Book reviews are a crucial part of any book's success. They help potential readers make informed decisions about whether or not to purchase the book, and reviews can even drive sales and boost an author's reputation. But actually getting book reviews can be a bit more challenging than you'd think. In this post, we'll share our top seven tips for getting more book reviews.
Why Book Reviews Are Important
There are many reasons that you'll want to collect as many book reviews as possible.
They help build credibility and trust with potential readers
They can influence a reader's decision to purchase a book
They improve a book's organic visibility on online marketplaces like Amazon, where books with more reviews are often given priority in search results
They can be used in your social media posts to promote the book as well as other marketing materials
Potential readers are more likely to buy a book with reviews which is also why paid advertisements tend to work best when a book has a minimum of twenty reviews (preferably more!)
Amazon's Review Policy
Before you start collecting Amazon book reviews, it's important to read through their review policies thoroughly so that you don't do anything to violate them. For example, when you are encouraging others to leave reviews, you cannot ask for positive reviews but you can ask for honest reviews (which really, is what you want).
You also don't want to rely on friends and family because those are considered biased reviews. Since Amazon wants honest reviews from customers if they discover that someone leaving a review is personally connected to you, they'll take the review down.
Here are some other things that are against Amazon's policy:
Reviews written by the product manufacturer, seller, or a competitor of the product are not allowed
Reviews that contain obscene or offensive language, personal information, or advertising are not allowed
Reviews that are not based on the product itself, such as reviews about the packaging, shipping, or the seller's behavior, are not allowed
Reviews that are fake, such as using multiple accounts to leave positive reviews or paying someone to leave a positive review, are not allowed
Reviews that violate intellectual property rights, such as posting content that is copyrighted or trademarked, are not allowed
Reviews that violate Amazon's community guidelines, such as bullying or harassing other users, are not allowed
It's important for both sellers and buyers to follow Amazon's review policy to maintain the integrity of the platform and ensure honest and helpful reviews for all products.
Tips to Get More Book Reviews
Book Review Tip #1 - Reach out to book reviewers and bloggers
Submitting your children's book to book bloggers and reviewers is an effective way to get more reviews and increase exposure for your book. Be careful though - while this is a great way to increase your product reviews, authors often follow book blogs and book review accounts rather than your target audience so this isn't always the best way to gain visibility with potential customers.
When submitting your children's book to gain book reviews:
Research those who specialize in children's books. Look for bloggers who have reviewed books similar to yours and have a significant following and engagement with their audience. Many book bloggers and reviewers have submission guidelines on their website or social media channel, so read them carefully before reaching out.
Personalize your outreach. Address them by name, mention their blog or website, and explain why you think your book would be a good fit for their audience. Be sure to include a brief summary of your book and a link to where they can find more information about it.
Pay attention to whether they require a physical or digital copy of your book.
Follow up after the review. Thank them for their time and effort and share their review with your audience. Consider building a relationship with the blogger or reviewer and continuing to submit your future books for review.
Book Review Tip #2 Seek out influencers from other niches
One of the best ways to get more book reviews is to network. Reach out to bloggers and social media influencers who don't regularly review books. Instead, try to find accounts that connect with your subject mater in some way.
For example, if your picture book teaches STEAM or science concepts, try finding influencers who are homeschool moms or elementary teachers with an interest in sharing science lessons and activities. Since your children's book fits their content and what their audience cares about, this is often more effective for brand awareness and sales than seeking out book bloggers or reviewers.
Book reviewers get inundated with requests so it could take them weeks or months to follow through, if they ever do at all. But an influencer in a non-book niche doesn't get as many requests and your book will resonate with their audience.
Start by researching influencers who have a significant following and engagement on their website or social media channels. Then, reach out with a personalized message, and offer to send them a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review and/or sharing with their audience.
Book Review Tip #3 Add call-to-actions everywhere.
Put a reminder to leave a book review in your email signature, add it to your website, mention it in your press releases or media features, include it in your social media posts...the list goes on.
And if you've self-published your children's book, you can even add something in the back matter of the book itself!
The reality is that the average person won't think to leave a review on their own and they certainly don't know how important it is to authors. The more you talk about it, the more people will help you out!
Book Review Tip #4 Ask your existing email subscribers.
Done right, your email subscribers should be your most engaged following. They've downloaded your lead magnet or opted into your email list because something about what you or your brand offers is exciting or relatable to them. So if you send them a personalized email thanking them for their support and asking them to leave an honest review of your book, many should follow through!
Need help to grow your email list? Check out the video below.
Book Review Tip #5 Run a free ebook promotion.
Offering your book for free for a limited time is a great way to get more readers and reviews. You can do this by enrolling your book in KDP Select.
This program allows Kindle Unlimited members to read your book for free at any time but it also gives you 5 days every 3 months that you can run a free promotion. On the dates you choose, your ebook will be FREE for anyone to "buy" for $0.00.
To make the most of this opportunity, you'll want to share your promotion on social media, run advertisements, notify your email list, etc.
But the most important part? Be sure to ask readers to leave a review.
People don't always think to leave a product review so add it to your graphics, ask in your captions, and share, share, share!
Book Review Tip #6 Ask your social media following
Your social media following is another great source of potential reviewers. Post about your book on your social media platforms and ask your followers to leave a review. You can also run a social media contest or giveaway where readers who leave a review are entered to win a signed copy of your book or other prizes.
Book Review Tip #7 Use a book review service
Another way to get more reviews is to use a book review service. These services typically offer a range of packages that include book reviews, author interviews, and promotional features on their website and social media channels. While some book review services charge a fee, others are free. Some great ones are Booksprout, BookSirens, NetGalley, and Pubby.
At Home Author has a review team as well. If you'd like details about how to submit your book, send an email to email@example.com
Bonus Book Review Tip: Build a Launch Team
If your book isn't published yet, then I highly recommend building a launch team. It's how my own children's books get hundreds of reviews within the first few days of publication!
A launch team is a group of people in your target audience who agree to leave an honest review during the week of your book release. You just give them a free digital copy before the book is actually published!
If you'd like to learn more about launch teams, check out this blog post or the video below:
What it comes down to is that gathering book reviews is a process. But the good news is that as your audience and network grow, collecting them will become easier and easier! And following the tips from this post will get you started down that road.