether the book is the right choice for them. However, you want people to review your book yet they want to see reviews to purchase your book. Bit of a catch 22 really isn't it? This is where book bloggers are your new best friend in the book world!
ARC’s (Advanced Readers Copies) allow you to send out and gain reviews even before your book has been released. This can really help you gain traction when it comes to releasing your novel.
Where to start.
So you’ve finished writing your first novel and it's now been sent off for editing and formatting. You have set a release date and really aren’t sure where to start when it comes to people reviewing it. Many authors send their manuscripts to family and friends and ask them to review it. This is great but it really doesn’t give you an impartial review of the story and characters. They are more likely to tell you what they think you want to hear vs what they truly thought about your book.
Sending out ARCs to bloggers allows you to gain an impartial review but also genuine reviews about what they think of your writing. All blogs will say that they gain an ARC in exchange for an impartial review and many will post on their websites, social media accounts, Goodreads, and Amazon.
You can approach blogs individually by emailing them a review request or approaching them via their social media channels. The Kindlepreneur.com feature a list of bloggers from different genres that you could approach and submit a review request. Things to consider when reaching out to a blog, be sure that they review your genre, and ensure that they are still currently active as there are a number of blogs that are no longer running. Also, it is wise to see if they are already taking submissions as sometimes it may be months until a book blogger has an opening to read and review your book.
If you have used a beta team in the run-up to the release of your novel you could also request that these post their reviews on the above platforms.
If you haven’t already taken a look at our blog post “Book Promotions and How They Increase Sales” I highly recommend you take a look as we give much more detailed explanations about what each one is.
Effectively a Book Promotion is usually run by a Promotion / Tour Company and requests that blogs review on your behalf for the release of your novel or during a book tour.
NetGalley is a more expensive route to take however can produce some results when it comes to reviews of your novel. There are two options with NetGalley, one is a subscription which is recommended for Publishers with multiple submissions, and then a pay-per-submission option suitable for smaller publishers or for Indie authors. If you would like to learn more about how NetGalley works you can do so here.
StoryOrigin is a community of authors, this platform is $10 a month for a standard plan but it allows you to do so much more than just find reviewers, it allows you to run the not-so-fun part of being an author from one place, it can help with lead magnets, mailing lists, universal codes and so much more.
If you would like to know more about lead magnets and how they work take a look at our recent blog post “How To Build A Lead Magnet”.
Amazon Rules On Book Reviews
Many authors were led to believe that they were unable to give out ARCs in exchange for a review to then be featured on Amazon after this statement.
“Don’t offer, request, or accept compensation for creating, editing, or posting content. Compensation includes free and discounted products, refunds, and reimbursements. Don’t try to manipulate the Amazon Verified Purchase badge by offering reviewers special pricing or reimbursements.”
Which led many authors to believe that they were no longer allowed to offer a novel of their book in order for a review on the Amazon Platform. However, it states in its own guidelines that: “Authors and publishers can continue to give readers free or discounted copies of their books if they don’t require a review in exchange or try to influence the review.”
This means that bloggers etc can still review however it used to be essential the bloggers wrote “ARC received in exchange for an honest review” taking their guidelines into effect I would say that bloggers are still to Disclose that it was an ARC. However, not that they were needed to review. It is also best if the blog puts the discloser at the end to not take away from the main points of their review.
See the example below, one is a verified purchaser through amazon and the other isn't, therefore it is likely that this is a review copy.
Stay tuned for more ways to get readers to leave more reviews in a future blog post. You can follow our blog posts via My Wix or feel free to sign up for our Newsletter, where we are now giving away a FREE book launch checklist!